RADICAL OHANA CAMPING KICKOFF. From February 8 - 11 our LTP class embarked on our first adventure trip. The trip was honestly everything! More exhausting, exciting and educational that I could have ever imagined. But let’s start at the beginning.
One day before we were supposed to leave, I developed a fever out of nowhere. I was really upset about it, because I didn’t know how it would evolve. I rested the whole afternoon and luckily felt a bit better the morning of the trip. I didn’t have a fever anymore but my body felt weak and I was still coughing (I had this cough for a long time already. Apparently what could have made it worse again is the volcanic smog from the volcano on the big island.) Thanks to my two leaders that encouraged me to go on the trip and be part of this bonding experience.
Thursday 10 am, us eight students and two of our leaders left STN property. Sara, a staff member, drove us to the Dillingham airfield. After arriving there, the leaders told us to count how many steps it takes us to walk 100 meters. This helped us later on, to find geopaks on our hike. The first stage was 300 meters long and we were all tied together with a rope. For me, 100 meters were 140 steps, so I had to count to 420 steps. Our LTP class found the first geopak which consisted of our breakfast: Yummy Oatmeal! On our way up the mountain, we were supposed to find four geopaks, but only found two. After arriving at our camping spot for the night, we were divided into two teams. Our team was in charge of setting up the tents (Well, it was rather a tarp than anything else). The other one was collecting wood to start the fire. When we were done with setting everything up, our leaders told us what we get for dinner.
A little story beforehand: When we were packing for our trip, the leaders distributed the equipment to us eight students. Some of us had ropes, the tarps, a griddle, a water-pod. In a team of two each, we were given one bag of food which consisted of two apples, two potatoes, one can of chicken, some trail-mix (love it) and that was pretty much it. Also, the whole group only got one roll of toilet paper. The last thing that the leaders gave us were two chickens. Chickens that were alive! (More to that later on). In general, we had little to no information about anything. We didn't know if we are going to leave the island, we didn't know if we will be at the beach, in the woods. Basically we didn't know how these next four days will look like at all. The organized person in me had already to learn a lot here :-)
So, the first night, we were allowed to eat half a potato each person. I have to say that the potatoes are pretty big here ;) After a day of little food, we all were really happy about that potato. And the best part about it was, that we had seasoning- garlic salt and pepper *YUM*. The rest of the evening looked like this: Having a bonfire, a lot of laughter, two of the leaders sharing their testimony, stargazing and just awesome fellowship.
The next morning came around. A magical view awaited us, hills covered by green fluff, birds singing a beautiful melody. These are the things to be thankful for. I have to pinch myself often to realize that this is my life right now. We got to have quiet-time in God's wonderful creation. Breaking down camp, hiking till noon and finding another amazing view was how the next few hours looked like. At the lunch spot, I tried canned chicken for the first time in my life. To my surprise: It was very tasty! Being in awe of the view and lost in my daydream, the leaders informed us that we are already leaving for the next stage. We hiked for some more hours until we were given a new challenge: They told us a hypothetical story that Isak was paralyzed because of falling down a hill as I ran after him and broke my leg. Now, we had to come up with a solution on how we wanted to keep on going. Kevin carried Isak, Andria helped me walking and everyone else was carrying two big backpacks. We all were really exhausted and it was hard to stay motivated. I had to give up control over the situation and let Andria help me. We switched between her piggybacking me and me jumping on only one leg. It was extremely tiring. We were also given the instruction to stay together as a team the whole time. This exercise was really challenging and that we didn’t know how far we needed to go made it even harder. Long moments later we reached the goal. A campsite in the middle of the forest.
Real life kicked in in a split of a second: Our guest staff (Daniel), that was supposed to be at the campsite already, got stuck with his truck. This wasn’t a hypothetical story, but serious trouble. He took a wrong turn at some point and ended up on a really dangerous road. All the guys and Lucy found a guy with a car, drove to Daniels location and were able to find him with only a screenshot of his direction. To everyone's shock, two wheels were completely hanging off a cliff! The only thing that prevented the car from falling down the cliff was a tree! After some brainstorming they tied a slack-line and a rope to the car and slowly tried to drive the car back on the road. God’s protective hand was totally over this situation. “Adventure starts where everything goes wrong’, this was a quote that I remembered from one of our teachings. We saw this with our own eyes in this moment.
