Last year I was in New York for Thanksgiving so K and I didn’t spend it together. This year we were invited to four people’s Thanksgivings which was so nice and unexpected.

We thought that we’d be able to go two. Though later we found that both started at the same time. We decided to go to our friend Mark’s house for a traditional “pre-Western contact” Hawaiian dinner and then to the Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe for dessert.

It would have been nice to spend more time at each place but either way it was an amazing holiday and I’m still full.

When we arrived in Manoa, the table was set so beautifully.

Mark had fish and breadfruit on the fire downstairs and I was so excited to eat. I love Hawaiian food: lau lau, haupia, and poi. Some people aren’t fans of poi because of its texture and bland-ish taste. But to me it’s like mochi pudding. I love it. I feel like I knew what it would taste like before I ever tasted it and I knew that I would like it.

We also had awa for the first time. Mark was straining it by hand for awhile before we ate. Kalei warned us that it doesn’t taste good and if she hadn’t I might have thought so. But you’re meant to drink it all down at once before a meal. It has a relaxing effect and prepares your body for the big meal ahead. Mark said that some people even use it to help them sleep. I drank it all and it wasn’t so bad…what was nice was the novocaine like effect afterwards. K wondered later ‘can you become an awa-holic?’ Mark answered ‘yes’.

The meal was so delicious but I got full so fast. I was all revved up to dig in and then all of a sudden everything on my plate was gone and I felt like I couldn’t take one more bite of food…and believe me I tried.

After dinner the sun began to set and it started to rain sideways.

Mark said that it was good luck. That if you looked at the mountain it looked like a woman’s face and the rain was like her hair flowing behind her.

It was a lovely dinner. But we were running late and had to head over to Kea’s for dessert. Before we did though, we had one more cup of awa.

When I was in college my boyfriend was in the Air Force. One Summer rather than go home to my parent’s house, I lived secretly on base with him. I have some really fond memories of that time. Life on base for an enlisted is not fancy, it can be kind of boring but there’s also alot of order and camaraderie. Which I really like. In some ways I was looking forward to revisiting a military base.

There were some construction issues so we drove around in circles for a little bit. It was interesting to see the neighborhoods–winding narrow roads lined by houses that looked very new, white and upright…like soldier houses. I was reminded by our host’s comment over the course of the night how easy it would be not to leave base at all. Everything you need is mostly there. K remarked how it felt like a city that could be anywhere–that we could have easily not been in Hawaii at all.

When we got to our friend’s house they had finished dinner hours ago and were busily cleaning up. The house was filled with young children and the TV was blaring Hotel for Dogs. There were alot of people there, mostly military families. The three men that were there had recently come back from Afghanistan and Iraq after multiple tours of being away.

At one point our friend’s husband offered to help the ladies in the kitchen with the dishes and everyone guffawed ‘the WARRIOR wants to help with the dishes!’.

Kea’s food looked fantastic. We were able to have some of her apple pie, pumpkin mousse, and home made sorbet.

She was very kind to pack up a little bit of everything she made and the next day we were able to have a whole Thanksgiving meal for lunch.


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