About a few months before I decided that I was going to move back to the states after my last contract in South Korea, my mom and I talked about meeting up somewhere. I told her I refused to fly back to the states for my vacation, as it seemed like a waste to me. I countered with Bali, but the flight was too long for my parents, so we settled on Hawaii. It was smack dab in the middle of the ocean between us and my mom and I have never been! Also, if it weren’t for my lovely parents, I wouldn’t have been able to afford it either! We were together for about 9 days and we spent 5 days on Kauai, and 4 on Oahu.
The weather in Hawaii was beautiful! The funny thing when I first landed was my taxi driver was Korean. I realized that his phone was in Korean so for the rest of the ride we conversed in Korean until I got off at the rental. Later my mom apologized because I spent a fortune when I could have taken a bus, live and learn I suppose. Since Pops likes jeeps we rented a jeep around Oahu to see the sights.
We drove around and we liked to jam pack our days rain or shine to make sure we got everything in! One of our first stops was Pearl Harbor and we had to go back a second time since the first day there was thunder and lightning so the rides out to the memorial were canceled. That didn’t stop us from pulling over on the side of the road to explore beaches searching for shells, or visiting Byodo- In, the largest Japanese temple outside of Japan, and China man’s hat.
The second day we went to see the Pearl Harbor Memorial which was eerie and yet peaceful at the same time. I think it is wonderful that survivors can still be buried with their comrades at sea. We walked around a large flea market, and went to the beach. The third day we went snorkeling and then off to the Polynesian Center. I highly recommend visiting it so you can experience the different Pacific Island Cultures: Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, and I forget the other two. There were many entertaining experiences and great dance performances put on by students from the actually islands themselves.
Our next stop was over to Kauai where we spent a lot of time at the beaches, booked a humpback whale watch and actually saw whales! We finished the day off seeing Waimea Canyon! And the next few days we spent relaxing, eating good food, enjoying nature, beaches, and wildlife! One of my biggest things while being in Hawaii, while it is known for its beaches and for Pearl Harbor, I think learning about and honoring Hawaiian culture is important. I think trying traditional Hawaiian foods is important as well as it shows that you realize Hawaii has its own distinct culture that needs to be recognized and celebrated!
One of the nice things about the vacation was I could spend quality time with my parents. At my age, that doesn’t happen very often and we aren’t normally in the same place. I’m sure there are things about me that bug them and things about them that bug me, but we get along nonetheless and had a wonderful time being silly and enjoying Hawaii! One of the great things about traveling is that if I keep moving around, they get to experience all of these new places too!