Our alarms are set for 5:00AM. We're going to arrive at Pearl Harbor before 6:30AM. I'm pumped.
Real island time, that's for sure.
We chose to relax and catch up on journals and blogging today. I had a couple emails to send too. School is approaching fast and I don't feel ready yet. I wish I had another week on Oahu.
So far our trip has been "a once in a lifetime kind of trip." I mean, in the very beginning I asked God to send me to Hawai'i. At the time I didn't have the funds so I didn't know how I was going to pay for such a trip. I didn't know how God was going to do it, but I believed that he would if it was what he wanted me to do. I had the intention of coming here to find out if I Hawai'i is someplace I could live during or after school. I wanted to find out if I was interested in the Ocean and Resources Engineering department at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. I wanted to learn more about aloha and I wanted to feel home.
Within the first week of praying and asking God if he would send me to Hawai'i, he did. A married couple I had not known very well at the time had blessed me with paid airfare. When I found this out I cried a little. God did something miraculous, but he was just getting started. The cost of living here is astronomical and out of my budget. My Auntie Maggie offered to house us for the entirety of the trip. She is so loving and always willing to help. Now, transportation.
I would not allow myself to sit on my butt all day. I promised myself we would get around the island even if we had to skateboard or purchase a bicycle. I looked into purchasing a bus pass. It was over a $100 for the trip but that meant we would have to wait for over an hour sometimes for the bus to arrive and we couldn't bring surfboards with us- the bus wouldn't allow it. We kind of ruled that out quick. We could rent a car and split it. The lowest price on a car was just over $500. It probably wouldn't fit a surfboard and the price wasn't for a twenty-one year old kid. This meant that the price would be much higher since I am a young driver-in upwards of $1,000. Transportation was going to be expensive.
A couple days before we departed my Uncle Mel called me up and said he had a truck we could use. He had been working on it the past month and wasn't sure if it would be up and running for when we got there. He said if it started up that "we would be golden."
And golden we were.
We slept in this morning, I definitely needed it.
Today we wanted to ship Oakley's ukeleles home, I wanted to buy a hard case and we both wanted to snorkel at Electric Beach. We hit the road for our first stop, a local dive shop. Oakley bought some fins. We then stopped to get some Mexican food. The food was alright but it wasn't authentic back home. It made me miss K38 back home and our waitress didn't know what a sincronizada was- which if you didn't know, it's a traditional mexican dish similar to a quesadilla.
We set off towards the North Shore to stop at The Ukulele Site, a store where Oakley bought his first two ukuleles. Our friend we met who works there last time was there again. His name was Noah and this dude was cool. He shipped Oakley's ukuleles home for free and I bought a hard case for my uke at a very good price. I even paid cash and told them to keep the change. We didn't stay long.
We were 45 minutes from Electric Beach, which is on the leeward side of the island. We started driving. Oakley and I like singing songs and be loud and obnoxious, especially me.
We arrived to Electric Beach to find a police car and a small gathering of people. I asked the dude we parked next to what happened and he said a car was stolen. Not just broken into, but stolen. I was nervous about my ukulele getting stollen out of the truck while snorkeling, especially after a car was just stolen. Oakley and I prayed that our belongings wouldn't be stolen or bothered and I knew God would keep us safe. We put the ukulele behind the seat and walked down to the beach.
It was our second time here. It was a cool place to snorkel. The visibility was no here as great as the first time we were here but it was still 30+ feet. We swam out over a piers length and man was it neat. Tons of tropical fishes. I scared Oakley on the way out because I was laughing so hard of joy. I swam up to a some sea turtles who looked like they were feeding. Some other divers swam out after us.
I would go back for sure.
We woke up later than planned but still left the house early. We were going to hike Manoa Falls today. Manoa Falls is a relatively easy beginner hike. Its known for its beautiful views. I was so down for that. Our truck took up the entire street on the way towards the parking lot, I thought it was funny but a little nerve recking at the same time. As we approached our destination point we came across a restart aunt called Treetops. I was hungry and so was Oakley so we decided to get food before our hike.
Treetops was cool but it took almost 40 minutes to reeve our food. They didn't have any toast and because of it the chef offered to buy us any drink at the bar. They had a lot of fancy stuff- but I don't drink. I ordered a Sprite instead. The food was good and probably worth the wait but I probably wouldn't go back.
We started on our hike up towards Manoa Falls. There were a lot of people hiking on this trail and probably too many people I would say. I like when theres less people. We hiked for almost 50 minutes until we reached the main point at the top. There was a 150 foot waterfall and a small natural pool at the bottom. People were taking pictures, swimming and just hanging out. Lots of kids were running around.
We only stayed for five minutes until we started our decline. I would definitely go back- probably really early in the morning to beat the crowds.
