It’s been two weeks since we left Costa Rica for our new home in Malaysia, and even though we’re not there yet (we’ll be there in a few hours) we’ve been loving the journey. After leaving Costa Rica, we stopped to visit friends and family in Utah, Washington, and Hawaii. Here are some recent pictures and a summary of the past two weeks.
First, before we left Costa Rica, we had a flock of parrots visit us in our backyard. It was a pleasant send-off. Our friends, the Bustillos, also brought their whole family to our house at 4:00 a.m. to take us to airport. So sweet! We will miss them, and all the friends we made in Costa Rica!
Our time in Salt Lake City was short, but we threw a “Meet Baby Aysia Party” where lots of family and friends came to say hi, meet the baby, and wish us well on our travels. It was so nice to see everyone who came. I just wish we had more time to visit.
After Utah, we had a long layover in Seattle, so we met with my mom and took the light rail to the International district for some dim sum lunch. It was cold there, but the trees were covered in beautiful autumn colors, and of course it was great to see my mom. We would also see more of her in Hawaii the following week. We were lucky that our trip to Hawaii corresponded with my aunt’s trip there (she is a frequent traveler to Kauai). And my sister came to celebrate her landmark birthday of 11/11/11, so my mom decided to join in the fun, too. We all had a great time together!
Our first couple days on Hawaii — before we met up with my family — were spent on Oahu. The first day, I took care of some financial and business stuff that popped up, notarizing and mailing documents, etc. After that, we walked around Waikiki, did a little shopping, enjoyed the art galleries and took a peek at the beach.
We spent our second night and day with some friends, the Gledhills, who also happened to be visiting Oahu when we were. They were gracious enough to let us stay in the second bedroom of their Marriott timeshare and feed us dinner and breakfast. Ruth is also an art teacher and taught the girls some watercolor techniques, which was fun. Such sweet people. The next day, we all stopped at a beautiful lookout point over northern Oahu, visited the replica of the Byoudo-in Buddhist Temple, and finished up the day at the Polynesian Cultural Center, where we enjoyed learning about the different cultures, languages, dress, songs, and dances from the surrounding islands.
Once we flew to Kauai, we were soon joined by my aunt and her family (including many of my cousins), my sister, and my mom on the north shore in Princeville. It’s so beautiful there! The mountains on both Oahu and Kauai are striking and dramatic, with numerous waterfalls cascading down, and green everywhere.
I simply couldn’t capture on camera how beautiful the scene below was. The rays of light from the sun were shining through and creating magnificent colors and contrasts across the Hanalei valley. And this photo only includes a small portion of the panorama.
One day, we went snorkeling at Ke’e beach, near the Na Pali coast. We saw a sea turtle resting under a rock, and a monk seal that came up on shore to sunbathe. We also took a short hike up the first 1/2 mile of the trail to Na Pali to see the views, including this gorgeous one of the beach we snorkeled at.
One evening we took a short walk with my sister down to Hideaway beach to look at the tide pools, where we saw some cool sea life, and of course a beautiful sunset.
Besides this, we spent the week hanging out with family, playing games, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, hiking (including a barefoot hike through disgusting and slippery mud), visiting the Kilauea lighthouse/bird sanctuary, shopping, eating, and being silly and laughing together, especially my sister and me who can’t help but be goofy when we get together.
It’s difficult to compare Costa Rica to Hawaii. Both are tropical destinations with beautiful scenery and a relaxed culture. Hawaii’s mountains are definitely more striking, and they have the added benefit of no poisonous snakes or dangerous crocodiles, and being developed to U.S. standards of cleanliness, causing me to feel safer there. However, it is also much more expensive. For example, I was used to paying 80 cents for a pineapple in Costa Rica, but in Hawaii, it’s $6-8! Of course, you can live on the cheaper end (we met a family who is paying $6/day to camp out at the beach in a trailer), but food is very expensive in Hawaii.
Overall, it was a fantastic trip from beginning to end. It was so great to be able to spend time with our family and friends and be in such beautiful places. We’ll miss you all and look forward to the next time we can get together.