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                I decide to go back to lunch at Cafe Julias at the YWCA a couple blocks over. Last time I was there I ordered take out, but today I want to have a chance to enjoy the beautiful architecture. I am given a seat outdoors and order some sort of mint/mango drink while I wait to order. After struggling to explain to the waiters what “gluten” is, and desperately trying to convince them to double check their hunches with the chef as to what I can eat, I order a delicious fish dish with chickpeas and pesto sauce. The food is delicious and by the time I’m done my waitress has figured out this whole “gluten free” thing. She tells me that the chocolate mousse is ok for me and I order that for dessert without any further problems.


                I had planned to go to Pearl Harbor at this point, but after a quick internet scan I find out that most tickets are sold out by 10:30 AM and that if you don’t arrive before 7 you’re screwed for the day, or waiting in a 2-3 hour line. I decide I will go early tomorrow morning instead, and for now I will head to Honolulu Harbor–a truly beautiful place that seems to be underappreciated by tourists and locals alike. Both times I have been here now it has been almost empty, and I can’t fathom why. I purchase some souvenirs for my family and a hula skirt for myself in preparation for more hula classes (some of which require the proper attire).

                I take the bus back without the aid of my phone and even tackle a transfer that I know to be right, although my phone does not suggest it. Maybe I’m starting to get the hang of this (knock on wood). Back at home I go back through my finances and believe that I have a bunch of extra money. After planning many excursions for the last few days I give my dad and sister a call and let them know about my trip so far. By the time I get off the phone I’ve realized that I’ve made an estimation mistake. I don’t have as much money as I think, and scale down the plans I have left.

                At 4:45 I am picked up outside of the house by Auntie Annie, Ellie, Taddy and their father. We drive to Punahou school early as Auntie Annie tells us how she  used to sit at a lunch table with Obama. She laughs, “Although we didn’t really hang out together.” Punahou is close to Waikiki and it takes us around 30-40 minutes to get there. We drive through big stone gates to enter to Punahou campus which looks like a California college campus to me. It has some beautiful architecture and lush gardens.

                We drop of Ellie and her father and go off so that Auntie Annie can buy Ellie a lei for after the show. She gets her a fresh lei and her brother buys two bouquets for his sister. Soon we drive back and wait outside to go in to where Ellie’s dad has saved us seats in the front row of the balcony. When the time comes there is a mad rush in the doors as parents try to squeeze by each other (tonight is family night for the production). And I barely manage to follow Auntie Annie up to the balcony where we have, undoubtedly, the best seats in the house.

                As I’m turning off my phone I hear Auntie Annie say, “Rachel, we got this for you.” As I look up she is putting a cloth lei around my neck. I am so surprised! I tell her she didn’t have to do that as she pulls out a little picture frame for me as well. I am so happy and really grateful to have had the chance to be a little part of this family a few times in this past week.

                As we wait for the show to start I look around the theater. It has a very high ovular ceiling and the lights are hung on three ladders that connect at the top of the oval. It is a beautiful space. The set is pretty plain, although this is a middle school show. Finally the show begins. The students are incredible! I am blown away by the talent, especially singing of the boys and girls and we clap when we see Ellie come onstage. It’s Fiddler on the Roof Jr. so there are a few places where I’m ready to hear a song and nothing happens, but otherwise it’s quite a well-done production. At the end of the show all the parents give their children lei, instead of bouquets for the most part and the kids can be seen happily hugging away because it is their last show and they won’t see one another for a while.


                As we drive home we talk about the show and the family sings along to the last Fiddler song they will listen to for a long time. They drop me back off at my house and Ellie tells me not to forget them next time I come to visit. I thank them for the whole week and for making me feel so welcome and make a mental note to send them a gift from Boston when I get home.

                Back in the room I am pretty exhausted, and because I am planning to wake up at 5AM to get to Pearl Harbor I go to bed pretty early. Tomorrow will be a day of trying to fit all my new things into my old suitcase and backpack…I’m worried I might have to leave things behind or buy a new bag. I’ll make a trip to the store tomorrow.