I’ve officially been in Kaua’i for over a week and I’m officially already terrible at blogging. My hope is that once things settle down a bit in terms of just general life details I’ll be better about this thing! Partly because so much has already happened that I want to make sure I’m documenting it all to have for myself to go back and read one day, and partly just to get my mother to quit hounding me about it 🙂
So here is my attempt to catch you up on my first week here – it’s the reader’s digest version but feel free to add in any of your own imaginative paradise-themed details to fluff your perceptions:
After my full afternoon and night of rest upon arrival, I woke up ready to see this place! My roommate Emily, who had already been here about week prior, and I decided to drive on up to the north end of the island to explore a bit. This was my first look at just how lush and green Kauai is and I also got to experience what those pop-up showers are all about. I thought the weather in Georgia was something crazy until I got here! Especially on the north shore in Kauai, rain storms will literally just show up out of NOWHERE, pour on you for like 4.25 minutes, be gone just as quickly as they came and you’re back roasting in the sun again in no time. The coolest thing about these rain showers is that there are some waterfalls that only show up when it’s rained more. So you can be driving down the road and notice a waterfall coming down from a mountain in the distance that may not have been there the day before. It’s amazing. I truly don’t feel like I’ll ever tire of the scenery here. I digress.
After driving around most of the north shore, we pulled off at some beach we thought looked nice and spent a few hours there. Turns out it was the beach where a scene from the movie South Pacific was filmed; called Lumaha’i Beach. It was gorgeous and my first full day in Kauai just left me wanting more!
Thursday & Friday 7/20 – 7/21
These were my two Kauai Complex new hire orientation days for any new teachers to the island. I don’t really have pictures or anything from these days and, while not necessarily the most glamorous in terms of sights or adventures, they were still invaluable. It was here that we met and got to network with several other teachers on the island. Some in the same position as me and Emily, recruits from the mainland moving their entire lives, and some who are Kauai natives but just new to teaching or to full-time. Nevertheless, we met some great people, a few of which have been so warm, friendly and supportive and will be great resources and friends to have here!
This turned out to be an unexpectedly explorative day and gave me a whole new appreciation and excitement for this island. We woke up, went to go see a couple of potential places to rent (there’s also been a lot of worry about where to live, what to drive, etc. strewn about between all these days just FYI but I want don’t want to bore you with the stressful stuff) and then decided we’d drive to a town called Poipu that we hadn’t been to yet. As we made the turn down the road headed to the town, we were basically engulfed by an awning of Eucalyptus trees forming this natural gateway to the south end of the island. It was beautiful and is apparently actually a thing known as the Tree Tunnel. By the time I got my jaw off the ground we were out and I forgot to snap a pic – sorry – but I’m sure I’ll be back soon!
As soon as we exited the tunnel we noticed a completely different physical environment we had left just a few minutes prior. Rather than the lush, green plants and mountains I was used to seeing everywhere, it was all the sudden arid and dry with cacti all over the place. What?! It literally felt like we had transported to Arizona. It was crazy. Then, as we drove into town, there were these beautiful homes that reminded me of like Palm Beach/Malibu/Beverly Hills type homes. The town itself was the quintessential beach town and this whole area of the island seemed perfect for a southern Californianer – I personally loved it. Also in Poipu was a stop we made at Spouting Horn Park, which has a scenic blowhole (and Hawaiian legend) and incredible views. It’s wayyyyyy better in person and I’m not savy enough to know how to get videos up on this thing yet, but here’s a picture:
We were so excited about what we’d seen already and it was such a beautiful day that we just decided to keep on driving up the main highway that goes along the coast of the island. As we did, we again experienced a dramatic shift in our geographic surroundings. This time we went from Arizona desert to midwestern crop fields. As we drove, we had the coastline on our left and these beautiful rolling hills of farmlands on our right (with what looked like rocky mountains way off in the distance). As we drove a few more miles we made it to the town of Waimea Canyon. From there, we took Waimea Canyon Drive into the State Park to wind back and forth up a mountain to a few different look out points for taking in the views of “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” You could look down into the canyon and then all the way through it, out to the coast. Absolutely breathtaking. I’m including a couple of pictures below but, as with almost everything I’m posting here, the pictures just don’t do it justice.”
After winding back down and a bat of motion sickness (had I known we were going to be doing this today I would’ve taken my dramamine) we headed back home, which took less than 45 minutes without all of our stopping. I just couldn’t get over how we were only driving a few miles between these towns and the environment was changing so significantly… and all of this is on an island in the middle of the ocean! I’ve truly never seen anything like it in my life. I’ve decided that I’m going to insist that anyone who comes to visit me takes a day to just drive the perimeter of the island to take it all in (or I can take you myself and tell you all about the science behind how this island was formed and all these different environmental regions are possible and live out my long time dream of being a tour guide – no really, ask my mom, I’ve always wanted to be a tour guide). It’s just a great way to truly appreciate the beauty of this place. And I bet you’ll pick a favorite “region” that way too.
We visited a local church that meets in a tent on a hilltop looking over the ocean on Sunday morning. I know it doesn’t matter where you worship, but I gotta tell ya, worshiping in paradise is extra special. Also, can we take a second to praise the Lord for connecting me with a roommate who also loves Jesus? Having someone else coming in from the mainland, knowing no one, needing a roommate and with a shared faith has made this whole transition so much easier – I can’t imagine what I would’ve been like doing this completely alone!
That afternoon I went to a different beach (Kauai is an island of all public beaches so you literally can go wherever you want, whenever you want – it’s amazing) and sat for hours watching the surfers. I was inspired to learn to surf myself but, baby steps.
On Monday I finally got a chance to get in to see my classroom. I didn’t get to do as much in it as I was hoping I would, but I did snap a few pictures. The third one down is looking out my windows – the little sliver of blue in the middle is the ocean. Maybe you’ll be able to see it better on a clearer day… :
That afternoon we went to look at yet another house and finally this one spoke to us! It’s a 3/2 with a great big porch that faces the mountains and has fruit trees (think: avocado, papaya, banana, lemon, lime, mango) all over the property that we can pick at any time! We filled out a rental application and were offered the property right away because the landlord has a great appreciation for educators! We can’t move in until August 1st, but I literally CANNOT wait to get in this house and be able to actually hang up my clothes instead of rummage through suitcases for them.
A day full of errands and productivity, but also peace, as things are finally starting to fall into place to get settled down. We found an insanely good deal on some beds/mattresses so we got three; 1 for my room, 1 for Emily’s and 1 for the third bedroom (so we will be ready for guests whenever you want to start coming)! We also made stops at Costco, Ross, Walmart, the Board of Education, the bank, the Teachers Credit Union, a furniture liquidators AND the humane society to inquire about volunteering (I’m really missing animal interaction). It was a productive day overall and the best part is looking up at any given moment and seeing mountains or ocean and being reminded that I do, in fact, live here!
Another perfect beach day. Literally. We kept getting recommendations to go to Kalapaki Beach and I’m glad we did because it was beautiful.
There’s also a sports bar right on the beach there called JJ’s Broiler and it has a few collegiate flags flying outside, one being UGA’s, and I about had a heart attack when I saw it. I can’t tell you the rush of warmth and home that I felt. We had to get a drink and a meal there, obviously, and I had our waitress confirm that that is the place to be to watch college football here. So I know where I’ll be on Saturdays starting in a few weeks! GO DAWGS!
So that’s the run down of my first week in Kauai! I apologize that it’s so long – they won’t all be like this and I’ll get better at them I promise! If you’ve made it this far, THANK YOU for reading and following along with me on this journey!