“An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.” – Victor Hugo
Almost 7 years ago, I left the woman I loved for a 12 month working holiday in the US. After years of working hard to get a “Green Card”, I finally had one. Although I was now in a relationship of about 6 months and deeply in love, we both agreed this was an opportunity to live a dream and shouldn’t be squandered. I have numerous friends littered all around the States and I had plans to head to Mississippi and meet up with a friend and start there. It wasn’t until a mutual friend in Hawaii said, “Why would you want to fly straight over Paradise to go live with Rednecks?” It was a great question and it had me change my plans. At least to start with. But as I boarded the plane bound for Paradise and an exciting adventure, small tears started to run down my eyes as I glanced back at my girlfriend. Sure this was going to be great, but what was I leaving behind?
After 3 planes and about 10 hours flying, I finally touched down in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. I was met by my mate Scott, who thought it only proper to take me straight to the Kona Brew micro brewery. Nothing kills jet lag quicker than a Longboard Lager from Kona Brew let me tell ya!
So I was here, in Paradise. It was a beautiful 27 degrees and humid. There was no doubt this was a place of serious beauty and I hadn’t even really seen any girls yet! While my thoughts were still of Paradise back home, I had to say I was really happy to be here, glad I’d made the journey. I had a job lined up but I had a week or so before that would start so I was going to enjoy a week of holidays.
After about 4 days of relaxing I was speaking to my girlfriend on the phone. She had packed 4 or 5 Christmas presents for me and although it was still 5 or so weeks to go, she wanted me to open one. I looked at the presents and asked my mate which one I should open, he pointed to a small flat one. I opened it to reveal a scrapbook she had made, full of photos of us, our friends, lots of good times and memories. More tears rolled. My friend looked up at me and said, “I wish I had what you have.” I made up my mind right there, I was going to go home and marry this girl. But I’m a bit of a traditionalist, so I sent her parents an email outlining my plans and asking for their permission.
2 agonising days went by and they finally replied, turns out they rarely check that email address, so I was lucky they saw it at all. They were all for it. So I decided to have 2 more weeks here in Paradise and then head home to my personal Paradise and propose.
Hawaii was an amazing place, I saw some amazing things and yes, had an amazing time. It’s a time I will never forget. I caught up with some great friends, made new friends and enjoyed my first Thanks Giving. But it was time to take my ring and ask the women that I love to marry me. This was easily the scariest thing I have ever done.
How did I go? Well, you’ll have to wait until Part 2 to find out! In the mean time, check out the time lapse video I made, shot from my mate’s balcony in Kona. It’s set to Shadow of the Day by Linken Park. Enjoy.