Thursday, July 30, 2015

I'm Trying To Grow Up, I Swear

I'm going to be really honest with you right now. I should've closed my blog series "Rachel Takes Hawaii" out. I should've said something witty like, "Hey! I didn't get eaten by sharks!" (Is that even witty?) 

I should've told you about this really wonderful shave ice place that we went to that was absolutely AMAZING. 

But instead, I'm going to tell you a story. It's about myself. I know. That's all I ever do talk about on this blog: myself. But if I'm honest, I'm at a freaky place in my life right now. This post has nothing to do with Hawaii. Or fun. Or games. Or anything, really, except me just freaking out in general about my existence on this planet.

I'm going to be a junior this year. Being a junior comes big responsibility. I have to boss the freshmen around. I have to take Advanced Placement courses. I have to take the SAT (which, by the way, I signed up to take in October). I have to take my driver's test in December. I have to turn sixteen in September before I'm able to take my driver's test in December. I have to actually LEARN HOW TO DRIVE SAFELY, for heaven's sake.

I'm freaked out about life. I'm freaked out about my school. I have friends that I feel comfortable with, but I'll probably never be at my most comfortable place with them. I don't think anyone's tapped into that most comfortable part of me yet. 

For some reason, there's a little part of my heart that's closed off to meaningful relationships. I don't know what it really feels like to have best friends, people I can count on constantly and who I jump up and down to see and am always excited to see. Socially, I'm fine, but I feel like everyone's "growing up" and leaving me in the dust to go watch their R-rated movies and whatnot and I'm just like...hi. i like minions. I have a blog that very few people read. The few people who do read it I don't know personally. I have a YouTube channel that one of my friends called "cute" that also very few people view.

Sometimes, quite frankly, I feel like I don't have any friends. I feel like a loner. I think sometimes I try too hard to make friends, but then I don't try hard enough. If you text me, you'll notice something: I almost always respond right away. And guess why I almost always respond right away? Because nobody else texts me at all. When I do happen to text people besides my parents and others, I'm usually the one spurring the conversation on, not the other person. There are very few people who actively pursue texting conversations with me. And that makes me sad, but I'm not delusional enough to think that that's how everyone is. I see massive giant group chats among friends where they can chat about all kinds of things. At school, it seems like the only thing I have in common with everyone is school. Not even personality-wise. Just school.

I am not close to anyone. The only places where I feel at home--truly at home--are at home (well duh) and at church. I've realized recently that A) I'm a homebody--I can only travel and do things within a certain limitation--and B) church is much more than a place to go on Sundays. It's a place where I can meet likeminded people who love Jesus and encourage me along the right path, where I can worship God without worrying about anything, where I can fellowship and forge relationships. 

And even while I am spiritually and emotionally satisfied in both places, there is a part of me who wants a creative aspect to be part of my world as well. I'd love to find someone who wants to do art projects with me, who'll watch movies with me and critique things and watch YouTube videos with me and, most of all, write and brainstorm and create THINGS in general. Music. Art. Photography. Writing. Stories. Productions. I want to find people who are as passionate about creativity as I am. Who find marketing and advertising and the study of the general human populace as fascinating as I do. The entertainment industry. The relationships forged in the entertainment industry.

Revolutionizing the entertainment industry.

Geez, that sounds really idealistic.

I want to act. I want to write. I want to direct. I hate being limited by being young, by having limited funds. I'd like to change the name of this blog and buy my own domain name and have a new Blogger name. I'd like to make my Instagram public, create a Twitter account and Tweet all the mundane things that happen in my life. 

And guess what now?

I'm going to create my own opportunities. I will be unashamed, direct, and clear. I want a fresh start, but I'll make do with what I have. 

I'll find my niche and my people someday, and then things will take off from there. God will lead wherever I go, and I will hold fast to His ways. 

For now, I'll just work and pray.

(Apologies if that sounded complainy a bit. It's just been bottled up in me for a while now.)





Sunday, July 26, 2015

SNORKELING + DOLPHINSSSSSS // RACHEL TAKES HAWAII




HUUUUUULLLLOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(*speaks with a British accent because I've been watching a lot of British YouTube lately*)

How are you all doing today? I must tell you...you're lookin' mighty fine today!

