Sunflowers at Waimanalo Country Farms

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Sunflowers…

They just scream “summer” right? That’s what I love about them, and ever since I heard that they were grown on Oahu (and Maui!), it’s been my mission to see sunflowers in person.

My first attempt was with a friend during winter. Word got out that the North Shore had sunflower fields so we drove up, only to end up in the middle of a large field of dirt. Needless to say, I was sad.

But that hasn’t stopped me.

As luck would have it, Matt sent me a link to a news article about sunflowers at Waimanalo Country Farms. I didn’t know that there was a farm out there, but I should’ve, since it was the country.

We went last Sunday morning, and I was excited! Waimanalo Country Farms is located in a residential area, high above the Pacific Ocean and the busy highway. The majestic Ko’olau Mountain Range is the farm’s backdrop, and it’s gorgeous. To make it even better, the farm faces the Pacific Ocean in all of its blue glory.

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View from the farm

The parking lot was fairly full when we arrived, and when we made our way to the ticket booth there was a short line. Next to it, there were stands selling sweet corn (if you’re on Oahu, you have to try Waimanalo sweet corn–sold at farmer’s markets or out of the bed of their corn truck–it’s the town’s specialty), and lemonade and sweet tea. Across the way people were lounging at picnic tables under a large white tent. I didn’t blame them, it was H-O-T that morning.

Admission was $2 and there was the option to take the tractor trailer up to the sunflowers or walk. We decided to do the latter, which was on a short dirt path lined with avocado and kiawe wood trees. And a goat, that was tied up near the entrance.

Unfortunately, since the news about the sunflowers came out after they were at their peak, they had started to wilt. However, there were still pretty ones standing tall (literally, some were towering over their slumped neighbors). People were taking photos galore with their iPhones and cameras, scoping out the best ones to show friends and family.

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Peek-a-boo!

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I look pretty happy, right?

We stayed for an hour, taking in the sunflowers and the stunning scenery. When we were heading back to the car the ticket line was longer: everyone wanted to see the sunflowers, apparently.

I’m glad that I was able to see the sunflowers, but I still want to see what the fields are like on the North Shore. Maybe I’ll go this year. However, if I miss them again, I now know that there’s a place showcasing these happy plants closer to home.

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Camping

I went on my first camping trip over Memorial Day weekend. Four of us went to Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area and it was fun!

Since it was a weekend to unplug and be with nature, I didn’t take a lot of photos, but there was no need to. It was great making memories without photos.

Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area houses Aiea Loop Trail, with ten campsites scattered around the park. Some campsites had amenities such as bathrooms and showers, while others had nothing but greenery. Thankfully, we had the former, and our site was at the end of the trail.

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Our tent

We arrived Saturday afternoon and spent the next 48 hours eating good food (someone ate more s’mores than I can count), relaxing, getting rained on (twice) and one Target trip (Sunday).

There were seven designated areas on the campsite, each having at least one picnic table. I was wondering how many people were going to there and it was quite a bit! The largest group had the prime spot, where they set up a covering and a large fire. It was populated, but the campsite was large so no one was invading another group’s space. I liked that there were a lot of people around.

Some of them made us laugh. Like group grilling over the sewer line. (Actually, that just made us concerned).

But, it was a sight.

During the day it was hot, but at night I needed to wear a jacket. In fact, I wore my jacket over my long-sleeve PJ’s.

Despite the cold, we saw the stars, and they were beautiful.

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The…fifth, fourth time making s’mores?

Because of the rain early Sunday morning, it was too muddy to hike the trail. However, the four of us got our exercise walking to the entrance of the trail head looking for dill. (A friend and I went on a walk Saturday night and smelled it, so we brought the guys to explore but the smell was gone! They thought we were crazy).

Even though camping was fun, I was SO ready to go home and SHOWER. I think we all were. Two days in the “wilderness” was enough for me. I joked that camping was going to be a once a year affair. I’m not that much of an outdoorsy person, but wanted to try camping.

And my OCD was (mostly) kept in check. I was hesitant to go camping because of that, but I decided that I wasn’t going to let it prevent me from doing things.

And I didn’t.

Catching up with Friends

On Tuesday two of my good friends and I went to eat dinner at Moku Kitchen. I was excited for this outing because my friends haven’t seen each other in MONTHS! (I’ve hung out with both separately). We caught up with one another over pumpkin ravioli, chicken wings, garlic Parmesan fries and burgers. Then the conversation continued over sweet treats from Butterfly Ice Cream.

We talked about travel (one is going to London next week and the other is off to Tokyo next month!!), work, mused about our high school classmates and other topics. It was a fun night. One friend is hilarious and I always laugh my butt off when he’s around. I never get tired of him and his stories, and I secretly want his life because so many funny things keep happening to him.

I miss seeing them every day like in high school. But as adults I appreciate when I do get to hang out with my friends.

From way back in 6th grade I knew how important friendships were and remembered that it was better to have a few real friends than an army of acquaintances. Hanging out with these two reinforced that notion. We might not see each other too often but I always feel good afterward. They’re nice people and I’m glad that they’re in my life.

A Post to Inspire Traveling

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thesinglewivesclub.com

A good friend posted an inspirational Facebook status about traveling, and how he was determined to see more of the world and not be tied down to the mundane routine of work and everyday life. I called his status inspiring because he made me, for the first time, buy tickets to my favorite guitarists’ concert in Vegas. I figured, why not?

I know people who want to travel, but can’t. And that’s heartbreaking. Some people have never left Hawaii!!!

It’s sad to hear these cases because yes, traveling is expensive, but it’s worth the money in order to see how another culture lives, take in the local sights, sounds and tastes, have adventures. To me, travel is one thing that you have to be “determined” about, like a goal. You have to accomplish saving in order to reach that goal. (Or get lucky). Case in point: A friend and her boyfriend are going to London and Spain this year, because they stumbled upon a good deal. Most of us, though, need to save. The friend who posted the Facebook status? He’s going to Japan in April.

But even traveling domestically opens our eyes and awakens our senses, be it the country, the city or a desert. Some of the best memories I have are taking trips nationally. New York City was an experience, and I want to go back.

Yes, it’s nice to create a travel list (I have one) and dream about going to these places, but wouldn’t it be better to actually go there? It’s very possible.