Aloha!

aloha

I must tell you-- and it's not to make anyone jealous-- but I spent the beginning of the new year in Hawaii.

When I flew out of Chicago it was -3 degrees. When I arrived in Hawaii 13 hours later (due to layovers) it was 82 degrees. My body adjusted to an 85 degree difference without a problem. Even better, the weather remained in the upper 70s and lower 80s for six glorious days of paradise.

My trip to Hawaii was a gift. Yep! Believe it or not, my niece received a trip to Hawaii for her birthday and she was given an opportunity to invite a friend.

Well, guess who she chose? ME! Pretty sweet deal! So maybe that's why I'm bragging. Again, not to make you jealous. Rather, it's because I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have been asked. I wouldn't have cared if it was a trip to Antarctica (which by the way, was only a few degrees colder than Chicago at the time of my departure to Hawaii), I was along for the ride with family.

 Me and my niece, Morgan

Me and my niece, Morgan

 Me and Morgan on the stand-up paddleboards

Me and Morgan on the stand-up paddleboards

Okay, back to the tropics: My sister's family and I spent every day at the beach. My niece and I didn't waste any time getting atop paddle boards, drifting on inner tubes, eating nachos, and salted pretzels, and sucking down tropical pina coladas.  

 Morgan and me, snorkeling.

Morgan and me, snorkeling.

Away from the beach, we took a couple side trips. A major highlight was spotting a humpback whale and dolphins. We had front row seats at a Luau and snorkeled in the Pacific with sea turtles and fish of incredible colors.

 The Tantalo family and myself. (left to right: My nephew, Chase; Chase's girlfriend, my niece, Morgan; me; my sister, Daphne and her husband Brian)

The Tantalo family and myself. (left to right: My nephew, Chase; Chase's girlfriend, my niece, Morgan; me; my sister, Daphne and her husband Brian)

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And then, sadly, the return. I left Hawaii at 4 pm on January 8. The weather was 81 degrees. I arrived at O'Hare the next morning, after a very turbulent plane ride. The weather was 2 degrees. Again, my body adjusted to a 80 degree difference in temperature, but unlike a week earlier, where I seemed to have no problem going from cold to warm, my return did not fare the same. I shook and shivered for three days straight, and not from flu symptoms. I simply couldn't get use to the frigid temperatures. 

Well, a week home now, and I'm once again used to the cold. And don't think I'm crazy, but when I heard snow in the forecast... I had a feeling of excitement. The tropics are glorious, but snow... it just has that warm feeling of home. 

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