To Blog… Or Not to Blog?

As some of you may have noticed, my posts have somewhat lagged since my return to Canada.  I took some time to decide what to do with this blog, and I have decided that I like writing and blogs and blogging, so I will continue to post here.  I’m sure I won’t write as frequently and probably won’t have subject matter as interesting, but I will do my best to post often and to do it well.  A re-vamp was necessary of the theme of this blog, as I am no longer in the warm, sunny climate of Hawaii.  Though with the recent warm weather here in Edmonton, I can’t really complain too much… and hey, with global warming, it’s only a matter of time before it’s a perfect day every day here as well.

So I guess the response to the title of this post is definitely “to blog”.  The next few weeks of my life will be interesting.  I am volunteering for the World Junior Hockey Championships here in Edmonton, spending my first Christmas alone, and starting my very first real, adult job in January.  I’m sure this will all be full of trials and tribulations and interesting anecdotes, some of which I will be able to share here.

And so, loyal followers, I just wanted to let you know to check back, and hopefully I will still be writing interesting things that you will want to read.

Love KG

Oh Canada!

I’m now safely back in Edmonton and in the process of getting settled into my new room at Slanty House.  I was disappointed in the lack of snow in Edmonton right now, but I’m glad to be here.  I spent a few days in Kelowna, during which my mom put me to work making jewelry, and then the two of us made the drive over to Edmonton.  I just love Jasper National Park.

Ooops! Traffic Jam!

Now that I am back in Canada, there are many things I am excited to have around me again.  The following list is in no particular order.

1) My roommates.  It was so nice to feel that I had a place to come “home” here, and fitting in at this house is just so natural for me that many of us agree that it’s almost as if I’d been here all along.

2) Hockey.  It’s nice to be able to see hockey games on TV, and even to see shinny games happening on outdoor rinks.  One thing that I didn’t even notice I missed was seeing people wearing NHL jerseys at all times.  I was walking through the Vancouver airport when I saw a guy wandering around in a Canucks jersey.  That really brought home the fact that I am back in Canada.

3) Fall/Winter clothing.  I love sweaters, turtlenecks, layering, boots, leggings, and mittens.  I was able to wear none of these things in Hawaii.  Which brings me to my next point…

4) Having a full closet.  I’m excited to have more than a few select outfits to wear.  Living out of a suitcase is totally reasonable, but it also gets old after awhile.  I don’t know if I’ll want to touch any of the clothing I had with me for a few months.  Then again, I definitely don’t need summer clothing right now and won’t for awhile.

5)  Loonies and Toonies.  I despise carrying around $1 bills, always thinking I have a lot more money than I actually do.  Not to mention, who doesn’t love being able to pay for purchases entirely in change?

It’s very strange to be here while everyone is frantically studying for exams, but I guess that means I have lots of time to settle into my room and try to accomplish things (such as posting to my blog, obviously).

Happy Holidays!

Love KG

Aloha, Hawaii!

Saturday was spent in Kona with Stacy and the kids.  We hit up Costco and I was able to pick a few last-minute things up on Ali’i Drive.

I had my last guitar lesson in the evening, which was sad.  It’s tough when you find an instructor you like with a style you like, and you can’t continue.  Mine was awesome though – we’re going to keep in touch so that if I have questions or get stuck on anything or just need help, I have someone to ask.  Also, as he pointed out, I’m obviously going to return to Hawaii at some point (I hope!) so we can always pick things up again then.

I spent the evening doing laundry and just crossing things off my list of things to accomplish before I leave.  Leilani spent the evening drawing pictures for my brothers, which was really cute.  She is amazingly artistic – I am always surprised by the things she creates and the way she does it differently from how everyone else would.

Today (or I guess it was yesterday) was a really long day.  I woke up around 8AM and hung out around the house, packing and getting ready for the beach at the same time.  Leilani, La’a and I had a bit of a bunny photo shoot at one point, but the pictures are on Stacy’s camera so I don’t have them right now.  Sean was off today as well so we all had plans to spend the day at the beach.

Eventually we were all ready and I was all packed.  We hopped into the truck and went to Hapuna Beach.  As you may or may not recall, this was the beach I spent my very first beach day in Hawaii at, so it was a fitting place to end.  Despite the fact that the weather wasn’t perfect, we all had a great afternoon at the beach.  I’m pretty sure La’akea was the happiest kid in North America when he found a giant mud pit to play in and got himself covered in muddy sand from head to toe.

