Sunday, June 9, 2013

Goodbye Kauai!

Our adventure in Hawaii has come to an end, I have already been back in Michigan for about a week!  The last few weeks were a whirlwind. The day before I left I went to Oahu for a Hawaiian focused school conference. Each school gave a presentation, during our presentation I introduced myself in Hawaiian!  I think a lot of people were surprised.  Next year my school is going to start offering Hawaiian language classes for adults after school, I wish they had that while I was there!

It is hard to believe that we were there for two years.  We were sad to leave but we are excited to start the next chapter in our lives and be closer to our friends and family.  We had such a great experience living in Hawaii. It was a scary decision to move to an island that we had never even visited, but we are so happy that we did.

This is our last post, we hope everyone enjoyed reading about our adventure!  A hui hou...

Cory and Emilie

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Kauai Red Dirt Road

Here is one of my most recent paintings.  Just like the last one I posted, I painted it using a palette knife only.  It was kind of tough because the lighting in my apartment is very dim.  I know I'm going to love paining even more when I have a nice space to work in.  

- Emilie

Last Week - Leis and Graduation

This is my last week  here in Hawaii, I leave on Friday night!  The kids last day of school was this past Thursday and graduation was on Friday.  Graduation was a lot of fun, Kaleo (the kindergarten/first grade teacher) and I danced hula with the kids during one of the songs.  I will try to find a video to post.  Below is a description of the story that goes with the dance (I know the words are small, you might need to zoom in).

The week leading up to graduation flew by!  We did some fun classroom games and activities.  We also cleaned the classroom and made leis.  They made leis out of a plant called "Job's Tears" which produces a seed that is the perfect size and shape of a bead and already has a hole in the center.  The colors of the seeds are blue, grey, black, and green.  One of the neat things about making a lei out of job's tears is that it won't wilt and die, you can keep it!

I made my leis out of stephanotis and pikake flowers.  Stephanotis flowers were in my wedding bouquet as well!
 These are pikake flowers.


I love these kids so much!

- Emilie

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Kauai Wave Painting

Here is my latest painting - created completely with the palette knife.  I really like this style because it gives the painting some texture.   Now that I am going to be living in Michigan I guess I will have to learn how to paint snow.

- Emilie

Saying Goodbye to my Keiki

Yesterday, I told my class that I was moving back to Michigan once the school year was over and that I wouldn't be their teacher next year.  I decided that I should tell them a little before the end of the school year so they could let it sink in.  Since next week is our last week, I thought that now would be a good time to do it.  I knew it was going to be difficult to tell them, but it was harder than I thought it would be.  

I told them at the end of day after science because I teach science to grades K-5 and that way I could tell all of the elementary children together.   At first there was just silence until one students said, "No, Kumu Emilie you can't go."  Then suddenly almost everyone was crying.  Many of the children were quite a bit more emotional than I expected.  It was very sad, but it also made me feel loved.  I'm going to miss them so much.  By the end of the day (which was only an hour later - they still had to go to Hawaiian language class) I already had dozens of cards and notes.  Today I even got some very thoughtful notes from parents.  

When we left Michigan to come to Hawaii we were sad to leave our friends and family. Now that we are leaving Hawaii, we have new friends and children that we will be sad to leave.  

Here is a  recent class photo from our field trip to the National Tropical Botanical Gardens.  The trip was an extension to a native plant writing project that my class has been working on this quarter.

A hui hou!

- Emilie

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Bittersweet Announcment

Our two year "honeymoon" has come to an end.  We decided that it is time to return to Michigan and live closer to family and friends.  Cory left this past Wednesday and I will join him on June 3rd, once my school year is over.  We both have mixed feelings because we love living in Hawaii, however we feel like it is time to be closer to home.  We definitely plan to visit Hawaii often in the future, but we will probably travel to some new places first.
This isn't the last blog post, I still have three weeks!  I'm going to try to enjoy the island as much as possible and write about my experiences until I leave at the end of the month.

- Emilie

Monday, May 6, 2013

Polihale Starry Night Painting

I finished another painting!  I'm really enjoying having a hobby other than studying for my masters classes.  The last class I just finished was the hardest class I have ever had in my life.  I will be graduating in December though, so not much longer!

So back to the painting...

Our friend (and artist), Giorgio gave me some pointers.  He has a special technique for the stars that I learned from him.  It was so fun!  I did the palm trees with a palette knife which made them more 3D-like (which you can't quite see from the picture).

This picture was taken at the Hanapepe Art Walk this past Friday.  In front of us is Giorgio and his wife, and    next to me is our friend who works on one of the tour boats.