A successful day of hiking at the least.
Auntie Maggie treated us dinner at Haleiwa Joe's, a fancy seafood restaurant in Kaneohe. They had $50 steak and man was it thick. I ordered a thick serving of pork, mashed potatoes, squash and zucchini, coconut shrimp and a Sprite. Would I go back? Absolutely.
We started off the New Year the right way I would say. My close groups of friends agreed to read the entire Bible in a year together. We have a chronological plan that starts in Genesis. Today marks the first day of our reading.
The visibility at Electric Beach was astonishing. I felt like I could see Japan. We saw lots of sea turtles but we didn't swim out super far. I saw the biggest Portuguese Man-of-War I have ever seen, warned Oakley and swam back in to the beach. Within ten minutes we swam back out because we knew to be cautious but wanted more of an adventure.
The water was cool but 3X warmer than back home. I wore a t-shirt while diving because I didn't want sun poison again. It was really fun. The water was clear and everything in life seemed clear at this time.
We took a day of rest away from surfing. I was resting my foot from the coral attack. It looked like it was going to scar and it had bled over night.
Today we went ukelele shopping. We went to two music shops, one in Pearl City and the other North Shore. I ended up not getting a ukelele on this day. The ones I wanted were $1,000+, of course. These reason they were so expensive is because they are made of Koa wood, only found in Hawai'i. Most ukeleles here are made in China or Indonesia but some brands are only manufactured in Hawai'i. That's what I am looking for. Home quality.
I purchased a smoothie from this really good strawberry banana and other fruit acai bowl place and we drove back home.
"Mele Kalikimaka," means "Merry Christmas," in Hawaiian.
It's 9:40AM here and the girls are still sleeping. Oakley and I have been up for almost an hour and we're ready to eat some breakfast, or at least I am. We have plans to find sea glass on the beach today. I can't tell you where the beach is though.
Oakley and I were in the truck this morning with the boards on and everything packed before 6:15AM. We were on a mission to sunrise surf at North Shore. Our favorite beach thus far was Chun's. It was crowded with hawaiians, but I call that a good thing. So we set off to surf Chun's.
We entered the water at Chun's an hour after we left home. The water was warm and the waves had some size. All the locals here would tell you it was choppy and small all over the island. But honestly, days like these back home- everyone would skip work and go surfing. It was a nice day to surf for us! And, probably my favorite day of surfing so far!
In less than two hours I had already taken over ten waves, which is great for the amount of people out there. At least five of those waves were super fulfilling. I love to ride down the line on the 8' and before the wave closes out I like to turn towards the top of the lip and do a backflip into the backside of the wave. Its a super feeling! Oakley said it was cool.
I rode one wave until I could ride no more. I jumped off and as I started to swim back my upper left foot kissed the coral reef below me. It immediately hurt so I looked at my foot and I could tell I had a few scratches. I paddled back out and look again and it was bruised and bleeding in numerous areas. The coral got me good. It may leave a battle scar.
Some larger swell was rolling in so like everyone else, I paddled out, perpendicular to the beach so the wave wouldn't crush me. This one hawaiian dude cut in front of me as I was paddling out and said "get that board out of my face," rudely and obnoxiously! First thing I thought of was "wow, that's not aloha." This dude didn't like that I was white. That didn't stop me from surfing though.
Oakley and I drove home after a great day of surfing and decided to stop and get something to eat along the way. We found this restaurant called "Seven Brothers." I ate the best burger I had ever seen and I promised myself that I would eat there every time we took the windward Kamehameha highway.
Later that evening we went to a Disney Resort to watch one of our hula friends dance and then following the dance we went to our family luau. It was fun and I'm glad to get the experience of the local hawaiian culture.
Today was the first day I wore something over my back to keep the sun off. I had suffered from a pretty bad burn the last time I had went surfing. It was getting better but I was really itchy and didn't need anymore sun. I wore one of my t-shirts into the water. It was a time of healing for me.
The waves were not fun today. I remember getting out early because of it. Dani and I hung out on the beach and waited for Oakley to finish surfing.
Later that evening we had met our family for dinner. It was my first time meeting Grandma Margaret and Grandpa John. I loved spending time with them. Grandpa had lived in Hawai'i his whole life and he shared numerous interesting stories with us during dinner and Grandma was also fun to talk to. Grandpa told me he watched the planes drop bombs on Pearl Harbor.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Today was my meeting with Dr. Bruce Howe, Ocean and Resources Engineering (ORE) Department Head. I really just wanted to meet him and let him know I had a strong interest in the graduate program there. He was genuine and I could tell he enjoyed what he was doing. It was a great meeting overall. I was more interested in ORE after our meeting. Oakley and I got lunch and drove home.
We rested a majority of today.
