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...
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