Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Hawaii 2019

In June, I had the incredible opportunity to go back to China with my dad, step mom and sister. I was able to go with my dad in 2002 when they adopted my sister, which was an amazing opportunity, especially for a 15 year old. I was thrilled when the opportunity to go back started being discussed a couple of years ago!
The first trip to China was obviously focused on all things adoption, which was wonderful, but this time it was a mix of adoption related things and touring around China. 
Flying is not my step mom's preferred mode of transportation, so to break it up a little bit she scheduled a stop in Hawaii on the way there and back (darn, right?) to get a break from flying for a few days and experience beautiful Hawaii!
But, backing up a little bit, I first had to fly to Houston for my sister's high school graduation, which just happened to be scheduled for the day before we left for Hawaii (thank goodness for perfect timing...just one day later and we would've been in a pickle)! So on a Friday evening, I kissed my little family goodbye for the next 12 days and was off to Texas. 
Saturday was graduation day! So, so, so hard to believe. My sister was my sons' age when I graduated from high school, and now here she is. I could go on and on about this, but I'll just say it's incredibly hard to believe how fast her childhood went by. 
Yay, Lili!!!

Sunday morning, we were up to finish packing and head off to the airport. We flew from Houston-LA, had a few hour layover there, and then finished the 5-6 hour flight to Kauai. We got into Kauai just as the sun was setting, and we were all pretty spent. We got checked into our hotel and walked a few blocks down to a little local place for dinner. One thing I didn't know about Hawaii is that everything is pretty open air (at least all the restaurants we ate at while we were there were) and I remember that first night being SO HOT. 

Monday morning we got some breakfast and did some exploring of the area we were in (including a VERY sweaty walk to the car rental place) and then my sister and I headed across the street to the beach. 

That afternoon we wandered a little further away from where we were staying and we stopped at a local farmer's market. This was so neat and there were fruits I had never even heard of! A lot of the vendors were giving us samples of all of this yummy & juicy fruits. The avocados were ENORMOUS, there were fresh baked goods with ingredients all grown on the island, and it was just a cute little quaint deal they had going on. 

We weren't there for too long before we continued on our way to another little beach town (that of course now I can't remember the name of) that our concierge had recommended. The beach itself was very rocky, but beautiful and the town was very cute with shops and people everywhere. We stayed on the beach for about an hour and there was a sea turtle out on the beach the entire time! It didn't appear to be injured and the life guards weren't doing anything to try to help it besides make sure people kept a distance from it, so I assume this was normal. It was really cool to see a giant sea turtle up close like this, and I was able to face time the kids right before they went to bed to show them! 

I guess I didn't take any pictures for the rest of that day, but after the beach we headed over to a little square in that same town, had dinner at a Thai place, did a little shopping and saw a hulu show which was so beautiful. I really love Hawaiian culture. All of the locals are so welcoming and joyful. 

Tuesday in Hawaii, we had breakfast at another local place recommended by the concierge and it was very obvious we were about the only tourists in there! Then we settled in for a drive to Hanalei Bay. Holy smokes, the drive was incredible. Mountains and oceans and forests and cute little beach towns...we saw it all. It felt like we kind of just came to the end of the road and there was Hanalei Bay. We walked the beach for quite a long time and it just kept going and going. The water was so clear and the waves were rolling in beautifully. Of course the photos don't do it justice.

We went over to town and did some shopping & got shave ice. The shave ice has macadamia nut ice cream in the bottom & all the ingredients are house made and it was just so creamy and good! 

On the way back, we took some detours to find waterfalls, and they did not disappoint. We didn't do any hiking to get to them, so these were just ones you could see from the road, but they were so pretty. 

After our 2 detours, we headed back for some rest, dinner, and to get cleaned up and pack for our big travel day. We had dinner and drinks by the ocean and it was so peaceful & a great way to end our time in Hawaii! (Well, they were going back on the way home, but I wasn't....more about that in the next post.)

I decided to break this post into 2 parts because it's already getting long, so the next post will have all the details of our time in China! 

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