HILO, HAWAII…day 99 of our voyage

Dear family,

Wow.  What an experience this has been.  I’m having a rush of conflicting emotions and thought typing them out might help.  I finished studying for my Global Studies exam tonight and then came back to the room and tried on clothes (deciding what I’m going to wear when I get off the ship).  I remember counting down from 6 days BEFORE the trip, and now I’m counting down as the trip comes to a close.  I can’t believe it: this dream has come and is almost complete.  6 days.  Wow.  It has been so absolutely life-changing.  I’m blown away by how many opportunities we were given to learn on this voyage.  My heart hurts to think that this “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity is closing and I try not to think about the group of friends that will be splitting up to literally all over the US.  Tomorrow is day 99 of our voyage.  Wow.  Where does the time go?
Today I had a wonderfully relaxing time in Hilo.  We had one of the best breakfasts of my life with pancakes (with local-made guava, coconut, and lili___ syrup), guava juice, ham, bacon, etc.  It was heavenly.  🙂  We were all giddy with excitement as we ate it simply because it was so wonderful and so…normal…haha, I guess it’s just crazy to eat American food again while in port and have it not be the never-changing food we have on the ship.  As we got off the ship we were all saying, “Yay Hawaii”, etc. and then Heather pointed out we were back in the US.  Crazy.  She then proceeded to lead the group in singing (loudly), “God Bless America”, “I’m Proud to be an American”, “This Land is Your Land”, “Star Spangeled Banner”, etc as we walked to downtown Hilo.  (And “God Save the Queen” because she’s Scottish–had to represent. 🙂 )  Every street sign was in English (sort of, though street signs like Kamehameha certainly didn’t feel like Arizona) and the farmer’s market was calm, no bargaining, and communication easy.  We’re were all having moments of gratitude as we enjoyed our day in Hilo.  At the farmer’s market I bought and ate an ENTIRE bag of cherry tomatoes, had some coconut, ate shrimp, and just enjoyed looking around.  Man, it was a great and very chill day.  Nice to be back in the land of the Polys and just slow down for a bit!  🙂  The green was gorgeous and made me miss North Shore like crazy, the black volcanic sand beaches way cool, and the liquid sunshine made me so happy.  Then, of course, it POURED–liquid sunshine, my foot!  😉  I guess we brought the rain from Japan because it was intense!  Kara and Alyssa went to WALMART(!!!) and I now have Pringles and Snyder’s Pretzels on my desk—happiness!

I’m slowing down.  I think I’m going to try to get good sleep tonight before the final tomorrow.  Just know I’m feeling so much gratitude for this incredible trip and I KNOW it has changed me permanently!  So many many blessings…

Love you guys and see you in 6 days!!! Destiny

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