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The missing piece to my heart!

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City Slicker

The missing piece to my heart!

Growing up we didn't have a lot of money. We didn't go on vacations or roadtrips. When I was in the 6th grade we actually went into bankruptcy. Luckily, before that happened something great came first. When I was 10 my parents saved up just enough for us to go out to Maui, Hawaii to visit my Dad's father. I thought it was just a vacation, I didn't know it was the first and last time I would ever see my Papa. I remember doing my fractions homework, playing with my grandma's Cabbage Patch Dolls, rolling down the huge hill in her backyard, and my sister almost drowning me for my first time in the ocean(She told me you could hear the whales if you put your ear to the ocean floor...it was my first time snorkling...I didn't quite understand that the tube had to be above water in order to breath apparently). I thought that there was no way I could ever have a better 'vacation'....and I was wrong. In 2017, 17 years later, I took another trip to Maui, Hawaii with my Aunt Marian and Uncle Mike. Being an adult this time, with my own money, I could do whatever I wanted! It wasn't just a vacation though, far from it. It was a journey! As soon as we got into Hana we started visiting family I had never met or even known about. We 'talk story' about relatives that had passed before I was even born and listened to music you couldn't hear 'in the states'. Within minutes I was comfortable and laughing with these people I didn't even know, which is saying a lot for someone that has such bad social anxiety. This truly felt like family I just hadn't seen in a long time. And the good times didn't stop there. We visited the Taro Root Festival in Hana and man did I get memories for a lifetime. I watched them make poi and ate it for the first time, I watched them beat the bark from a mulberry branch to make Kapa(A cloth made from the bark) and even made some myself, I weaved my first lauhala bracelet for me and my mother, and listened to the sweetest music in the most beautiful place with people that looked just like me! Growing up in a small town in Texas, having never left home, I had never seen so many people that looked like me! Here, I am mistaken for Mexican(not that it is a bad thing you just get tired of correcting peoples assumptions) but there....I was seen as just another Kanaka(Native Hawaiian)! We spent our first week in Hana visiting family, going on hikes, going to the Taro Root Fesitval, and even taking a walk into a Lava tube(a sort of cave left behind from flowing lava underground)! The second week we made it over to Lahaina which is more touristy than Hana, which is more old school. In Lahaina we went to a Luau, I went scuba diving for the my first time ever, and even got a tattoo that means the absolute world to me. I visited museums, saw hula performances, met new people....I was a different person in a place I didn't know but felt completely at Home. This wasn't just a vacation, not by far. It was about family, ancestry, culture, and love. The Barclay card was my first travel credit card and if it wasn't for using my points for my flight I certainly wouldn't have had enough money to join my aunt and uncle on this amazing trip of a lifetime. It's only fitting that my first travel credit card would be the reason for a string of memorable firsts to follow. I found the missing piece of my heart on this trip and this is the card that helped that happen. Thank you so much!

 

The Kapa cloth I made. It all came from that tiny stick!The Kapa cloth I made. It all came from that tiny stick!My first Mass with Ohana!My first Mass with Ohana!My first Mai Tai.My first Mai Tai.Keiki(kids) dancing Hula at the mallKeiki(kids) dancing Hula at the mallOno'licious food with Ohana!Ono'licious food with Ohana!My last sunrise in HanaMy last sunrise in HanaMy first sunset in LahainaMy first sunset in LahainaThe tattoo that is VERY dear to me. It is a twist on the one my parents got here 17 years ago!The tattoo that is VERY dear to me. It is a twist on the one my parents got here 17 years ago!Taking pics of my uncle while scuba divingTaking pics of my uncle while scuba divingIs there anything better?!Is there anything better?!Pounding PoiPounding PoiThe reward at the end of our hike!The reward at the end of our hike!My Lauhala braceletMy Lauhala braceletIn the Lava tubes! It stays 68 degrees down there!In the Lava tubes! It stays 68 degrees down there!
Happiness I've never known!Happiness I've never known!