(*speaks with Southern accent because...Southern*)

I've just been on a boat this morning, and currently this hotel room is rocking up and down, up and down. I'm not quite sure why. It's a Boat Complex. Okay.

Well, I've been gone for three days so I have three days' worth of things to catch up with you!

I'm afraid I didn't take very many pictures on July 23rd, so I'll just paint a wonderful portrait with my words...

...we went snorkeling.

It was my first time, actually. My siblings had tried out their gear in a pool prior to the trip, but I, being a lazy munchkin, had yet to figure things out. 

I actually learned how to snorkel quicker than I usually learn how to do things, which is a plus.

For my first time snorkeling, it was pretty fun.

(*excuse me as the hotel room is still currently rocking. I think my body thinks it's still on a boat*)

The water was pretty shallow, but when you're wearing a life vest you can pretend that you're being adventurous and swimming very far out when in reality the ground is like two feet below you. I could stand up basically wherever I snorkeled, but fish still somehow liked being where I was! (Kind of. They sorta swam away whenever I came, but hey, they did that to everyone else so I wasn't the only one. *sings the Sam Smith song* I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE sorry I was in McDonalds today for breakfast and Sam Smith was on--I recognized it because of the really slow thumping drum beat--and he was singing I'M NOT THE ONLY ONNNEEEE and I had to listen to it while I was eating my parfait. I'm not a huge fan of Sam Smith--I mean, I tried listened to "Stay With Me" but I just didn't like it. I don't think his music is my type. Sorry. I just went on a full-on rant there. Also, all his songs kind of sound the same. Also, I'm not sure if I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE is the actual lyrics to the song but I'm pretty sure it is. I don't know. Correct me if I'm wrong down in the comments.)

Anyway, I think I saw an eel and stuff, and it was really nice. 

BONUS: WE DIDN'T HAVE TO PAY FOR IT.

Normally we would've had to pay $7.50 per person, but my parents made us get up really early in the morning and we got to the place before it was even open--fourth car in line, holla!--so we didn't have to pay OR watch the orientation video. 

WE GOT TO SNORKEL FOR FREE. YAAAAAAAAAY.

That kind of made up for having to wake up early in the morning. Kind of. I still need my sleep.

We went to this burger place for lunch and I had burgers and umami fries, and then we went back to our hotel room. I chilled in it for pretty much the rest of the afternoon, but the rest of my fambam went to the ocean and boogie boarded on the waves. 

I know. I have Extreme Introvert Syndrome. I should've gone to the beach.

For dinner, my parents went out for Japanese food and we went to the ABC store. My brothers and sister ate ramen, while I had an egg salad sandwich.

And if you're thinking that my parents weren't being very nice, making us eat ramen--my foolish brothers WANTED to eat the ramen. 

You might be thinking, What kind of Asians don't like Asian food?

(*all four of us raises our hands*)

We don't like Asian food that much. Korean barbecue is basically all that we like. Only one of my brothers likes sushi (the rest of us don't), my other brother just doesn't like Asian food for whatever reason, I can eat some stuff but not really, and my little sister doesn't really like meat.

We're very American. 

Anyway, we watched TV and sat out on the balcony and stuff, so it was nice.

The next day (July 24th), we had to check out of our hotel room, and we went to a different beach.



It was a very nice beach. (All the beaches here are nice. Just so you know.) My dad rented a double kayak and a stand-up paddleboard for four hours (so all six of us could go out), and stuff went down.

MAJOR STUFF.

So basically I went on the paddleboard. And basically I was my typical bumbling self and I ended up staying out there for maybe over an hour because A) IT WAS CHOPPY, B) it was so choppy I couldn't even stand up on it, and C) I have zero upper body strength.

