Hawaii

I spent several crucial years of my youth living in Hawaii. Since moving away at the age of 12, I have gone back to visit family at least a dozen times. Typically, seeing my maternal grandmother is the key motivation behind these visits. I traveled to Hawaii last April and had a strange gut feeling that it would be the last time I would her alive. After battling various illnesses for many years, my grandmother passed away on March 27th, 2016. Despite knowing her time left with us was numbered, nothing truly prepared any of us for her death. I was consoled knowing her suffering had ended, that she had a relatively pleasant life. Still, it was unusual visiting Hawaii last month and not getting to talk to my grandmother about the latest Korean soap operas she was watching or sharing meals with her from some of our favorite local restaurants. My grandmother was a significant figure in my life - I plan on expanding on my memories of her in a separate post.

Unlike previous trips, I had more time to explore than I'm used to. I arrived a few days before my parents and brother, a full week before my grandmother's funeral service. I'm used to viewing Hawaii from a tourist's perspective when I visit - I too enjoy visiting beaches, stopping at scenic lookouts, and indulging in treats from touristy destinations around Oahu. So I tried to make the most of my time in Hawaii, despite being there for a different reason than in the past.

I took myself to the beach one afternoon and stayed until sunset. I went hiking twice with my cousin - once to the Kui Lou Lou Ridge and once to Hamama Falls. I ate shave ice on 3 separate occasions. I went to Lanikai - my favorite beach - on the most picturesque day I could imagine. I ate so many of my favorite dishes from shops that bring back memories of my younger days. I enjoyed myself - and truly enjoyed the time spent with my family.

Here are a few photographs from that trip:

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Linville Gorge Wilderness

This past weekend, my buddy Christie and I took a trip to Asheville, North Carolina for some quality time with nature. We spent a good amount of time hanging around Asheville but also managed to hike and camp around the Linville Gorge Wilderness - part of the Pisgah National Forest. Our first night, we hiked to the top of Table Rock Mountain and set up camp for the evening. Waking up to sunrise on the top of the mountain is one of my most memorable experiences outdoors. The next day, we hiked to the top of the Chimneys and Hawksbill Mountain. While none of the trails were particularly long, the steepness of the hikes made them challenging - at least for me.

Here are some photographs from the trip:

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Bulls Island

This past weekend, Isabel and I took a trip to Bulls Island. The island itself is a 5,000-acre remote barrier island within the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. In addition to being home to countless bird species and loggerhead sea turtles, Bulls Island has one of the densest populations of American Alligators north of the Everglades.

We had fun exploring the island and walking along Boneyard Beach, a part of the shoreline covered in skelotonized remains of oaks and cedars.

Here are a few photographs from our trip:

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Isabel

A few weeks ago, I celebrated my 29th birthday. My roommates and I hosted some folks at our place for a housewarming // joint birthday celebration (one of my roommates has a birthday the day after mine). Thanks to my amazing friends, and my wonderful partner Isabel, I had one of the best birthdays to date. 

On my actual birthday, Isabel let me take a few photographs of her. This might sound odd, but getting to take photographs of her was probably one of the highlights of the weekend. I'd like to get in the habit of documenting day-to-day happenings versus turning moments into carefully orchestrated photo shoots.

Anyway, here are some photographs from February 7th, 2016: