Thursday, December 23, 2010

Final Post, with Aloha

Ah, I suppose I should create one final post before this semester seems even more like a distant dream than it already does...

I've been home for a few days now, and, of course, it is freezing here. It is nice to be at home with family, cozy and piled under heaps of blankets, but I'm missing Hawai'i constantly.

Fortunately, I squeezed a lot of fun and adventure into that last week! Lists are better, I think, so here's one for my final 7 days of Hawaiian excitement:

1. Friday night alternative. Despite having exams hanging over my head, I still managed to have a fantastic last weekend in town. League was canceled Friday due to rain, which was incredibly sad and pretty lame. So, instead, I spent the night with the Sunday Funday ladies. Here's a pretty great picture of all of us, in my room at the dorm:

2. Outdoor-study Saturday. Even though I had piles of notes to go through, the re-emergence of the sun was too tempting to ignore. So, Merete and I went to the beach-- my final trip to Waikiki-- and I studied there. In the afternoon, I couldn't pass up the offer to go rock climbing with Merete and her friend Alex at Makapu'u:
The view:

Me climbing:

Afterwards, we had a fantastic home-cooked meal, and I went home, still with loads to review about Astrophysical Techniques...

3. The final Sunday Funday! (Which I called the "Land-legs/Sea-legs edition.") We woke up very early, and headed into town to see the finish of the Honolulu Marathon! We were able to watch my friend Lauren, who I met on the first day coming off the airplane, finish strong in under four hours!

From here, we proceeded to the "Sea-legs" component of the day, where we returned to Electric Beach-- the site of our very first Sunday Funday-- for some snorkeling. The water was a bit murky, but we still saw a TON of fish, and one great sea turtle.

4. Study first, dance later. We returned from Sunday Funday in the early afternoon, so I still had plenty of time to study and feel fully comfortable with the material for Mondays exams by evening. This allowed me to feel good about going out and seeing Passion Pit in concert!
It was a great concert-- lots of dancing, fun music, great company... I'm so glad I decided to go instead of staying at home with the books...

5. Academic success! All of my exams went well! I felt as prepared as possible for my astro exams, and the rest went smoothly too! I finished on Wednesday afternoon, and spent the rest of the day with the boys, going into town and buying souvenirs and Christmas presents. We all hung out in the evening, too, just relaxing and celebrating being finished with another academic semester.

6. Ka'au Crater. Thursday, I went on the most incredible hike of my life with Aubrey. Words can hardly describe it, and so I'll mostly show pictures.
Step 1: the first waterfall. We played here for awhile.

Step 2: The second waterfall, and then a third... Is this all just a giant train of waterfalls?

Step 3: The hike becomes a vertical climb upwards, along the side of the waterfall system.

Step 4: Above the water, and overlooking the Crater

Step 5: The hike doesn't end! More vertical climbing upwards to the very top. Finally, we get to the spine of the ridge, so high up we can see the entire Island...
(You can see Honolulu on the left, and the windward side to the right.)

7. A final bonfire with friends. Because so many people were leaving the island, either for the holidays, or for a permanent move, a few of the Ultimate folks threw a little bonfire party Thursday evening. Too dark to take real pictures, but this was the fire...

8. TRON. I went with the Haverford boys to the midnight showing!

9. Final trip the beach. Friday, the boys and I spend the day at Diamond Head beach, relaxing and soaking up the last bit of sun before leaving paradise...

10. Last night at league. I actually came down with an incredibly annoying 24 hour stomach flu, and couldn't play... (except I stupidly played a few points anyway, because it was the last night, and I couldn't stand the thought of never playing in Hawai'i again...) The Haverford gang came up with a cheer for everyone, too, to the tune of "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry. A video exists somewhere, but it's probably better that it stays off the internet.

11. Saying goodbye. It's never easy, but I have a good feeling that I'll see many of these wonderful people again. And, hopefully, I'll make it back to Hawai'i too...

It was an incredible semester, and I wouldn't have done it any other way.
Mahalo for reading!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Making up for lost times

With only a week to go, I feel pretty badly that I haven't been keeping up with this blog in the last month. So, I'll try to recap a bit, and mostly give pictures of the great things I've been doing...

One week after Hopu, my PARENTS came to town for Thanksgiving! In their time here, we did a lot of hiking and island exploring. Sunday Funday was dedicated to them, as the girls met us at Hanauma Bay for some snorkeling:

We then headed up to the North Shore, watched some very skilled child surfers, and then made our way to a wonderful beach for sunset. While there, we saw this INCREDIBLE mother sea turtle nesting and laying her eggs. Micki made sure we gave her a lot of space, but we did get this photo:

Thanksgiving day itself was spent hiking here, which was pretty incredible:

Overall, it was a great trip. I am feel so grateful that they were able to take off work and make it over here to see the Island and see what I've been up to. (I even took them to Ultimate a few times!)

Since they've left, I've been trying to make the most out of my remaining time here. The following Sunday Funday, I went with the girls, to Ka'ena point, which is at the northwest point of the island. Here are some pictures, although it was pretty difficult to capture the beauty of the place on film...

It's such a stunning place! It's also an albatross sanctuary, so I got to see this lady, also nesting and laying her eggs, probably:

This Sunday Funday was especially great because Emily Shaw, a recent Haverford grad and friend, was in the area and was able to join us! I'm glad we were able to have a full and beautiful Sunday with her there, too!

Since then, I've had a lot of photo-less adventures. Last Saturday, I woke up and rode my bike to my favorite beach right below Diamond Head. I had never biked there, let alone biked that far in Honolulu, so it was a bit of an adventure, and I got a bit off-track. In that detour, I stumbled upon a huge farmers market, and bought the most delicious local tangerines. It was excellent to have a whole morning to myself, being outside and having my own personal adventure.

Now, classes are over, and I just have to battle my finals next week. I'm feeling pretty sad that I have to spend this last weekend and last week caught up in academic endeavors, but it looks like it might be a grey and rainy weekend, so I won't be too tempted to play outside...

The goal now is to manage my time well enough to get all my studying done, conquer my finals, and still squeeze out a few more adventures... Hope to post a little more before leaving, too!