But seriously, it was choppy. I thought about standing up, and I tried to for maybe about ten seconds, but then it got all WOOOOOFFFy and I just couldn't, y'know? I didn't want to fall in the water and my sense of balance is all off (I mean, judging from the fact that my hotel room is still rocking up and down), so I didn't. I paddled to this little island thing (which, apparently, I didn't even have a permit for--I thought I did, but I didn't--so...woops), which was a bird island reserve thing. I saw maybe three birds. I had to trek around with my salt-stained glasses (because my contacts had been misbehaving earlier) and my little brother's freakishly too large Crocs (because my brother's at that age where he's bigger than me AND he doesn't care about his footwear AT ALL despite the fact that I keep on saying "WHAT ARE THOSE?!?!?!" to him, jk, I don't do that, WOW THIS IS A LOT OF WORD VOMIT // I'm really very sorry about this// )

And then I had to paddle back, and I'd been gone so long that my dad came out LOOKING for me (instead of Looking for Alaska, it's Looking for Rachel...In Hawaii), and then he got mad at me and THAT was when I learned that I didn't have a permit to go on the island.

I'm such a stinking lawbreaker, guys.

Then we played around in the waves a little, and there were these two ladies talking about their love lives right next to me, which was really funny. They were like talking about their exes or something, and one of them was like, "Yeah, I think he's moved on...He's dating this other girl" and they were giving each other love advice or something, and I was all thinking, BRUH, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN?

Then we drove to a different hotel, which is where we're staying at for the rest of this trip (till Tuesday).

Look at this chandelier. Isn't it woooooonderful? 

VVVVVV


After we showered and got ready, we went to a luau!

It was kind of touristy. All the workers were wearing giant flowery Hawaiian things (muumuus? dresses? i don't know) and they gave us shell leis. There was a lily pad pond and people playing music, and these "demonstrations" that involved the employees climbing up trees and things and a hula dance and "Polynesian tattoos" (they just drew on you with a pencil, and it smeared off by the end of the night). There was also a stand where you could buy shaved ice and stuff.




Finally figured out what this flower was called--plumeria.



Blue vanilla and banana.


I ate a lot (it was a buffet). I wanted to get my money's worth.


THE VERY NEXT DAY (JULY 25), WE WENT SWIMMING WITH DOLPHINS!!!!!!!

I think, out of all the things I've done so far on the trip, this was my favorite. We went on a small boat with a captain and a guide person and snorkeled around these "dolphin resting grounds" and we saw four dolphins! It was seriously so cool. Afterward, we went to a snorkeling place, where we saw a TON of fish and a bunch of sea turtles and things and it was honestly the best time.


Afterward we went back to our hotel and rested, then went to a Japanese curry place and Jamba Juice, braved traffic back (there was some accident that happened, and all these people were rubbernecking) and came back and watched Maze Runner, which was okay, but not like the book that much.

Now I'm finishing up this post on the day after I started it, sitting here at ten in the morning at our hotel, trying to finish up this blog post before we leave for the beach (yet again). I think I might hit the Fitness Center, but who knows what's going to happen? 

We're leaving on Tuesday, which is kind of crazy because these past days have flown by in a breeze. I can't believe our trip is almost over, but I am happy to go home.

SEE YOU!




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I WENT SURFING // RACHEL TAKES HAWAII

I....don't really know where to start.

The reason why I didn't post yesterday because I was tired.

Yes, really. I was TIRED.

I am not even kidding right now. Yesterday (and today) were such eventful days that I had to hype myself up on sugar in order to muster the strength to write this post.

Anyway, our hotel provides us with free breakfast (!!!!!!!! free food !!!!!!!!!!), so we had some of that. As you can see, I was trying to be healthy.

***trying***

I had like a yogurt and two more mini muffins and more fruit and stuff after this, but I didn't do too badly.


Before breakfast, though, my mom and I worked out in the "Fitness Center" they have here and went down to the beach.

And you might be thinking, Rachel! Are you seriously that much of an early bird??!!

And the answer is NO. I am NOT an early bird. My mother is. I am not. But Hawaii is three hours behind my time, so 4:30 in the morning (when I woke up) is like 7:30 a.m. back home. 

It was really weird being up early in the morning. But I managed to catch the sunrise! (Kind of...)





For some reason I really like Hawaiian architecture ^^^^^^ I keep taking pictures of all the buildings.