I’m a mermaid!
Leilani made a bunch of sand angels, which I thought was pretty cute. It’s just like you would make a snow angel… but in sand!

Sean grilled fish he had recently caught on a fire at the beach and made sandwiches for us for lunch.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this yet for the benefit of those of you that don’t already know, but Sean is a chef.  I’m definitely going to miss living with a chef.  We got the star treatment for sure.  I sometimes felt like I was eating at a restaurant with the food he would make.  Which isn’t surprising since he does work at a restaurant.  Obviously.  Sadly, it’ll be back to eating like a poor student again soon enough.  Even though I’m not a student any more, I’m still poor… so that makes this necessary.

The fish Sean caught last week, which we have been eating recently.

Eventually it was time to head back to the house.  I showered, packed the rest of my stuff up, ate my last chef-prepared dinner, said goodbye to the kids to Stacy, and hopped in the car with Sean to head to the airport.  And that brings me up to now.  It’s 3:50 in the morning for me right now, Hawaiian time.  I’m on the airplane, landing in Vancouver soon I think.  I was able to sleep for a bit as my flight isn’t too full.  I have a whole row of seats to myself.  I popped my headphones in, blew up my airplane pillow, and covered myself in the jacket Stacy gave me since she doesn’t use it in Hawaii, and was able to actually fall asleep.  I’m excited to be back in Canada for many reasons, but I’ll also miss many things about Hawaii.

Things I will miss about Hawaii:
– My cousins and the rest of my Hawaiian family
– My guitar instructor
– The beach
– The sun
– Going everywhere with a bathing suit
– Buying liquor at the grocery store
– The little reflectors on all the roads… they are amazing!  They make street lights absolutely unnecessary.
– The Hawaiian night sky
– Golf
– The accessibility of adventure
– My bunnies, especially the poor little renegade bunny.
– Unrestrictive footwear

Reasons I am excited to return to Canada:
– SNOW!  I don’t think it’s really sunk in that it’s Christmas yet, but I’m excited to feel festive.
– My dog.  I’ll get to see him for a few days in Kelowna.
– I can’t wait to quit living out of a suitcase.
– I am excited to return to my own guitar and start to practice on it.
– My friends, of course… as much as I was surrounded by many people in Hawaii, I rarely hung out with anyone around my age.
– Winter clothing.  I know this sounds silly, but I’m excited to get all bundled up against the elements.
– Hockey coverage!  I’m tired of endlessly watching NHL on the Fly, hoping that they choose to cut to the game I want to see at some point.

I’ve loved so many things about my time in Hawaii, and I’ve got a bunch of things I want to do when I return.  I really was able to do so much this trip, and got to see so much of the island, but I just feel like there is so much more out there.
– More hiking.  Maybe at the Volcano or in Waipio Valley?
– Night swimming with manta rays
– Swimming with dolphins in the wild
– Go sailing
– More paddling adventures
– More snorkelling

I am so happy that I was able to just take this time off and spend it with my Hawaiian family.  I only hope that it isn’t too long before I can go back.  It’s sad to think that the kids will probably have grown up so much by the time I get to see them again, but at least I got to know them a little bit now.

Love KG

The Magic of Mauna Kea

On Friday, Stacy and I had plans to go up Mauna Kea.  We had invited Rhinehart to join us as well… partially because we wanted to hang out with him and thought he would enjoy it, and also partially so he could drive the vehicle for us.  We spent the day casually hanging out at the house, until around 3 PM.  Rhinehart met us then, and we all hopped into the Jeep we had rented for this trip.

We made our way up to the Visitor Information Center at the 9000-ft level.  Here we stopped to acclimatize for a half hour or so, and also to check out the gift shop and a short informational video.  We then ate the pea soup we had brought up with us, and all tried a bit of Rhinehart’s dehydrated spaghetti.  Weird.

The Visitor Center
Our makeshift table

Eventually it was time to head up to the summit.  We all hopped into the vehicle to drive up.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve thought about it many times.  The Hawaiian night sky is absolutely beautiful, even just from Waikoloa.  The stars are brighter than I’m used to, and probably brighter than almost anywhere on the planet.  The Hawaiian Islands in fact have restrictions on street lamps and many other types of lighting in order to keep light pollution down and preserve the Hawaiian night sky at its best.  This sky and the brightness of the stars is definitely something I will miss when I head back to Canada.