- Emilie

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

SHARK! - Captain Andy's Boat Tour

Emilie and I went out on a Zodiac ride through Captain Andy's. We have been out to the Na Pali Coast many times but had never taken out a Zodiac. This type of boat only holds about 12-15 people and is very small. Due to its size it makes the trip a bumpy one, which we thought would make it fun... it didn't, but other parts of the trip made it worth it!

This is us just getting on our boat. Our group consisted of two Zodiacs but the only thing we did together was eat and snorkel...  I'll touch on the snorkeling at the end...

Because it was a smaller boat and the waves were big, we all got wet but it was worth it because we got to actually go into these sea caves!...

This cave was interesting because once you get inside, you can still see the sky. It was awesome!

Here is the view from inside the cave looking out!

One of many waterfalls flowing  into the ocean...

This is what they call the "Cathedrals" it was an incredible view.

In another cave you can see there was a waterfall coming down from the ceiling. Small but fun.

After lunch we went snorkeling off a beach that is only accessible by boat. The water was very nice and the amount of marine life was incredible! A little too incredible.  I swam through an opening in the reef that looked like a road for fish, it was about 40 ft from the surface of the water. The further I went out, the larger the fish got. They went from 6 inches to a foot. One foot to 3 feet, and 3 feet to 4 feet....then right to 6-7 feet!!!

It was my 1st shark sighting since I have been out in Hawaii. It was awesome.  Thankfully it did not pop up in front of my face. It was a good distance from me, but I was able to catch a glimpse and then head on back to ensure I kept all of my limbs. :-)


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Kalalau Trail

Over spring break we hiked a little bit of the Kalalau Trail with Cory's dad.  It is known as one of the worlds best hikes and one of America's most dangerous.  The entire trail is a strenuous 11 miles (one way) and goes along the Na Pali coast which is only accessible by foot or by boat.  We probably hiked about 2 miles of the trail, but we still saw fabulous views!

We would like to do the entire trail before the end of the school year.  It will be hard to find time though because Cory works at the zip-line place on Saturday's, plus it is often rainy on the North Shore and we would definitely wait for a sunny day!

- Emilie

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pacific Missile Range Facility Field Trip

I'm going to back track a little to before spring break.  I have not had any time to write lately because I've been so busy with my graduate classes. A few weeks ago I set up a field trip to the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) for the elementary students in my school.  I've been trying to expose students to future potential job opportunities and to make them more aware of what is around them.  We had a great time on the trip.  They took us to the fire station and let the kids climb into the fire trucks and turn on the lights and siren.  After, one of the firemen drove the truck and sprayed water out of it.  They also gave all the kids a plastic fire hat.

We also got to see these full-sized remote control boats that are used as targets for missile practice.  They let the children climb onto the boats and explore them.

This is where they launch missiles from.  We were not allowed to take a picture of the actual structure, but the view was awesome.

- Emilie

Spring Break 2013 - Zip-Lining and Boat Tour

Cory's dad is here visiting us!  He got here on Thursday and we have been busy ever since.  The first thing we did was go to the Ku I Ka Lono hula performance.  Last year it was on Oahu but this year it was on Kauai.  We saw several school's perform hula (including mine).

Over the weekend we went zip lining and on a boat tour. Cory's dad even went on the zip-line upside down (on purpose).  The boat tour didn't go to the Na Pali coast like usual because of dangerous ocean conditions, so we went to the south side of the island.  We saw lots of dolphins, turtles, manta ray, and whales.

We had something pretty unique happen with the whales, two of them were following our boat. According to the crew, the shadow of our boat resembles a whale because it is the same size. The whales that were following us thought that we were another whale.  They said the whales were "showing off" to try to get our attention.  The whales literally breached in front of us at least 15 times, if not more.  They also waved their fins at us, it was pretty cute.  Even the crew members were out taking pictures (and they are on the boat every day).

Here is a link to a video -- more to come later :)

Holo-Holo Boat Trip

- Emilie

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

ATV Tour

One of the perks of Cory's zip-lining job is that he was able to sign us up for a complementary ATV tour this past weekend.  We traveled 25 miles around Kauai in a "mud bug".  As always, the scenery was beautiful, even while being covered in mud!  We stopped at a little waterfall for lunch and jumped into the freezing cold river water.  We had a ton of fun, it was probably one of my favorite "tourist attractions" on the island.  Although, I think the boat tours are the #1 attraction.
Here we are in our Mud Bug.

 The beginning of the tour was near an old sugar mill.

 We went into a tunnel that went through a mountain.

 Then the mud began... Cory made sure to hit every puddle 

 This is the lunch stop at the little waterfall.

Can you imagine going through puddles like this for 3 hours?.. Or what we looked like afterwards...