They have a bunch of different things up for rent at the beach. I kind of want to go on that giant wheely thing.

After breakfast, we headed to the Diamond Head trail. It was pretty easy, but we had to take the bus and walk to the bus stops and stuff so it was more than 1.6 miles.






I'm pretty sure I don't need to say this, but it was BEAAAAUUUUTTTIFFFUUULLL.

California water is kind of like a darker, grayish bluish color. Hawaiian water is two-toned and way prettier.


Afterward, we went back home and got some food from one of the several hundred thousand million ABC Stores here. They're kind of like convenience stores, except they have everything and they're pretty fairly priced. I'm not even kidding--they have clothes, souvenirs, toothbrushes, toothpaste, fire lighters, groceries, and legitimate food. 

Then we went down to the beach, which was really nice--the water's really shallow for a really long time; you can really get out there and the water'd still be up at your waist. I didn't take any pictures because I was too busy playing in the water.

Then we went back up, dried off, and walked back down to a different beach for a SURFING LESSON.

GAAAHHHH GUYS I SURFFFFFEEDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They made us use these really long, thick, heavy boards, so I only fell off once or twice or thrice (but no more than thrice) and even though I didn't go very far and I needed to get pushed in order to actually catch waves, it was really fun. For an hour or two there, I felt like a true soul surfer ;-) 

Also, can I just say that paddling is really hard? Like, you wouldn't think so, but if you're on one of those giant beginner boards, your arms get tired. (My shoulders are sore as I'm typing this right now.) Also, I'm really bad at it. Scooping water is harder than it looks. Just a heads-up in case you guys go surfing. 

Or, if you've already gone surfing, ISN'T IT REALLY HARD? YES, IT WAS REALLY HARD. I KNOW, I'M BEING REALLY RELATABLE RIGHT NOW.

The paddling was what wore me out. And the hiking. We went and got musubi afterwards--musubi is like this Asian thing (I'm pretty sure it's Japanese) where they wrap seaweed around a bunch of rice and a meat (usually Spam)--but we had to walk like fifteen minutes to get there and I got all worn out. The musubi place was this little hole-in-the-wall. I got their cucumber-egg-Spam one, and it was super salty but also really good. The egg was sweet, for some reason, but it complemented the Spam because--if you haven't ever had Spam--it's salty. Like, INSANELY salty.


THEEEEENNN we got a shave ice. I usually don't like banana flavors, but the banana ice was the best.


Afterward, we got back to our hotel room and I just about collapsed. I was SO. TIRED. I fell asleep literally as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Of course, it didn't help when my mom had to wake me up at 5:30 in the morning today. 

See, there are these people called tourists in Hawaii. They're quite common, I've heard; actually, occasionally I refer to myself as one of them. But the problem with tourists is that, in the summer, they're very prevalent. And a lot of them flock to Hawaii. And a lot of them want to go see Pearl Harbor and all the famous Hawaiian sights.

But the problem is, WE want to go see Pearl Harbor and all the famous Hawaiian sights too.

So guess what?

We had to wake up early and go see them before everyone else did. 

And, I suppose, that's what we had to do.

I WAS STILL REALLY TIRED. I had gotten 8-9 hours of sleep, but I probably could've gotten at least a couple more because (I don't really know) I was so worn out from the day before. I kind of wandered around Pearl Harbor in a half-sleepy daze for a couple of hours.

Pearl Harbor is divided into a bunch of different sections with a bunch of different memorials. There's the USS Arizona memorial (a movie + a boat ride to the memorial, which is a white building that sits on top of the ship itself) and the submarine and a shuttle bus ride to the USS Missouri and an aviation museum. There's also a museum and some other stuff, I think.




This was the memorial. It was an oblong white building with some plaques and a bunch of windows so we could look out to the sunken ship.

