Well, believe it or not, I only have 12 days left here on the island. Really. 12 days, and then I get to come home. Has it really been a semester already? It doesn't even feel real. This is the last "real" week of classes, and my last business class is tomorrow. Granted, the final for that class is online and takes 2 weeks to complete, BUT it's still the last real class tomorrow. I have mixed emotions on going home; on one hand, I'm excited to go home and be in familiar territory, but on the other, I have to leave paradise for purgatory. I can't avoid it, so there's no point in complaining about it.
I apologize for not being better about blogging while I've been over here. But, I'm here now, so that's what matters :)
These past couple weeks have been exciting and more of the same. We went on a hike called the Makapu'u Lighthouse trail, and it was beautiful! It's a must see - the views are incredible. A couple days before that, we went to the buddhist temple in the valley of the temples in Kaneohe - it's also beautiful. Everything here is just beautiful, ya feel me?
This past Saturday, the 22nd, was my 19th birthday. We spent it diving in a cage with sharks, eating, and sleeping. It started of at 8:30 in Haleiwa at the boat harbor. We took a 15 minute choppy boat ride out to a cage anchored 3 miles off the coast. The water was an incredible color blue - I never thought it would be so light and colorful. When we got out there, the boat tied up to the cage and we hopped in. They give you snorkeling gear, and I had my go pro, so it made for a great time. The water was warm, and there were 7/8 sharks around us the whole time. The cage is pretty large, so all of my friends and I were able to go in at the same time. It's made of metal bars and a section is covered with clear strong plastic. We were so close to them; it was so cool! There were only gallapagos sharks, so no violent ramming of the cage and no great whites. If you come to Hawaii, you have to do it! Go through Hawaiian Shark Encounters - you'll love it.
Post shark diving, we went to iHop in Kaneohe (kahn-ay-o-hay) and I had a nice stack of cinnastax pancakes, which is a birthday tradition in the Holdsworth family. We came back, took a sweet nap, and woke up to eat yet MORE food. We went to this delicious mexican place back in Haleiwa called Cholos, the first place I ate at with my parents on the North Shore. It was of course delicious, so if you come, go there. It was a great birthday, and I'm thankful that I was able to spend it on this beautiful island!
The next week consisted of school, until Wednesday. Big shout out to Prince Kuhio, because we got Wednesday off. My friend Erica was generous enough to drive Sam, Sarah, Matty, and I around on our day off. We went up to North Shore Tacos, which is about 15 minutes away from the campus by car. It's like a Hawaiian Cafe Rio or Costa Vida. We then made our way up to Lani Kai (lawnee kai) beach. It's apparently one of the most desirable beaches in the world, and it's easy to see why. The sand is SO soft, and the water is so blue and clear. I loved it. It's a must see if you come to the island. I should work for Hawaii, as much as I endorse and encourage these touristy places, sheesh.
So we played in the water and got some of our tan back, went to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, had some cold stone ice cream, then came back to the campus. You'd be surprised how tired you can get from sitting on the beach all day.
Classes resumed on Thursday, and on Friday we made our way into Honolulu for Sarah's birthday. We stayed right off of Waikiki and shopped until we dropped. We ate at Cheesecake Factory for her birthday, which was so good it was sinful. I'm telling ya, you people back home better appreciate your cars and your delicious restaurants because I'm incredibly jealous. Anyways, we went back to the hotel, watched some late night tv. Living the college dream.
Saturday morning, we ate at this place called Mac 24/7. It's been featured on Man Vs. Food, and there's a good reason behind it. They serve these pancakes that are as large as a pizza. To make it even better, they bring you 3. It's insane. The four of us (Brooke, Sam, Sarah, and I) couldn't even finish it. It was SO GOOD. Go there if you come to O'ahu, too. (I could really make a whole travel plan for you, ay carumba).
We shopped some more (thank you Nordstrom), and made our way back to Laie. It was sunny and hot when we left Waikiki. When we got off the bus at the wrong stop in Laie, it was POURING rain. We were soaked through and through, and it was not a good day to wear white shirts. We finished the night by eating pizza and cinnastix - it was a great weekend, even if I did spend way too much money.
Today was the last "real" Sunday we had on campus. It was our last church meeting, which was minorly sad. Next Sunday is general conference, and I'm so so excited. We may or may not be going all out with treats and goodies... :) It's the small things, people.
We only have one weekend left. We have to make the most of it! I think we're going to do Stairway to Heaven (search the Haiku Stairs Hawaii and you'll understand) and I cannot wait. It's a major to do on my bucket list.
I'll sign off and write more later. Enjoy your sabbath and eat out for me.

brooke, me, sarah, sam

pistols in paradise :)

lighthouse trail

buddhist temple

Lani Kai beach

Red Velvet Cheesecake from the cheesecake factory 
sam, me, sarah

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