Saturday, May 14, 2011

Finals. Graduation. Hawaii.

Well, I'm done with my second year of college. It's not as bittersweet as the first one was that's for sure. It's more of a relief, and great burden lifted off of my shoulders.

Steven and I after the Dixie Awards
Finals- Done-ZO
With that being said, that week was full of busy things. Besides studying, and my brain turning to mush, I had 3 more of my finals. Which I am happy to say for taking 20 credits I ended up with a 3.4 GPA :) not too shabby. I passed all my classes. Now on to my last class over the summer! Then 4 more semesters left, and I will be a teacher! Scary!! I thought that on Thursday when I finished my last final, which was math, the one that I was most paranoid about, that I would feel relieved..but I didn't. The moment that I felt relief was when I was on my way to Vegas with Steven to catch my flight to Phoenix.

But before that, We are all moved in to our new place. I think I already mentioned that it's awesome! While I've been gone, Connie got a table and chairs for the kitchen, and couches, so we aren't doing the whole fung shway (sp?) It will be nice to go home to thats for sure. Before Steven and I left, we put up the curtains in Connie and my room, and then we put up the big mirror that I have.  Graduation was friday, and   as many of you know, the church I belong to has a modern day prophet (Thomas S. Monson), and we were fortunate enough to have him as our commencement speaker. It was incredible. This whole year has been focused on the centennial year which has been great to be apart of. With that came our biggest graduating class in both associate degrees and bachelors degrees, which will only grow more over the next years. They also announced that it is official- Dixie is on it's way to be a university in 5 years. The bill was signed and pass. Talk about legit. But Thomas S. Monson talked about a few things that have stuck in my mind. One being that he talked about bridges in our lives a few of them being the bridge of attitude and the bridge of integrity. He posed the question to ask our selves when making decisions in our life- "What will I think of myself if I do this?" He talked about seeking opportunities to serve no matter where you go in life, and that the bridges of life are built for us.
Okay so after all of that. Steven drove me down to Vegas, with me singing every song that I put on from my ipod. Poor guy- and off I went to Phoenix just to pick up my next flight that following morning to Hawaii. Morning came quick we woke up at 3:30am for our 5:30 flight to LA, then to Arrive in Honolulu at only 11:30am Saturday morning. We were pooped that's for sure. So here's what went down.


Once we landed, we got on the enterprise shuttle to go pick up our rental car. Some random Suzuki car that got 60mpg. When we were going up the hills we tried to get it down in the single digits, but we think it's nearly impossible to do in that sucker. We drove to Kaneohe which is just outside of Honolulu to Lily's where we were going to stay for the week (notice I said were..). We arrived at her place to 7 cats and 4 dogs. No bueno with my allergies. We went to a local chinese restaurant where we all got something different, and share and I tried shrimp yet again, and it was the best shrimp I have ever had in my life! It was fried in this sweet sauce, and then drizzled with it. It was delicious, just writing about it makes my mouth water. Afterwards, we took the good ole purple rental car and drove it around the whole island. No joke. It was a good thing too, because we were exhausted and would have went to bed at 4 is we were close to a bed. Oh and did I mention it was rainy, and cloudy? It was. So that was our first day. We got back to Kaneohe and crashed, well at least I did, Karen was at least a little courteous and chatted with Lily.
 We woke up (more rain again)- tried to find a breakfast placed, and epically failed. I am a monster if I don't eat so we stuck with the food we had in the car. Off to Pearl Harbor, but first I accidentally put in the Pearl Harbor Association in the GPS, so that was one of first little detours. But as we got on the right track to get to the REAL Pearl Harbor, Karen took a wrong turn..literally. We were driving on the wrong side of the road!! One car passed us, and one heading right for us stopped, and allowed us to drive back onto the right side of the street at an intersection! Almost died. Needless to say, we arrived, and got tickets for the USS Arizona, and the Missouri.