These kind of places fascinate and sober me. It's kind of strange to me that I'm standing on a piece of history...like, seventy years ago General Douglas MacArthur was walking around the places that I was walking on. Or, when I was standing on the USS Missouri, I was standing on the same deck that, many moons ago, housed the ending of WWII (the final Japanese surrender was signed on the deck of the ship). There are a thousand sailors' names etched on the wall of the USS Arizona memorial. And it's crazy to me--me, who at fifteen years old still cannot quite yet grasp the reality of death--that all of these men? They were once living. They had families. They had identities. They had wives and girlfriends and children and they spoke and then one day a Japanese bomb exploded the ammunition chamber of their ship and bam--they were gone.

I'm still so young that I can't ever imagine dying, or being put in a situation in which I'm going to die. I've never had a near-death experience. My imagination is more real to me than reality is sometimes.

And yet...these things happen.

I think that, with getting older, I realize the sobriety of the situations more. I've been to several monuments in Washington, D.C., over five years ago, but none of them have affected me quite as much as the USS Arizona memorial has.

And I've never appreciated the veterans and the American military more. And I get it more, why we have Veteran's Day and Memorial Day and why veterans get discounts and also why they get PTSD and all the awful stuff. War is a terrible thing.

To think that the remains of over 900 men from the explosion are still down there, lingering in the ship, makes me think. 

We're not invincible. But we act like we are sometimes. And these people--they knew they weren't invincible. And yet they still went out and did their duties.

If you're working for the military and you're reading this, for whatever reason...thank you.


After, I had to get ice cream. Even though I'd absorbed that much impact in a short amount of time, I DESPERATELY needed a sugar fix.

For some reason, caffeine makes me sleepy. I always have to resort to sugar, even at 9:45 in the morning.


We walked around the inside of a submarine, and then we got hot dogs. (I'm taking pictures of all the food, guys. Feast with your eyes.)


Then we went to the USS Missouri...


Then we drove to the Dole Pineapple Plantation!

We didn't do that much there--just walked around the shops, bought some Dole Whip, and did a little train tour of the plantation--but it was nice, being in fresh air and seeing the "rural" side of Hawaii. 



Dole Whip is actually really good. It's kind of like pineapple froyo. Even though I'm not a huge fan of the tart-sweet combination thing, it still tasted magical. (Sorry, I'm running out of adjectives.)


Train ride selfie!


The tour was in this tiny train that reminded me of Disneyland, and there was an audio tour along with it. The audio tour was great; the "musical breaks"--EXTREMELY CLICHED MUSIC SONGS ABOUT PINEAPPLES AND HAWAII--were awful (they played little interludes of "local music" to persuade us poor deluded tourists to buy these "local" CDs). The music itself wasn't bad--there were plenty of ukuleles and drums and stuff--but GEEZ, the lyrics were awful. The guy singing was like...

Won't you pick me a pineapple
That'd be really really dapple
But pineapples aren't apples
Let's go plaaaaaayyyyyyyyy

(Okay, not really, but you get the gist. They needed a new lyricist.)


It's getting late now and I need to go--we have to wake up early tomorrow too--so I'll let you go! See you in a day or two!




Monday, July 20, 2015

FLYING BEAN SPROUTS + MURDER // RACHEL TAKES HAWAII

HELLO AGAIN! WELCOME TO PART TWO OF MY VACATION SERIES "RACHEL TAKES ON HAWAII"!!!!!



I am currently mightily resisting the urge to eat the Swedish Fish that I bought my brother for his birthday. 

Anyway, today we traveled to Hawaii and went to the beach and ate loads of carrot sticks and things, so...here's the hashdown!

(I don't think hashdown is a word. Hold on. Let me Google it first.)

(I didn't even have to Google it. It's rundown, not hashdown. Dang it.)

(Anyway, I made a new word.)

10:21 a.m. (California time)

Currently I'm sitting in the middle row of the airplane, squelched between my brother on my right and a lady I don't know on my left, Tori Kelly blaring through my earbuds (which I thought were long-lost and recently found in the wash. Surprisingly, they still worked). Also, ironically, I'm listening to “California Lovers.”
Man, these Hawaiian Airlines people know how to MILK it. Geez. All the flight attendants are wearing Hawaiian shirts and all the ladies are wearing fake flowers in their hair and they're all saying, “Aloha” and “Mahalo” and all that—wow, my mom just told me to type quieter. Whoops. Sorry, Mom. 
Anyway, there's this TV thing in front of us, but the only free stuff is the “complimentary” TV that's basically a bunch of hogwash propaganda about how Hawaii—and Hawaiian Airlines—has a “special kind of hospitality” (it was actually really good alliteration; I bet the advertisers thought they were being geniuses), and a bunch of hula dancers and flight-attendant-type people on the screens very obviously reading off teleprompters.
As you can tell, I'm not super happy with the commercialization of the American economy. But then, I'm pretty used to it.

