Sunday, October 30, 2011

New Car

Now that Cory has his real estate license, we knew we had to get a car.  He can't exactly show people houses by bus.  We have been looking at used cars since we got here, but nothing really stuck out.  Luckily, we happen to find something on Friday!

Say hello to our 2008 PT Cruiser! 

The trunk is huge and the seats fold down which will be great for going on weekend camping trips... or possibly for making room for a surf board.  We have been told that a regular sized board will fit, but we'll see. 


Cory got his Hawaii Real Estate License

After passing my exam, it took several weeks to get the paperwork returned and to become a registered Real Estate Agent. That is all in the past, and I can officially do business! Real Estate was never even consideration, but after moving here and meeting Branden I have never been more excited for a job in my life.

In sales, I have always had to sell a product that I did not believe in, or convince people to do something that I myself would not do. But in this business I get to help people with one of the most important decisions of their life. Also its something they are actually excited to do. With that comes alot of responsibility, but i am up to the challenge. I am confident that I will be one of the top performing agents on the Island within a year or so.

Mahalo for reading,


Monday, October 24, 2011

Pen Pals

I received a nice surprise at school this morning, a teacher from California sent me a package with letters from her students.  She sent nine, which was perfect since I have nine students!  The teacher explained that her class was writing letters as part of a project to learn about people from other parts of the country.  I knew that this was a great writing opportunity for my class, but decided to present it to my students as something to work on independently.

With a lot of enthusiasm, I told my class about the letters and read them out loud.  My class was shocked to hear that these 5th graders have a class of 30!  After reading each letter I gave it to one of my students.  I told them they could work on writing a letter back during any extra minutes they have here and there throughout the day, or on their own time and that we would mail our responses on Friday.  On Friday, I plan to give them special stationary to use for their final copies.  My class was thrilled!  In fact, I had several students ask for detention so they could stay after school to work on their letters! Of course I told them that they could stay after anytime and they don't need detention to stay late.  Five of my students came in after school and stayed for about 20 minutes to work on their letters (completely voluntarily and this was not my idea whatsoever).  I was so pleased with their excitement, and their writing turned out very well.  I'm hoping that the students in California write back!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ho`ike 2011 Halau Ka Lei Mokihana O Leina` ala

Last night we went to a ho'ike (hula performance) for the hula halau that I am going to start learning hula at.  Hundreds of people were there to watch!  We were surprised at what a big turn-out there was.  Before the performance started there were vendors selling jewelry, dresses, and flowers to wear in your hair.  I picked out a flower!  Then we bought some kalua pork and rice for dinner (that is a pretty typical thing to eat here).

The beginning part of the performance was a Tahitian dance.  It was awesome!  Then the hula dancers began.  There were literally dancers of all ages, from 4 years old all the way up to over 70!  All of the costumes were beautiful, and everyone wore flowers and leis.  There were flower-printed dresses, brightly colored skirts with leotards, grass skirts, and more.  Some of the students performed solos, but most of the dances were done as a group.  The second half the program was a Hawaiian music concert, some of the songs were song in Hawaiian and some were in English.  We had a great time!  I'm looking forward to starting classes.  To get some extra practice, my coworker and I are going to start dancing hula on Friday's with the kids at school.  The hula teacher has always welcomed us to participate, but I haven't wanted to by myself, but together it will be fun!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Below is a link to a video of what we say during part of our morning protocol.  This is one of the many things I'm working to memorize.


New Teaching Game

I recently made a "game" out of a file folder that has become a favorite pastime for my second graders.  It is called "build-a-word".

Inside the folder there are note cards with various letters and the spelling pattern we are working on.  For example, I have a card with the letters /oa/ and I also have the letters s, g,b,c,t, and /fl/.  The students can make goat, boat, coat, coast, and float.  The purpose of this game is to practice spelling and phonics concepts.

The set of cards I'm currently using has enough cards for the students to make 22 words.  As they build words they write each one down on a sticky note (which is also inside the folder).  I have written all the words down that they could possibly make and I put them in an "answer pocket".  After the student has built as many words as they could they pull out the answer card to check their work and to see if there were any other words that they could have built.

