We did something a little out of the ordinary this past year and traveled for Thanksgiving!
My mom’s side of the family decided to have a family reunion in Las Vegas and so we packed up early the morning after Thanksgiving and made our way there.
Everyone (well almost 😉 ) stayed at the old California hotel in downtown Las Vegas where the old strip is. I never realized it before, but the main reason our older family members like the Cal is because a lot of Polynesian people stay there. They call it the “9th island”. Even though it is an older hotel, it ended up being really fun to stay there.
Once we arrived, Jordan and I decided to head to Hash House A Go-Go for breakfast by ourselves. We’d been twice before and really liked it, but this time I wasn’t too crazy about what I ordered. Sometimes it’s better to just stick with what you know.
After everyone had gotten some food, we all made our way to the outlet mall. It was Black Friday after all. We scored some good deals all before 1pm.
Later that night we walked the new strip a little, the old strip a little, and had a family slot competition!
Outside Treasure Island
Jordan actually won the first round and got $50!! It was a lot of fun to play in our own roped off area.
The next morning we all shuttled down to another hotel for a family bowling tournament.
I’ll admit 3 games of bowling was a bit too much, especially for this girl who never bowls and is no good. It’s hard to find activities that are suitable for all ages, especially in Vegas in November.
But it was nice to be with everyone.
My grandpa is actually buried in Vegas and since we weren’t that far from the cemetery I figured I needed to make a trip.
I know for some people the cemetery/head stone thing isn’t very comforting, but I do like that I still have a place where I can feel like I get to see him. He was my favorite person. ❤
Later on that night we had a big family dinner catered by a local hula group. I think everyone was hoping for catered Hawaiian food, but we had typical Thanksgiving food instead. 🙂 Our beloved ancestors had a lot of “get-to-know-you-activities” planned for after dinner. I’m thinking I gotta take over this portion at our next family reunion cause yikes!
But my aunts did dance and sing to make up for it.
It really hit me that weekend that this was the first big occasion where all of my grandma’s remaining siblings were together without her being there. When we first arrived at the hotel that weekend I found myself expecting to see her, almost as if I didn’t even know she’d been gone for 7 years. I actually looked around for her until I realized she wouldn’t be there.
My aunts danced to her favorite song and I lost my composure completely. It really wasn’t the same without her, though I know she was still there in her own way.
Traveling during a holiday weekend means you have to get up bright and early so you don’t get stuck all night long on the road. We left the next morning and barely made it home in 4.5 hours. It was a great weekend to be with people we don’t see that much. Hopefully the next family reunion will be even bigger and better.
❤ Jordan Nalani