After our lunch with Max’s wonderful mission presidents, and a visit to their home and the mission office (last post), we took a LONG train ride to Taipei…off to Dave’s mission world.

We took the subway to the Taipei 101 (Taiwan’s tallest building and at one time one of the tallest in the world) and this was our view when we came stepped out of the subway and looked up:

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:

Headed to the night market in Dave’s old area, filled with so many interesting foods and goods. 

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.

March 6, 2018
Double day…

Got up early to hike “Elephant Mountain” and look over the city heavy-laden with low misty clouds.  

There were a LOT of stairs…

Walked/ran through the city back to the 101, close-up view this time:

Loved this sculpture in front…so cool:
…then to check out and get on our way.  

Subway to the Taiwan LDS temple:
(Kind of cool that it’s on the subway map up there in the upper third of that pic)

…and Dave’s old mission office where he worked for the last part of his mission…right across the street from the temple: 

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 🙂

Second Tuesday:

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?


and here:
…on technically the same morning.
Time travel is cool 🙂
Back to my journal:

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.

While we were there we went on a run to the temple:

 …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).

Elle guided us to an awesome lookout to see Honolulu from above:

 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.


    1. Hi Tracy! The beginning of March was such a busy one with our trip…but we definitely have quiet days at home, and we sure appreciate them! One of them is right now, Good Friday and we are soaking it in!

  1. What a neat experience to visit your son and husband’s missions! I loved going to my husband’s mission (after we married), and look forward to children’s missions one day 🙂

  2. Such a great trip. You are such a great documentor. I am amazed that when you guys travel you always squeeze time in for exercise. I don’t know how you do it when you are constantly switching time zones but you manage to. I need to be more like you!

    1. We do try to stay active, I think it's a hobby for most of us…gets those endorphins going and makes us happy. But in general I'm not great at exercise on vacations…I'm better at eating chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, Ha! Max has been especially into getting a good workout in each day since he got home so we've kind of followed his lead on that. He's a good example!

  3. I wonder – do you ever rest at home with just your family – by family I mean just your husband and kids. Your adventures are so amazing and interesting and of course it’s the fun stuff you post on the blog…but do you ever relax at home without company?

    1. Good question Angela, because you're right, I think sometimes blogs can be deceiving since they are generally filled with pictures from what we do…not many pictures get taken during down time. But the majority of our time is with just our family, and I love it. I think a little more of that comes through on "little things" posts. We are an active family…we have kids involved in pretty active things, and that's fun too, but makes us appreciate the quiet time at home even more.

  4. Those waves are gigantic compared what I'm used to at the beach I go to in California. If you're ever here, and you want a cute little cover with a gorgeous view and tame/no waves, go to Corona Del Mar and (might be tricky with Lu) go over the rock formation to the right of the parking lot (there are stairs going over on both sides) and there's a little cove over it. It's where I go with our 6 year old since last time we went, she wasn't ready for waves. It's more like a pool.

  5. I'm sorry if this hurts anyone's feelings, but I just erased the first comment discussion trying to keep things a little more positive on here. Wanted to thank people for the kind comments though, I want so much for this blog, and the comment section, to build people up.

  6. What fun travels! Elle seems to be so grounded and really blossoming into her own true authentic self over in Hawaii. It seems to suit her well. I'm with you on deleting the negative comments. They were beginning to be a distraction and weigh the blog down. We need more positivity in this world. So i say, keep deleting the trolls!

  7. Hey Shawni,
    I see on the acai cup 3/7! That was the same day we were in oahu wanting that 7th golden birthday photo shoot or the day or two after. Would of loved to meet up and had Elle take photos. Darn emails. Looks like a great trip!

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