We later went to eat Boston Pizza and afterwards watched Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. Such a great movie- a must see.
Oakley and I were on the road in the early morning headed to watch the Finals at the Billabong Pipe Masters at Pipeline, North Shore. There were enormous crowds of people swarming the streets, stretching their necks to get the best view. Cars were jammed miles from the contest all looking and waiting for a place to park, and parking was inexisitent. We drove up the windward side of the island (eastern coastline) to beat the traffic. It helped tremulously because we found a parking spot minutes from the central watch spot. We filled our area next to the thousands of other fans participating in this years 2015 Van's Triple Crown of Surfing.
I woke up at 6:20AM; an hour and forty minutes before my alarm. I jumped out of bed to use the bathroom and then returned to my room. I randomly opened my Bible to Proverbs 8 and 10. I was reminded of many things in just one page of writing. I remembered to "rejoice in the Lord always," even when things happen that we may not like and don't understand at first (like when our truck wouldn't start on Day 2), ask for wisdom and make wise decisions, to have "fear of the lord is the beginning beginning of wisdom," (meaning that by fearing the Lord, you have a good relationship with God), and become diligent with your hands and mind- do not be "lazy," ever.
Oakley and I went for a quick run this morning. We set a good pace and time our selves. Ir was fun and I enjoyed it.
I'm about to shower to meet Dr. Cheung at 11:30AM at Manoa.
This morning I found myself getting into the word first thing.
Oakley and I packed our bookbags and were planning to visit my cousin Dani's college campus. Before leaving home I mentioned to Oakley that we should definitely bring our Bibles and he agreed. We left home and walked a block to where we parked our truck the previous night. I jumped in the driver's seat and cranked the ignition only to find that it wouldn't start. The engine wouldn't turn over and each new time we turned the key it sounded worse. I thought the battery had died. We got out of the truck and popped open the hood, wiggled a few wires that were connected to the two batteries and tried starting it again- no progress. We walked home and I called my Uncle Mel to see if he had any suggestions. Mel suggested that it could be an alternator issue, an old bad battery or the contact between the battery maybe not touching. Purchasing a new alternator or battery was not accounted for in our budget and neither was the time we would lose not having transportation. We took a short break.
I had a cup of Vanilla Macadamia Nut coffee that Oakley stirred up- it was good. I paused before taking a sip to tell Oakley "I think God wants us to put him first." I woke up this morning and didn't talk to God, more like ignored him. I love him so much but still didn't talk to him even after all he has done for me. It was selfish. At this time we agreed to get into the word as we wake up every morning and before we do anything else. This is important. A lot of times this may be the best part of your day. It can be a real game changer. I knew that punishment was far from what God was doing to me because of the truck not starting. He was showing me what I was doing to him and he was teaching me life.
I grabbed my cousin Josiah's tools and began walking back to the truck. I opened the hood, took a wrench to some nuts and cleaned the connectors. I didn't think much of the connectors. Yes, they didn't look brand new but they looked pretty much normal to me. After cleaning them I tightly screwed the nuts back on and wiggled the wires one last time. I sat in the driver's seat and began praying. I thanked God for safely sending me to Hawai'i with a best friend like Oakley. I thanked him for loving me and for all the fun we would encounter. I told him that we plan to bring all the glory to his kingdom during our trip. I thanked him for a mode of transportation and asked him to start the truck for me. Amen. I turned the key and the truck didn't make a noise. It must have been completely dead now. I was so confident after that prayer. I believed with all my heart that God was going to start the truck. At the time, I knew God was with me. He was helping and he was teaching me. I waited a moment before touching the key. I felt doubtful for a second even after knowing, believing and having faith. I have faith that God can do all things. "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith," Matthew 21:22.
I turned the key for the second time, to hear the truck breathe. I helped give it life once more. It turned on. Oakley and I were both in awe. We both learned to "put God first." Oakley and I packed our bags for the second time. I made sure everything I packed earlier that morning was still in my bag and noticed that I had forgotten to bring my Bible the first time.
We found land in the middle of the Pacific. Where I feel most at home.
Hawai'i. The Aloha State.
My best friend Oakley and I had plans to visit the islands for over three months now. The time had finally come, we were in Hawai'i. Our plane landed at exactly 6:11PM. The landing was smooth. We prayed for safety throughout our entire trip. God would protect us if we believed in him. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes - Ephesians 6:11.
My auntie Maggie and cousin Dani picked us up from the airport in Honolulu. They gave us leis to wear- which smelled heavenly. We drove to Pearl City where the truck we would be using was. It was dope. We drove it to Kaneohe; our home for the majority of our stay. And parked it a block from the house. We went to bed shortly after a late dinner. Our minds needed rest for an exciting adventure we had planned the next day.