2015 / age 29 review

 

I’ve done these for a long time, since the live journal days, so even though I’m a week behind and I’ve only blogged twice in the past 6 months, here goes.

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1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

Graduated from college! Traveled to the Pacific Northwest, got a giant tattoo.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?


I don’t know that I had one. So, good job, self!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


Same as last year: a ton of facebook/internet friends had babies, but no one I’m super close with.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

On August 10th, we lost Daisy and my world collapsed. I also lost a dear work friend in December. RIP Linda. <3

5. Where did you visit?

DC twice, Seattle, Vancouver, Miami, Fort Myers, Tampa, Brooklyn! It was a busy year.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

A better commute.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

August 10th. :(

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?


I graduated.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Meh, I dunno. Not finding a job with a better commute? Breaking my camera and having no idea how I did so.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I’m always sick.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Um, probably my new Frye boots.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Student loans, car payment, Daisy tattoo.

13. What did you get really excited about?

Elyse’s wedding! Our PNW vacation!

14. What song will always remind you of 2015?

Probably Adele – Hello.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:


– happier or sadder? sadder

– thinner or fatter? Not sure, probably the same or fatter.

– richer or poorer? Probably poorer, thanks student loans.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?


Walked Daisy more.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?


Let my work-related anxiety affect my life.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas eve at the in-laws. Christmas day brunch with Keith’s grandma and then my grandparents’ house.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

Hm…I watched Gilmore Girls again. Orphan Black, Shameless, Game of Thrones

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

I’ve got a whole ‘nother book post coming.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?


I am like 7 years behind on music, so I have no idea.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

I am woefully behind on movies.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 29, I’m pretty sure I just stayed home with Daisy and ordered pizza.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

More time off work. Not losing Daisy.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

Well I now have to dress like a grownup for work so lots of cardigans, pencil skirts, black tights.

26. What kept you sane?

Keith.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.


I like dogs more than I like people.

on learning how to love again

I will admit, I have been in a bad place since Daisy died.

The perks of spending most of your late teens/early 20s suffering from depression is that you get really good at it. I can go to work, I can smile and say good morning, I can laugh at your stupid jokes, I can come home and make dinner and everything can appear perfectly normal. But if you would look into my soul, you would see a barren wasteland. I feel somewhat dead inside. And in those quiet moments, when I’m driving home from work…when I’m getting ready for bed…when I’m sitting on the couch on a Friday night, I break down a bit.

It’s getting better. Time heals all wounds, right?

Dogs also heal wounds.

We started to look for another dog pretty soon after, probably too soon after. I just needed something to focus my energy on and we wanted to get another dog eventually, so it seemed like a good idea. It was a terrible idea.

We would search the rescue sites daily looking for a dog that would work for us. We wanted something medium-sized, preferably female, somewhere around 3-5 years old. We submitted application after application and half of the time heard nothing back. The other half of the time we did hear back, but we were 3rd, 8th, 45th on the list to look at the dog. I was getting discouraged, I was getting even more depressed. I wanted a dog, I will love a dog more than anyone else even knows is possible, why can’t I have a dog? We expanded our search from only females, we expanded from medium to all sizes, we even looked at puppies. I told Keith I would take any dog but a yellow lab. Maybe one day, but not yet.

I started to consider getting a puppy from a breeder. If any lab breeders had actually had available litters, it would have been a done deal, but none were up for grabs.

And then my friend Amber, knowing my plight, mentioned that a friend of hers was trying to rehome a husky puppy, were we interested?

Of course. I knew nothing about huskies, I did not want a puppy, but I needed a dog and it was becoming impossible to find one.

Amber hooked me up with Sarah and we set up a meeting a few days later.

We met Sarah, her boyfriend, and Meeko at a dog park in Murraysville. Sarah owned the mom and one female from the litter. Meeko had been given away as a pup but had recently been given back. He had been kept outside and she just wanted to find him a loving (inside) home.

