Posted by: Colleen | August 12, 2011

The perfect last weekend to say Aloha to Hawaii…

So the day has come, and way faster than I thought. I’m spending my last night in Hawaii packing up and recovering from a fabulous last few days.

We’ve been  going out, exploring new areas, eating wonderful food, and hanging out with new friends. We went out dancing, went sailing, and spent time at beautiful beaches. It was truly a perfect culmination of all of the amazing times we’ve had here and people we’ve met.

After another day trip out to Kailua (beautiful beachy town) I celebrated the First Friday of August where we listened to wonderful musicians play on the State capital building lawn while cirque de soleli acrobatics were taking place above us in the trees. Literally – beautiful choreographed dances were all done on fabric or hula hoops high up on a tree branch.  It was pretty cool, and the yummy crepes we were eating for dinner made it all the better.

Saturday night we had a lovely goodbye dinner with Ted, Michelle and the boys at a delicious Japanese restuarant (we even sat on the floor and had to take our shoes off!). Then we attended the Bon Dancing festival held at a temple in Manoa where we saw traditional dances. Post- family time we went out to have a night out on the town with friends and had a great time. Sunday we went out sailing and again were reminded how absolutely beautiful this island is. Back on land we hung out with new friends, went out for a last dinner, met up with old friends, enjoyed some late night adventuring, and even sang a little karaoke…yes, again.

So here I am, now surrounded by clothes and bathing suits and sand all over the floor and I’m feeling very sad to leave this great place. I truly think that coming here was the perfect “escape-from-reality-before-the-real-world-sets-in” experience. At this point, I don’t even know what I will be doing or where I will be living in the future, but I know for sure that I will be coming back to Hawaii eventually and will forever remember the amazing summer I spent here.

 

UPDATE: I am back on the mainland! The goodbyes were sad, the flights were long, and my arrival into NYC was hectic as usual. So here I sit, unpacking all of my stuff into my (new) room at home, ready for whatever comes my way. The job search has begun and I’m already settling back into the routines of home and am beyond happy to be with my family, but I miss Hawaii and all of it’s “Aloha Spirit” already…

Mahalo for supporting my blog and my adventures! Until next time!

Aloha,

Colleen

 

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Posted by: Colleen | August 3, 2011

Tales of an orphan pup…and camping on the North Shore

I have much to discuss in this post. First, let’s start with a puppy. A small mutt who fell off of a barstool and into our hearts, literally. So the story goes:

We work in a place that seems to attract all of the crazies on the island. Case in point: a homeless/ drunk/ deranged woman comes into the bar on a Wednesday night toting a small puppy with her in a carrier bag. Before we can ooh and ahh at how cute he is, she plops the bag on a bar stool and the bag FALLS to the floor. The poor puppy is traumatized. Sarah’s heart aches. And before we know it, the crazy drunk lady is gone and the dog is in the office still shaken up. We take the poor pup home with us, we love him for a day (even buy him toys, play with him at the beach, and fantasize about brining him back to the mainland). Eventually we realize he needs what’s best for him so we find him a suitable family to live with. Little did we know that a mystery man would appear at the pub that night demanding his dog back. Thus begins a whirlwind of events that involves us taking the pup from the family, and then giving him back, and thentaking him again- all because these crazy pub-goers. In the end, the poor doggy was given to a “friend” of the owner and we are unsure of his whereabouts (the humane society has been informed). We did our best to help this little guy out and get him a good family… Lesson learned? People who spend all day at a pub should never be allowed to care for pets.

The cute little guy!

Moving on to better and brighter subjects: our weekend spent at the North Shore.

The North Shore is a calm, peaceful, non-touristy haven away from Waikiki and Honolulu. The people are friendlier, the beaches are more beautiful, and it’s just a generally wonderful place. Although incomparable, I felt like it seemed  a little Cape-Cod-esque. A few weeks back we booked a weekend of camping here at the North Shore and planned to sky dive. Yes, sky dive, as in jump out of a perfectly good plane. Oddly enough I wasn’t quite nervous to do it, and it helped that Sarah had gone twice before and was telling me how amazing it was. So me (the first-timer), Sarah (the experienced) and Ted (the even more experienced- this was his 7th or 8th jump) all signed our lives away on the waivers and headed out to sky dive.

