(Yes I already posted that pic, but it serves a good purpose for story-telling here :). …And I love it.
She arrived along with all her stuff my mom had gone to help her pack up earlier that day up in Utah…THANK YOU MOM!
We packed up all our stuff and before we knew it we were off bright and early the next morning.
Lots of complications like that, but it all worked out and we are both glad she is officially tucked in safe and caught up in her classes.
(That’s at least her little corner…she shares with three other roommates she didn’t know before who seem pretty great.)
After we unpacked a little we met up with this great couple we had been looking forward to meeting my sister had introduced us to through the internet before we arrived:
They used to live near each other in Boston but have since moved to Hawaii, both work for BYU-H. We fell in love with them right from the start, they are some of the kindest people ever.
That sure puts you at ease to know that your daughter has people who will look out for her when she’s so far away.
James (the husband) told us all about the amazing programs BYU-Hawaii has to help kids all over the world get an education through scholarships and another program called IWES (explained pretty wonderfully through “fromthemrs” in the last post’s comments…thank you!). He goes all over the world to actually recruit kids who may otherwise never have the chance to get an education and bring it back to their own communities. I love that.
Dave and I mixed tucking Elle into her dorm and helping her feel situated with a little late wedding anniversary celebration by ourselves. We knew Elle would be better off without us hovering over her too much so we let her be most of the time, but got to do a few things together first. On Sunday she went to her own new student ward there (which sounds like a great one) and Dave and I went to church with some friends, Rusty and Melanie, who used to live in the desert and now live right across from the Polynesian Cultural Center (right next to BYU-Hawaii).
I had to take a picture of their view from the hallway of the church:
I also had to take a picture of how my cup of water looked at lunch.
Humidity is pretty awesome.
We helped Elle get going on some of her assignments. She’s doing a web design class which I wish I could take with her. We sat and tried to figure out html code for a little bit…
They live life in such a cool way and we loved catching up with them. They remind me of my brother a little bit since they travel around and do home schooling…and have even converted a car to greasel just like my brother does. That above picture is taken from their back porch.
For reals, they live there. Is that cool or what?
Three of those girls in this picture below go to BYU-Hawaii.
And laid out talking on this beach all afternoon one day:
That is Waimea Bay, our favorite beach ever as a family when we visited last Christmas. There were HUGE waves back then, but this time of year it was flat as a pancake.
We did that rock jump up there and got burned to a crisp in that beautiful Hawaiian sun as we talked through life and the world.
We went on the Crouching Lion hike we tried to find and failed at Christmas.
This time we found the trailhead, but we actually took the wrong fork in the road and hiked up WAY higher through a lot of mud behind the actual Crouching Lion hike.
It was one of the most gorgeous hikes I’ve ever been on.
And I took probably 87 pictures to try to remember it.
Hikes sure give you a gorgeous vantage point.
See that little point in the middle of the picture below?
That is the Crouching Lion hike.
Some day I’ll go back and do it with Elle (who has already done it herself with some friends there) but I was so glad we did the higher one this day.
We just kept climbing higher and higher.
See how tiny that Crouching Lion point looks below us?
Going down wasn’t nearly as exhilarating as going up…
We took the wrong route and got caught in a lot of mud, slipping all over the place (it was very steep).
And slipping in mud isn’t the most fun thing, especially for Dave who just got new shoes that weren’t cooperating very well for hiking.
But we made it out alive and headed to paddle board at Rusty and Melanie’s.
We just walked down these steps with their boards:
Rusty and Melanie are pros at that stuff, but Dave and I have some work to do! I wish I could have taken pictures out there. The sky was a little hazy against the green shore-line as you looked in and the ocean was blue as could be heading out to the horizon.
Amidst other things, we got to get in a quick visit with this cute girl our family fell in love with when Max dated her a little bit his senior year.
She has lived in Hawaii for a while now and is another person who will be looking out for Elle over there…SO grateful! We wished we could have met her new husband but he was in class when we finally got together.
We visited the beautiful temple there right next to campus:
…and laughed one afternoon when we were delivered this HUGE amount of fish and chips at lunch.
We explored the beaches right next to where Elle lives. This one is called Castle Beach:
…which is great for surfing.
And this one is Pounders, literally right across from campus:
…great for body-boarding.
I LOVED how the waves would crash up against those craggy cliffs and spray up all their white foamy mist.
The last day we grabbed Elle after one of her classes and took her to get a smoothie with us before we left. This is the only picture I got of us together there, but this was right before we found a quiet spot for a special Father’s Blessing.
Dave always gives the kids special Father’s blessings as the school year begins each year, and I must say this was probably the most beautiful setting yet. And I don’t know if it was because I was extra anxiously nervous to leave this girl there, but the words he spoke may have been the most beautiful yet to my mother’s heart as well.
So this is now Elle’s home:
And she sure seems to be taking advantage of all it has to offer so far.
She has tiny classes and at lest a few outstanding professors and has gone on hikes and figured out at least part of the bus system and how to get around with no car in the short week she has been there. She has so many adventures awaiting her.
No matter how many perks and amazing things a college campus has to offer, it’s hard to leave your daughter there.
I know she will thrive and love and learn and grow.
But we will sure miss her.
On our way to the airport Dave and I actually hit the Thai food truck my mouth has been watering for ever since we tried to go there and it was closed at Christmas. And tried again the beginning of this trip, closed again.
Third time was a charm and it was a perfect way to end those days we had together…at twilight with little candles glowing on our table and perfect equilibrium air around us, with Dave at my side, happy and content with a little melancholy mixed in.
As we left Elle with her new “beginning” back in Hawaii we headed home to our own new “beginning” at home:
Life with three kids.
We had some babysitter problems while we were gone (our babysitter got shingles of all things!) so everything was kind of mismatched and scrambled. But those three girls of ours fared great with so much help from neighbors and family (thanks guys!). We got home on a red-eye so things were a little blurry for a couple days, but first thing I had to go surprise Lucy at lunch at school since I was so anxious to give her a hug.
(I don’t think the older girls in Junior High and High school would have appreciated the lunch snuggles quite as much, although they claimed they would, and it was a pretty joyous reunion with all.)
And since then we are all off to new beginnings. The end of an era with so many kids at home going every-which direction on to a new reality here with these three girls of ours.
New classes, new family theme for the year, new things learned in Taiwan for Max, new everything for Elle in Hawaii, new lessons to learn and schedules to solidify.
Here we go!