All good things must come to an end, so I've heard, and while I don't necessarily believe that is true for ALL good things, it definitely is true for vacations.
When I woke up, I was so dang tired. The night before had been really fun, but I was sore and exhausted from all the running and jumping and climbing and swimming, plus I was a little sunburned. I got up anyway, being the good chaperone that I am (I had to set a good example) and got ready for the day, which would begin with church.
We were all to meet at the hotel waterfall (our regular meeting spot) at 7:45, and Jed left about 15 minutes earlier than that to help gather the students. I was finishing up getting ready, and got to the waterfall at about 7:40 but no one was there. It was all very weird, because I was sure that I had the right time and place. I waited around for a bit, texting others trying to see where they were, but what had happened was this: Everyone was there early enough that when the students counted off and were all present, they all walked to church. They had forgotten to count chaperones too. Luckily I was able to quickly find out what had happened and I already knew where the church was, so I just walked the 3 blocks and made it with time to spare.
I was with a Catholic high school group, so, naturally, church was Mass. I'd never been to Mass before, but my friend Fiona sat by me and walked me through the whole thing. Brennon, Jed's friend, whom I met at the PCC, came to Mass too, and I think he was as new to it all as I was.
It was all pretty new to me, obviously, but it was good. I liked the message that the priest gave, and I liked the "peace be unto you" part a lot too, where everyone greets each other and shakes hands and stuff. It was all very friendly and smiles were everywhere. It was also a treat to see the students all in their nicer clothes and at church. They really are such great kids. I hope my future kids have friends like these students when they are growing up.
After Mass, it was time to tidy up our rooms and check out of the hotel. That was all easy, but our flight wasn't till 9 at night, so I was worried about getting hot and sweaty and gross without a place to clean up. Oh well, there was nothing to do about it.
Brennon came back with me and Jed and we chatted and stuff while packing up. The three of us decided to go to the LDS church too, which was at 11, but we had to eat something for breakfast first.
While waiting for our food, I was talking to Brennon and he mentioned his mission, which was the Puerto Rico, San Juan East Mission - the same mission as my brother, Tyler! They totally knew each other! It's a small world after all!
We then drove to the LDS church for Sacrament Meeting, which was in a church building unlike any I've seen. It looked almost like a mosque, and the interior was huge and open. We stayed for the Sacrament and then for one talk before we had to leave to get back to our students. Brennon dropped me and Jed off near our hotel and he went back home to Laie. He'll be moving back to my home ward in Utah later this year, so it will be fun to see a friend I made in Hawaii again.
When it was time for lunch, we all did our own thing, and I got really good and cheap udon noodles, and afterward I got [yet another] smoothie at a Vietnamese place with my two favorite chaperones/teacher/friends, Jed and Fiona. It was also cheap and so good! I got a jack fruit smoothie, even though I didn't know what a jack fruit was or what it would taste like. I took a chance and loved it!
Our last activity of the day was the aquarium! It was not very big, but I really enjoyed it. It was nice to be in the cool, dark indoors and just look at fish. It was fun to see some of the same kinds of fish that I saw while snorkeling. My favorite, though, was the huge tank of moon jellyfish. they were translucent, but also glowed. They are mesmerizing. Here's a picture I took of the tank:
After the aquarium, we were ready to get on the coach and head to the airport. It was bittersweet - we were all pooped from being so busy all the time and thus ready for our vacation to come to a close, but it was sad to leave one of the prettiest, relaxed places in the world. I can see why so many people want to live right there near the beach! I could relax there everyday and never grow tired of it.
The airport was a little more crazy than it should have been, but that was because the Honolulu airport wasn't quite as prepared to handle our large group like the SLC airport was. One of the kids got a pat-down because the machine detected explosives on his hands(!), but of course everything was alright and that was that.
The airplane was packed, but since it was a late flight, most people were sleeping. I wrote my previous post on the plane, and then tried to sleep, which I did for maybe 3 hours. Our flight landed at 7:15 am local time, and we all rode to the high school, where parents picked up their kids and took them home. I was the last chaperone to leave, since I carpooled with Jed and Fiona, and when I got home, I showered and took a long nap - I think we all did - then woke up later and went to work.
I am officially back from one of the best trips I've ever been on.
Even though this trip kept me busy making sure the kids in my group were safe, it was so fun for me. I made friends with all the other chaperones, most of the students, and even some new people in Hawaii. I am blessed to have such good friends who care about me and helped me to have a wonderful time. My kids were all awesome too. They made my job so easy, and I'd happily chat with them if I ever see them in the grocery store.
I will someday return to Hawaii and surely enjoy that trip just as much, but until then, this trip holds the ace!