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Left My Heart In Oahu

One long car ride to Vegas, 3 connecting flights with two layovers was all it took to enter the beautiful state of Hawaii.

What brought me to the majestic island of Oahu? Well, a wedding of course! Not just any wedding though, a destination wedding for my brother Brad and his new wife Monica. So with this, my parents and I came saved up enough money to come travel to witness their special day!

We packed up on a Wednesday night from Utah and entered Hawaii on Thursday night, 15 hours of flight travel in all, from: Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles to Honolulu. Now people may ask, why three flights? And the answer to this question was because we wanted the cheapest airfare. A round-trip ticket one-way to Hawaii costs around $600-$700. A round-trip ticket out of Vegas with two connecting flights only cost us $370 each. That’s a steal! But it was hard to stay awake and comfortable during the 15 hours of travel, I’d have to say. Anyways, when we finally reached Hawaii, I knew I was going to love it there.

We stayed in a hotel in the city of Honolulu, near Waikiki beach. Waikiki is one of most popular beaches in Oahu and because of this; there are tourists EVERYWHERE! There were always people walking on the streets in Waikiki to go to the beach or shop at the retail stores. This was the view from our hotel balcony.  We were on the highest floor which was the 10th floor. Ounnamed (16)ur hotel wasn’t the most luxurious, but it was sufficient enough for our needs. The view made up for it though. In Honolulu, there’s a lot of condos because that’s where most of the people live. Also, Waikiki seemed to be party central as there was a sports bar connected with our hotel, which would wake us up in the middle of the night during our stay some nights. But our hotel was close to the shops and the wedding events.

Friday was our first major day in Hawaii. We woke up pretty early due to jet-lag and ate breakfast at a cute little sit-down restaurant called “Seaside Bar & Grill.” This place offers pretty cheap breakfast with good quality food and great service. After we had breakfast, we walked around Waikiki and went for a little walk on Waikiki beach and went shopping at an ABC store and Ross. I think everyone who knows me, knows that I’m a huge Ross lover and of course I had to go to a Ross store in Hawaii. So I went and bought a Hawaiian dress for me and my friend Megan that I just had to buy! After shopping, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for my brother’s wedding.

My brother Brad and his new wife Monica met on an online dating site and they decided to have a destination wedding at a little chapel connected with the Hilton hotel in Waikiki. The chapel was decorated in simple decor of glittering tea light candles in glass jars aligning the walkway. The ceremony featured a young man who was singing love tunes while playing his ukulele. The chapel had a breath-taking view of the Hilton resort and the ocean. The view looked like a scene off a postcard or a movie. It was spectacular!

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The view from the wedding chapel.

We arrived at the chapel after a pretty hefty rainstorm to witness the ceremony. The ceremony was simple and sweet. I have never seen my brother look so happy. I knew he had met the woman of his dreams and he seemed that he was excited for his new journey of life of marriage.

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My brother Brad and his new wife Monica at Waikiki beach on their wedding day.
After the ceremony, we headed off in all of our Ubers to the reception at Duke’s Waikiki restuarant where we took pictures while the reception area was being prepped. During this time, I took the opporunity to take a photo with my new sister Monica on Waikiki beach.

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Me and my new sister Monica.
The reception area of the wedding took place on a patio on the Waikiki beach. It was decorated with a bunch of candles on the tables, gold chairs, white rose pedals and more.

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Table Setting at the Reception
There were two musicians to provide musical entertainment during the night and also an Hawaiian dancer.

 

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The reception at Duke’s Waikiki.
The dinner menu consisted of chicken, seafood, sirloin steak and more delicious food. There were also two great toasts given to Brad and Monica from the Maid of Honor and the Best Man. Overall, the reception was a magical dream! Never would I ever thought I would be attending a wedding reception on a beach in Hawaii. It was an unforgettable moment, I wish to relive again and again.

