In the midst of a 3am inebriated heart to heart, one of my roommates asked me to share the story of the best day of my life. He knew the best day of his life off the top of his head and could recount each dialogue on a minute-by-minute basis. At first, I recounted one of the final days in my study abroad experience. A group of friends spent the afternoon touring Tuscany by Vespa, stopping to taste wine at renowned vineyards and in San Gimigiano for award winning gelato, and ending the night watching the sunset while sitting on top of a van blasting music and drinking wine in plastic cups. A truly beautiful day. On second thought, though, one other day beats it out.
2008. The same year as Leona Lewis’ Bleeding Love and Lil Wayne’s Lollipop. It was sure to be a glorious summer. Sure enough, my best friend and I decided to go spend 2 months camping through Hawaii’s big island. It was the last week of our trip, which means we had spent the last 7 weeks exploring volcanoes, learning to surf and hiking through the waterfalls of Waipio Valley in a group of 14 teenagers from across the US. Now, we got to spend our last week lounging on a catamaran and celebrating America’s birthday in style.
July 4th started with the sun waking our gang up on the parachutes of the catamaran. We went through the chores of getting the boat ready for a day of sailing, pulled up the anchor, and set off for a full day. We told stories, took turns steering the ship, and our leaders ordered each of us to take 10 minutes alone with our thoughts and reflections on our trip. The radio blasted from another boat, letting us know there was a school of wild dolphins not far off. We geared up and headed in their direction, hoping to intersect them and catch their beauty. Sure enough, the captain yelled to look over the side as they passed by and flew up into the air, showing off for all of us on the boat. Not waiting for captain’s permission, one of my friends and I dove off the side right into the middle of them. Opening our eyes in the water, we watched the wild dolphins circle us on all four sides and gently nudge our legs as they passed by. I came up for air and dove back down again, reaching out to touch one with my hand.
After they had passed, we played in the ocean in our post-dolphin glory for another couple hours and eventually boarded the boat to let the real party began. Grills came out and we cooked up some hot dogs and burgers, lots of fresh fruit, and PG-13 drinks for all us 17 year olds. I was so full and bloated, dancing around the boat in my tiny bikini, that I successfully tried to convince one of the sailing mates that I was with-child. Eventually, we settled down, headed towards land, and anchored down to end the night with fireworks.
The 14 of us, out there on a beautiful catamaran in the Pacific Ocean, huddled close together as we watched the sky light up with all our favorite colors and booms that shook our hearts. We stayed up late that night, all sharing stories and growing closer with each other and with nature at once. One by one, we crawled into our sleeping bags, all sleeping shoulder to shoulder with our new best friends’ arms around each other, and let the gentle lapping of the water beneath us lull us to sleep.
That was the best day of my life.