|It's as beautiful as it seems. Even more so.|
And just like that, I let the thought go. I went back to enjoying Toby's pictures and musings, all the while appreciating that she had shared her experience. Two weeks later, when I saw a Facebook post about a timeshare that was available, my heart skipped a beat. It was cheap, and it was close to the beach. In Hawaii.
The timeshare belonged to a friend of a friend. She put us in touch with each other, and I jumped on the opportunity. While I worked out the details with the lady who owned the timeshare, I made a new friend.
|This was the view from my room!|
Unfortunately, it didn't take me to anywhere like Hawaii, but I visited a life lesson or two and licked a few ego wounds. In the meantime, my new friend refused to give up. She worked behind the scenes to reschedule my trip, keeping my dream of visiting Hawaii alive, even though neither of us was sure that I could pull it off.
With her in my corner, I learned how much individuals can gain from having a strong support system. I felt like my happiness mattered, and after years of pushing my own wants and needs to the side for my kids, it was nice. I kept slogging along, determined to see the light (and hopefully the beach!) at the end of this dark time.
It was almost a year later, and only a month before we were supposed to go, when finally, and without any effort on my part, everything fell into place. In April, during one of the longest, coldest winters New York has seen in a long time, Max, Bella, and I got on a plane and took the thirteen hour flight to Honolulu.
|Max made sure we'd find our bags easily|
It wasn't until we were there for a two days that it really hit me. Each morning, I got up at 5am without an alarm and walked around the corner to Starbucks. I enjoyed the sunrise and my coffee on the outside patio and said a silent thanks to the Universe for making that warm, beautiful vacation possible. But on Day Two, I realized that there was more at play here than a paradise getaway.
|Some of my favorite things|
If I had taken the trip when we originally planned, I wouldn't have bonded as much with my new friend. And I don't think I would have appreciated the gift of waking up each morning because I wanted to - not because I had to. At home I was a single mother of three, working multiple jobs to get by. Trips like this were considered impossible. Not having to be tied to a schedule or my usual responsibilities meant more to me, especially after the dark period I had just come out of.
|My relaxed face|
We made sure to venture outside of the pretty tourist area of Waikiki and hiked through the rural area of Honolulu. We passed small schools and crowded yards with barking dogs. We saw signs, pleading with developers to stop destroying the land. And in the urban areas, just outside blocks and blocks of upscale chains like Coach and Cheesecake Factory, there was homelessness and poverty that made me wonder what the locals really thought about us being there.
|Someone's bed and belongings|
|Fireworks on the beach. Sorry about the flash!|
|Paddle boarding in the lagoon|
As I close out this year, I look back on my time in Hawaii and the magic that led me to it. I inhale love and exhale gratitude, and look forward to making more memories and seeing what other amazing experiences the Universe has in store for me. And I wish you all the same.
|I'd do it again in a minute|
CF Winn is the award-winning author of The COFFEE BREAK SERIES, a quirky group of short stories meant to be read while on break or in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. Her first novella, SUKI, has been grabbing hearts and hugging souls all over the United States.
You can now order SUKI in paperback at http://hopress-shorehousebooks.com/cf-winn/ or at BOOK REVUE, one of the nation’s largest independent bookstores, by email at email@example.com Learn more about SUKI at BOOK REVUE.
Her blogs have been syndicated on multiple sites including The Masquerade Crew. More posts like these can be found at Humor Outcasts and The Patch where she is a regular contributor.
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