Needless to say, we had to stop at the beach after the tour to wash the mud off of us.  The ATV company did provide extra t-shirts and shorts for people who were worried about getting their clothes dirty (which makes sense if you are on vacation and don't have a washing machine).

- Emilie

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sight-Seeing on the Bus

As many of you know, I take the Kauai bus to and from work every day.  It became much better once we moved to Hanapepe because we are closer to the school.  They also added a new bus route back in November so the timing works out a lot better too.

It is whale season and my new favorite after-school activity is whale-watching on the way home from work!  The road goes right along the ocean and I have seen TONS of whales.  Mostly just spouts, not breaching - but it is still pretty cool to look out at the water and see the huge splash from the spout.  I wasn't able to catch a whale on camera, but I did get this nice little rainbow picture (it's kind of faint).

Looking back to when we first came to Hawaii in 2010 for vacation, I remember riding the bus around Oahu and taking pictures of everything.  Now in 2013, after living here for a year and a half, I'm still amazed by the beautiful surroundings.

- Emilie

Painting of Polihale

Not too long ago, I mentioned that I started a painting the last time that Cory and I went to Polihale. Our friend Giorgio, a local artist, brought an easel and we painted while we were there.  I finally finished it!  Giorgio gave me lots of great tips!  I'm happy with how it came out.

- Emilie

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Beach Photo-Shoot

Last weekend Cory and I were hired to do a photo-shoot!  The photographer works for a website called  People can go to the site to buy pictures for their own websites or advertisements.  It was fun for us and now we have some nice pictures.

This is our favorite picture!

- Emilie

Saturday, February 2, 2013

January Update

January was a busy month!  I am currently taking two graduate classes and I have another one starting at the end of this month.  After this semester I'll be over half way done with my master's degree! 

Cory started working as a zip-lining tour guide this past month.  It is only three days a week, and so far he likes it.  I'm jealous that he gets to work outside (except that he has to work in the rain sometimes).  We also found out that he gets to continue teaching at my school for the rest of the year.  He was hired as an "emergency hire" back in the fall and we were not sure for how long it would be.  It is nice to know that he has it for the rest of the year. 

We had a really nice visit from Pastor Tom and Pauline and their two friends.  We had a delightful lunch together and they came to see the school.  It was so nice to see familiar faces!

Of course a month can't go by without a camping trip, so we went to our favorite spot - Polihale.  We have become friends with a local artist who has a gallery in the town we live in, and him and his wife came with us.  I literally think his artwork is the best on the island, which is pretty good because there are 16 galleries in Hanapepe alone.  He knows that I enjoy painting so he brought two easels and we painted while we were there.  It was really cool to be on the edge of this sand dune with a professional artist, painting our favorite place on the island.  Within an hour and a half or so, he had a masterpiece.  I only got about half way done.  I'll post a picture when its finished.

Here is a link to our friend Georgio's website.  Pictures don't quite do his work justice though, his paintings have a ton of texture and of course you can't get that from a photograph.

At the end of this month I will be going on a trip to Seattle for a Common Core (teaching) workshop.  I'm not looking forward to the cold!  It will be fun to go somewhere new though. Unfortunately Cory is not coming with us. 

A hui hou!

- Emilie

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sunrise Shells

Cory bought me a beautfiul sunrise shell for Christmas this year.  I was really excited because I had been wanting one for awhile.  I was told that they could be found at Polihale right before sunrise. I went out and looked a few times when we were camping, but I only found baby sunrise shells that were probably about the size of a quarter inch and were very fragile. 

This is my sunrise shell!  It is on a necklace now.  It is about the size of a quarter.

The first time I saw a sunrise shell I thought that it had been dyed or painted.  I didn't know how special they are until I saw a few people wearing them and decided to learn a little about the shell. 

I found this description online to share with you...

"These shells are one of the most sought after for their history, beauty and rarity. They are only found in Hawaii so that alone makes them very special. Their history goes back to ancient times when only the Hawaiian royal family was allowed to wear to this unique treasure. They are still around today but are hard to obtain because they live in depths of over 200ft. By the time they get to the beach they are usually destroyed from our powerful surf. Because they are so rare and hard to find they are very valuable."

- Emilie

MORE Horseback Riding!

I got to go horseback riding again!  One of my new friends works at the humane society as an animal control officer. They currently have 16 horses.  Part of her job is to ride the horses to give them exercise and help get/keep them used to being around people.  I was so excited when she invited me to come with her.  I got to ride two different horses.  It had a great time, especially because I got to go faster than we were allowed to on the tour that Becky and I went on.  My friend goes every Sunday, I'm hoping I will get to go with her again soon.

- Emilie