We went through the rooms that talked about WWII, and it was touching, and emotional. One story that I remember was that after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the milkman stopped coming by to some of the local families because he was of Japanese decent, and in the following weeks, he came by and they asked why he had not come, and he said that he was ashamed for what his homeland had done, and thought that they would think less of him afterwards. There were many stories like that. Another story was that as the USS Oklahoma was capsized and sinking, the men could hear tapping of soldiers still alive for 2 days. Something else that I thought was cool, is that their is an oil leak from the USS Arizona that they let continue to leak to remind many of the day, and to pay tribute to the "tears" of the many that were lost. Crazy to think that it's been leaking for more than 50 years now. That's a lot of oil, and it only leaks 2 quarts a day! Than we toured the USS Missouri. That was kinda cool. I was WWII'd out by the end of that 5 hours that's for sure.

After the Pearl Harbor stuff, we went up to the Punch Bowl, which is where many people have been buried, and wear there is a memorial for the islands in the pacific during WWII. The walls were beautiful! Tiles that were crushed up to make pictures of the countries! And there was one for Kwaj! Which is an Island in the Marshall Islands that my Mom, and Karen grew up on!

It was so cool!We were staving afterwards, so we went to good ole Subway for some lunch, and started researching a new place to stay, because my allergies just could not handle staying at Lily's any longer. We called Uncle Ken, and he came to the rescue with numbers to call. We found a place in Laie (which is where the temple is) and it just happened to be available for the days that we needed! Tender Mercy. And a reasonable price for the both of us. So we said yes and that was done. We went over to Waikiki, and walked around the shops and went to a pier, and watched some of the local surfers.

Before we left, I debated on bringing my sweatshirt. I'm so glad I brought it. Because it rained. EVERY DAY.

Rained the night before. But we woke up, finished packing up our last minute things, and said our good byes and thank you's to Lily, and left! Our agenda was pretty packed every day believe it or not. We made our way to Hanauma bay to Snorkel, and stopped to hike to a lighthouse, all up hill. Lucky for us it was cloudy so the sun wasn't killing us.

After that we stopped by a place where there was a blowhole! That was pretty cool too.

After the stops along the way, we got to Hanauma Bay, and snorkeled for a little bit, saw some beautiful fish! It seemed like the sun only shined through on the little spot that we were at, and all around us it was cloudy and rainy. After that we rinsed off and hiked back up with the SCUBA gear all by myself thank you very much, and went on our way to the new place in Laie.

Which when we arrived was heavenly. Seriously it was great! A huge room with windows everywhere, and a little kitchenette. It was perfect for us.  I got in touch with my friends Shelby and Dani who are now both happily married, and asked them about where to eat. So we went to The Kahuku grill. It was delicious yet again.

After that, we went to a dessert place called Angel's where I met up with Dani, and her husband Shawn, and we caught up. We haven't seen each other in what we think is 6 years! It was great!

This morning we woke up and just relaxed, and planned the agenda for the rest of the week. We flipped a few things around because of the weather, but it didn't stop us from doing anything we wanted to do. We were going to go to the beach that was right outside the place we were staying at, but guess what? Yeah it was raining.  I discovered that I lost my debit card along the way. Talk about panic. Karen said I dealt with it well though. No crying or Screaming. Cancelled it and got a new one sent. But of all places to lose it, it's in Hawaii ya know? Go figure. So we went on a drive yet again, and came to Dilligham Air

Field. Sky diving sign...drove past. Karen said, "You want to go skydiving?" and I was like "Sure" and she goes, "Are you serious?! Lets got!" So she turned around, and we went skydiving! I wasn't scared at all, only when my feet were hanging off the edge of the plane, and I was looking down. Besides that it was great! It was 14,000 ft in the air, and a 1 minute free fall. It was great. We went through the clouds, and that was cool, and got to see the whole bay area. And the North Shore.

 After that we went home, and showered real quick, and went to the Polynesian Cultural Center. Yet again we run into a little dillema. We didn't know that we were suppose to arrive at 12 to get our tickets. So we lost oru original package of the Luau, and the Breath of Life show afterwards. But Karen did her magic, and we somehow got it all back. Luau, and front row seats to the Show. Which both were amazing. We sat with a German couple who were a hoot to talk with. We went to the show of Breath of Life:Ha, and it was cool. It was your typical story line of a baby being born under royalty, grows up, falls in love and takes fathers heir. Happy ending etc. But it was full of culture, and dancing and singing! So cool!