I will admit, it was not love at first sight. He felt a little standoffish. He didn’t really want anything to do with any of us, he just wanted to run around with the other few dogs that were there.

But there were no red flags, this was a dog that needed love and a home, and we had a plenty of both. I turned to Keith, “I think we just got a dog.”

We took him home and in the car decided to rename him.

“Loki,” I suggested, “the god of mischief.” While waiting the few days to meet Meeko, I did a lot of reading about huskies.

“It’s your dog,” Keith said.

So Loki it was.

The next few weeks were very trying. Loki is very high energy, Loki is also a puppy. I have never been solely responsible for a puppy and it was a lot to handle. He wanted to play all the time, which fine, okay. But he is also 50lbs. And can fit my entire forearm in his mouth, a skill that he would demonstrate time and time again. And bruise and bruise again.

He wasn’t used to being inside. He wasn’t used to us. He did remarkably well with house training, though. Multiple accidents for about 3 days and then only a few here and there for a week. He’s now fully trained on ringing the bells to go out. (And that training, I totally half-assed, but he was smart enough to overcome my laziness.)

There were multiple times where he made me cry. He wouldn’t listen to me, he would get entirely too worked up, he wasn’t Daisy.

Things slowly started to get a little better, but not great, and then one night we had a turning point which may have saved me from my breaking point. I was laying in bed, attempting to write a blog post…something about life after Daisy and I started to cry. And then I started to bawl and gave up. There I was, on the bed bawling my eyes out with the dog somewhere on the floor.

The next thing I know, he jumps up onto the bed, and instead of biting me or pawing at me, he wraps one paw around my waist and curls into me. I was stunned.

And remarkably, after that, things began to get better. The bruises began to fade. The tears began to dry. And in the barren wasteland of my soul, something began to grow.

Loki is a totally different dog from the one we brought home 2 months ago. He’s now my buddy. He’s still very high energy, but he can focus that energy on his dozens of toys instead of me. He follows me around the house, cries when I leave him, we take naps together on the couch and curl up in bed each night before Keith comes up.

Loki is a totally different dog than Daisy. He loves other dogs, he loves the park, he will chew on squeaky toys for hours when Daisy never wanted anything to do with them. He does not let us sleep in and he has no fear. But I think his differences have helped my healing. I have not once felt like I replaced Daisy because he is her polar opposite.

I will never in my life stop loving Daisy, but there might be room to start loving one more.

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Goodbye, Daisy. 

  

Daisy was having a rough weekend. coughing every time she moved and labored breathing even when she didn’t move. I took her to the emergency vet this morning and they found fluid on her lungs. So much fluid, it had significantly decreased her lung volume. She was in pain when excited/stressed and uncomfortable even when not. The only option we were given was to drain the fluid and reassess after that. But the options after that were not positive. Best case scenario: the fluid would stay away for a month or two before coming back and needing to be drained again. She also likely had a tumor which was pushing on her esophagus (causing the cough) but they couldn’t see it due to the fluid. Regardless of our decision, it would have to be an aggressive treatment. And Daisy was a senior dog.   

  

So today, Keith and I made the impossible decision and said goodbye. My heart is broken. My sweet Daisy girl only had 5 years with us. They were good years and they were spoiled years and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the universe, but they were only 5 years. 

  

Last night she didn’t wake me up which is very unusual, she had woken me up in the middle of the night, every night for the past 2 years to go outside. I woke up on my own around 2 a.m. and went downstairs to lay with her on the floor. Her breathing was loud and sounded uncomfortable and even though in recent months she has scrambled away every time we try to cuddle her, last night she let me. I eventually got up off the floor and went back to bed but now I wish I had stayed longer. I think I knew. 

  

Every person that had ever met Daisy remarked on how sweet she was, how ladylike. She didn’t bark, she didn’t chew, she didn’t beg or jump until we accidentally taught her. Up until the end, she was always full of kisses. 

  

She was the most incredible soul I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and loving and I am going to miss her so much. 

