After the long flight from Toronto to Honolulu via Vancouver, my feet finally touched down on Hawaiian soil (really concrete but who’s being picky?). I exited the plane and walked from the gate to the baggage terminal looking around me through new eyes. Oddly, everything appeared to be the same as when I left ages ago.
I collected my bag and waited outside for my parents to pick me up. When they arrived, the reunion was joyous and my first thought was about food. Hopping into the car, our next stop was, of course, Zippy’s. To be fair, we had few options at this time of night, but I was happy to be going there just the same (only a trip to Bravo’s would have made me happier!). I ordered the chili nachos, a much-loved favorite of which I had been deprived for so long. I had yet to find an equal among all the nachos I’ve tried around the world (I swear it’s gotta be the chili that sets it apart).
Over our late dinner, my parents and I caught up on family news and gossip. They asked me questions about the places I’d been, and I regaled them with stories about my adventures. My mom commented on how skinny I was (the backpacker’s diet is cruel but effective) as I’d lost about 50 pounds all up. I just laughed and told her not to get used to it as all the local food I planned to consume would quickly pack on the pounds again!
After dinner we went to their house where I’d spend the next few days. I couldn’t believe how many cars were on the road or how many lights (traffic lights, street lights, house lights, you name it) there were. Everything seemed brighter and, oddly, in sharp focus like I was viewing an HD version of things. Everything appeared the same, yet slightly different from what I remembered. It was almost like some weird out-of-body experience or as if I was in some parallel universe. In hindsight, I think I was experiencing a bit of reverse culture shock.
Before long we reached home and after a quick shower I was off to bed. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I slept like the dead. Unfortunately, I was still on Toronto time and awoke early the next morning, but that’s for another blog post.