But then, maybe I'm not because I'm making a big deal out of this.

TTYL.

AFTER EVERYTHING (approx 7:29 p.m., Hawaiian time // 10:27 p.m., California time)

Well, we arrived safe and sound! I'm sitting here in our hotel room, where we have a marvelous view of a bunch of buildings and the street. Unfortunately, our room does not have a view of the ocean. Fortunately, there's a little passageway shortcut to the beach from our building (the place we're staying at has multiple buildings), so I guess we can sacrifice a good view for convenience.
Anyway, the trip was pretty uneventful. It took about five hours; in that time, I read In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote, for my AP Lang class, and kind of maybe sorta listened to music the entire plane ride over?
It was riveting, not going to lie, mostly because it was about a quadruple murder (crime has always fascinated me, for some reason) and it was a nonfiction story, but it was told kind of like a fictional one. Capote went into the heads of the people and it was actually really interesting; I finished it on the plane ride, minus most of the annotations I was supposed to do. Nonfiction books are starting to grow on me.
We landed at around 12:45 Hawaiian time, (or 3:45 Californian time) and got our stuff and called up a taxi and drove to our hotel. We couldn't check in right away, so we checked out the beach and ate some lunch/dinner (our body clocks are kind of messed up, as you can imagine).
The water is really clear. I've been to beaches where I live, but the water there is murky and sandy; here it's extremely blue, and the sand is whiter and finer (there's a lot of rocks, though).

Also, another difference is that in California, the waves are pretty close to the beach AND they're usually coldish. Here, the water feels like pool water (warm, but not too warm) and the waves are further out.


This was in LA, but I thought it was pretty :-)


I really won't ever get over airplane meals. Egg, cheese, and mushroom in pita bread. Mushroom is basically the only vegetable that I really don't like (it's way too SLIMY), but it tasted all right in this. And plus, they gave us chocolate! For "breakfast"!


Oahu is more industrialized than you think it might be.


The people at the hotel gave us guava-pineapple juice in chilled glasses. It kind of made me feel like I was royalty, sippin' out of those ice cold thaaaaaaaangs (geez what did i just do). The juice was really good, too. A little on the sweet side, but still good.


DA BEAAAAAAACHHHH!

let's go to the beach-each, let's go get awayyyyy

It kind of looks like it wasn't that crowded, but believe me, it was. 


We went to a food court for lunch/dinner (sorry, this post is kind of out of chronological order). I had Vietnamese food :-) It was expensive (everything here is), but they gave me a lot of chicken and I couldn't finish the entire thing. 

Oh, and the flying bean sprouts. So the ladies who took our orders and got our food were acting kinda silly. (It was funny.) One of them was eating a random slice of watermelon and they started talking about something (idk what it was) and that somehow turned into one of them throwing a piece of bean sprout at the other one.

Thankfully, it didn't erupt into a full-fledged food fight, but it was funny. I would've jumped into the fray if, like, there had been a fray at all. There were a bunch of hot sauce bottles on the counter...

There are a lot of Asian tourists here...like, I'm sure there are other Asian Americans here too, like me, but there are tourists directly from Japan and China and Korea. It makes me feel like I'm in Korea all over again.

Also, we were sitting outside on these tables and while I was gone my little sister took a bunch of selfies on my phone. I thought they were hilarious, so I'm putting them up here. (She's 8, by the way.)




#sweg.

And then of course I had to take a picture of these mailboxes and edit them on vscocam...(Vsco has been my new obsession lately.)



I lay down on the beach and looked up, and this is what I saw :-) #nofilter. It was really pretty, and I'm really excited to see what else is happening this week!