  

life after graduation

So, life update.

I graduated. I mean, I guess I already wrote about that, but I received my diploma in the mail and it’s official and done. To be completely honest, I was about 5% convinced that I screwed something up somewhere and I hadn’t actually graduated, so I was dying to receive the diploma and know that it was actually 100% legit. I could have called the Dean’s office or something to check on that…but I would rather wait anxiously for the mail.

So. Life after graduation. Is exactly the same. Although a bit weird. It hasn’t 100% sunk in that I don’t have to go to school anymore. After 5 years of splitting my time, I kind of just feel like I’m on a little break. And I guess I kind of am, because I signed up for another photography class in the fall! I just can’t stop learning, I guess. The class is at Pittsburgh Filmmakers and I have been dying to take another class since the first one 3 years ago, but I just couldn’t fit it into my schedule. But now that I have some free time again, lets give it all away again!

I am really excited for it. It’s just Intermediate Digital Photography, but they also at times offer Photography on Location and Portrait Photography so I’m excited to one day try those.

I am still at my same job, not really on the hunt for something related to my major because I would have to attend a field school and I just don’t have the time or money or energy for that. A field school would be ~6 weeks away from home. It would be really awesome to do, but I would have to basically quit my job to attend and then who knows how long it would take me to find another job if that didn’t pan out. I am also really into my house and husband and dog and I don’t really want to voluntarily leave them for 6 weeks.

So, I’m just plugging along at my 100 mile a day commute. If something more in line with my interests and degree were to fall in my lap, I wouldn’t turn it away, though.

In somewhat more exciting news, we are headed west this week! Going to Seattle and Vancouver and pretty excited about that. Aside from Hawaii, the furthest west I’ve ever been is Chicago, so excited to see the west coast.

We also are planning a trip for Keith’s 30th birthday which will include 4 baseball games in 5 days so now I’m secretly plotting a trip for MY 30th birthday which will include…4 naps in 5 days? Probably need to think on that a little more.

I’ve missed you, blog.

honeymoon part 6: kailua kona

I went to a blogger event on Thursday and felt so bad about my stupid blog hiatus that I’m going to try to give her another whirl. And what better way to come back than to try to wrap up my honeymoon posts from 6+ months ago!

In case you forgot, we spent a lovely two weeks in Hawaii. You can read the previous honeymoon posts here.

For our final stop, we were heading to the west side of Hawaii and the Kailua-Kona area. And of course, the day we left Hilo was the only non-rainy day we were there.

We were heading to yet another Airbnb and when we got there, not only were we greeted with a huge bowl of fruit from their yard, we were greeted by Freddy the Peacock! Who would continue to stalk us for the rest of our time there.

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After we threw our bags down, we headed to Kahaluu Beach Park which was close by and ended up being a very neat snorkeling beach. Of course, we had no snorkeling gear, but even so, spotted a bunch of fish just by walking in the water.

The sand also had a really cool salt and pepper look to it. And of course I only took this one lousy picture.

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We didn’t stay at the beach very long because it was getting late, so we grabbed some dinner and called it a night.

The next day we headed to probably the most gorgeous beach I have ever seen in my life, Kua Bay.

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The waves were bananas though so yours truly kept her butt firmly planted in the sand for the majority of the time. I did go in once, about waist high and as I was trying to leave and return to shore a wave knocked me on my ass and my sunglasses went flying. Luckily, they got hooked on my bathing suit strap and they were not lost to Neptune. I lost a *different* pair of sunglasses a second time, but luckily Keith used his super-human swimming abilities to save them for me.

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It may have been this evening that we discovered one of the grocery stores nearby had KILLER poke for super cheap. We ate there multiple times, 1/3# of poke and rice for $7 or something like that, and double the poke for $9. I’d kill for that in Pittsburgh. And it would likely kill me because I would eat it every. single. day.

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We also got Scandinavian Shave Ice because I had to do my ancestors proud.