Because of how clear the sky is, Mauna Kea is home to a lot of expensive space observation equipment.  The facilities on the summit of Mauna Kea are some of the best in the world.  Now, if you have been following my blog, you might know that Mauna Kea is also an active volcano.  Interesting that they chose to put all this fancy equipment on top of an active volcano…

It took about a half hour on a bit of a sketchy road to make it to the top.  Stacy says that this is the only road in Hawaii that she gets scared on.  I could see why, though for some reason I didn’t feel the same fear she did.  At the top, we parked the car and hopped out.  We all decided that many movies set on the moon or Mars could easily have been filmed on top of Mauna Kea.

Snow! In Hawaii!

We wandered around a little bit, but found that we all got lightheaded extremely quickly so tried not to exert ourselves too much.  We did end up doing a very short hike to the true summit.  We took it very slowly but still felt a little lightheaded.   I can’t imagine actually climbing mountains like Everest and exerting yourself like that on a daily basis.  Up on the very top, there were a bunch of offerings for the Hawaiian gods.  It was an amazing spot for something like that.

Short hike!

For those of you who have been following my blog, and wondering about the mysterious Rhinehart… this is him.

After taking a few more pictures, we hiked back down to the Jeep and watched the sunset from there.

Before long, it was dark.  We got back into the vehicle and went back down to the Visitor Centre to do a little stargazing.  We watched a short video about Mauna Kea’s observatories, and looked through a few telescopes.  It was a pretty neat experience to gaze at the moon and be able to see its craters, or to see all four of Jupiter’s moons.

Eventually it was time to head home and pick up the kids.  Despite the fact that our adventure wasn’t overly strenuous or long, we all felt exhausted afterwards.  We spent the rest of the evening watching Country Strong, and Stacy and I even convinced Rhinehart to join us for that.

My favourite thing about today was seeing the Hawaiian night sky from an even more beautiful vantage point.

Love KG

A-Hiking We Will Go!

Stacy, La’a, and I hiked Pololu Valley on Thursday.  It was an absolutely perfect day to do this trip!  La’a got very excited about hiking in the morning and dressed up in all his safari gear.  It was adorable.  We started off by heading to Waimea where Stacy had a morning appointment.  La’a and I went to Starbucks to sit for a bit while we were waiting for her.  He practiced his alphabet while I wrote a few postcards.

After that, we drove the upper road from Waimea to Kohala, and made our way towards Pololu.  The valley was beautiful. I was very excited to be heading down the hill this time instead of just looking from the top.

We hiked down to the bottom – it only took 15 minutes or so, even with a 4-year-old in tow – and hung out down there for a while.

We then made the trek back up.  La’a did so well – I think Stacy only had to carry him for one stretch of a few minutes on the way up.  So a note to everyone else out there:  4-year-olds can totally hike Pololu.  And everyone they walk past is extremely impressed that they are doing it, especially when their backpack is full of rocks that they want to bring home.

Next, we had lunch in Hawi, did a little shopping, and again got the most heavenly coconut ice cream on Earth.  By that time, we had to head back to Waikoloa to pick Leilani up.  We spent the evening watching Mulan and relaxing.

Wednesday was a mellow day to get things done around the house, which definitely necessary at this point.

On Thursday Stacy and I went golfing at the Waikoloa Village course.  We had probably a perfect day for that as well – the gale force winds of Waikoloa weren’t in force and a nice cool breeze had replaced them.  We had a good morning on the golf course, even though Stacy hadn’t been out in ages.  We did manage to get lost near the end and played a couple holes twice.  We’re still not sure exactly what happened, but it was ridiculous.

That night, a couple came over to check out our bunnies.  We already had a home lined up for one of them, but were really hoping to find another home for the pair that had been together the whole time.  As it turned out, this couple wanted to take two of them!  They’re waiting to pick them up as a Christmas surprise, but we were quite happy to find a good place for them to go.  It looks like little renegade bunny will be heading to the other home Stacy had set up, as the other two already seem bonded.

My favourite thing in this blog post was definitely hiking Pololu.  It was a perfect day.

Love KG