18 Nov

Watching Honu

The day before we left was an unreal, suspended in aspic, last forever kind of day.  Like a long overdue pregnancy, I desperately wanted what was going to happen to happen, but knew that the getting there would be arduous.  The hours before we were due to leave for the airport stretched in front of us, heavy with nervous expectation and the potential for something to go wrong.

But nothing went wrong.  We got on the plane.  We embarked on the adventure we’d been dreaming of for three years.  I should have been elated, as the weight of the previous weeks of effort rolled off my shoulders.  Instead doubts began to worm their insidious way into my exhausted brain.  Why exactly were we doing this?  Had we really made the right decision?  Was it all a huge mistake?

Those first few days in California were surreal.  Jet lag induced sleep deprivation, unfamiliar blazing sunshine and the relentless perkiness of the Disney experience all combined to make me anxious and uncertain.  Disneyland was exciting and magical, but why on earth had we dragged our children half way around the world?  We could have just gone to Paris and saved ourselves a lot of trouble.

As the days passed, we got more sleep, and the doubts started to evaporate in the warmth of the Hawaiian sun.  We enjoyed lazy hours on beautiful sandy beaches, ate pineapple just miles from where it was grown and watched surfers crashing into the waves on long palm fringed shores.  The children described their days using words like ‘fantastic’ and ‘awesome’ and we started to feel that we were doing something good.

Today we visited Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, an ancient sacred Hawaiian site.  A place of refuge.  Encircled by a monumental black wall, thatched buildings and wooden statues of gods sit beneath immense coconut palms on the white sand.  We wandered around the site, watching a loin cloth clad man carving a new statue beneath a noni tree, and admiring rippled patterns in the lava flow.  And then we saw it.  A green sea turtle, or Honu in Hawaiian, basking on the beach right in front of us.  A real live turtle, so close we could have touched it.  We stood in silence and watched it until it lumbered into the sea and swam away.  It was truly amazing.

I’m glad we came.

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For this week’s Sleep is for the Weak‘s writing workshop I chose this prompt: “Due Date – Tell us about something anticipated and what happened when it arrived.”


38 Responses to “Honu”

  1. English Grandma 18/11/2010 at 6:02 pm #

    What wonderful times you are having….nothing will ever replace these memories in your lives.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 19/11/2010 at 2:35 am #

      Thank you, and you’re right!

  2. greenie01 18/11/2010 at 6:42 pm #

    amazing experience, love following your journey x

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 19/11/2010 at 2:35 am #

      thank you!

  3. christinemosler 18/11/2010 at 6:46 pm #

    Oh my goodness, I have goosebumps! Fabulous. So glad you’re glad. Enjoy, my lovely friend, ENJOY! x

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 19/11/2010 at 2:36 am #

      OK, if you say so, I shall 😉

  4. Rachel 18/11/2010 at 7:24 pm #

    Awesome isn’t it???? Felt EXACTLY the same when we saw the tiger in India and the whaleshark in OZ. Children gobsmacked that such a thing should just BE there for no particular reason. That’s why you went. FYI the homecoming is the reverse – like a long overdue pregnancy, but all you can think is you can’t bear the pain and forget about the end result! Luckily adoring parents and friends are there to make you feel better 🙂

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 19/11/2010 at 2:37 am #

      Gah, NOT looking forward to homecoming, except I do miss my friends. It’ll be lovely to see them again.

  5. Laura Perks 18/11/2010 at 7:28 pm #

    Hi ! Have found this blog courtesy of Lottie, via Fona.

    Hope you don’t mind us tracking your adventures – Lottie logs on every day to see ‘what Dickon did next’.

    She’s particularly excited about this leg of your trip – what with cousins and an aunt and uncle in California who we visit regularly, and a recent trip to Hawaii in her memory, she’s loving hearing about Dickon going to the same places, watching him go to ‘her beach’ (ohhhh if only it were ours …..).

    Will be keeping a close eye so she can explore the world outside of what she knows via him too, loving your pictures, and LOVE the way you write. I am now living vicariously through you, as is Lottie and the rest of Mango.

    Bon voyage, bon courage !! xxxx

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 19/11/2010 at 2:39 am #

      Hi Laura!
      Lovely to get a message from you. Dickon keeps talking about Fona and what he’s going to show her when he gets back. Don’t think he quite understands that it’s not going to be for a while!
      Keep leaving comments, it’s nice to hear from people.
      Love Victoria x

  6. Modern Dilemma 18/11/2010 at 7:30 pm #

    Hey gorgeous girl, I’ve been reading EVERY post but bit slack on the comments. Sorry, know I am with you in spirit whilst doing a fine lurker impression. So glad to hear you are settling into the rhythm of travel now, it will get easier and more normal I’m sure. Thanks for sharing all of it with us too, you have no idea how excited I am about your posts over the coming months.