The whole experience seemed like it was no big deal: the waivers were short, the preparation was even shorter, and my tandem jumper/ instructor was very (and I mean very) nonchalant about the whole thing. Going up in the plane was exciting, and surprisingly enough I wasn’t nervous until actually scooting down the bench to take the jump. But after that initial fear of leaving the plane, I felt pure adrenaline as I was diving to the ground at 120 mph (yes, it felt that fast). I believe I was screaming the entire time (although you can’t hear a thing) and the 60 second free fall was abruptly ended with the parachute opening and a relaxing, serene float down full of amazing sights of the land below. It was such an amazing and exciting experience and I swear I had a huge smile on my face for the rest of the day. I’m thinking I could make it a yearly event…who’s with me?

Post-skydiving, holding up our certificates. High on life.

After skydiving we arrived at the campsite where Ted, Michelle and the boys left us to enjoy our two nights of roughing it- despite the bathrooms and hot showers…but we only had one tiny flashlight and a few sheets and pillows. We ended up making friends with some fellow campers and they were awesome. They even invited us to go snorkeling with them the next day at Shark’s Cove and we obviously accepted. The snorkeling was so cool, and as a first timer I couldn’t get over how many  different fish you can see. It was truly one of the coolest things we’ve done here.  We ate a huge lunch with our new friends and then left them to wander around town for the rest of the evening and it was lovely. On our way back to the site we ended up touring around the Turtle Bay Resort (for anyone who’s seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall- that’s where the whole movie was shot!).

The next morning Michelle and the boys came back to pick us up at the campsite and we spent the day at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Comparable to Colonial Williamsburg or even Salem, MA it was full of characters dressed in costume demonstrating the lifestyles and cultures of people of the Polynesian Islands. We saw a Samoan “chief” climb up a huge palm tree, we learned to hula, and we got to see the canoe parade of all of the characters dancing and preforming for their traditional cultures.

Taken off the website because mine were not so good, but here's the traditional dancers from Tahiti

Overall, our weekend on the North Shore was well spent: full of adrenaline pumping skydiving, wonderful snorkeling, making new friends, and learning about the Polynesian culture. I love it there, and WHEN I come back to visit Oahu, I will be spending a lot more time here on this side of the island. Pure bliss.

Posted by: Colleen | July 19, 2011

A few of the beautiful landmarks of O’ahu

What to do in a beautiful island full of nature-made landmarks? Well explore them of course!

This leads me to telling about our adventures hiking here in O’ahu. Diamond Head (called Lēʻahi by the locals) is a huge crater made by a volcano a long long time ago. It’s one of the most recognizable landmarks of the island and a must-see for all the tourists. With being less than a mile long, the trail is something that most people can do (and should do) to be able to witness a beautiful view of the island. Me and Sarah made plans and bussed it down to Diamond Head and trekked up to the beginning of the trail. There were people of all shapes and sizes and from all over the country hiking alongside us on the trail. It is by no means “hard” but definitely a strenuous walk/hike up the side of a mountain (especially for the dads who were toting their small- and not so small- children on their backs). So after the hike up the dusty and rocky trail we make it to a set of 90-something stairs that are the final stretch before reaching the top. Overall, a beautiful view of Waikiki Beach and all of the hotels and houses speckling the skyline on the other side.

Aerial view of Diamond Head

On another adventure to experience a second O’ahu landmark we ventured down to Hawaii Kai to hike the daunting Koko Head Crater. Nicknamed “Nature’s Stairmaster”, it got its name from the 1,050+ stairs going straight up the side of the mountain -literally, vertical climbing – with “stairs” that were just slabs of wood over an old railways tracks. It looked tough, and it was. May I remind you we are two sporty, fit, young gals (toot, toot!) and this hike was difficult. It lacked the tourists milling about, safety signs, and guard rails that Diamond Head had, and you could tell that most of our fellow hikers were locals which in my book, made it even cooler. After a strenuous climb, we made it to the top and were rewarded greatly by a spectacular 360 degree view of the ocean and surrounding island.

