Alooooooha…

I’m officially on my last full day of vacation in Maui, HI. It seemed to fly by, since this is already day 8 of my family vacation! I left California and The Walt Disney Company 8 days ago as well, and it still hasn’t really hit me yet (after all, this is labeled as an interim vacation… a vacation before my move to New Zealand).

Maui just so happens to parallel almost every aspect of New Zealand (and I had a feeling this would be true even before coming… more to my advantage, since this is like preparation). We’ve talked to a handful of folks who have either lived or visited NZ (but are Maui natives) and all expressed that NZ is one of the most beautiful countries ever… so clean, amazing people who always take care of you, not heavily populated, so relaxing. And the fact that almost every countryside area of Maui (including my dad’s old stomping grounds of upper Kula) resembles Middle-earth/Hobbiton is just heavenly. Part of me wonders why Peter Jackson didn’t consider filming some pick-ups in Maui just because of that fact… and look, even Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) visited The Shire (in NZ, not Maui)! Kills me that she happened to venture out there just days before my move, though πŸ˜‰

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My last week in California: All of my friends, colleagues and family who wished me well and went above and beyond to make me feel loved and supported, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You all know who you are… and a huge thanks especially to my DRC family that laid out an array of Kiwi delights and helped me learn the meanings of words used in NZ (apparently, I’m going to look like a fool when I get there). Thank you, thank you, thank you! I couldn’t have done this without A-N-Y of you, and I truly mean that. And I was proud of myself for not breaking down until the very last, last minutes of walking out of the building… two of my favorite people in the world are in California, and they constantly inspire me to be a better person on a daily basis. I’m banking on the fact that both will visit me in NZ, no matter how long it takes them… πŸ˜‰

I knew that I’d be awful at recapping every single day of my vacation due to exhaustion and just wanting to relax after a long day of taking photos, relaxing, eating, and taking in the sun. I was fantastic at coming back and e-mailing a recap of each of my days in Tokyo, but I’m sad to say that I’ve sluffed off and haven’t had the energy to do that here. Perhaps the constant heat, beaches, and swimming have something to do with just wanting to lie down and call it a day once the sun sets.

Anyhow, doing my best to recap (this is probably just for my own sake so I don’t forget details of this interim vacation): I ended up not getting much sleep (as expected) on my last day in California (Oct. 17), which was exactly how I wanted it to be. I’m the type of person who would much rather stay up all hours of the night to say goodbye to people, be emotionally exhausted, finalize any last details for a big move, and just talk things out with a best friend or two, rather than huddle up in sleep mode after leaving work. True, my parents and I had to be up at 5am in order to make it to LAX in a timely manner for our flights, but it was worth only getting about an hour of sleep for. Ironically, I took a different yet similar-timed flight than my parents, so that bought me some solitude… or sleep, at least, on the plane. The hardest part about flying out of LAX that morning was knowing that I was leaving behind the most amazing leader I’ve ever had the fortune of having, as well as a wonderful network of friends who have supported and encouraged me in all my endeavors and challenges. One day at a time… and as my leader framed it, “This is temporary… you don’t know what will come of it until you actually get out there and go live your life.” Shall do.

I ended up coping with a nasty sore throat for the first few days of my vacation, but thanks to my dad, was able to heal quite nicely. πŸ™‚ I didn’t expect Maui to be as humid as it was when we landed, but it was still manageable (thank goodness NZ shouldn’t be humid like this). Our first meal ended up being around 2pm at Zippy’s in Kahului, which was accompanied by an unwanted headache (note to self, always eat and hydrate healthily while traveling, especially if prone to headaches. Ugh). Some other things we’ve crammed into the past few days have included the following:

  • Ziplined across five lines above Haleakala Ranch and crossed a long suspension bridge (would have been more fun if I could have ran across it rather than walk across and be hindered by the other people in my group taking their sweet time). We hiked through a beautiful forest, which was half the fun, but I wished the ziplines went faster… skydiving was much more of an adrenaline rush for me.
  • Baldwin High’s 75th anniversary reunion (apparently this was the main reason why my family took a vacation to Maui and never told me this until we got to the event… I’m so well-informed) at the King Kamehameha Golf Club, where my dad played the drums for a few minutes (and I was thinking, “Is that IT?! That’s the only thing he’s gonna play?!” the whole time)
  • Countless errands at Costco, Walmart, Longs Drugs, ABC Stores, etc… this is what happens when my mother travels with me (and 99.9% of the reason why I’m moving to NZ alone, without any friends or family accompanying)
  • Morning beach walk at the beach across from our condo in Kihei
  • Tried paddle boarding for the first time (Kaanapali Beach) and saw some dolphins doing flips in the air πŸ™‚ Ended up veering way out in the boonies when I paddled out to the dolphins, but oh well… it just made the trip back that much more of a workout. I refused to take a lesson and just rented the board and paddle, which was nice, since it’s really simple as long as you have coordination and balance. If you’ve done skiing or surfing, you can do paddle boarding with no instruction required. And when I got too tired to continue standing, it just became sit boarding…
  • Explored my dad’s old backyard again, which consists of about 21+ acres of land in Kula. It’s like running in a huge forest. My parents need to hurry up and move there…
  • Got used to everyone talking Pidgin again in full force
  • Became even more toasty than normal (I figure it’s okay since I’ll probably pale up from the lack of sun in Wellington)
  • Pupus and too much food with the family (every time there are get-togethers, there’s enough food for about 20 people)
  • Catching up with relatives from Hawaii
  • Swam in the Seven Sacred Pools on the road back from Hana (first time I swam near a waterfall with my slippers on)
  • Swam at Blacksand Beach
  • Played tourist with my parents and visited five-star hotels (Grand Wailea, Fairmont Kea Lani, Four Seasons). We did lots of marveling at the beauty and architecture of these resorts, since by golly, we sure wouldn’t pay that much to ever stay in one of those…
  • Lounged in a hammock before sunset
  • Watched the sunset on a private beach (Fairmont Kea Lani)
  • Heard a cacophony of birds in the lobby of a hotel (Fairmont Kea Lani)
  • Survived all the twists and turns of both the road to Hana AND Waiehu, both of which included precarious turns and narrow cliffs we need to drive on. I’ve never had so many heart palpitations or “Oh crap!” moments in my life… although the views above all were breathtakingly spectacular. I’ve never seen so many landscapes that looked straight out of the LOTR films.
  • Visited Maui Harley-Davidson, Maui Toyota and Maui Honda dealerships. You can tell that my dad had a lot to do with that… πŸ™‚
  • Craved shave ice almost every day due to the humidity (except in Kula, since it’s pretty cool up there)
  • Visited Lahaina and meandered around the town, despite the awful heat (plus, it’s such a tourist city… totally not my speed)
  • Grinded some huli huli chicken, ahi poke, chicken katsu, saimin, and a large ton of other foods only made best in Hawaii…
  • Stumbled upon Honolua Mokuleia Bay (both the beach and rainforest)… the rainforest had to be the most beautiful one I’ve ever trekked through. Talk about lush greenery and living my dream… I wanted to run around in a forest before I left CA and never got the chance to, so this one really fulfilled my wish (and even moreso).
  • Tried fried spam musubi (eh, aiight)
  • Visited Iao Needle and did some hiking up, up and up more stairs
  • Felt like we rode Indiana Jones when my uncle floored it while driving through the slopes and curves of Hana
  • Scored some bug bites and a large bruise from carrying the paddle board
  • Rode an ATV (in a dress!) with my dad since I was too chicken to maneuver it on my own
  • Played the ukulele a little bit
  • Fed some goats next door (and got peed on by one, WTH)
  • Was proud of my boss for doing her first #hashtag through a group iMessage πŸ˜‰
  • Went to Makena Beach and crawled on lava rocks… and saw a 3-inch crab that looked like a gigantic spider. Tried unsuccessfully to catch some fish in my hands…
  • Some of the places we’ve dined at included: Cafe O’ Lei at Maui Lani, Coconut’s Fish Tacos in Kihei (ho, da good), Ululea Shave Ice (twice; had kiwi shave ice in honor of my new heritage-ish), Sam Sato’s (twice… favorite local food), Da Kitchen, Star Noodle (the best malasadas ever), Tasaka Guri-Guri

Overall, it’s been an incredibly relaxing vacation full of beaches, sun and quality food. Isn’t that what a trip to Hawaii should be, after all?

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Sidenote: Yes, all of my images are basically repeats from my Instagram. When a girl is traveling with a bustling schedule and limited time to post, this is the most convenient and efficient way to go about doing things. Want more photos? Just go to my Facebook. πŸ˜‰

Challenges for the move: A dear friend of mine said I should change the name of this blog to “Wanderlost” since I’m so directionally challenged. πŸ˜‰ It’s true, though… I should always go the opposite direction of where I intend to, since I somehow manage to orient myself incorrectly whenever I’m navigating to a new location. I won’t have my new iPhone set up in time for my NZ move (thus, no Google Maps; but let’s be real, half the time I get lost off those too) and instead just have a compass. I guess I’ll just hit water at some point if I meander around Auckland and Wellington enough. πŸ™‚ Aside from that, I hope to maneuver Auckland on my own safely, since I’ll be there for about three days with three large pieces of luggage to tote around. Here’s to LIFE!

Soundtrack for this blog post: Ratatouille soundtrack (I may no longer work for the Disneyland Resort, but Pixar will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart)… because I can’t resist French food and French-esque music.

There may be loads of typos in this, since I’m ending this at 4am Maui time (7am CA time, ha!)… #crazydebbi

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