I am not sure if I have fully described the past ten years of my life on here. It includes a bachelor’s degree in three years, three different states and one country I have lived in, one master’s program I started (and didn’t finish), 18 different countries I have traveled to, and over ten different jobs and internships I have dabbled in. Actually, I think I just found my topic for my next post. Today though I am really missing Hawaii. A state I loved to call home.
During my sophomore year of college, I made a trip to Oahu to visit some friends and came back with the decision that I was going to move there too. So, I set myself up to graduate college early and after only three years at Illinois State University, I packed my bags and flew 4,248 ish miles to my tropical paradise.
I lived on Oahu for three years, and I will always consider it home. It holds a special place in my heart, and every year I always seriously debate whether I should move back there or not. My goal is to eventually have a place there so I can go whenever I want. Hawaii part of the year and everywhere else the other part. Anyways, when I get into my “I miss Hawaii so much. I wish I were back there right now. Why did I ever leave?” stage these are the top ten reasons why.
Top ten things I miss most about Oahu, Hawaii:
- Da ocean…duh – To elaborate, I lived in San Diego and the ocean is there, BUT the water in Hawaii is warm enough to get in and swim around EVERY DAY! That’s what I miss most. I’m a fish, and I love snorkeling, diving, surfing, SUPing, swimming, and the list goes on. I used to be made up of 90% salt water and I loved it. My skin was so soft and tan, and my hair was blonde and oh so curly.
- Da mountains/hiking – the most amazing thing about Hawaii is that in one day you can go from hiking and getting lost in the jungle, having lunch and then going to jump in the ocean for a sunset surf. This is exactly how every “day off” of mine looked when lived there. Hawaii’s jungles are beyond beautiful. I lived there for three years, have been back to visit three times, and I still have not covered half of the amazing hikes that are available on just Oahu. I lived in the Manoa Valley at the Seafoam Sista House (yet another story I am going to write), and from one window of our house we looked out over the valley and mountain ridges, the sunrise was out of this world. From our other window, we could see down to Waikiki and the ocean. I know, I know, why did I leave? It’s been seven years and I still don’t know.
- Da POKE [pronounced po-kay…oooooo-kay] – Literally the best food on the planet earth. On those days I just mentioned in #2 above, it was ideal to buy poke from Foodland, Safeway or Fresh Catch, bring it to the beach and chow down before heading out to surf. Then, chow down again right after da surf. There are so many different kinds of poke, but my favorite and go-to was always the shoyu poke, the spicy mayo poke, and oyster sauce poke…AND…because I’m a little bit weird, I LOVED getting the imitation crab.
- Da Cove Bowl from Diamond Head Cove Health Bar – Yuuuuuummmmmmmm. I’m salivating just writing about it. These are the best Acai bowls I have ever had. I would frequent the health bar at least once a week. It was my favorite thing to do after a morning surf or beach workout session. The bowls are so refreshing and literally made me smile ear to ear. I would switch off between the Da Cove Bowl and the Mana Bowl. They’re both equally delicious and consist of acai topped with granola, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, bee pollen, and honey.
- Da weather – Hawaii is beautiful…all the time. It is warm all year round with temps in the high 70’s in the “colder” months to high 80’s in the hotter months. December through February are the winter months and usually have more rain than the rest of the year. But what that means is that it downpours a few times a day for less than ten minutes, then it’s crazy beautiful again. It makes everything green and drop-dead gorgeous.
- Da North Shore – Oahu is known for the North Shore and fittingly it is called the 7-Mile Miracle. I just looked up a website describing it and this is how they defined miracle: A liberation of the spirit; to comprehend the true scope of the universe; to witness a spiritual emancipation; as in a supernatural intervention. Hahaha. It is so true though. All of these things happen to you when you drive this seven-mile stretch. Of all of the places I have traveled to, Oahu’s North Shore is hands down the most gorgeous and active and noteworthy place I have ever been. When the winter season rolls around, I could sit and watch the big waves and surfers for hours. If you’re looking to truly feel how powerful something can be, sit on the beach during Pipemasters when the waves crash onto the shore. You can feel it shake the land and vibrate through your soul. Cool!
- Da Avos and Mangoes – I remember my roommates and I walking around all of our neighbors’ houses in the valley and finding the best avocado trees. We would grab as many as we could and run back to our house as fast as we could. In reality, no one probably even cared, it was just for the thrill. Also, THE MANGOES became my favorite fruit in Hawaii. There are so many different kinds, but they are all equally delicious.
- Da Tasty Chicken from Aiea Bowl – Yes, it’s actually called Tasty Chicken and it is sooooooo ‘ONO. It’s award-winning too! A Hawaiian staple is a plate lunch, which usually consists of a meat, rice and mac salad. I gained about ten pounds every time I ate out from Aiea Bowl. Yum!
- Da beach camping – At least once a month, we would head up to Mokuleia on the northwest side of the island. Camping would consist of a tent/tarp covering, sleeping bags on the sand (sometimes we threw in an air mattress for extra comfort), a hibachi grill, food, fishing poles, surfboards, and music. The sunsets were stunning, falling asleep to the ocean waves was so calming, and waking up with the sun and jumping straight into the water for dawn patrol was exhilarating and refreshing.
- Da Ohana – Besides all of these amazing things I listed above, Hawaii is just so amazing because of the people and their beliefs and their genuine love for Hawaii, their land and their culture. Everyone is living pono, which means that they live with a conscious decision to do the right thing in terms of self, others, and the environment. Ohana means family (Lilo & Stitch anyone) and everyone on the island becomes your family. I miss all of my co-workers, my seafoam sistas, and everyone that I met along the way.
Other notable places that I loved: Storto’s Deli has the biggest best sandwiches you’ll ever have, Leonards on the North Shore for their Malasadas, Chun Wah Kam (or Jenn-Wah-Kam as my sista Courtney refers to me) has bomb manapuas and pork hash, and Matsumoto Shave Ice on the North Shore, just to name a few. If you have no idea what I’m talking about I would suggest looking all of these up and finding them if you ever find yourself on Oahu.
I try to make a yearly trip to da island to get in my fix. It usually lasts me the rest of the year until I visit again. It truly is a magical place and if someone wants to fly me out there right now to show them around I would definitely not say no.