While all of this happened, we girls were setting up camp, started a bonfire and a special challenge was waiting for us. We still had two living chicken… Now you might know what is coming. And we knew that sooner or later we will need to do it. Sorry to all the animal-lovers, but it was part of our trip. So we went for it and killed the chicken named Henrietta and Bob (I leave the details out, if you want to know them I can share them with you :P), pulled the feathers out and took all the insides out. Then we cleaned, seasoned and cooked it. I am happy that I will never have to do this again (hopefully). Right when we were done with all of these tasks, the other half of our group including Daniel made it back safely. It was a crazy second day full of adventure (maybe a little too much? :D), challenges and bonding moments. We debriefed the day by having everyone share their happy and crappy moment of the day. This was always a highlight of my days: Sitting around the bonfire and talking stories. At this point, I didn’t know yet how hard the next day will be..
… To be continued. Part two will follow as soon as possible :-)
Weekends are for beach (good weather) and movies (bad weather)
The past few weeks, the weather has been crazy out here. We had storms, crazy amount of rain and wind. The nights are pretty cold and you should always have a backup plan for the day because of the rain. On the 4. of February, I went to the movies with Kat. Everyone at Surfing The Nations was talking about the new movie “the greatest showman”. So we thought, we would give it a try, even if I am not a huge musical fan. I have to say, the movie was aaawesome; I can totally recommend it to you! From the actors to the story and to the songs. Loved it! One highlight of this day was, that I bought a pink, fluffy bathrobe. Honestly, it is the coziest thing ever and it reminds me of home, since I have a similar one back home.
Monday came around and Junia, Isak and me wanted to work on our tan. Despite the rain, we went to the beach on the westside (the side with the least rain). After a 45 minute drive (that is a long drive when you’re living in Hawaii), we finally arrived at Mākaha Beach, one of the prettiest beaches around here. The afternoon consisted of naps, good conversations and running back and forth between the beach and the car to hide from the rain. When we came out of the water, we even saw a big turtle! That was awesome. We could relax and that was exactly what we needed. The relaxing atmosphere was over when they told me in the apple store that they couldn’t do anything for my laptop and my pictures. I either have to send it in for 500$ and get it fixed or buy a new one. Still brainstorming; advices and donations are highly appreciated ;)
Every Saturday, our LTP class has department days. On these days, we have the chance to get to know each department better. This gives us a taste of how our days will look like after our graduation. I already had an insight into the outreach departments Ulu Pono (kids program) and Feeding the Hungry as well as our businesses Surfers Coffee and the Vintage Store. One of my favorite days so far was in the businesses, especially the Surfers Coffee. We got to learn how to make acai bowls, use the checkout and make some drinks. I had a blast serving people coffee and telling them about Surfing The Nations. I love how people are so openminded here.
Old new friends
I have to tell you guys about two of my favorite encounters so far and how small Oahu is. One day we went shopping in Honolulu and I was looking through some clothes in Forever 21. Suddenly, I saw this woman. I instantly recognised her. Ty picked us up when me and two friends were hitchhiking last March. We chatted for a while and she invited me to ride horses with her, since she works on a horse farm. She lives really close to the beach on the north shore. This woman is awesome! Another encounter happened some days later. Something got rescheduled in our schedule on Friday. So I was sitting in our Coffee Bar one hour later than usually. I was focused writing my journal when I saw this woman that looked familiar to me. It was Carli, a woman that I met at a church on the North Shore last year as well. She is such a sweetheart and I can’t wait to get to know her better. Carli is a photographer and got married on Oahu last year. This is what I love about Hawaii: These kind of encounters, the openness of people and the opportunity to build new friendships with strangers better than anywhere else.
