If you are a teacher or have a teacher in your life, then you know that the first few weeks once school starts are crazy. Teachers probably work crazy hours (and not just at school, but when they're home too!) and have no time for relaxation.
So this year, I stocked up on my relaxation before school, and it was a dream. For one week, I got to explore the beauty of Hawaii. I explored almost the entire island of Oahu, but it went by too quickly. As I was busy working and preparing for the school year in the weeks following (notice that I have finally written this about 7 weeks after going to Hawaii, and 5 weeks after the students came), I could listen to Hawaiian music or look at my photos and release a happy sigh of relief thinking about the beauty of Hawaii.
People have asked me my favorite parts of Hawaii, and though I try to describe them in words, it is difficult without my pictures. But now, I get to share both!
1. Hanauma Bay
This was by far my favorite place that I visited. I had read online that the parking lot is often full by 7:30am, so I made sure that I got there extra early. I arrived at 6:20am. Not only was there plenty of parking, they allowed us entrance without having to pay parking or an entrance fee. Of course I was thrilled! And I was even more thrilled when I started walking to the beach to see it glistening before me at golden hour.
Hanauma Bay is a protected marine life conservation area with hundreds of fish. I had never been snorkeling before, but later, I texted my mom that I had found a new hobby. Seeing the tropical fish play around you as you watch is breathtaking, and so peaceful. I even got to see Hawaii's state fish: Humuhumunukunukuapua`a or more simply the Hawaiian triggerfish.
2. Spitting Cave and the surrounding land
I had read about the Spitting Cave from another blog, and I was really excited to see it and the cliff-face that it boasted. When I got to the address I had found (7 Lumahai St, Honolulu, HI 96825), I thought I was in the wrong place.
My GPS dropped me of in a well-to-do neighborhood with no evidence of cliff-faces and crashing waves. Then, I saw a small park sign and a group of people getting out to explore. I quickly jumped out and asked them if this was the Spitting Caves. Come to find out, it was a tour. The guide corrected me that it is the Spitting Cave, but yes right place.
I walked down a narrowly downward winding path. And then, I stepped out. There is a wide expanse of sky, ocean, and cliffs. It was absolutely breathtaking. It's moments like that where my breath catches, and I think, "Wow! God created all of that!"
Supposedly this spot is excellent for watching the sunset and the stars, but I didn't get a chance to see that for myself. If you have, I'd love to hear your experiences.
While there, I saw one of the few seals still there in Hawaii. He was adorable and was kind enough to pose for me.
After visiting The Spitting Cave, I got back on the main highway, and I drove around the coast that continued to have the rocky coast-line. It was well-worth the slow trip on that day (that was all I did that day).
3. The Beaches of Oahu
I know; I know! Of course you are going to go to the beach in Hawaii. Be sure though to visit several because they are all so different and beautiful in their own way with the turquoise water or the fine sand or the mountains in the distance.
4. Oahu off the main road
While in Oahu, I got to go on four different hikes, and each time, I saw breathtaking vistas. Each gave me a different vantage point. Hiking is so rewarding because one makes it to the top and thinks "Oh wow! That is beautiful!" But the next day, when that same person sees the mountain he climbed, his confidence is boosted as he think, "That's right! I went up that mountain!"
5. The beauty right next to you
No matter where you are on Oahu, there is beauty to be seen. For me, some of the most peaceful moments were when I took a breath and just looked around. On the very first day, after beating jet-lag by going to bed at 9 and waking up at 5, I got to see the sunrise from my friends' apartment. It was so peaceful to watch from above as the city began to come to life.
Later that night, the moon came out and completely changed how the scene looked. But I would have missed those moments if I had not taken a moment to just enjoy what was in front of me.
So to settle any doubts, yes, going to Hawaii is definitely worth the trip. However, one does not need to go to Hawaii to relax or to see beautiful things. Take time to explore your local town, and do so slowly, to really appreciate the beauty or the history or the people that you see.
How do you find time to enjoy the simple things?
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