Back in Iowa and feeling very refreshed after a much needed week of vacation in Hawaii. I have visited almost every year since I moved back to Iowa from Hawaii in 8th grade. During visits I have done everything from going on a limo tour across the island, spending a day at Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park, snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, going on a submarine ride, eating delicious lobster on a dinner cruise, enjoying marine life in a BOB (scooter underwater breathing observation bubble), visiting Dole Pineapple Plantation, touring Pearl Harbor and so much more. You would think I might have done it all? However, this time around I had many new experiences, as there is so much to do on Oahu.
This visit might have been one of my favorites, if not my favorite trip to Oahu. I felt like I did the most bonding with my mom this time around because my older brother did not come along on this trip, and my younger brother was at work or school most of the time.
The first two mornings in Hawaii my mom and I went hiking in Moanalua. I had never gone hiking in all my visits or while living in Oahu. The scenery was incredible and we hiked for about 4 hours both times. My mom picked fresh mountain guava that we enjoyed during our hike. Apparently you can’t buy them in grocery stores so we filled a plastic sack to bring home.
The third day my little brother and I spent the entire day together. We went hiking at Koko Head Crater which was completely different from hiking the trail in Moanalua. This one was a short trail, but a lot more challenging with an elevation rise of 1,000 feet and hiking up 1,048 steps to get to the peak. There was also a 30-foot section suspended above a gully with nothing underneath to catch you. After taking a few breaks during the hike to catch my breath, I beat my little brother and finally made it to the top. (I realized once I had gotten to the top my little brother, who was only 3/4 the way, had all the bottled water in his backpack. I almost passed out because I was so thirsty.) Once again, the view was incredible and overlooked Hanauma Bay.
My little and brother apparently thought we didn’t get enough exercise. So later that afternoon we went to Makapu’u tides pools and had to walk along a rocky trail to get there.
The next couple of days my mom, aunt, little brother and I stayed at Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach. My mom knew I wanted to relax on the beach, and I had never stayed in a hotel before in Hawaii . It was another great experience and the view from our hotel room was beautiful. We did a lot of walking around and shopping while staying in Waikiki. We also enjoyed some delicious Japanese food, Korean food and Hawaiian during our stay. For the second time in my life, I did yoga through the hotel activities and also went for a run along the beach.
The last couple of days I got to see some friends who I hadn’t seen in two years and have kept in touch with since 7th grade. I also spent more time with my family. The weather was perfect the entire trip–sunny and in the 90’s. It was very hard to leave and come home to 50 degree weather with cloudy skies. Talk about a climate change!
Although it is always good to be back home in Iowa, I will always think of Hawaii as my second home. I can’t wait to go back, but that probably won’t be for another year or two. With that being said, “a hui hou kakou, Hawaii!”