Sar at the top of Koko Head. It was quite windy.

Beyond these amazing hikes we were also lucky enough to experience another O’ahu specialty- The TransPacific boat race. Ocurring every other year, the race goes from California to Hawaii (some 2.225 nautical miles) with its final ending point in O’ahu. Lucky for us, Sarah’s Uncle Ted is pretty involved with the Yacht Club and we got some major VIP access that allowed us to be involved with the race. Ted planned and sponsored the “welcome party” for one of the boats as they arrived into the marina – we would greet the weary sailors with cheers, music, hula dancers, and of course booze and food. So as the boats were set to come in the marina at 5am, me and Sarah were called down to help set up the party at 4am (coming straight from a night out at the bars- read: no sleep). The arrival of the boat was so cheery and exciting despite the early morning hour. I think for most non-sailors its hard to imagine the reality of being at sea for 2+ weeks (Uncle Chris, you might have some idea) but the jest of it that I understood was that these men (and one woman) were eating freeze-dried food and being tossed around the Pacific for some time and were really excited to be on solid ground celebrating and reuniting with their families. It was a really neat thing to experience, and despite the lack of sleep, it was a great party with great company.

Finally, another O’ahu landmark (I guess you can call it that) we got to explore recently was the North Shore. Known by most people as the place where all the surfing goes on, it’s definitley more of the country side of the island where there are no high rise buildings, only 2 hotels, 1 grocery store, and many locally owned shops and restaurants. Ted so very kindly volunteered to give us a “Circle Island Tour”, which pretty much meant we would just take a nice leisurely Sunday drive around the island to see the beautiful beaches (with their famous “pipelines” which make them perfect for surfing) and impressive mounting ranges that loom high above the sea. The sights were breathtaking and it made me appreciate this island so much more, being away from the bustling Waikiki with its annoying tourists, and being able to see the most beautiful, more local side of it all. I think if (but really “when”) I come back to Hawaii I want to spend a lot more time here on the North Shore, perhaps in a simple bungalow sandwiched between the mountains and the beach.

Posted by: Colleen | July 10, 2011

Fun times at the Pub and more

So all of the sudden July snuck up on me and made me realize I only have SO much time left here. So enter panic mode that makes me want to do everything I want to do while I’m still here…

Me and Sarah met this wonderful girl from the states (Georgia to be exact) who has been here for a few months and who has become a great friend. We (Sarah) met her sailing…which happens every Sunday on this old French man’s beautiful boat (think people of all ages boozing, eating delicious food, having fun, listening to music, swimming- it’s pretty ideal and so much fun). She is such a great girl and we’ve realized the perfect addition to our little dynamic duo, and we love hanging out with her.

Onto updates from the past week or so:

On the first Friday of every month Chinatown holds “First Friday” (creative name, right?!) where the bars/ restaurants offer specials and there are tons of artsy things AND a very interesting celebration of Chinese culture involving scary dancing dragon heads parading down the street (needless to say the 3 martinis we had made this very interesting to watch). We then ventured off to a birthday party at Senior Frogs (yes, you read that right) which proceeded to be a glorious night out involving mustaches, sushi dinners at 11:30 pm, and prepubescent boys singing karaoke….stories for another time my friends.

July 4th weekend was approaching, a big celebration here in Hawaii- but me and Sarah found ourselves working at the Pub…Now I haven’t shared much about the Pub, but it is a place that is so simple (we use paper plates) yet can make itself seem so chaotic at times. It’s a modest, family run, hole-in-the-wall watering hole that attracts people of all ages and tourists and locals alike. Literally I think every walk of life finds their way down the stairs (yes, it is underground) into the Pub either for strong drinks or yummy pizza. Our experiences there have been pretty pleasant: they treat us nicely, don’t yell when we spill 7 drinks all over the place (yes, I did that), feed us free meals (crucial). Everything was running smoothly…that is – until we worked the Fourth of July. We were warned that we would be “crazy busy” as our Bulgarian head waitress told us (side note: me and Sar are the only two waitresses who are not from Eastern Europe). Me and Sarah were excited to make a lot of money and we figured we could handle the craziness. Until we met Theo – the head cook or “kitchen manager” as she (yes, SHE) put it when I sweetly introduced myself to her. She looked me up and down and walked away. I knew I was in for a treat. (*disclaimer: I’m trying not to name names here for privacy’s sake, but with her, I just HAD to)