I feel so blessed to do all of this. Although it is harder than I ever thought it will be, I am endlessly thankful that I was given the opportunity to move across the globe. That I am constantly pushed. That I get challenged physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. That I can meet people from all over the world and have the best talks. That I can explore this beautiful island called Oahu. All of this would have never been possible without you guys reading these lines right now. Thank you for supporting me from the beginning on. Thank you for believing in what I am doing. Thank you for letting me do this, for all the love that you are constantly giving me, for checking on me while I am over 12’000km away. Thank you everyone for all the love, texts, calls, support (mentally and financially). I love you all so much and I miss you all so much! <3
SPOILER ALERT: Get excited guys! The next blog post will be about the first adventure trip that we had. I am working on it right now and I thought that this experience deserves a blog itself. There will be a lot of pictures and stories about these crazy four days in the wilderness with few food and a lot of challenges.
First, I want to share a little bit about the past few weeks here at STN. We already had the chance to be part of different outreaches. On the 18. of January, our LTP class went to Kalihi to serve at our food distribution program called “Feeding the Hungry” (FTH). We have different volunteers from all over the island that are helping out every week. Teamwork is so important on days like these. It makes the whole process faster. Because of that, we built chains to place all the food on the right spot. Kat, me and some other volunteers did the registration for over 500 people that came that day. Connecting with the locals was such a blessing. I had a lot of fun that day while handing out food.
Two days later, half of our LTP joined our kids program “Ulu Pono”. We prepared lunch and picked up the kids to go to the beach. It was a bit hectic. You definitely need to be flexible here at STN. The weather could change every moment, a car could break down or it might take you one hour to ask the parents of the kids if we can take them somewhere. Finally at the beach, I sprained my two fingers while playing rugby. At least I have a new nickname now: “Fat Finger” (A kid named Charlotte gave it to me, pretty funny actually :D). Hanging out with the kids was a blast and it is amazing to see how open and loving they are. Once they know your name, they always call your name and run up to you to hug you.
Weeekend and that means: a lot of homework *yey*! After working pretty much the whole Sunday on essays, we did our first hike on Monday morning. Leaving the house at 5am was so worth it to see this magical sunrise (picture down below). Junia, Isak, Debora and me did the Lanikai Pillbox hike. Also, I feel local now: I got an American phone number and we bought a car!!!! WHAT?! I am so glad that I can check that off from my to-do list.
In our LTP class we finally started planning our OSP (Ohana Service Project). This is an event that we get to organize the next two months. We came up with the name and idea of a WAHIAWA COMMUNITY FESTIVAL. Right now, we are in the process of figuring out our goals and making to-do lists. I am in charge of communication/marketing. It is really exciting to plan a big event and at the same time we are really challenged since nobody from our team ever did something like this before. I will keep you all updated about this :)
Wow, I could go on and on. Our days are full, thrilling and inspiring as you might be able to tell. Sometimes, I really don’t know where my head is. There is so much information that I need to process and so little time. I love people and I love building relationships. This is inevitable especially living in community. I see when people are not feeling well and I try to offer a helping hand wherever I go. But I also learnt, that it is really important for me to take time for myself and for God. I need to have this quiet time to recharge and be able to give back to others. Never give more to people than you have.
The new month started kind of rough for me. The 1. of February was totally not my day. It started while surfing, where I was trying to push my limits. What is a good thing, but I wanted more than my body and mostly my back could handle. I pressured myself, because I want to become better at surfing. However, my back isn’t really participating in this. I need to take baby steps. Sometimes you have to go a step back in order to be able to go even further. The whole day was messy and having my laptop breaking down in this season of organizing a big event didn’t really help (LOL). I think, these things just added to the fact that I couldn’t really process my thoughts and my brain was operating the whole time. Being open and honest about how I am feeling is something that I am learning right now. At home, I don’t really like to talk about feelings and what I am struggling with. It is easy to hide it there and I like to fix most things by myself. Living in community and being constantly surrounded by people makes it harder to hide. Luckily, I have awesome people around me that listen and support me. I feel so blessed to have them here.
I just wanted to share this to remind you: Having a bad day every once in a while is totally okay. It is okay to cry your eyes out - It is better than trying to keep it all together and then burst when everything becomes too much. The important thing is to see an end to it. Tomorrow is a new day and this day gives you a lot of new opportunities. Get yourself back up and make the best out of every situation. You just see the situation you are in right now, but Jesus sees the big picture. And I promise that better times are coming. You just have to be open to it and willing to let change happen in your life.
Text me for further details and questions!