When I was young...maybe six or seven years old...my family went on a Hawaii vacation over Christmas break.
Here is what I remember.
Like any horror movie, we open on a beautiful scene.
We stayed with my mom's friend, a beautiful Vietnamese woman. Her family owned hotel properties on the island, and she invited us to her gorgeous beach-side home where the ocean's waves were practically a welcome mat.
She had a son named Paul who was about my age, and while my parents insisted we would get married when we were older, all I remember is that I wanted to kick his ass at everything. If he dove off a diving board, I dove off a higher one.
She took us to luaus and other celebrations where I was constantly singled out to go on stage or hula. At the time, I thought this was because I was unbearably cute. While this may have been true, I now realize it's because I was with the boss.
Like any horror movie, there was a turn.
The shenanigans became too much.
My brothers held me over an open volcano pit, threatening to drop me inside.
I went for a swim in the ocean and a strange woman encouraged me the race a wave. I was tossed around and unable to break the surface. I took gulp after gulp of salt water which stung my lungs until the wave finally tossed me onto shore and I choked it out.
I was buried in the sand up to my neck, unable to move, and while movies had made this seem fun really it was cold and kind of sucked and hey did I mention there are bugs in the sand?
Hawaii was beginning to lose its shine.
Like any horror movie, we soon realize the true horror is not what we expected.
We left cookies out the night before Christmas, but two things struck me was incredibly wrong. For one, how was Santa going to find us. For two, there was no friggin' chimney in this place. Was Santa supposed to use the door?
I worried about it all night. I couldn't sleep. I finally decided I needed to leave the cookies outside on the doorstep. I slipped out of my room (in what I imagine to be an adorable nightie) and saw the unthinkable.
My parents and their friends in the dining room eating Santa's cookies.
Now I wasn't an idiot.
I'd had my doubts about Santa. But now they were confirmed.
What I hadn't known is that my parents were in on it.
I left Hawaii knowing two things for certain.
1. Nature could kill you. Like really, totally kill you.
2. Parents are deceitful liars.
So while I like a good beach, Hawaii can suck it.