The pub was crazy that night – but only because they had to-go orders out the wazoo and the kitchen was SLOW…which naturally led to drunk/ hungry/ annoying/ rude/ mean people impatiently waiting for their orders and harassing us to get it to them ASAP. Needless to say, Theo was even scarier and more evil as I expected and made working that night quite miserable (I’ll paint a picture: she made me pay the Pub $4 out of pocket because I forgot to charge the customer 50 cents for a to-go order)…and to top it all off we only got to watch approximately 30 seconds of fireworks and didn’t even make much in tips (Thank you drunk, angry patrons). Sarah is convinced she has voodoo dolls of us, and if you saw her, you would agree. This has only been a minor blip in our career at the Pub, and if we don’t have to ever work with Theo on a crazy night again, it will remain that way.

Onward and upward from there. We decided to adventure down to Diamond Head to FINALLY hike the notorious trail that overlooks Waikiki. As we trekked down in the bus (yes, we finally had to get July passes after trying to sneakily use our June ones well into the month) we realized it was going to be too overcast to really appreciate the views. So instead, we did what any one else would have done…we went to the zoo.

Ok so maybe not what most people would do, but it was awesome and who doesn’t love the zoo? We were definitely the oldest ones there (who were not chaperones on field trips) but it was a great time. It did make both of us realize that we felt kinda sorry for all of the animals who were plucked from their homes and forced to live in a far away land. Regardless we snapped away taking pictures of all of them and called out “WAKE UP” to the sleeping animals like the others. Sorry, but I wanted to see some action.

Tomorrow (Sunday) we have plans to head back to Kailua (note: one of the most beautiful beaches in the WORLD) to help with a charity beach clean-up and hopefully get in the water to do some serious kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling. I will for sure keep you updated with pictures etc…so you can all be insanely jealous of this beautiful place I’m living in.

Coming up on my agenda of fun things to do here: surfing, sky diving,venturing to the North Shore, going to a luau (as cheesy as it may be), and hopefully make it to another island.

Aloha!

Another week down, more experiences to share. I know I’m a little early, but I believe this post is quite patriotic…

I will start off with a story that involves foreigners, karaoke, and fishbowls.

Let me explain: So me and Sarah have made friends with fellow waiters who work at a classy Italian place where they have to wear ties (note- we wear tank tops and sneakers). Two of them are from Switerland and have silly Italian accents, one is from Texas, and the other is a Filipino from Hawaii- quite the crew. The other night we all went out after work to a place called Da Big Kahuna (yes, “Da”). Little did we know that this usually-bumping hotspot would be empty besides 4 aging-rocker-types, and that even better, it was karaoke night. Yup, the classic American tradition of singing covers of overplayed songs while looking stupid. Many people don’t know this, but I LOVE karaoke. Maybe it’s because my Dad was constantly singing it on our home stereo microphone throughout my childhood, or that I just love hearing the sound of my own voice… but either way, when I see that mic and have a binder full of possible songs I am a happy girl. We sang many a song – I reprised my role in singing Garth Brook’s “Friends in Low Places”(an encore from graduation night), helped my foreign pal sing John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads”, and had my grand finale singing the girl part in the B52’s “Loveshak”. The other washed-up-ex-rockers were all REALLY good singers, and just silently judged as I sang/screamed off-key with my eyes on the screen and as the foreigners tried to sing with their silly accents. Foreigners love karaoke too… Needless to say we needed some liquid courage before all of this occurred, which is where the fishbowls come into play. They are fishbowls…filled with a tastes-like-sweet-tarts adult beverage that you drink with long straws. Genius and gross at the same time.