The next day we went to Kona Brewing for a tour and lunch.

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We had a tasting after the tour and the Lemongrass Luau was so good, I’m still thinking about it.

After our tour/tasting, we stayed for lunch and then back to the beach! And more poke for dinner!

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Our Airbnb was so far up the side of the mountain that it got these incredible sunset views. If you look closely, you can see the ocean over the tops of those trees.

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The next day, we went to Mountain Thunder Coffee for a tour. They are located in the Cloud Forest, which is like the Rain Forest, but way cooler. As soon as we got out of the car, we smelled peanut butter cookies. Both of us hate coffee, but for some reason the roasting coffee smelled like cookies to us and we were super into it.

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This was Lea. She was a great tour guide.

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We learned about the different blends of Kona coffee and the variety of beans and I pretty much forget everything now but I definitely remember how terrifying those geese were.

We left and of course went to the beach and then went home and packed because we were leaving the next day.

Now, poor planning on my part, because our flight wasn’t until 11 p.m. but we had to check out of the house at 11 a.m. We couldn’t go to the beach because we’d be all sandy and gross for the rest of the day. We *should* have saved our tours for that day, and I’ll remember that the next time I have a redeye.

We ended up driving north to Waimea and went to Big Island Brewhaus for lunch. We had a great lunch and I had a delicious lilikoi margarita while Keith sampled some beers.

And I made a friend!

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And then lunch was over and we still had hours before our flight so we just drove around and around and around. Too bad everything is so ugly over there.

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You can just barely see Maui peeking through the clouds. IMG_6963

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And then it was time to leave. Aloha, Hawaii. Until next time.

ten years.

You guys. You. Guys. It’s over. Done. Finished. Finito. Caput. I am a college graduate.

A completely unconventional college graduate, but I did it.

I began college fresh out of high school, ten years ago. I went full time for ~2 years and then took a break. I felt like a failure.* I felt like a drop out. I technically was a drop out. Three years passed and I went back. This time, part-time while working full-time. FIVE YEARS of that (summers included!)…and I’m done. The longest break I have had was the first summer when I didn’t take classes. 14 weeks. That’s it. Now I’m going to have a break for 14 years!

It feels impossible. It feels like I should be gearing up for summer classes. It feels like I should be scouting amazon for my fall books. But I’m not. I am done. I’m not registered for any more classes. I did not fill out a FAFSA. I did my student loan exit counseling.

I am done.

The past 5 years were hard. They were trying. It was the most stressful time of my life.

But I’m done! I did not attend graduation because I don’t know anyone else graduating and I didn’t want to sit alone. I also didn’t want to buy a cap and gown. Instead, I took the money I would have spent on the cap and gown and treated myself to a hot stone massage and it was the best decision I have ever made. I need another one, right now. I also treated Keith to a regular massage for putting up with my schooling for the past 5 years. Lots of dinners alone and hanging out alone while I did homework and I’ve missed at least 4 of his birthdays due to being in class. But no more!!!

 

(Although grades don’t come out until Thursday so I’m terrified that I somehow failed. If I fail my GIS class, fine, no biggie. But if I fail my Anthro class, I cannot graduate.**)

 

*College is not for everyone. If you dropped out, you are not a failure. My dropping out would not have made me a failure, but I am insane, so I felt like one.

**I really don’t think I failed, but see above: insane.

2015 Pittsburgh Guest Blogger Event #PghGBE

Today’s post comes from Sean of Sean’s Ramblings, and is part of a special day of shenanigans from other Pittsburgh Bloggers. You can see my post over on In Pursuit of Happiness, where I get a little deep on happiness and unhappiness. It’s a bit outside the realm of what I post on this blog so hooray for guest blogging! As always, a HUGE shoutout to Alex at everybodylovesyou.net for arranging this even every year and the countless other cool things he does throughout the year. Head on over to his blog for a list of all the other blogs participating today, there’s some great stuff coming your way! Now, take it away, Sean!