The best part is, they seem to love this game! 


Monday, October 17, 2011

Fern Grotto

On Sunday we went to the Fern Grotto which is located in Wailua.  It took awhile to get their on the bus, but luckily we made it time!  The grotto can be found a few miles from the ocean down Wailua River.  To get to the grotto we had to purchase tickets for a riverboat tour.  On our way there, the captain of the boat told us about some of the history of the area.  We were told that  the Wailua Valley used to be off-limits to everyone except for the royal family.

We arrived at a dock and the grotto was only a short walk away.  Along the path there were beautiful tropical plants, several varieties of wild ginger, bamboo, banana trees, and papaya trees.

Quickly, we arrived at the grotto.  The view was breathtaking, our pictures don't do it justice.  The grotto is a 30 foot deep cave with ferns growing from the walls. There is a very light stream that trickles down from the top.  There is a wooden deck/platform for visitors to view the grotto from.  It is a popular place to get married - and I can see why!  There was a small group of performers there who sang "The Hawaiian Wedding Song" for us.  Someone also did the hula!

This was a beautiful sight that I would recommend seeing!


Weekend Fun

This weekend was action packed!..

But before we get into that, here is a picture of Emilie in the lei she was given for her birthday.  Her coworker made the lei and headband out of ti leaves! 

Friday, we went to the Princess Kaiulani festival to watch Emilie's students perform the Hula. It was very impressive and fun to watch! There were many other kids performing at one time, but this is the best picture of the older girls. If you would like to see the full video send us an email and we can send it to you. :-)

After the Hula, we went to the beach and snorkeled. We did some real snorkeling too. We swam at least 300 yards from shore to a spot of the reef that drops off like a cliff about 40 feet below sea level. It was an incredible view!

We swam with the BIGGEST Turtle we have ever seen.

After we dried off and relaxed on the beach for a while, we got changed and headed to Emilie's favorite Dinner location.....
We had some great dinner, and then came the Hula Pie, the real reason why we came to Keoki's...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Emilies Birthday Tomorrow!

Well, tomorrow will be Emilies first birthday in Hawaii. How exciting is that? I realized something funny today, I have had two birthdays in Hawaii already. One on Oahu last year, and one this year in Kauai.

I got her gifts about a week in advance, this could possibly be the most prepared I have ever been! On Saturday we on going on a river boat cruise on the Wailua River. I am not sure what to expect, but I have a feeling we are taking the boat to the waterfall so that will be exciting and romantic. 

When we get back from the boat ride, we will be sure to put up some pictures.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Centipedes and Flying Cockroaches

Yesterday I encountered two new creatures while I was at work. A gigantic flying cockroach appeared in my classroom. It was at LEAST two inches long. Luckily, a teacher next door took care of it for me. I keep hearing that cockroaches are very common here. A regular cockroch doesnt seem so bad after I saw the flying one!

Later that same day a different teacher found a centipede in her was about 3 inches long and very creepy. I guess it hurts terribly to be stung by one. Needless to say, it was not a pleasant discovery. I learned that there is a myth about centipedes. Supposedly, they are sent to you from someone who is jealous of you. When you see it you are supposed to catch it and put it in a jar and tell it to go back to the person who sent it. Then you let it go. As you might have guessed, we did not test out this myth.

Aside from the creatures, I have had a great start to my second quarter!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Report Cards and the Sugar Mill

Today I had a "teacher planning day" to do report cards and general planning.  I remember people in the past making comments about how teachers are so lucky to get a day to put a letter on a report card.  Well, it is needed!  Report cards are a lot of work believe it or not.  It took me forever to make sure that the marks I chose were exactly what each student earned.  Also, there is only a teeny tiny space for me to leave comments, so I had to make sure what I wrote was positive but important.  I'm doing parent teacher conferences throughout this next week, I hope they go well!  We are now officially into our second quarter of the school year.  I'm looking forward to it, now that I have settled in a little bit more.  I have some projects planned that should hopefully be great learning experiences for the students, and hopefully fun!