 

After the reception, we headed back to our hotel to get a good night’s rest for the next big day in Hawaii. On Saturday of our stay, we got up early to drive to Laie, Hawaii to do a temple session at the Laie LDS temple and also to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Doing an endowment session in the temple was an amazing opportunity to witness. The spirit of the people of Hawaii made the session so special for my parents and I.

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My parents and I after attending a temple session at the Laie, Hawaii LDS temple.
Once we finished the temple session, we walked around the temple grounds and found two sister missionaries who were more than willing to take a picture of us in front of the temple for us to treasure forever.

 

The Polynesian Cultural Center was next our stop. We got to tour all the different Polynesian villages to learn more about each polynesian culture. My favorite village we visited was the Samoan village because the host was entertaining and it’s known in their culture that the men do the cooking and cleaning for their family, which I thought was very endearing to discover. Later in the evening, my parents and I attended a Luau, where the workers greeted us with a fresh lei made up with purple flowers. The food at the luau was great and we ended the night with a show called the “Breathe of Life,” which told a story about a couple who gave birth to a little boy and it shows the boy’s life journey and how eventually it comes full circle by gaining a family of his own. The show also featured a ton of fire tricks and dancing, which was always a treat to watch. I would definitely recommend touring the Polynesian center for anyone who is planning a vacation to a Hawaii. What’s great about the Polynesian center is that all the profits help pay tuition for students who are attending BYU Hawaii. 75% of the workers there are students working for their tuition costs.

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The Tahitian island waving to the audience during a show at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
On Sunday, my parents and I decided to have a more relaxed day. So we had brunch with the newlyweds and then headed off to tour around the island of Oahu. We stopped at many lookout points and I could only remember the name of a few. We stopped at Pali and Blowhole lookout and of course the beach, where my mother accientally had a run in with a wave current. She was okay and we kept touring around the diffrent toursit lookouts on the island. Each tourist lookout views were gorgeous for a rainy day in Hawaii.

After driving around the island, we ended up in the town of Kailua, where there was a street fair being hosted. The street fair contained a bunch of food, art showings, shopping booths and musical entertainment.

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The Marine Band at the street fair in Kailua.
The musical entertainment at the street fair was a Marine band, who would play a variety of music. Also, we found a grocery store to buy a few things. Shopping at a grocery store in Hawaii was such a fun experience because the stores are pretty small, but the environment was warm and welcoming.

 

Our last day in Hawaii was Monday the 1st of May. Before our red-eye flight to head back home, we went to visit Pearl Harbor. During our time at Pearl Harbor, we got free tickets to tour the USS Arizona Memorial. To tour the memorial, you watch a 15 to 20 minute movie of showing the history of the Japanese attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor back on December 7th, 1941. Once the movie ends, you then take a boat to the memorial. The memorial is built over the site of the USS Arizona battleship and to this day, the ship is still leaking oil. Over a 1,000 sailors and marines lay to rest at this memorial site.

Not only did we tour the USS Arizona, we also toured the battleship Missouri which was where the official declaration of ending World War 2 was made official. Tourists get to tour the exterior and also the interior of the ship.

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The USS Missouri Battleship where the ending of World War 2 was made official.
When you enter the inside of the ship you get to see museum photos, the beds where the sailors slept, where they ate, the equipment they used and more. Overall, when you tour Pearl Harbor you can feel the spirit of the souls who left their mark at Pearl Harbor during the attack. The feelings you get are unbelievable and unforgettable.

 

Pearl Harbor was our last memory on our trip in Hawaii and then we headed off on a red-eye flight to LAX airport to take a connecting flight to Las Vegas to drive back home to Utah.

I will never forget all the treasured memories I made in Hawaii. The people, the food, the culture, the breath-taking views will always be in my heart. I hope to one day come back to the beautiful state that keeps me day-dreaming to come back to explore more. But for now, I can only say Mahalo Hawaii. I’ll be seeing you again someday.

 

– – Kim

 

 

 

 

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