Inspired by Katrina’s recent honeymoon posts, I thought I would share a never written about story from my not-so-recent honeymoon. Unlike most normal people, we decided that we didn’t want to go to the beach for our honeymoon. That’s what happens when you get married in August after dealing with several months of hot and humid weather. Instead, we went north and west to Vancouver and on an Alaskan cruise. I won’t get into the entire 10-day trip, how I came to appreciate boxed wine or the fascination of going to a grocery store in Skagway, Alaska. Today, I’m going to share my story of a bike excursion in the town of Hoonah, Alaska.

In the summer of 2004, Hoonah and Royal Caribbean reached some type of partnership to allow Royal Caribbean cruise ships the exclusive right to stop in the town of less than 1,000 people. Hoonah was able to cash in on the growing tourist industry while Royal Caribbean found a place to call their own. Hoonah rolled out the red carpet for the tourists and offered dozens of excursions for the Royal Caribbean passengers. My wife and I signed up for a bike ride in and around the town. This sounds like fun except for one small problem…I don’t know how to ride a bike.

As a kid, I was Lance Armstrong (minus the drugs) on training wheels. However, I fell off the bike soon after the training wheels were removed and decided not to ride anymore. I went through childhood walking or getting rides to where I needed to go, and when I got a driver’s license, who needed a bike anyway?

Back to Hoonah (which works well in the chorus of OutKast’s Hey Ya!), you may wonder why I signed up for a bike excursion when I don’t ride. Well, there’s a common expression “it’s like riding a bike.” So even though I didn’t know how to ride a bike, I figured that it wouldn’t be too difficult for a 29 year old male in reasonable shape. I figured wrong. I was still unable to keep my balance and fell or almost fell multiple times. 

Eventually, I told my wife to go with the rest of the group as I stayed behind. This ended up being great as I got a 1-on-1 tour of Hoonah with one of the guides. I met the mayor and police chief as I pedaled on the pavement and walked the bike on gravel. I learned a lot about the town and the tour guide and her friend, both students at the University of Alaska. Meanwhile, my wife and the rest of the group encountered a brief downpour outside of town and came back soaked while there was no rain in “downtown” Hoonah. 10 years later, my wife and I have not biked together again (well, except for 1 spin class).

The morale of the story: Not biking together leads to a happy marriage!


 

Hoonah Inlet by flicker user: slashvee 

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Oh. Hey. Just gonna stroll in here like nothing is different and I haven’t taken 4+ months to blog about my honeymoon. Still one installment left! I know you are waiting with bated breath!

 

But that’s not today. I just need a brain dump. 

 

My life has been cah-razy lately. I have never been this busy…or maybe I have and I have just completely blocked it out, but life is kicking my butt. 

 

Work is so busy. Every day is a race against the clock and I never win. My boss was out of the office for 4 days last week and I had grand plans to catch up on everything. And I didn’t. I did get maybe 75% done, so that’s pretty good!

 

And in breaking news, I was just elected to secretary of the safety committee today…so that’s great. Something else to find time for in my day and I don’t even like safety!

 

But! Enough about work. 

 

The real thing culprit of stealing my free time is school. One month left. Four weeks left. Four CLASSES left. 10 HOURS of class left. I have four classes, a final paper and a take-home exam annnnnnnnnnd a giant independent study project for the other class. 

 

The actual class, Ethnoarchaeology, is great. I love it, I love the professor and since it is my last Anthropology class, there are no new concepts, just building on everything, so it has been rather easy. (But still time consuming, lots of reading.) The midterm, I got an A+ on and I wrote it (6 pages) in about 3 hours, so I’m not concerned about the take-home exam. The paper…well the syllabus said a rough draft was due yesterday so I worked my little fingers to the bone all weekend typing one up and then HE NEVER MENTIONED IT. I took it to class just in case and he never said a word, never collected it….and I wasn’t going to be that jerkwad who says “Hey, wasn’t something due today?” screwing over my fellow classmates. 

