My Hawaiian Adventure

Toastmasters Project #4: How You Say It

Project Goals: The aims of this speech project focus on your selection of words and phrases:

  • Choose words and grammar which communicate clearly.
  • Choose words and grammar which appeal to the senses.
  • Eliminate jargon.

Delivered 10/10/17 | Awarded Best Speaker Ribbon

It was the perfect Hawaiian wedding for the perfect couple. Her dress was gorgeous. It was a sleek satin sultry gown and she wore it as if she was channeling a young Lauren Bacall. I was a bridesmaid and we wore simple strapless chocolate brown dresses with ornate orchids in our hair. Standing barefoot on the beach at Hanalei Bay, watching these two exchange vows was magical.

But that’s all I remember about the actual wedding. No, it’s not because the wine was flowing as free as the Waipoo Waterfall. It’s because so many other things happened that were much more memorable. Even more memorable than feeling Hawaii’s 6.7 magnitude earthquake over 300 miles away on the morning after the wedding in Kauai. True story.

I traveled alone for this trip and being in my twenties, I was on a tight budget. So it only made sense that since I needed to rent a car, I rented a convertible. A brand new Vista Blue Ford Mustang convertible. At the time, it was the nicest car I had ever driven.

I left the airport with a glowing grin as I cruised down the highway. The top was down, the music was booming, and the sweet ono air was blowing through my hair. Then, /// it started to rain.

Back at the airport, I was very attentive when the rental car guy explained how to put the top down but I didn’t listen very well to the directions on how to put it back up.

In the rain, I pulled over on the side of the road and spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out how to put the top up. //

Did you know it rains a lot in Hawaii? Yes, and Kauai actually gets more than the big island. In fact, Kauai gets 4 times as much rain as the big island in October. That’s when I went. Needless to say, I kept the top up for most of my trip. I’m so glad I spent the extra money for a convertible.

On my second day, I went exploring. Kauai is not a very commercialized island. At least it wasn’t 11 years ago. It’s the northernmost island and they call it “the Garden Isle” because most of it is a tropical rainforest. It has deep valleys, amazing waterfalls, and ridges that rise thousands of feet into the air like razors set on edge.

One of the hidden gems I found was a tiny little-secluded roadside beach–about the size of this “stage area.” I pulled over, parked, and climbed through an overgrown trail to get to the shore. I kicked off my sandals. I stuck my toes in the soft sand. I took pictures. I stared at the sparkling turquoise water. I Reflected on how I lucky I was to be able to enjoy all of this. I thought about how excited I was to meet up with my friends later. I guess I lost track of time and I didn’t notice the tide coming in. I look up and noticed my sandal floating into the sea. [gasp] I thought: I LOVE THESE SHOES –I got them at Payless for $12 — BUT THESE ARE MY FAVORITE PAIR OF SHOES! I WEAR THEM EVERYWHERE! What am I going to do?? I thought it through very quickly and I retrieved my floating shoe. But, how? My hands were full. 

Let’s back up and replay this in slow motion.

These are the thoughts that I remember going through my head in those split seconds:

Okay. My sandal is floating away like a leaf I need to grab it now.

Don’t let go of the camera. I just got it and it has a super cool touch screen. Oh good, it safe on a strap.

Don’t let go of the phone. Even though there’s no cell service, I definitely need this.

What’s this other thing? I don’t recognize it so it must not be important.

Go ahead drop it and GET THAT SHOE!


It’s time to go. Wait, where’s my car key?

Who knows what happened to my key? That’s right, I dropped it into the ocean to save my Payless shoe. Surprisingly, I didn’t panic. I went to my recent calls and found the rental company’s phone number. I started dialing…wait…No cell service. Hmmm. Alone. Standard. Tropical Rainforest. Is it time to panic yet?

Everything turns out fine–I’m resourceful. I walked about a mile to the nearest house, knocked on their door and asked if I could use her phone to call the rental company. After explaining what happened, they reluctantly drove 45 minutes to bring me a new key….in exchange for a $200 cash lost key fee which left me so broke that I thought I would have to start foraging for fruit and coconuts to survive the rest of the week.

So, that, everyone, was my memorable Hawaiian adventure.

My friends who got married had a dream come true wedding. One so spectacular that the earth literally shook for them.

Me? I learned a couple lessons.

One – Always use a handbag so Payless shoes don’t end up costing $212

Two – Don’t rent convertibles in rain forests.

I can’t wait to go back!

Thank you very much.

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