A quick post to apologize for the poor spelling and grammar of my posts. Please note that I do know better, I'm just too lazy to proof read. However after reading through and seeing just how garbled things can become I promise I'll take more care with my writing. Look for a new post soon, this time properly edited.
It's bad. I've been pretty listless about life lately. Maybe lazy is a better word. I can't exactly put my finger on why I've been that way, but it's the overall lack of productivity the mood has placed me in has caused some problems. First, I've been terrible at corresponding with friends and loved ones who are scattered all over the world (sorry guys... it's not you; it's me}. I've also not completed a single productive thing these last few weeks. I haven't read a book, prepped anything for the new school year, or even picked up a new skill. Pretty much I've worked and watched movies. It hasn't been so bad on my end, but obviously it sucks for you because it means that you haven't been updated on the saga that is my life (don't worry, I'm being sarcastic when I say that). So fear not. My productivity level is slowly rising and with that comes a blog update. I'm even throwing in plenty of pictures to make you forgive me for ignoring you.
My roommate Becca wasn't sure that she would be returning to school out here in HI. She had accepted this fact and was doing her best to enjoy her last few days on the island when she realized that she had failed to do something very important. That something was hike to Maunawili Falls. So, to celebrate the last day of the semester and honor her time here on what we affectionately refer to as "the rock," we journeyed into the jungles of Hawaii.
As you can see I wasn't kidding. That's what the trail looks like. You turn your head to the left and BAM! There's just a jungle there. You turn you head to the right and BAM! More jungle on your right. The trail winds up into the hills, crossing the stream you're following a total of 3 times, 6 if you include crossing again on your way back. You climb up to the top of a hill and get a gorgeous view of Kaneohe and its respective bay and then climb down in to the waterfall.
Here are my roomies, happy and sweaty, ready to just be at the waterfall already so we can jump in. From left to right it's Emily, Becca, Ashley and Stacey. I am behind the camera (of course).
This is what awaited us at the end of our very slippery hike. All of us eventually jumped from the falls, some from higher points than others. Em and Becca climbed up like 40 feet to the left of this photo and jumped on in. Crazy, I know. Em also climbed up like 25 feet to the right of the photo and jumped in from there. The rest of us just jumped from the 6 foot edge of the falls like normal people. One thing to be noted: the water was FREEZING. I haven't been in water so cold since I lived in VA. It made no sense to me. The water isn't melted snow. It's steamy rain that dumped in the mountain tops. Why did it have to be so frigid?
Anyway, the hike was delightful. As we walked back to civilization it began to rain. I'll never forget the sound of the water falling through the canopy of trees. It sounded like someone had turned a rainstick over and rice was falling over the thin, slick needs. It sounded like the sky letting out a long, deep breath. I stopped and looked up in that moment; the green of the leaves was dark and glistened against the gray background of clouds. The trees were so tall. Standing there with my neck craned back I felt tiny. I was insignificant compared to the miracle of that jungle. Surrounding me was something that has existed perfectly for millenniums and would continue to do so even after I was gone. How very humbling... Not in a reprimanding or chastising way, but in an eye opening way. I was more grateful to be a live in that moment than I ever had been in my life. It's amazing to think that I could live with that feeling every day of my life if I would only take the time to realize the creation around me.
Fun factoid: everyone but Ashley did the hike with bare feet. Kaneohe is incredibly rainy, especially that time of year, and we had only worn flip flops to hike in (we're not crazy; it's an easy hike, I mean ladies were doing this hike with a baby strapped to their body), so we ditched the shoes and let the mud squish between our toes. Our feet in the photo have mud from only the last bit of the hike. The total muddiness of our feet with never be known due to the fact that you have to cross the stream so many times. It will forever be an enigma. Try to guess which pair are Ashley's.
Emily, myself, Jesse and Todd randomly went to Hanauma Bay during spring term. It ended up being quite the adventure. Traffic meant it took a while to get there and on the way some RIDICULOUS lady almost plowed right into the car. She was coming in passenger's side and I was in the front seat. I thought I was going to die.