 

But! At least the draft is done and I can take my good old time editing it before the end of the term. I wrote about graffiti, because why not. 

 

My independent study project, I have had all semester to do…and I started it last weekend. In my defense, no one would return my emails about it…then I couldn’t get any data…then Windows (through our Mac) wasn’t working…and then I still couldn’t get my data…and then the program is SO SLOW on our Virtual Windows…

 

But this past weekend, I buckled down and spent a day on it. I made some progress but I have a lot farther to go which is what this upcoming weekend is entirely devoted to. Because it’s due the week before finals week…which only gives me 3 weeks!

 

I may have to take the computer and go to the library or something because getting stuff done at home is so hard sometimes. There is either the siren song of “a quick nap!” or Daisy bugs the crap out of me…or it suddenly seems like a good time to clean the baseboards…I am pretty sure I have adult-onset-ADD. 

 

But! 4 weeks! Then I will be done! Forever! 


 

A picture I took of a strawberry massacre and ran through the Waterlogue app. 

 

honeymoon part 5: hilo part 2

Our last full day in Hilo was another rainy, drizzly day. I really should have planned better and planned things that wouldn’t have been ruined by rain but it’s Hawaii! Who wants to be inside!

One of the things I was most looking forward to was only about 5 minutes from the house…Ahalanui Park. I was most looking forward to it because there was a geothermal pool! The pool butts up to the ocean, so it doesn’t get that hot, since there the cold ocean water splashes over and mingles. It still was about 90 degrees. And on a cold, drizzly day, it was pretty much the only kind of swimming I’d want to do. You could seriously miss the place, it’s a very small/unassuming park. There were probably only 5 other people there the day we were there but there were two lifeguards, so I can imagine on a nicer day it would get a few more visitors.

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I only got ~5 pictures with our point and shoot because the battery died and I couldn’t find the charger…but look at the lovely green tinge of the water. (That’s Keith out there, the little girl photobombed him.)

We hung out in the pool for a bit…if it had been 5 degrees warmer, I would have stayed all day…but we had bigger plans.

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I can’t imagine anyone having the chance to see a volcano and skipping it…unless it was actively erupting…but this was pretty much a life dream come true. Before we hit the actual volcano, we stopped at Volcano Winery for a tasting. I think we paid $7 each but got to try 7-8 wines, including an awesome tea-wine fusion. Tea and wine sound like they’d be really wrong together, but it really worked. I was a huge fan of their Pinot Noir and I never like red wines and never ever like dry wines. It was just so bright and crisp.

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We ended up buying a bottle to take home. We had packed a lunch and they had a nice little picnic area where we sat and ate. If we hadn’t had plans to do the volcano, it would have been really nice to have bought a bottle to enjoy with lunch!

We left the winery and drove to the park. We headed in and spent the next few hours exploring. Since the volcano was erupting, part of Crater Rim Drive was closed (due to fumes) but we still were able to drive the Chain of Craters Road. It’s a 2o mile drive that winds you past all of the old craters and it was just unbelievable. You drive through all of these lava fields and then suddenly you’re in a forest. And the back to lava, and then more forest. The scale of the craters was also unbelievable. You could fit football stadiums into some of them. These photos will not do it justice.

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At the end of the Chain of Craters is the Hōlei Sea Arch, and a very angry sea.


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Apparently, the best views of the crater are at night…but it had been a long, cold day so we only stayed until dusk to see the glow before we peaced out. Still pretty awesome.

We had some mediocre thai food and then headed back to Pahoa and bright and early the next day we headed off to Kona.

honeymoon part 4: hilo

On black Friday, we left our hotel in Maui to travel to the Big Island. As we were packing up to leave, we realized we had ~6 beers and half of a bottle of vodka that we couldn’t take with us. Our suitcase had already been overweight on the way in so I knew there was no way we could swing it. We decided to just leave it for the cleaning lady and hope that she would either take it or give it away. As we walked out of our room, Keith spotted a guy lugging a case of beer, so he stopped him and explained that we were checking out…want some free beer? The guy was super excited to take our beer off our hands, he said that he was getting married that week, so he’d need it. Haha. So that was nice. Win/win.