    MD xxx

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 19/11/2010 at 2:40 am #

      Thanks Mrs, lurking good, but also nice to hear from you once in a while. Hope all is well with you. Lots of love xxx

  7. andthenallithoughtaboutwasyou 18/11/2010 at 8:32 pm #

    Wow a real life turtle I am ever so slightly jealous there that is amazing. I would have been the same just stood still how fantastic! xx

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 19/11/2010 at 2:41 am #

      It really was!

  8. Millie 18/11/2010 at 8:35 pm #

    AMAZING! Living vicariously through your posts and enjoying every minute! So glad you are having such a wonderful time, you’re not missing much here! Love to allxxx

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 19/11/2010 at 2:42 am #

      Missing all the gossip about William and Kate, which everyone is asking us about!

  9. Muddling Along 18/11/2010 at 8:50 pm #

    I’m so glad you’ve reached a zen place with the trip – it sounds wonderful, utterly wonderful and yes, I still think you’re incredibly, wonderfully brave to do it!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 19/11/2010 at 2:43 am #

      Brave/foolish, a very fine line between the two…

  10. Keydropper 18/11/2010 at 9:13 pm #

    I’m enjoying following your journey. We are off on one of own in a year or so so I am anxiously watching how your kids do – although mine is a little older at 12 her experience is still my biggest concern. I’m glad you found your mojo:-)

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 19/11/2010 at 2:45 am #

      The children are doing brilliantly. They’re really loving it. Our eldest is missing her friends a little, but we’re staying with a family this week, and she’s made firm friends with their seven year old. So far we’ve emailed and skyped friends and family, which has been good. And sent postcards obviously! I’ve been more homesick than the children, I think it’s harder as you get older.

  11. Laura 18/11/2010 at 10:29 pm #

    Fantastic pictures, such an amazing experience. Looks like you are soaking it all up xx

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 19/11/2010 at 2:45 am #

      We’re having a fab time x

  12. Jeanne @soultravelers3 19/11/2010 at 4:26 am #

    Congrats! Glad to see that you are off!! Even 5 years into our open ended family world trip, I remember those crazy first days of our take off.

    Every day is an adventure in this lifestyle & that is what I love. What an education for the kids!! We were just in Hawaii, California and Bora Bora etc where we had wonderful times with turtles, dolphins, surfing etc and enjoying great beaches, people & food. Still maintaining our 23 dollars a day per person budget using our creativity. Sydney was expensive, but very gorgeous.

    We’re in a beautiful, large sea view home now in tropical Penang ( for the winter so kidlet can immerse in her Mandarin) so give me a holler if you are headed this way!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 19/11/2010 at 7:52 pm #

      I love Penang! We’ll probably be there sometime in April.

  13. Lucia 19/11/2010 at 1:40 pm #

    Hooray and Bon Voyage! I need to do a lot of catching up on my blog reading but I know you have been planning for this amazing adventure for awhile and it looks like you are off to a great start. Can’t wait to follow along!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 21/11/2010 at 3:19 am #

      We’re off to a fabulous start! Volcanos next…

  14. wandering educators 19/11/2010 at 4:52 pm #

    it’s all worth it – those are priceless memories! AND, fantastic photos…

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 21/11/2010 at 3:22 am #


  15. Tricia 19/11/2010 at 5:07 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this – I am really envious. I’ve never seen honu in the wild. Hopefully someday.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 21/11/2010 at 3:20 am #

      I was really looking forward to it, and it disappoint.

  16. Myra 19/11/2010 at 5:47 pm #

    I felt the same way when taking my kids to Paris, especially when they felt homesick. And we were only gone 10 days! It’s been fun following you along on your journey.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 21/11/2010 at 3:21 am #

      We worry so much about them, but I think they’re more resiliant than we imagine.

  17. Elizabeth 19/11/2010 at 8:41 pm #

    What a great journey! Our family will be heading to Hawaii in February, although we’ll be mixing work with pleasure as Dave and I will have 4 gigs on 4 islands. But I think even a working vacation will have to be incredibly relaxing in Hawaii! It looks wonderful, and I’m glad y’all are enjoying this part of your adventure.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 21/11/2010 at 3:22 am #

      Hawaii really is paradise on earth. If only they’d get rid of the mosquitos!

  18. nmaha 21/11/2010 at 5:50 pm #

    Sounds so perfect. Am happy for you all but just a little but envious.

    Do nothing except enjoy.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 22/11/2010 at 4:37 am #

      Thank you 🙂

  19. Victoria 28/04/2012 at 9:59 am #

    Reblogged this on It's a small world after all.


  1. It's a small world after all - 28/01/2011

    […] own religion.  That kept them occupied for a couple of days and meant that we could wander round The Place of Refuge in peace while they tried out the various temples for […]

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