I’m here! I made it to Kauai in once piece but with several pieces (of luggage). Turns out I should’ve just checked a third bag because my overweight fees for my first two ended up costing more than the third bag would’ve… but that’s neither here nor there at this point 🙂 I haven’t even been here a full week yet but it seems like forever ago that I was getting up at 4:00 am last Tuesday morning to head to the airport. A lot has happened since then (sorry, Mom, that I’m just now posting again), but, for now, here is a run-down of my experience in getting here:
Longest. Day. Ever. It started with a very early morning after a [virtually] no-sleep night and I had to say goodbye to my brother, my two sweet baby girls (cats) and my best friend of 15 years, my Golden Retriever Kodie, all in one foul swoop. Talk about emotional. Kodie was especially hard to kiss goodbye because, at 15 & 1/2 years old, there’s really no telling how much longer he’ll be around and I have no idea if I’ll be seeing him again by the time I’m home for Christmas. Let’s just say it was a very wet farewell (partly due to his drooling, but mostly due to my tears) and I’m welling up right now even thinking about it soooo…… moving on. My best friend Brittany drove me to the airport (“before even Jesus was awake” according to her) and helped me get my luggage to the curbside check-in counter. As I mentioned in a previous post, literally this is all I brought… two checked bags, a carry-on and a personal item:
Britt and I said our goodbyes and I made it through security just in the nick of time! Just kidding – I have travel anxiety, so I was sure to be there early, and had about an hour to kill before even boarding the plane. As I was sitting at the gate, my parents called from Maine at about 6:00 am to say their goodbyes. They thought I was being strong as an ox, but little do they know I was actually speaking to them with tears running down my face while my fellow passengers looked at me with concern that they were about to board a plane with a mentally unstable woman. Once I pulled it together and eventually got on the plane, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the seat next to me was empty and I’d have a little extra elbow room on my flight to LA!
After about a two hour layover in LA, it was time to finally board my flight to Kauai. I made my way to my seat, watched as the plane continued to fill up, and wondered what my row mates would be like. Would they want to hear all about this life change I’m making? Would they be heading there for something similar as well? Would they just be going for vacation? Would they be Hawaiian locals headed home who would be so inspired by my desire to uproot my life to come to their island and teach their children that they’d take me under their wing and invite me over for family dinners once a week? NOPE. NO ONE SHOWED UP! The entire full plane and somehow the two seats next to me stayed empty and I got to stretch out, take a nap and watch some shows with no one to bother me the whole flight. How could I have been so lucky two flights in a row? I think the good Lord knew I needed a little extra support that day. And by support I mean no one trying to speak to me or cough on me or get in my personal space. It was glorious.
Around 6 hours later the pilot announced that we’d be beginning our descent. As I looked out the window I was so surprised to see that we were literally flying right over the other Hawaiian Islands. What a great introduction to living on one – getting to see the others from overhead! In the picture below that I took from my plane window, you can see Maui (left side), Moloka’i (bottom right) and Lana’i (top right) all in the same frame – each covered by clouds, surrounded by the bluest waters I’d ever seen that blended right in with the sky and contributing that much more to my excitement:
After also flying over Oahu, we began our landing and the pilot let us know that Kauai would be on our left. Here it was. The moment I’d been working for and preparing for. I was finally getting to see my island. It literally took my breath away. You can see exactly what I saw – my first look at my new home. The blues, the greens, the mountains, the beaches – Unreal. My very own Jurassic Park moment (this is where they filmed those movies ya know!). I knew it was going to be beautiful, but I had no idea how beautiful.
We landed and I somehow was able to ever-so-ungracefully maneuver all of my luggage through the baggage claim to wait on my ride. My roommate (another new teacher who moved here from Detroit that my new principal connected me with) came to pick me up and we headed to our AirBnB. I was gobsmacked the whole drive at the beauty I was getting to finally take in (more on that beauty in a second). Once we got to the place where we’re temporarily staying and unloaded, I sat down to rest for just a second at about 4:30 HI time, 10:30 pm Georgia time… and woke up the next morning. Yep. I came all the way to Hawaii and crashed. Completely through the afternoon and night. Lucky for me I live here and don’t have to worry about wasting vacation time sleeping, because I don’t have to leave! Since my arrival it’s been a whirlwind that I’ll make another post about, but one thing has been confirmed in the roughly 5 days that I’ve been here – this is the most beautiful place on earth.
The colors here are SO vibrant. There are views of something (be it the bluest of waters, beautiful beaches, rivers to kayak, waterfalls out of nowhere, never ending mountain ranges, the cutest little beach towns, beautifully intriguing flora, or even wild chickens running all over the place) LITERALLY everywhere you look. There’s NEVER not something to look at. It’s insane. And has already far exceeded any expectation I could have ever had. I’ve got to get better about getting photos but it’s so easy to forget to even get your phone out because you’re just so caught up in the beauty. I was expecting pretty beaches, yes, but Kauai is SO much more than that. And I can’t wait to continue to share with you all just what that means!
To see more photos/experiences in realtime, you can follow me on Instagram & Snapchat @katbrannen! Aloha until next post!