We had a fun little time swimming around in the bay. The water is incredibly clear and you can see how much reef there is from the photo. One nice thing about snorkeling here (though I do prefer shark's cove) is the fact that the fish are so used to people. They don't freak out and scatter when you swim by, and they come right into shore. You don't even have to swim to see them. Another nice thing is that because the area is protected, the fish can be ginormous. It was a nice detour from spring term classes.
This is Mokoli'i Island. Also known as Chinaman's Hat, this island is out to sea directly across from Kualoa Ranch, an expansive property where many movies and tv shows have been filmed (including LOST and Jurassic Park). The expansive ranch has meant that the area remain relatively undeveloped and, as a result, full, green monkey paw trees line the base of the impressive Ko'olau Mountain range. I mention all of this because on the other side of the highway from the ranch and it's mountains is a public beach park and camping grounds where I had the privilege of spending three days.
As many of you know I am currently completing student teaching at a local elementary school. Every year the kids go camping and this year we took my fifth and six graders here. That's right I camped with approximately 50 10-12 year old tweens. It was a roller coaster ride of fun. The kids were great and our camp ground was gorgeous. In front of us just past some trees was the ocean and Chinaman's Hat. Behind us were the Ko'olaus. I'd really like to go back and spend some time camping there minus the gaggle of children that love so dearly.
An okay shot of the mountains. This really doesn't do them justice...
Here we're herding our children on a nature walk through the trees, down the beach and ultimately to the largest ancient Hawaiian fishpond on the island. As we walked, some kids found shells, other helped pick up trash and some watched for turtles. We even saw one. It swam down the shore in time with our walking, poking her head out of the water every so often to see if we were still there.
Another delightful surprise was David and Nancy Dorius visiting the island. Nancy was my Young Women's president in Fallbrook, CA. She's one of my many Moms and I love her dearly. They moved to Spokane, WA after I graduated high school and as a result I hadn't spent time with her in years. It was really fun to catch up with them and even have them join me at church. She is such an amazing woman and I'm so glad that I had her to take care of me. I look up to her quite a bit. See her has been the biggest treat of the year.
So yeah, other then those happenings, life has been pretty simple here on the island, especially now that the spring term is over. If I'm not at work and the sun is up then I'm at the beach (hence the photo of Waimea Bay). If the sun is down I'm hanging out with Netflix. I really can't complain. Only one of my roommates ended up staying for summer and she's been gone on vacation for the last month so it's just been me and ocean for the last four weeks (the time outside has me looking quite sun kissed). Since I can't go home at all this summer, I'm grateful for having the house to myself for a bit; it's been nice to have some quiet time, though I'm ready to have roommates again and have the excitement level of my life rise a little. I want to squeeze in a few more epic adventures before the slavery that is the rest of my student teaching begins. Hopefully something cool will happen soon. Then you won't have to wait two months for another update...
Some super fun holidays have passed by recently... First there was Saint Patties day. Here at the Bus Stop House we "represented" with some delicious, incredibly green, velvety cupcakes complete with the best butter-cream frosting I've ever tasted.
the delicious cup cakes
Apparently Cooper wanted to share his cupcake... Stacey politely declined.
Next comes Easter. Easter also marked General Conference Sunday so my roomies and I enjoyed spending the day together. We died eggs and made a yummy Easter dinner. I made green beans and chicken, my friend Becca made funeral potatoes, Ashley made cloud biscuits and Stacey used the eggs we died eggs to whip up som deviled eggs. It was a FABULOUS Easter Sunday...
See that? It's my apron (made for me by my dear sister)and it means that I <3 cooking and baking. A lot.
This love the the culinary arts has generated a little thing that we at the Bus Stop House like to call Cookie Party Wednesday. Basically every Wednesday I bake cookies, our friends come over and we enjoy them together. We LOVE it and our house cannot wait for Wednesday to come. Here is what the family has to say about CPW:
Emily Mearns gives CPW 6 out of 5 gold stars. Whitney Schuebert loves CPW she's speechless and in awe. Kyle Young refers to the spoils of CPW as delights. And Cooper calls CPW irresistible.
CPW is the real deal.