Anywho, that was just one night of many of our nightlife experiences here. Last night, for instance, we found ourselves learning to salsa with professional ballroom dancers at a swanky club… Surely we are not in college anymore but we can still have fun (even if we can’t quite do it like we used to).

A big part of my life is food, and we’ve been eating our way around the area in which we live. We’ve had everything from sandwiches from the grocery store to Mexican to French crepes (sweet andsavory!) to fancy health food stores and our old standard, pizza. We are totally victims of the frozen yogurt trend that is sweeping the country and have fallen in love with YogurtLand- they have cool flavors like green tea and red velvet cake. It’s about a miles walk away but it is sooo worth it. Everything we’ve been trying is wonderful and I am beyond excited to eat some traditional Hawaiian food at a luau.

Pizza, Crepes, and Mexican. All in a row. All a block away from home.

On to more serious topics, we headed over to Pearl Harbor bright and early the other morning and spent the day exploring the iconic landmark. It was a long bus ride but we made it there by 10am and got tickets to see the USS Missouri, the battleship where the papers were signed that ended WWII and the USS Arizona memorial which is positioned out in the water over the remains of the ship that went down on December 7, 1941. It was a very moving and special experience to be able to see such a monumental part of US history first hand. It was spooky and eerie at times (seeing pictures of General MacArthur signing the papers, seeing the parts of the Arizona still sticking out of the water) but it felt good to be there and I was thinking of my Grandpa Wood and my history-buff-extradinoaire-father the entire time. I was feeling a superb sense of patriotism and pride in my country.

Part of the USS Arizona seen out of the water

Where the papers were signed that ended WWII on the USS Missouri

We finally have our state ID cards and although the experience of getting them was interesting (let’s just say the iPhone is a savior) they are well worth it- we can get discounts on anything from cover charges at bars to tickets at Pearl Harbor to surfing lessons (that we are going to do as soon as we can!). Most of our days off have been spent at the beach where were sun, swim in the Pacific, read, and sleep. Living the island life and so happy to be doing so.

Aloha!

Posted by: Colleen | June 15, 2011

Hikes, Beaches, and 4-year-olds Playing Soccer

So as week three starts, I’m starting to think I should have booked my flights later- August 9 seems so soon! With us finally starting to work, our down time has greatly decreased. Me and Sarah are both waitressing at a local pub. It’s located right near the marina in Waikiki and draws in many sea-faring locals (who LOVE to drink) and a good amount of tourists too. In short, it’s a dive bar, full of (friendly) local drunks, but it also had pretty tasty pizza (that’s saying a lot from a New Yorker) and other pub food. It’s a tiny little hole in the wall located under a pretty popular seafood restaurant, so imagine the awkwardness when multiple times a day you have customers come in, sit down, look at the menu and then realize they were in the wrong place and get up and leave.

It’s a really easy place to work and they’ve been pretty good to us and are very nice to us mainlanders.

We’re still attempting to find our way socially (meaning: we are trying to make friends), and met some nice guys the other night at the pub who are servers at another nearby restaurant. The thing to do here is to go out for drinks after work where people in the restaurant industry get discounts by showing their liquor commission cards, which is pretty cool considering the prices are frightfully higher than what we were spoiled with in NC (goodbye $1.75 beers, hello $14 weak fruity cocktails). On Sunday we went out with our new friends to a swanky hotel bar where me and Sarah stuck out like sore thumbs wearing our Pub uniforms (anything blue and white and…sneakers). But it actually wasn’t a big deal at all- perfect example of why Hawaii is cool and chill and relaxing and better than where you live.

Last week we decided to be sporty (side note: we are taking advantage of light eating/ drinking and this lovely scenery and getting in shape) and headed out to hike the nearby Manoa Falls. Considered one of the easiest hikes on the island, there were people of all ages- little grannies to small toddlers- going up and down the muddy trail. Me and Sarah were not struggling, but let’s just say we were VERY impressed by the old ladies trekking up with their walking sticks. The top of the trail was a beautiful waterfall where we took a few pics and enjoyed nature.

