August 8, 2010

Every Vacation Needs a Soundtrack.

It's the essence of family vacation. In our rented Impala, we shared a moment of true family togetherness in a sing-a-long to Ke$ha's "Tik Tok."

There's nothing like your mom and 10-year-old brother harmonizing while your stepdad drums on the steering wheel. "Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack..." Don't stop, guys. Don't stop.

My family met my German grandparents, Opa and Oma, in Hawai'i in honor of their 70th birthdays. Ten days of family togetherness isolated on an ancient volcano. Sounds like heaven or hell, depending.

Armed with David Sedaris books, my journal, and lowered standards for acceptable in-car music, I had a pretty good time.

My favorite meal was from Giovanni's Shrimp Truck near the North Shore. I ordered the only plate that comes with a disclaimer. Extremely spicy, no refunds. Since Cambodia, I've been craving all things mega-hot, and my taste buds met their match in these shrimp. Actually, they were so hot that my whole face turned red.

Besides watching the ripped Hawaiian lifeguards at the beach, my favorite activity was the forest trek. Flashback to Cambodia! My family became the Hawaiian Adventure Crew for an afternoon. The slippery mud and do-it-yourself stepping stone bridges were challenging and rewarding. Sam and Achim jumped off the cliffs at the waterfall while Oma and I marveled at human bravery. Or was it stupidity? By the end, we were soaked in sweat and caked in mud, but we had an unusual adventure. And, I forgot to think about graduate school for a few hours.

We always give Oma and Opa a hard time about their after dinner shots of Schnapps. At home and away, they drink a little of the hard stuff to calm the stomach after a good meal. The house we were staying in had a supply of only one whiskey, so after dinner, we waited for Opa to pour shots of, what else, Jack Daniel's.

Sunshine-filled memories courtesy of Ke$ha.