Okay, so this isn’t exactly “missionary” related. I’ll try to make it though! I’ve been missing Hawaii, reflecting on the experiences I gained there and the friends I made. I grew so much as a person in Hawaii. I can’t really think of a better place in the world for me to have been gaining “real world experience.” I put that in quotations because I want you to take that with a grain of salt. I was at college and living in a dorm, which is definitely not the same as being on my own, working 40+ hours a week, and paying rent in New York or something. But I was still interacting with tons of new people and dealing with issues I’d never had to deal with before. Not only was my scholarly and worldly knowledge growing, but so was my spiritual knowledge. Hawaii was definitely the best place for me to be as I prepared alongside friends to serve a mission. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been getting invited to graduation parties and farewells of friends who are leaving for missions right after high school, and farewells and open houses of friends from Hawaii that are leaving for their missions soon too. I’m so upset that I can’t come to them and hear you guys speak in church and see you guys off for the last time in 2+ years. However, I’ve compensated by thinking about the awesome memories made with you guys and the experiences we had together where I gained something, spiritual or otherwise. So thank you guys, you’ve helped me on my way.
Anyway, below is something I wrote on the plane out of Honolulu after the last day of school, on my way to Boise via Portland. It mostly covers what I did during finals week, including skydiving. So, read on, or don’t. Your choice.
I’m on my way out of Honolulu, maybe for the last time in my life. I’ve officially completed my freshman year of college – with a not totally shattered GPA. I finished finals week out strong, and now I’m on my way back to the mainland. During finals week, it was definitely necessary to escape the madness that is piles of books and stacks of papers, notes, and other superfluous supplies. So I jumped out of a plane. That’s right, I went skydiving. Zack, Zoe, and I, along with Zack’s dad, who was kind enough to drive us, went to Skydive Hawaii, which is located west of Haleiwa, at Dillingham Airfield. Now, if you’re ever in the business of skydiving in Hawaii, I’d definitely recommend this place. It’s on the North Shore, so on our descent we got absolutely amazing views of the ocean, beaches, and of course the gorgeous mountains and lush landscapes of the island of Oahu. Another thing – they do student (that’s me!) and military discounts. I believe a normal jump from 14,000 feet is $250, but for us and any military personnel, it’s only $125! Of course it’s customary to tip about $15-25 on top for your instructor, and at first I was all like
“I’m a broke college student and I’m already paying *insane* prices for this experience, so whatever.”
But after we got back down to earth, I couldn’t leave without tipping without feeling cheap, so I tipped my instructor $20. The guy’s gotta make a living somehow, right? Anyways, the experience was amazing, I’d definitely do it again. I don’t know how to describe it, as it wasn’t really scary. I’d say it was so surreal that it couldn’t possibly be scary as well. This is also coming from the guy who crouched at the airplane door for a solid 30 seconds, looking down at the ocean and island from 14,000 feet, waiting for some clouds to pass so we could jump. Everyone else sort of scooted up to the door and flung out into the air, but I actually had time to sit there and think about it. So believe me when I tell you that it was a blast and totally worth it. The actual “falling” or diving part only lasts about 15 seconds, much too short for my taste, but then the parachute is pulled and you get to glide around for the rest of the descent, admiring the beauty that is Hawaii, for about the last three – quarters of the way down.
So that was my crazy last ditch Hawaiian excursion before I had to pack up and leave the place I’ve grown to love. To be honest, I didn’t like Hawaii at first. I didn’t like school, or my dorm, or the people, but I’m really glad that all changed, and that I made friends that will hopefully last a lifetime. I was also planning on hiking the Stairway to Heaven, officially known as the Haiku Stairs, because everyone says it probably the most epic hike you’ll ever do, and not just in Hawaii. Kristie and I were set and ready to go, but of course, my classmate reminded me of a five page political science paper due later that night. Thus, unfortunately, we didn’t go on the most dangerous, epic, and definitely illegal hike in the United States (and maybe the world…someone fact check that). Probably a good thing though, seeing as if we’d been caught, we’d probably have received court dates and hefty fines. The fines can go up to about $200 I’ve heard, not to mention my inability to show up in court, as I would be leaving the next day. I guess that just means I can’t transfer to a different school, or at the very least that I’ll be coming back on vacation sometime in the future.