Woke up early, and headed back to Waikiki to go Parasailing! It was awesome!!! We went 700 ft up in the air. Not nearly as high as Sky Diving, but still it was awesome! We got to see tons of dolphins too! It was a good time to go when we went because it wasn't raining...yet. Because it did indeed rain every day that we were there just to remind you! Took a breather at the beach afterwards to get our equilibriums back in order.

Then found a Jamba Juice which took forever!
And we went off to Diamond Head. Which is an intense hike. Uphill. Switchbacks. Tunnels. a group of 74 steps, and then another 99 steps. With a spiral stair case. Yeah it was intense. But we made it! And the view was spectacular! After that we went to the Aloha! Stadium for the Swap Meet which is basically a flee market, or a mercado and found a bunch of stuff! I even found a pearl ring that I fell in love with and bought, but only to find that a few hours later after my fingers were done being swollen that it no longer fit! :( But By the end of our trip, Karen and I traded rings. :) Then we went to the Pali look out!  We were up in the clouds when we got up there, another overcast moment. It was beautiful yet again.

Then the best part of the night was getting back to Laie, and getting ready to go to Dinner with Dani and her husband, and Shelby and her husband at the Kahuku Grill. It was great catching up with everyone, we laughed so hard, and brought back so many memories! It was fabulous, loved it.
last full day in Hawaii. The reason why we went to Hawaii: SCUBA. And we finally got to do it. So we woke up really early again, and went up to Sharks Cove which is one of the TOP SCUBA places in the world. We ended up doing a 2 tank dive. The first was cool. It was quite the hike to get to the water because it was a shore dive, and with all the equipment on, it's super heavy, a leg workout for sure. We saw tons of pretty fish, and the best part was that we were the first ones out so we got to see the fish first thing that morning. I was having problems with my buoyancy which is normal for me, but Ricardo(from Brazil) gave me 2 more pounds in my weight belt which seemed to fix my problem. We surfaced, and took a break. Ricardo gave me a lighter tank this time, and we went off to our second dive. We saw Turtles!! I was hoping and praying that I would see some, because I love turtles! And I saw 2! They were pretty big ones too! Bigger than any of the turtles I've seen back home at least. We saw the queen fish in the bay too! The only one. A bright yellow female. So that was cool too. Then we went through the Lava Caves. Talk about adventurous. It wasn't dark, only in one spot, and Ricardo held my hand for most of that, because my buoyancy still wasn't letting me maintain neutral. But by the end of the dive we were good to go. Oh! And we saw a stone fish! They are hard to spot because they well...look like stone, or the coral. And we also saw some neon invertebrates which were these bright purple random bacteria looking things. That's the only way I know how to describe it.
After that we went straight to the Famous Dole Plantation where we got lunch, and did the Worlds Largest Maze. Found all the hidden stuff too. And in the process I lost my cool, and got really frustrated and had a little bit of an anxiety attack. Totally not cool.  But it was pretty funny looking back at it. Got some pineapple dessert after that though and it was yet again delicious!

Afterwards we were yucky and smelly, so we showered and went to go visit the visitors center at the Laie, Temple. It was beautiful. We ended our last night. Packing up and getting ready to leave the next morning


Woke up before the sun rose, and headed back to Honolulu to catch our flight to LA. Once we got to LA we changed our flight to go directly to Phoenix instead of having another layover in Salt Lake City, and we even changed it for free! Got back to Phoenix safe and sound!

As for a recap of all of that, it was great! Just what I needed to take a break from all the chaos from back in Utah. I'm excited to get back home to Florida though! I can't wait to see my mom, and my friends and the white sandy beaches! Somethings I already miss though: my new place in St. George and falling asleep talking to Connie, and seeing Steven. I do not miss school, or gov, or work that's for sure. 

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