Sarah on her way down the trail

Manoa Falls

With both of us working dinner shifts, we’ve been able to spend most of our days on the beach. Now, I am a lover of all beaches and have seen quite a few in my life, so you might be surprised to hear that I was not completely impressed with these beaches right away. Don’t get me wrong: the water is a lovely blue color and the perfect temperature, the sand is soft, the sun is strong, and the people watching is ideal. BUT…maybe it’s because I take after my father or because I am just a beach snob, but I am not a fan of being thisclose to other beach-goers. I like my space and to be able to listen to my music or read my book without the people around me interfering with my serenity. People here are friendly and lovely, and seem to plop down next to you on the beach without thinking twice if they are too close for comfort. These more populated beaches are Waikiki (where all the hotels are), and Ala Moana. They are nice beaches, and I enjoy them, but I am still searching for our hidden oasis with stretches of empty sand. Last Saturday we were lucky enough to hitch a ride with Ted to Kailua, a beach town that is a non-touristy water-sport enthusiasts’ heaven. It was VERY early in the morning when we arrived and were happily greeted by wind surfers, kite surfers (yes they are different), kayakers, surfers and your standard jolly early morning beach-goers. It was awesome.

Kailua Beach

That same afternoon we headed to a residential area of Honolulu to see Spencer’s soccer game. If you have never been to a 4 year old’s soccer game, you are missing out on one of the most enjoyable and entertaining events known to man. Imagine 20 children, ages 3-4 all wearing oversized jerseys (and one in a pink tutu) running around aimlessly trying to remember what the point of the game was in the first place as the coaches urge them to chase the ball. Spencer, on the other hand, is a sports superstar and probably scored 10 goals in the first 10 minutes, dominating the field and running circles around the ones crying for their moms, staring off into the distance, or running after inanimate objects. It was highly enjoyable and made me wonder how these parents aren’t hysterically laughing at their children’s games every weekend.

Next on our list to do is get our State ID cards so we can get discounts on all the fun things to do (snorkeling, surfing, skydiving, luaus, concerts, booze cruises, shopping, meals etc).

Aloha!

Posted by: Colleen | June 8, 2011

The “Adventure” Continues

So yesterday we had a day full of adventuring, and by “adventuring” I mean “getting lost”. It all started when we had to go back to the TB clinic where I had to wait in line for an hour for a lady to check my arm and tell me I don’t have TB (no way!). Then we were headed BACK to the liquor commission to get our cards that allow us to waitress. After a long trek down there via bus (we got lost trying to find the stop), we finally found our way to the office only to be told we couldn’t get our cards without confirmation of our social security numbers, minor detail that was left out.

Imagine our joy wandering around the (not so safe) streets of Hawaii trying to find the federal building. We finally made it after legitimately doing circles and then had to wait in line with the wide variety of people in line. So THEN we are finally on our way back to the liquor commission building and after many miles of walking and frustrations and $10, we finally get our cards. We treated ourselves to lunch at this very trendy health food place and then made our way back to the mall.

I’d like to think I’m getting good at the whole bus thing, but I’m always a little bit off. Maybe it’s because I’m not a frequent bus rider, but I am often very confused. The drivers will sometime randomly pull over on the side of the road and just get out, leaving a full bus waiting. When I asked what was going on, the angsty bus driver told me he was taking his “much deserved union break”. Some people get off and walk, others just sit there on the bus in the dark, it’s really weird. I still haven’t quite managed to figure out the whole pulling-the-line-to-get-off-thing so I end up walking back to my missed stop.