Here are some of my personal favorites:
chocolate cookies with mint chocolate chips
butter scotch scotchies
perfect brownies (not a cookie, I know, but perfectly acceptable for CPW)
And those are just what I've photographed! We've also enjoyed good old chocolate chip cookies, white chocolate chip macadamia nut, oatmeal toffee, sneaky snicker cookies, peanut butter chocolate chip, Reese's peanut butter cup cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip, sugar cookies (decorated as people in the room), world peace cookies, and I don't even know what else... I've made a gajabillion cookies; I'm not kidding. And I'll make a gajabillion more. I love it.
I'm writing about CPW because not only is it awesome, but I plan on starting to post the recipes I use. Be on the look out for deliciousness.
A lot of things have happened this semester. A lot. I'm the RS Pres in our ward, went on a couple field trips with my sixth graders around the island (so fun), we held the Neon Riot (a giant glow in the dark, black light, dance party and our house), I did the Music Man here, (awesome right?!) throw in some big surf and a little Hale'iwa Eats action and that was pretty much my semester thus far...
On Saturday, plate tectonics moved and the earth shook and the pacific held its breath. Then our worst nightmares came true. We received a phone call at 5am telling us that a tsunami was headed our way. A 500 mile an hour wall of water was barreling towards our little island. Our house is directly across the street from the beach. We can see the ocean from our couch. Even more terrifying still, our house is held up on rotten wooden stilts. If a wave of water, no matter how small, hit our house it would fall to the ground! We had to evacuate. We quickly bolted out of bed and began packing our bags. How do you pack your life into a back pack? We didn't know but we were grateful we could take even that small amount. After my possessions were secured I quickly began calling our off campus sisters. Had they heard the news? Did they know where safety was? When it boiled down to it, there was only so much packing and planning we could do. It soon became a waiting game. A wave, if one were to hit, would not come until 11am... And so we waited, and waited, and waited.
(Our "I'm so pissed that it's only 9:30 and I've already been away for like 5 hours" face)
At 9:30 we drove the mile to the school and parked our truck. Hopefully we were far enough inland... We decided we weren't going to wait around to find out. We figured we were safe. We were a mile from the shore, but we wanted to see it come. We decided we would hike to the top of the little mountain behind the school. So we set off into the jungle. At first there was an absolutely beautiful dirt road that we got to walk along, but soon we had to walk through the school farms and into the jungle. It was so lush, green and peaceful. I couldn't believe that in a matter of minutes my house could be washed away. We hiked across a dry riverbed and past some banyan trees to another dirt road. This one ran up into the hills behind local property. The dirt on these roads was a deep red. The farther up the hills the redder it became. Soon our flip flop clad feet matched the cracked earth.
Eventually the road ended and we had to crawl under a barbed wire fence into the Koa Wood forest. So epic. There was no trail, just trees and a soft bed of fallen needles. We made our way strait up the mountainside until we hit the first summit. There a dirt path crawled a way eventually turning back up the mountainside. We followed it, clawing at exposed tree roots for stability. Finally the top came. We could see all the way out to the ocean. How perfect is that for an impending tsunami?! As we hiked we were receiving updates from the mainland. Nothing had hit the big island yet. When the tsunami finally made it our way we would see it break on the shores down below. So we sat. And waited. And waited. There was a tree house at the end of our hike. Some climbed up and fell asleep, others of us wandered off on the phone. Was the warning a false alarm? They had pushed back the wave's arrival time... We were not going to be hit by a frightening natural disaster. But then, the first wave hits Hilo! It's a whopping 3 inches.
We were all very grateful that something damaged hadn't headed our way. We were grateful for our safety, that our house was still standing and that no one here had been hurt. However... To be a little bit honest... It was kind of disappointing that nothing happened. I mean, there was SOOO much anticipation. We'd been awake for like 7 hours waiting for something to happen. I don't want anyone to be displaced, or worse, injured or killed, but I hiked up a mountain to see a wave hit an island. Couldn't a little one have hit?!
Oh well. It was an exciting adventure. And now that I'm all caught up with this bad boy and have had something exciting enough to motivate me to write I'll hopefully update this more often.