On another topic... the school is located across the street from an old sugar mill that is in the process of being torn down (this was very recently decided).  However, there has been concerns that it won't be taken down correctly and it could be unsafe.  The soil around the school was tested for chemicals relating to the  mill and there is a meeting in Kekaha tonight about it.  I cannot go, but I'm anxious to hear what happens.  They are saying the people taking down the mill might need to wear protective bubble suits.  The question is that if THEY have to wear a bubble suit to be safe, are we safe?  We are literally directly across the street...just a little breeze send the dust from the mill directly to us.  Actually, the school used to be owned by the sugar mill.  It was there administration building.

 Kekaha Sugar Mill

Here is an article about the closing of the mill...


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kauai bus system.

It has been nice to relax after a long week, but what has been frustrating is the weekend bus system. The bus system is great out hear except for the weekend. they run every other hour and only until about 5pm.  This got us talking more seriously about getting a car/truck in the near future. Maybe by the end of the month. We will need to decide if we want a new or used car. I guess I should not say car, we are thinking it will most likely be a Jeep or something with 4wheel drive. Regardless we still plan to use the bus during the week to keep saving $50-$60/week on gas but it sure would be nice to have some transportation on the weekends!

Cory & Emilie

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cory Passed the Hawaii Real Estate Exam

Countless hours of studying paid off today as I passed the test for the Real Estate exam. This was probably the most difficult test I had taken since my statistics course at college. It was not the content that was hard like my statistics class though. It was the amount of content I needed to understand in a short period of time. I read two textbooks of information, and completed over 2,000 practice questions all in a month and a half. Something not many people are able to do apparently.

At the testing site, I spoke with people going in to take their brokers exam, they asked what real estate class/school I went to. This class is a prerequisite if you do not have a real-estate, law, or business degree. I was able to opt out of that class with my business degree. They were surprised that I was ready to take the exam and said good luck with slight sarcasm.

Upon completing the exam, there was a huge computer issue that prevented us from finding out our final scores. It took over an hour for the tech support to figure out how to view our scores. Thankfully they where all saved and able to be printed. It was the most stressful hour of my life but well worth the wait! Everyone was so happy for me that I passed while a few of the others I was with did not. I felt bad celebrating, but after that hour of waiting, I could not help my self.

Emilie went to the beach while I took my 3.5 hour test and thankfully she was back in time to hear the good news. It was nice to share the excitement with her. She is just as excited as I am, however she keeps thinking that this means she can become a stay at home mom one day...That's a battle for a different day :-)

After we left we went to "Olympic Cafe" to eat overlooking Kapa'a... food was great, but the service receives 2 stars.

Then we went to the bus stop and while we were waiting we found a cool looking hostel and snapped a quick pic of it for you all to see. It said $27-$69 a night. If your thinking about staying there, you might as well just sleep on the beach. Same amenities, but its free. This hostel is open to the elements, it does have a roof, but it definitely looks like it leaks.

Well that's all for now.

Mahalo for reading,

- Cory

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hula Halau

Since I have been here I have developed an interest in hula dancing... something I had probably never thought of in my life before I came here.  The students at my school practice hula everyday in place of a "physical education" class.  When I get a free moment, I love watching them.  Many of the girls are really graceful and the dances are very beautiful.  I found out there is a hula halau (hula school) right behind the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center (which is five minutes from my house).  I'm planning on enrolling in their next session which begins in November.  I'm really excited!  I have always been interested in dance, and of course there is not a better place to learn the hula than Hawaii! 



I have been missing the Ann Arbor YMCA! I used to love to go there, they have everything.. an awesome pool, a track, gym, weights... there doesn't seem to be anything like that here.  There are a few gyms but not very many, and none of them everything like the YMCA in Ann Arbor did.  That has made it a little difficult for us to work-out here.  On top of that, none of the roads have shoulders and there are not very many sidewalks, so running along the road can be dangerous.  Not to mention the beach always sounds more fun :)  I have gone running a few times in the area that we live because it is only 25 mph and is just a bunch of houses.  The problem is, we live on a mountain and the hills are treacherous! 

