Aloha, Seattle!

After having lived abroad for almost three years, getting a chance to go back to the U.S is always a treat. I have more appreciation for everything and anything around, no matter how good or bad. Hubs and I planned our trek back to the U.S. a little differently this time around. If you can recall from one of my Throwback Thursday posts, we have always said that we wanted to move or settle back on the west coast when our time in Europe is done.

The Pacific Northwest is our kryptonite. Specifically, Seattle. We were going to spend two weeks in Washington State, but I came up with a crazier idea. Hubs and I have never been to Hawaii and seeing that it was another six hour flight from Seattle, we decided to go for it.

We spent our first few days in Seattle to recoup from jet-lag. And if you’re an expat, let’s face it, we stock up on boatloads of stuff when we return to our home country for a visit. That’s exactly what Hubs and I did. We shopped ’til we dropped, all the while checking out neighborhoods. It was glorious to be back in the land of consumerism.  We didn’t go as crazy as the last time and only had to purchase one extra suitcase this time around.

Now, onto the main attraction of this trip. Ah, Hawaii. We decided to stay on the island of Oahu. Our AirBnB was only two blocks away from Waikiki beach and all the action. When we arrived, our senses went into overdrive. Our first meal was a Japanese place that served a dish called tonkatsu. It was so delicious that Hubs and I agreed it was the best outside of Asia. What a great start to the week in paradise!

Hubs has always wanted to learn how to surf, so I arranged for him to receive a private surf lesson. I was happy that he got his dream. He had so much fun that he returned and rented a surf board to “practice” some more.

Friends advised not to stay on just one beach during our stay. Hubs and I had rented a car so that we could explore the island and visit the different beaches.  Many people might not know this about me, but I can’t swim. That didn’t deter me from enjoying little dips into the turquoise waters of every beach we came across. It was so warm and refreshing. I also loved the feel of the fine sand between my toes. Was I in heaven?

The absolute highlight for me was to see a Hawaiian sea turtle. There are laws protecting these beautiful creatures, so we had to be at least ten feet away from the turtles at all times. The turtle that we came across has been tracked and her favorite spot to rest is cordoned off, and has volunteers help protect her from certain crazy tourists. I was in awe.

Besides all of the above, we also hired a small local company to take us on a food tour of the island. It was a great day learning about Hawaiian culture and tasting the food. We also got great restaurant recommendations for the rest of our stay in Honolulu. And what was the kitschy tourist attraction we were suckered into while on this trip you ask? Well, we couldn’t very well come halfway across the world and not go to a luau! After all, I really wanted to get “lei’d”. I know, so silly, but it made me giddy with joy.

It was tough getting on that Hawaiian Airlines flight back to Seattle, because it meant our time in the U.S. was coming to a close. We spent our last two nights back in Seattle to finish off last minute errands and do a few touristy things. We had ourselves a wonderful time and I’m missing the Aloha spirit as I type this.

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3 thoughts on “Aloha, Seattle!

  1. “And if you’re an expat, let’s face it, we stock up on boatloads of stuff when we return to our home country for a visit.”

    Just curious, what “boatloads of stuff” can you not live without here? I visited the US last month (first time in almost two years), and only returned with Goldfish crackers for our daughter, candy corn and Halloween Peeps, the latter items only because they were near the check-out.

    • Boatloads of clothes and shoes 🙂 My feet are the equivalent to a size 35 in shoes here and it has been really tough if not impossible in finding cute shoes/boots in Europe for my small feet. I haven’t had much luck shopping for clothes here, either. It’s quite sad. I went a little crazy in both departments to have to buy another suitcase to lug back 🙂

      • Zalando carries a couple thousand types of shoes in Size 35 (and they’ll deliver to the VIC). Peek & Cloppenburg and Zara carry casual clothing in sizes ranging from “Princess Kate” to “Austrian Oma;” Marks & Spencer (Bratislava, Brno, Prague) has trendy and continental clothing in all sizes, too. No need to schlepp 10+ hours across the pond to shop (unless, of course, you want to.) We gave up shopping in America within a few months of moving here; it is too much trouble maintaining a wardrobe that screams, “tourist” or “ex-pat.” Shopping with, and where, the “locals” shop helps us integrate better.

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