Life will never be perfect, even in paradise.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I recently went to Hawaii. I’m still recovering from the post vacation depression...and the 8 loads of laundry from our overpacking. Since I’m home, I’ve been itching to write but I’ve struggled to find where to even start. However, me being the total cheese ball I am, I thought it would be best to start with reflections.

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Now that everyone has seen my *very candid reflecting upon life in beautiful place picture* let me start by saying, when people say Hawaii is a paradise, they mean it. The weather is ideal, at least when we were there. Tradewinds created the perfect breeze. Sunsets look exactly how you dream they will. They have the best fruit I’ve ever tasted and I will forever dream about the sushi. There is absolutely nothing like the beaches, mountains and cities that Oahu has.

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My trip there was relaxing, adventurous, and pretty special since I got to spend a lot of time making memories with my husband and family. When I look back on those 9 days in Oahu and Maui, I am filled with a warmth and happiness that I’ve only felt with one other trip, and that was our honeymoon.

By my descriptions above and the pictures I’ve posted, you would think our travels to the land of aloha went perfect, but that’s just not so.

I actually witnessed some very terrible things. Like not just “I got a sunburn” bad but tragic. 

On our second night, when we were leaving a restaurant, we saw cop cars piled out front and were bombarded by the noise of ambulance sirens. Walking through the lobby, we noticed there were small piles of blood, as well as a blood smeared lobby chair. Obviously this was alarming to us. Management (from the extremely nice hotel where the restaurant was located, might I add) were caught in a mix of shock and stress, they told us we could exit on through. After we made our way out.. we saw yellow tape being wrapped around the entrance that said CRIME SCENE.

YEP NOT A HEART ATTACK OR SOMEONE WHO FELL, WE WALKED THROUGH A CRIME SCENE. We asked a lady nearby what happened, she responded with a stabbing.

?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!

As you can imagine, we were scared and confused, not knowing the circumstances or the location of the perpetrator. The same lady said the accused was in custody. We sighed in relief, took a cab back to our resort...and you already know I cried.

To see that in your own town would be shocking, but in Hawaii, especially in an upscale hotel, is insane. While I was definitely concerned for the victim, and took time to process that I walked through ... A CRIME SCENE (wild to me still, especially since crime rates are so low in Honolulu) I decided I couldn’t let this dictate my attitude for the rest of the trip. 

So yeah, that was heavy.

For the next 4 days, everything was once again a dream. We explored mountains rising against the ocean, waterfalls, museums, beaches, you name it. My husband and I watched the sunset every night, made a million inside jokes and were never too far from a Mai-Tai. We had all but forgotten about the tragedy.

Later that week, my husband and I decided we wanted to snorkel in the world famous Hanauma Bay. The place is STUNNING, the seaside mountains curving around a crater from an extinct volcano, now teeming with undersea life. The bay is typically very safe and a good place for novice swimmers to snorkel. Knowing that, and seeing the beauty and clarity of the water had us so stoked.

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Once we walked down to the bay and rented our equipment, in the distance we heard yelling. I turn around to see a man waving his hands. We made our way to the picturesque shore, only to stumble upon another tragedy.

This time, there were lifeguards circling around an older man, as well as his family, and they were performing CPR. Everyone in the bay stopped and watched in anticipation and horror. I won’t lie, it was very disturbing. In total this process went on for nearly 20 minutes until the paramedics finally arrived for the man.

This was horrible to watch and I can’t imagine what the family and man went through. I still don’t know what happened to the him. I prayed and cried for him silently on that beach. I could not believe we were there to witness yet another tragedy.

Afterwards, Josh and I discussed the sadness and fear we felt. We processed it, and did our best to move on. Part of me didn’t want to enter the water after that, but I was helpless to the circumstances of that man, not my own. I knew, that it might be my only chance to do something like this in Hawaii and I didn’t want to squander it. Josh and I dove in (carefully) and afterwards enjoyed basking in the sand. We saw urchins and colorful swarms of fish and it was a wonderful experience.

I’m sure if you followed me on insta, you saw my pictures of Hanauma Bay and you might have said “man, I wish I was there.” And, I can’t lie, it was pretty awesome...and pretty awful experience. It was a lot more than just a pretty picture on the gram.

Although those things we saw in Hawaii were scary, and I wish we could have avoided them, they were out of my control. I could do absolutely nothing about the situations except process them and move forward.

Not ignore them, or obsess. But try to come to terms with the sadness and confusion, and then not let it hang over me.As someone who dwells on things, is quite sensitive and likes to feel in control, this is a HARD thing for me. But I had to remind myself that obsessing over things that I could not undo or change, will not change the outcome of those situations, it will only ruin my own.

This was a massive learning experience for me, and I’m trying my best to take this attitude back home.

Hawaii is my perfect place, even still. I think my firm should open a remote office there (dear bosses, if you are reading this, make it happen). And it is the only place I’ve ever traveled where I would without a doubt want to live.

However it is not a perfect place. Because that doesn’t exist.

When we travel anywhere, or do anything in life, there will always be problems and tragedy, even in paradise. If you are on Earth, and I mean, I’m guessing you are, you can not avoid this. However you can take time to acknowledge and process it, however you need, determine the world is still good (because it is) and continue on. 

So next time you’re traveling and something bad happens (even small, like a sunburn) take time to heal that sucker, and move along. Unless you have a a time machine, then maybe you could try altering the past. Actually based on movies, that’s terrible advice.