I have noticed that ZUMBA (dance fitness class) seems to be very popular here.  I went once at EMU and had a bad experience, but yesterday I got off the bus and found out that a free class was starting in 15 minutes at the neighborhood center (which is a 5 minute walk from my house).  So, I decided to give it a try one more time.  It was pretty fun, better than I expected!  There were literally 100 people there!  It took place in a gym and there were about five instructors up in front that we followed.  I think I'm going to try to go once or twice a week.  It is offered four days a week in Kalaheo, lucky for me it is close to where I live.  I need a way to meet more people out here anyways!

- Emilie

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Seasons in Hawaii

Many people have asked us if Hawaii has seasons or not.  We have not been here long enough to experience it first hand, but we have been told that in the "winter" it gets a little bit colder and it rains more often.  The temperature of the ocean drops about 5 degrees.  I'm pretty sure there is no such thing as fall or spring here.  Technically winter is from October-April and the rest of the year is summer.

It is kind of funny to see all of the "fall" decorations out in the stores because everything here is green.. not orange, yellow, and red.  The fall decorations just seem out of place.  The nice thing is that if you want to feel crisp, cool, fall air, all you have to do is go up to Koke'e in the mountains.  Perfect weather for jeans and a hoodie.. of course the leaves don't change color there either.

This "winter" here in Hawaii is sure going to be a big change for us from last year though!  Every so often one of my students will ask about what winter is like in Michigan... it is fun to see their facial expressions and other reactions when I explain how people have to scrape ice off of their cars and snow plow trucks have to plow the roads... and now I'll just have to get a raincoat :)


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fundraiser for Hawaiian Based Schools

Everyday during our Hawaiian Protocol at school we sing several songs in Hawaiian.  The students also attend a Hawaiian Culture class for one hour every day. Finally, we are going to have an audience (or at least a bigger one)!  All of the Hawaiian based schools on the islands are creating a CD to raise money for the schools and awareness of the culture.  Last week, a professional recorder came to our school and recorded the students singing.  Two students were selected to sing a duet for the CD.  I think this was a nice way to help the students realize that their bilingual skills are valued and is something to be proud of.  We have not been told when it will be put together and available, but if anyone wants a copy, let me know!


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cory's Real Estate News

I am well on my way to getting my Real Estate License here in Kauai. To my surprise it is far easier then ever thought possible. I did not want to write much on this subject until I was certain this was going to be the direction I wanted to go.

I am looking forward to starting and hope to be licensed by the end of this month. Then I will be able to start advertising and showing houses to people.  I have already found the company i will be working with and everything is lined up, I just need to pass this test.  I will keep you all posted as things progress!

If you are interested in real estate, feel free to contact me for more information. If your buying, selling, or just thinking about becoming a real estate agent, I would be glad to help upon receiving my license.


Coconuts and Fire Dancers

Our school got to go on an interesting field trip yesterday...we were invited down the street to Kekaha Elementary School for a "special performance". It began with a local band who played a variety of Hawaiian songs. Next, a man came onto the stage and called up all the kids with birthdays in October and gave each of them a crown made out of woven coconut leaves.  After that, he brought out several coconuts and showed us different ways to break them open.  Some of the students got to go on stage and eat the coconut meat or drink the water inside.  Judging by the look on some of their faces, everyone was not a fan of fresh coconut!  I like it though! Then, the presenter used a stick and the coconut husk to start a small fire and he introduced the fire dancers.  He used the fire to light a torch which he passed on to a boy who was about 11 years old.  The boy started spinning it slowly like a baton, and it looked like he was nervous.  Then he froze, smiled, and did an amazing dance with the torch.  About four other boys also performed a dance with the torch.  They all did a wonderful job and were very talented!