Dave and I had been to Taiwan before on a layover a few years ago, and Max had been the month before with all the elders who were leaving together, but it was fun to walk those streets and take in more of the “modern” Taiwan with those two boys of mine.
We walked from there to our swanky hotel Dave got with hotel points, checked in and headed to eat at one of our favorite restaurants from our days in China: Din Tai Fung. Check out all those people whipping up dumplings:
This picture won’t mean anything to anyone else, but I want to remember that subway ride. I think we were a little tired and loopy because we were laughing pretty hard with those umbrellas as our handles.
Max in complete awe of how nice everything there was compared to Taichung. They’ve just had this plot of land in Taipei for so long, and it really is a beautiful spot, so well cared for and planned out. Maybe they will do something similar with their triangle block in Taichung some day.
One more taxi ride to the airport.
I will miss the sound of Max’s Chinese, the goodness of those people there, the beauty of the Chinese characters surrounding us in every direction, the thrill of soaking in a different culture…but most of all I’ll miss the camaraderie and glow of all those good people we met. People who have changed my son for the better. That country and those people have infiltrated into the fabric of who he is and have made him stronger, deeper, more compassionate, and have refined him into such an awesome version of himself.
I will be forever and ever grateful for that, and we left part of my heart there because of it.
Airport and flight, smooth connection through Japan and a whole row to sleep en route to our stopover on our next island…this time the island of our daughter Elle: Oahu.
Had to check on her en route home since she is on the way after all…and we hadn’t met her roommates or seen (aside from Facetime) where she lives and we were missing her!
Here we are, pretty excited that we had a pretty empty flight 🙂
Ok, so the cool thing about coming back from China is that you gain time.
Lots of it.
Remember this hike on that cloudy gray Tuesday morning in Taiwan?:
Well, we flew all those hours back in time, and arrived in Hawaii also on Tuesday morning, and since Elle was in class, we stopped and hiked the Pillbox hike en route to her house.
Two different islands, two different countries, two different hikes on the SAME MORNING. Crazy right?
Beauty swallowing us up.
About the same steepness as the other hike, but a little different terrain.
Beach and early dinner before heading to Laie where we met Elle on campus…
(We found her at the gym…such a happy reunion)
She gave us a tour with the glowing sunset sky and behind the BYU-H circle of international flags and swaying palm trees.
She gave us a little campus tour, including her graphic arts classrooms and some posters displayed she’s working on.
…and low and behold, right then and there we ran into Max’s MTC companion who is going to school there.
So good to catch up with him under that beautiful glowing sky.
Tour of Elle’s house, fancy dinner on the porch by candlelight at the fancy restaurant where all Elle’s roommates work:
Then back to a long conversation back at our tiny little airbnb about confidence and girls and Elle’s new branding idea that is kind of cool, trying to help girls be more real.
I just look at these two and get so overwhelmed with gratitude that they’re mine. And that we can have talks like that that get deep.
…and did a few other fun workouts together:
Ate this deliciousness:
Body-surfed in this scary beauty:
(not me…those waves scare me to death)
Ate at my favorite Thai place,
Hung out at our favorite beach as the sun sunk in the sky:
Strapped all Elle’s roommates surfboards to our roof and tried to surf in freezing water…ha!
Max and I snuck away on a little hiking date while Elle was at school and Dave was working:
Ate quite a few of these:
(banana bread sundaes with coconut…oh man I’m drooling they were SO good)
Had some good, deep, late-night talks here:
Ran into old friends:
Visited other old friends:
And visited this gorgeous temple (Byodo-In Temple) en route back to Honolulu to catch our last red-eye flight.
In Honolulu we got to go to a volleyball tournament…BYU was playing there at University of Hawaii.
And as luck would have it, Max’s old team mate from high school plays for UH.
It was so fun to sit and catch up with him while watching a great game.
Love that kid. He and Max were all-state volleyball players together. He was the setter and Max was the middle. Oh those good old days!!
And it was so fun to see Max’s friend Andrew who was recruited by BYU from high school…he and Max played at nationals together (back HERE), and we love him!
Ate at CoCo Ichibanya for dinner…oh man we all LOVE Japanese curry. Fun to reminisce Thanksgiving a few years back when that was our thanksgiving dinner while visiting Japan (back HERE).
And then we dropped her off to meet up with friends who were “in town,” and headed off.
We flew through the night and landed right as the sun was rising in the pink sky back in the desert.
March 10, 2018
HOME. No place like it.
Nothing like those hugs especially when there have been all kinds of loose ends I’ve been worried about missing these girls…cleaned out the fridge and heard details of everything that went on while we were gone over baking some banana bread together (no coconut sundaes this time though, darn it!:)
Unpacking, continual laundry all day, dropping off Hawaiian chocolates to all the people who helped out while we were gone, re-packing, phone calls, dentist appointments, more hugs, more laundry, and much-anticipated luxurious sleep.
Nothing like our bed after a long trip and right before a new one.
(It was the beginning of Spring break and we were off to help Max move into his new home: Provo)
March 11, 2018
Got up early to finish packing (I had made a really conscious effort not to stay up the whole night getting it done like I usually do), went to 8:00 church and then got on the road…so many miles stretched out before us, and lots more adventures awaited.