So the mall is pretty much the only landmark we know. We were quite disheartened last night when we came to the realization that we were, in fact, Mall Rats. Losing ounces of coolness each day post college. I’ll explain:

Last night we decided to go out. With Sarah already working I have been spending a lot of down time in our cozy apartment and frankly, I had cabin fever. So I went down to the mall to meet Sarah where they have a pretty cool upper level full of restaurants. We listened to a sweet Hawaiian band and drank Mai Tais (reminded me of high school (captains and pineapple juice, ew). From there we bused it over to downtown Waikiki to a cool restaurant and bar Yard House where they have 130 beers on tap (we were impressed). We met a nice young couple from New Zealand and we became fast friends (I knew we were pals when she was offering us sips of her Lychee Martini), see pic below – ignore my lazy eye. We left that bar and found ourselves in a lively Irish pub called Kelly O’somethingorother. We proceeded to meet people from all over: some weirdo from Baltimore (Hi M and K!) with huge tats of the island all over him, old men who were clearly playing some sort of scavenger hunt game and kept making fools of themselves, and tons of locals. Our Kiwi pals were paying for all of our drinks (we’re still broke) and regaling us with stories of working on some rich person’s yacht and how much they hate Australians as we listened to a pretty awful heavy metal band who tried to cover Johnny Cash- brutal.

All in all it was a great night, but we came to our second harsh realization when we woke up this morning feeling like zombies who were hit by shovels- what has happened to us?! can we not party anymore?! Is this what post grad life is like?? Say it ain’t so.

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Posted by: Colleen | June 4, 2011

Aloha!

Aloha from beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii and welcome to my blog about my adventures here. After a lot of thinking I decided to write down and keep track of the things I do here, not only because I want to remember this experience forever, but also because I want to make you all insanely jealous of me as you sit in your homes, at your desks at work, etc. and read this.

Kidding, but you get the idea. I want to document my summer here and this is my first shot at it.

So it all started on Tuesday, very early Tuesday morning (we’re talking 5:00 am) at the Newark Airport in NJ. Mom and Dad were ever so kind to drive me to the airport that early and we sleepily said our goodbyes. Little did we know that Mom would have to come BACK to Newark that same day when my flight was delayed and then…yes, cancelled. So afternoon of sitting in Newark, crying, arguing, and finally rescheduling my flight, I headed BACK to Rye to eat dinner and sleep and then catch another flight (out of JFK this time) at the ungodly hour of 6:30 am Wednesday morning.

Well, I made it this time and, after making numerous friends under the age of 6 and enduring horrible in-flight movies and food, I FINALLY ended up in Honolulu on Wednesday afternoon at 3pm. I was greeted by Michelle (Sarah’s aunt) and the two boys (ages 1 and 4), a lei, and even a sign that said WELCOME AUNTIE COLLEEN! (they use that as a title for those older, trust me I’m no Aunt…yet).

The first few days have flown by. We’ve explored around the neighborhood, went down to the harbor and the Yacht Club to meet Ted’s (Sarah’s uncle) sailing friends, ate asian noodles (YUM!), figured out the bus system (with the help of my iphone), went to the beach at Waikiki and swam in the Pacific, ate Subway for lunch ($9 for a 6 inch, RIP OFF), had job interviews at a dive bar/ restaurant, AND we got jobs!

But today was our first true adventure…In order to be eligible to serve food in HI you need to get a TB test (weird I know) and get a certification for selling liquor. Early this morning we did just that, trekking downtown via bus and walking in a torrential downpour, just to realize the office was CLOSED. With no other plans, we decided walking to the movie theater would be a good idea…that is until we realized we were stuck in a legit tsunami and in a bad area full of car mechanics. With Sarah’s white skirt bordering completely see through and my jorts soaked, we sought refuge in the nearest clothing store, a Ross “dressed for less” to be exact. Envision a scene out of “The Sweetest Thing” with us trying to find sweatpants to wear to the movies (though we opted out of the movie montage and searched for the cheapest clothes we could find). After purchasing $16 worth of pink velour pants (mine, duh), granny style sweatpants (Sarah) and socks (?) we found ourselves in the nearest McDonald’s rewarding ourselves with cheeseburgers off the dollar menu. After another 2 block walk in the pelting rain we made it to the movie theater, changed into our new leisure suits, enjoyed a GAINT sized popcorn and soda, and watched the Hangover 2 warm and cozy in our sweatpants and socks.

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