Hey friends! Maybe it’s the warm weather lately, or the chocolate coconut coffee I drank this morning, but I have been pining away for a trip to somewhere tropical. Two winters ago, I had the amazing experience of visiting Hawaii, and I wanted to share some of my favorite moments of my trip with you!
One of my college roommates senior year, Jenn, had lived on Oahu her whole life and graciously invited my friend Olivia and me to spend New Years 2014 with her family.
So basically I thought Hawaii was one giant resort where everyone was tan and friendly and stereotypically American. Oh my goodness, I learned so much. Hawaii is like visiting another country! It has its own culture, food, and even its own jargon (“Imma go bocha real quick” and “She’s haole”*). I am so thankful for Jenn to showing me the “real” Hawaii, even though Olivia and I caved one night and went to Waikiki Beach (aka tourist central) and got piña coladas and pulled pork sandwiches.
I hate flying, but I had two layovers from the East Coast to Hawaii which made it more manageable. On the flight from San Francisco to Honolulu, the flight attendants kept saying mahalo (thank you) and even played Hawaiian music when we first got on the plane (a little hokey but enjoyable). I half expected Polynesian women in grass skirts to greet us as we got off the plane and give us all leis. Apparently the “free lei” thing is a myth- but Jenn and Olivia were waiting for me with an authentic Hawaiian lei that smelled ah-mazing! The flowers were gorgeous and I wish they would have stayed fresh forever!
The first place we visited was a hiking trail where they filmed Jurassic Park and Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Hawaiians are so active! From surfing to hiking to pretty much any outdoor sport, there’s always something fun to do that promotes a healthy lifestyle (and for a girl like me who hates traditional exercise, this is so appealing). Also, notice we’re wearing shorts and t-shirts. In December. Yes, perfect weather year-round…it’s pretty amazing.
Afterwards, we toured downtown Honolulu, which was decorated for Christmas. There’s a statue of King Kamehameha, which Olivia and I had a lot of fun pronouncing!
We had authentic Chinese dumplings for lunch and ended the day at Ala Moana Beach. Surrounded by a park, a city, and mountains, it seemed pretty much perfect to me, though apparently Hawaiians consider it dirty and not the best.
One of the sweetest things about the trip was meeting Jenn’s high school friends, who were all so kind and friendly! Her friend Laura took us to Nu’uanu Pali lookout and a secret hiking trail only residents know about. It was a sheer drop-off on one side and a super skinny trail at times, but it was real hiking (like crawling up a hill and on rocks).
My favorite part of the trip was visiting Lanikai Beach, the one featured in the first photo. The view was amazing!
Jenn’s Auntie Karen treated us to dinner at a fancy restaurant where the President goes on his vacations. (Auntie and Uncle are used to refer to family friends. At first I thought Jenn’s parents had a ton of brothers and sisters!)
Here are some other highlights from the trip:
It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but I’m really hoping to go back in my lifetime! With Scott being in the military, there’s a chance we could be stationed at Pearl Harbor- here’s hoping!
*These phrases mean “I’m going to take a shower really quick.” And “She’s non-Hawaiian/a tourist”. They’re taken from pidgin, a language made of bits of the different cultures that have influenced Hawaii.