Sunday, June 10
Dan and I had looked up churches prior to moving to Hawaii, and we decided to visit Harbor Church on our first Sunday (to view the church's website, click here). On our way we stopped for breakfast at Starbucks and Jamba Juice (my new favorite - I'm pretty sure I've gone everyday since).
[Cool fact: Gina, the girl I went to grad school with, also goes to Harbor Church with her husband! We found out after we had already planned on visiting.]
The church meets in a local elementary school auditorium. We really enjoyed the sermon and were blown away by how friendly everyone at the church was. We met a few other military couples, too.
After church, we drown through downtown Honolulu and stopped at the Ala Moana Center. It's probably one of the nicest malls we've been to. Ever. It's mostly open, so it was neat to walk around with the sun shining down on you. We had fun walking around, browsing, and wondering who actually affords to shop at some of the high-end stores.
Oh yes, the real reason we stopped at the mall was so that Dan could find one of the two Patagonia stores on the island! We found it in a plaza just outside the mall. And since our first visit, we've been there three other times, I think...
Best buds hanging out in the hotel room. Sydney is getting seriously spoiled being on the bed all the time! Maybe we're extra lenient because we feel bad leaving her in the hotel/crate while we're out and about.
Later in the day, we met up with Gina and some of her family members. We drove up to two different spots on the North Shore. The first was Laniakea Beach (aka Turtle Beach). I don't know if we happened to go at a good time, or what, but we saw so many turtles! A few were already on the shore, but we saw several come out of the water. It was awesome.
Note: I was dying because I didn't have my good camera with me, and there were so many amazing photo opportunities. All of the pictures were taken with my cell phone. For a phone, they came out pretty good, though.
The second beach was Waimea Bay Beach Park, a perfect spot for swimming! We were so thankful to discover these cool beaches and enjoyed the company of friends.
Apparently the North Shore is known to have some of the most beautiful sunsets. We didn't stay quite long enough to see the full sunset, but I still captured the sun beginning to set over the ocean.
On our way home, we took the scenic route, driving through a small historic town called Haleiwa. There were adorable shops and buildings - even their McDonald's had a small wooden roof. We couldn't pass up all of the shops selling shave ice, so we stopped for a refreshing treat.
As we continued on our way home, it began to rain a light mist, but we saw our first full rainbow! Dan was kind enough to pull over so I could snap a few pictures. (I was able to catch a glimpse of the sunset, too.) Again, I was wishing I had my good camera with me!
Later that night, we had dinner downtown with Brady and Jackie (the couple staying at our hotel). We had a really nice time getting to know some new friends (sadly, no pictures from the night).
Monday, June 11
I dropped Dan off at work, had breakfast at the hotel, and ventured out to find the closet post office. We had some Father's Day gifts to send, and I wanted to pick up some postcard stamps. (I still haven't mailed any postcards, but I hope to soon!)
The French toast at breakfast was served with both maple syrup and COCONUT syrup - really good!
Around lunchtime, I invited Jackie to join me in meeting Gina up at Nimitz Beach (aka Pine Trees Beach) for some surfing. One of Gina's co-workers brought his gear for Gina and her cousins to learn how to surf. Jackie and I didn't try surfing this time, but we had a fun time exploring a new beach.
Monday was a holiday - Kamehameha Day - so a lot of people had the day off.
Dan was finished early in the afternoon, so I headed back to Tripler, and we took care of some things on our to-do list. Dan started in-processing a few days after his peers because his LECOM graduation was later than other medical schools. Most guys arrived June 3rd (the day he graduated) and started the 4th. Since he didn't start until the 8th, he had an extra-busy first couple days, trying to get caught up things he had missed.
The view looking out from Tripler's main entrance. Not a bad place to work...
Back in the hotel room. Doing a little late-night studying with Syd.
Tuesday, June 12
I had breakfast with Jackie at the hotel. Prior to meeting each other, we both had eaten breakfast in the hotel, but separately and alone. It was nice to now have each other's company.
Then for lunch, I met up with Kristie, a girl I met at church on Sunday. We at lunch at California Pizza Kitchen and then walked around the Pearl Ridge Mall. She is really sweet, and I'm excited about getting to know her better throughout the year. Her husband is starting his second year at Tripler. Again, crazy small world...her husband and Dan went through officer training in San Antonio at the same time (3+ years ago)!
After, I picked Dan up, we headed up to Kailua to sign our lease! We were really excited to find the home that we did. I still hadn't taken pictures at this point, but here's a screenshot of the pictures from the Craigslist ad. Check out the colorful walls and fishy bathroom...ha!
On our way back, we stopped at one of the "scenic spots" on the drive home. The drive to/from Kailua is seriously breath-taking. Even on a slightly overcast afternoon, it's beautiful. The tunnels through the mountains are my favorite. (Dan was obviously driving while I snapped those photos...)
Once back in town, we ran a few errands and finally checked out the Navy Exchange (NEX), which we had heard so much about. It's seriously pretty great. Most items are a lot cheaper than other retail stores, and there's no state sales tax. It will definitely be a place to shop in the future.
Wednesday, June 13
Dan had an early morning at Tripler. After I dropped him off, I came back to the hotel and did FaceTime with my sister. It was my first FaceTime experience since being in Hawaii, and it was so great to catch up with her. Thankfully, I've been able to talk to friends and family on the phone quite often since being here. It's nice because it's still the United States, so besides the time difference, it's no different calling home from Erie or anywhere else.
After I picked Dan up, we were super productive. We went to several offices at Tripler and Fort Shafter, dropped-off a lot of paperwork, and finally picked up Dan's car from the port. His car actually arrived on the island before we did, but with their limited hours, we hadn't had a change to pick it up. The facility closes at 3pm and we walked in on Wednesday at 2:55pm! We were thankful to make it with minutes to spare.
That evening, we headed toward downtown Honolulu. We parked near Fort Derussy, where there is a discounted parking garage (if you're military) and there are several hotels with access to part of Waikiki Beach. We walked through the beautiful grounds of the Hilton Hawaiian Village and saw flamingos and penguins. It was a nice relaxing evening. Just the two of us.
I had to take a picture of this. All of his green Patagonia gear made me laugh. He's funny. And cool.
We'd been here almost a full week, and this was our first picture together in Hawaii!
Playing around with my Hipstamatic settings...
The Hale Koa is a hotel for military service members and their families. Apparently the hotel is really nice, and there are discounted rates...
On the way home, we stopped for pizza at this amazing place behind our hotel. Since our food wasn't ready when we got there, (It seriously wasn't bad...I think we maybe waited just 5 minutes...) they felt bad and gave us an extra pizza for free! Good food. Great customer service. Nice little business plug, huh?
I'll end our first week with sharing these fun photos... It cracks me up how this dog sits when she's in the car. She seriously loves going for car rides.
We had a busy, but very fun first week living in Hawaii and we're looking forward to many more!