Today, I made my second climb of Diamond Head. It had rained nearly all day and I got there around 4:00PM - they only allow people in until 4:30PM because it closes at 6:00PM - somehow they think it will take 90 minutes for people to make it up to the top and back down. I've made this hike 52 times over the past 5 years - it's not a running trail - too many rocks, mud, and erosion - definitely a great place to turn an ankle. In any case, I set my own personal record, making it from bottom-to-top in just under 19 minutes.
Diamond Head is one of the most popular 'tourist attractions' in Honolulu and for good reason - it provides one of the most amazing views of the entire island. It provides a full panoramic view of the ocean, the skyline, the University of Hawaii and then the back side of the island. It is a very peaceful place at the top - I often go up there and will sit for a good 20 min. to take pictures. One thing I've always found fascinating is that people leave locks on some of the fencing at the top - they are engraved with initials, which I can only assume are the initials of couples to signify their love. It's definitely an interesting way to leave a lasting mark at the summit of the island.
I had dinner with Deb after coming back from Diamond Head. She had taken me to a yoga class and lunch on Saturday, and we agreed to have dinner on Monday night. She always knows the good places on the island that I could never find - always excellent, heavy on fish (which I love), and simple. But, the best part about being with Deb is talking. We probably sat at dinner for 2 hours - shared an amazing meal and a spectacular bottle of sake - one of the best I've had.
But the best part of being with Deb is not the food, it's always the conversation. She always provides me invaluable perspective on life, enduring support and a kind ear. She said how proud she was of me and who I have become. We talked about a lot of things - the good in life; the bad in life; the messy in life...the beauty in life. Deb doesn't have kids, but she does have two gorgeous nieces (half Japanese / half Jewish) that are now both out of college. There is no question that Deb holds them in the light of a 'pseudo-mother'...and that has transitioned to almost a friendship - she's the one they call when they need something; she's the one they call when they have tough decisions to make in life. I can just see it in her eyes when she talks about them and what they're doing - they both have remained on the mainland after college and grad school (both are physical therapists).
Then we talked about the history we share. She still remembers us going from toddlers to young adults. I did ask her why she decided to come to Corey's wedding in October-2013. After all, she had been separated and living on the island for over a decade. She said she came because Howard asked her to come, but more than anything, she wanted to see my mom. Deb talked a lot about that night and how impressed she was with the life Corey had built for himself and is now sharing with Kate - it was a very genuine conversation and once again, I could see it in her eyes that she very much remains connected to my family and holds us in high regard...all these years later.
I did ask her an interesting question, of the 5 nephews on my dad's side, would she have guessed I would be the last one to get married...as the other 4 are all married now. She said that she was not surprised because she always knew there was a certain ambition to me and she knew that once I entered the career I did (having had the experience herself) that I would put everything into it. It was an interesting perspective.
Deb is an avid yogi and teaches now. She eats virtually an entire plant-based diet, with the exception of fish and honestly, has not aged much at all in the past 10 years. Deb has her own high-rise condo not far from Waikiki, but she also has the nice disposition of having 3 rental properties in Kailua - an area of Oahu that has absolutely exploded in popularity...and value. But, she's not a 'slum lord' - she's had long-standing tenants, treats them fairly, and makes accommodations to ensure they are comfortable. It's pretty remarkable, but goes to show how nice time can treat you physically when you're 'centered', run your life on values and not business principles, live a life of kindness, let the past be the past (live for today), devote yourself to a passion (yoga), and live an overall healthy lifestyle. I admire that.
In any case, it was a great conversation that spanned probably 30 years of 'life events' and tremendously enjoyable for me. I will likely see her again before I leave the island.