We got to the airport obscenely early and ended up sitting around for probably close to 2 hours for our 30 minute flight. It seemed like such a waste to go through all that damn security to be on the plane for that short of time. I don’t think I even finished a chapter in my book!

But by 1:00 p.m. we were on the Big Island.

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Kona airport is open-air. It was very weird. This was taken from baggage claim.

The first part of our Big Island stay was going to be in Pahoa on the opposite side of the island…so we grabbed our rental car and made the 2 hour trek.

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You take the Saddle Road from one side of the island to the other and it was just unreal. So stupidly gorgeous. And then it started raining. And pretty much didn’t stop for the next 3 days. Hilo is basically a rainforest, so I should have expected it.

We stayed in Pahoa, which is where the volcano is/was actively erupting. Luckily, it missed the house we were staying in and honestly didn’t affect us at all. There were a few roads closed nearby but nothing we needed.

The place we were staying was a good 5 minute drive off the main road. I made this video to upload to instagram, but it was too long…so here you go. It was 5mins sped up to 27 seconds. And like I said, it was intended for instagram, so it was going to be square and vertical/horizontal didn’t matter.

And this was the hale (ha-lay) in all her glory. IMG_0633

I was so excited about this place. I kept calling it the spaceship, but in reality it was more like a treehouse. There were screens all around, it was basically like sleeping outside. Which, when you have a husband with pretty severe allergies who accidentally left their allergy medicine in the hotel…maybe not paradise for everyone.

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But this is my blog and I loved it. The outdoor shower was a little strange and the bathroom was a real bathroom…but also outside and 30 yards away, so that took a little getting used to as well. But there were horses outside and little lizards inside! There was solar power and no wifi. There was a small cooler that ran off a generator and we had cellphone service. It was about as off-the-grid as I’m comfortable with and again, only for a few days!

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We didn’t do too much in Hilo, because it did rain every day. The sun was out in full force on our last day, naturally. By the time we got in on Friday, we didn’t feel like doing much of anything so we just stayed in and relaxed. On Saturday, we woke up and it was pouring. We went and got some lunch at Hawaiian Style Cafe and I had my first taste of poke (poh-kay). Poke is basically cubed raw fish…covered in a sauce (soy sauce, oil, etc) and it is magnificent. I got that as a side to a really terrible burger. Keith got some kind of meatloaf and for his side they offered him fries or pancakes. He went with pancakes and when they arrived we found they were bigger than the both of our heads put together. But they were fabulous.

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If I could go back in time I would have just gotten the pancakes and the poke, which actually sounds like a pretty gross combination, but play to your strengths.

After leaving there, we headed to Mehana Brewing Company since it was only a few minutes away. They had a small, informal setup (think East End Brewing version 1.0) but we were able to try all ~8 beers they had on tap and had a nice chat with the lady working.

From there we went to the movies. Hey, it was raining! All of my planned activities were outdoors! So we sat in a dark movie theatre and saw Mockingjay. And I don’t regret it at all. (Loved it.)

On our way back to the house we stopped at Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Center which was completely overrun with 2 busloads of Japanese tourists. They store had these gift packs of ~8 cans of nuts for ~$35 and I am not exaggerating when I say that these people were cleaning them out, buying literally hundreds of dollars worth of nuts. It was insane. It was like Black Friday, except on a Saturday and people only buying nuts. Nuts. We finally were able to elbow our way through for some samples and there was a self-guided tour but apparently it didn’t work on Saturdays because none of the tvs would turn on. So we bought a bag of nuts and went on our merry way, stopping for some completely forgettable sushi on the way back home.

And I thought I could roll all of Hilo into one day, but I’m not done yet so I’ll stop here. Hilo Part 2 next.

 

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