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Yesterday my mum took me to my favorite restaurant, Sea Ranch, for a delicious meal. When you walk into the waiting area of the restaurant, there is a little shop that sells fine and handmade jewelry. I was scanning the trinkets for something I might like when something unusual caught my eye. In a sea of golds and silvers there was a black beaded necklace with a pendant on the end of it. The pendant was of a geographical shape with a flag on it— MY flag. The flag of the country I will be moving to. No other piece of jewelry in the store had any sort of flag or country shape to it. Not one person that I know of on my tiny island is from that country or even that region. The necklace was completely out of place and had no apparent reason for being there.
“What does this mean,” I wondered.
I happen to believe in signs. I don’t think they ever come to you when you are looking for them. There are too many distractions when you are looking. But every now and then, they come.
So I bought the necklace, even though it cost $20 and I’ll probably find the same exact one for $1 when I get there. I bought the necklace even though I’m not exactly sure what it means. Maybe it’ll be a good luck charm for my upcoming adventure.
I obviously can’t post a picture of it yet, but I’ll definitely come back to this post and share it. For now, here’s a picture of the beautiful sunset I watched from my table shortly after.
Do you believe in signs?

Maunawili Falls

Maunawili is probably the trail I’ve spent the most time on. It is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness so it’s where I take all my couch surfers (or guest room surfers now that we’ve moved up in this world… hah). I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve hiked it. I wanted to go one last time before we leave, but rainy season is sneaking up on us and it has been extremely wet. When it rains a lot, the waterfall gets stronger and more beautiful, but the hike gets very muddy and slippery. I don’t want to take my chances with Evita.
This hike might not have dramatic views like a lot of the other ones in Hawaii, but it leads to a perfect little waterfall and watering hole. To get there you traverse up a creek through thick jungle. Ever since I watched Lost (which wasn’t until a few years after first moving to Hawaii), I feel like I might get engulfed by some crazy black smoke monster when on this trail.
My friend Marisa & one of her friends who was visiting that time.
You can jump into the watering hole from three different spots. I believe one is 15ft, one is 30ft, and one is 40ft. One one hike, my bff Rikki was on the edge of the 40ft cliff when she tripped over a branch and side-flopped into the watering hole. It took her hours to walk the two miles back to the trailhead and her whole side was bruised. The next day she peed blood. We were 18 and thought it was hilarious at the time, but it seems pretty gnarly now. I must be getting old.
The picture on the left is one of Diego on the 30ft jump.
Little brother Diego.
You can barely tell, but this is a picture of me jumping off the waterfall. It was taken by my Uncle’s girlfriend with an I-Phone and came out all crazy for some reason. (No filter or anything like that.) Kind of neat.
I’m not sure how many people know this, but if you climb up the waterfall, past where it dumps over the edge, you’ll find another pool and another, equally as beautiful waterfall. I’ve only ever taken a camera up there once (it’s wet), and sadly this is the only picture I could find of it (from 2008). I don’t know why it’s so tiny. Bummer. Guess you’re going to have to go check it out yourself!

The Forest

Today we went for a picnic in the forest just off the road not far from our house. There’s something so magical about the forest. The realization that the trees surrounding you have been there long before you ever existed and will likely (hopefully) be there long after you’re gone is humbling. I always like to imagine how many people have looked up at the canopy in the very spot in which I am standing. Perhaps an ancient Polynesian who just discovered the island once felt the crispy bark of the very branch my hand is resting on. Or a “haole” from England or Portugal rested there after a long day of walking. The sound that the wind makes while it’s racing past the old trees, bending their branches and shedding their leaves, seems to be telling tales of the past. Eva seemed to sense this magic too. She pretty much had a smile on her face the entire time we were there. She laughed and cooed and looked around in wonder and delight. She was the most fascinated by the little birds who occasionally ventured near us. Now that I feel she’s old enough to hike around with me in a carrier, I need to convince a friend to go with us soon so I can take  her on a real hike. I’d love to show her a waterfall or two.

Tortugas de las Galápagos

I don’t know how many people would care to know, but “Solatario Jorge” or “Lonesome George” recently died at the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galápagos. Lonesome George was the last of his subspecies of Galápagos Tortoises. While I was studying abroad in the Galápagos, I spent quite a bit of time studying the tortoises for my Evolutionary Biology Class. The obvious differences between the tortoises’ shells, length of legs, and other characteristics based on their islands (or parts of their islands) partially inspired Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. For today’s Throwback Thursday, I thought I’d share some pictures from some of my experiences with them.
The first set of pictures is from the Charles Darwin Research Station on Isabela Island. It was just a short bike ride or walk away from my school, and I visited a few times during the summer. The Galápagos Tortoises have experienced a huge population decline in the last century or so, and the research station works to bring the species back up. The station is home to several sub-species of the tortoises from eggs to hatchlings to centenarians. 

While I was there for class one day, we saw this mama bird teaching her baby how to fly!! It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. The baby bird was up on a tree branch and the mama was down below on a ledge and was tweeting and tweeting and tweeting to her baby. Finally, after about 5 minutes or so, the baby bird clumsily flew down to her mama. It was so precious.

This second set of pictures was from our trip to another island, Floreana. On this island we were able to hike to an area where we could observe the tortoises living in their natural environment. There were so many. It was very neat being so close to them.
For my final project in my Evolutionary Biology Class, I decided to do a presentaiton on how the eruption of Volcán Cerro Azul might affect the two subspecies of tortoises unique to vicinity of the volcano. Don’t worry, I won’t go into the nerdy details. 🙂