My first friend as a freshman in university was my next door neighbour Maya. Then I lived with her in they bay when I went to Berkeley for grad school. Now, 10 years later, I watched her get married to her longtime boyfriend Mike. Their wedding was in the hills of Lafayette, a beautiful wooded hillside with an open-air ceremony. The bridesmaids wore different shades of pink and Maya shone in her off-white gown. There were 6 groomsmen to her 4 bridesmaids, a friend of theirs was their photographer, another friend of hers officiated, and that friend’s husband DJ’d, so it was all a very friendly event. Other friends from UBC came too, and we danced the night away to some ridiculously bad rap and pop music from the early 2000’s.
Its wierd how I can refer to different decades and Im only 27… amazing how time flies, and people are all growing up and settling down. This was one of 3 weddings I attended in 6 weeks, and I had to leave Maya’s wedding bright and early the next day to attend a wedding in Hawai’i. We were 35 friends and family, not only invited to a destination wedding on Maui at one of the most famous wedding venues in ‘Merica, but also to a week-long vacation with the bride at groom at our very own hotel. We stayed at Mama’s Fish house, apparently one of the top 3 restaurants in ‘Merica, and rented out all the cottages around it, with our own beach, BBQ’s, patios and hammocks to cook our own delicious food. I didn’t bite for the $50-$75 chance to try eating at Mama’s, but I did get my fill of sand and surf, and hiking and roadtripping around the island. The famous road to Hana was filled with waterfalls and freshwater pools, but the road from Hana was more exciting, with unkept gravel roads clinging to the side of sea cliffs and a desolate no-mans land of dried up praries and homeless horses.
I know the groom Kyle from Semester at Sea. We were next door neighbours and shared a paper-thin wall we used to talk to eachother through. We also conquered Korcula island in Croatia together as novice backpackers, but left with a few sea urchin needles in our feet. Another friend of a friend from Semester at Sea, Orion, lives on Maui, and he took me up to watch the sunrise from the top of Halekala crater. At more than 10,000feet/3,000m, its the tallest peak on Maui, and the crater sits above the clouds, so we watched the sun light up the whole sky before it broke through the cloud line and rose as it probably rises every day in heaven.
Kyle and Kali’s wedding was also a little slice of heaven. It was held at an old sugar mill called the Haiku Mill, and only our party of 35 got to call the place our own for a few hours. We were served on by probably half as many staff, engineering cocktails with succulent plants frozen in ice to cool us down. The ceremony was short and sweet, the cocktail hour was nearly 2 hours, and then dinner was just a slight delay to the dancing night we were all so looking forward to. Even though the dance floor was made of red bricks, we shook it hard, and sweat poured so heavily from every square inch of our bodies that we had a hard time gripping onto our fancy cocktail glasses and lost a few of those to the bricks.
Our last day together in paradise was spent trying to finish all the food and alcohol 35 people had over-bought for the week. I invited Orion and his girlfriend over to help us, and after probably a dozen beer, they were a little intoxicated. That wouldn’t normally have been a problem, except that they were running a 42km marathon the next day at 5 am, so I saw them off the finish line, hungover or drunk, Im not sure, then drove myself to the airport to hop on another jet plane.