Finals week – Big Island

Monday I ran for 1:45h, it was very cool in the morning but nice for running. It was a really good start of the day.

After breakfast I did some workouts and studied Pilates for the final today. Furthermore, I figured out how this will work with my transcripts of my final grades. I will order them electronically and as well sent them in print home to me. Afterwards, I had a short FaceTime conversation with Simon, it was fun and good talking to him again. Then I drove off to college for my pilates final at 2 pm. We wrote the final on mats and it wasn’t really difficult. Because I had perfect attendance I received a PE Sport Shirt sponsored from the College. I also took a picture together with my teacher Debbie. Afterwards, I had to go to the international office because of my visa and transcripts, then I sold my book at the campus store and printed something at the library.

Back at home I studied oceanography, surfing and entrepreneurship for the finals tomorrow. For dinner we had some orange chicken with rice, vegetables and a cabbage salad. In the evening I had some tea and played Nintendo to calm down and I went to bed earlier because of my two finals tomorrow.

Tuesday I had to get up earlier because my exams started at 8 am. The first one was surfing. It was like a personal evaluation of our surfing skill progression throughout the semester and what we enjoyed the most. Back at home I did my workouts and then went to college for the entrepreneurship exam. It was a case study about a Bulgarian enterprise which is deciding on exporting international. We had to write about political and foreign exchange rate and credit risks and evaluate the best target market and distribution channel for them. I took Romania and direct exporting and wrote about cultural differences as well. I wrote about 2 pages in 1,5 hours. Afterwards, I cycled for two hours it was nice and sunny today. At 3 pm the review section of oceanography started, it was really good to go through the questions with her.

After the session I cycled to Vons to get some groceries. At home I took a hot shower because I was feeling freezing cold. Then I ordered my transcripts and began to study oceanography. For dinner we had some meat lasagna and a fresh big green salad with tomatoes and pomegranate seeds. In the evening I studied oceanography for the final on Thursday. Furthermore, Morgan finally sent me the GoPro pictures from one of our surfing classes, they are awesome and very funny! Then I just relaxed and read a little bit after this exhausting day before I fell asleep.

Wednesday I went running for 1:45h, weather today was dizzy a little bit and cloudy as well. After my breakfast I cycled to Leadbetter beach to meet my friend Betsy at the Shoreline cafe. After saying good-bye I sold my leftover books to the campus store and cycled a little bit. Back at home I did some workouts and included yoga as well. In the afternoon I had to say goodbye to my host sister Olivia because she was leaving for China for winter break. Even though she didn’t clean the bathroom or took the rubbish out I started to like her and get along with her. She was an acceptable host sister. Furthermore I repaired the other bike so my mum can use it on the weekend. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to fix it so we have to rent one. I can’t believe she is arriving tomorrow! Then I studied oceanography the whole afternoon.

For dinner we had some cooked vegetables, sweet potatoes, couscous and a salad. Afterwards, I baked my famous banana bread with walnuts for my mum tomorrow.

In the evening I relaxed, read my book, had some banana bread together with my tea and played Nintendo before I went to bed early for the final tomorrow.

Thursday was the last finals day for me. After some workouts in the morning and a granola breakfast I drove to the Mesa to meet Lindsay to obtain my deposit refund at the chase bank for my host home. After some cycling I went to college for my last final in oceanography at 11 am.

The final was about 300 points and very difficult but I did my best. At the end Dominique, Jeshua and I took one last picture together. I am gonna miss them so f* much!

In the afternoon I cycled, bought some necessities and tidied and cleaned my whole room especially the bathroom which took me hours and my back hurts literally. Afterwards, I helped my host mum to prepare dinner. We made Mexican tacos and tostadas filled with chicken, cheese, cabbage, avocado and tomatoes with spanisch rice and a big salad with pomegranate seeds on the side. My mother arrived shortly before 6 pm at the same as Jeshua who brought me his self-made oreo chocolate brownies as a goodbye present. Gonna miss him! However, I couldn’t realize that my mum was standing in front of me. It felt really awkward and strange to hug her and see her again. I think I can’t quite process it in my brain right now. Furthermore, she arrived with a big totally American but nice looking car and brought some Austrian Schlumberger sparkling wine and Havana rum with her (we usually drink rum on our vacations every day haha). Then we had our delicious dinner!

In the evening we had some Schlumberger Sekt with banana bread, chocolate chip cookies and the self-made Oreo brownies from Jeshua. I literally ate all of them in about 10 minutes they were so delicious! We chatted a lot and had a nice end of the day. Afterwards, my mother collapsed and fell asleep pretty easily and I had some tea, played Nintendo and read a little bit before I went to bed too.

During the night I also received my finals grade in entrepreneurship. I got 100% yes!!

On Friday morning I went running for 2:30 hours and said goodbye to my favorite places.

Then we had a breakfast together which was very nice.

Afterwards we packed my big suitcase with everything we want to send back to Austria and as well as my luggage for my trip to Hawaii. Around noon we started our Santa Barbara sight seeing tour. First I showed my mum the college campus and Leadbetter beach. Then we went to the breakwater and stearns wharf. There we met one of the Austrian girls Sabrina and I could say goodbye to her again. Moreover we went along state street and to the famous clocktower with the beautiful view. We also met the other Austrian girl Marlies at state street. We promised that we will meet in Austria for a reunion and go partying in Vienna together. At 4 pm we met Mia the head of coral group at her office. It was nice to introduce her to my mother and see her for a last time. Then finally we went back home.

At 5:30 pm Dominique came to our house with the bike which we can borrow for the day tomorrow. Then we drove to the Mesa where we first sent my luggage at the ups store back to Austria. Unfortunately, that would cost about 900$ so we figured out another way we would store it at our hotel in LA and take as oversized package on our last flight back to Austria. Afterwards, we had dinner at Mesa Verde. We shared a vegetarian Caesar salad, flatbread with hummus, Harrissa cauliflower and a Morrochan tachijn all together. It was very delicious but I am pretty full right now! It was hard for me to say goodbye to Dominque. She got to be a very close friend to me, my best one here next to Christian, but I am sure we will see each other in the future.

In the evening my mother literally collapsed on her bed and fell asleep immediately. I made myself some tea and had some Christmas cookies before I went to bed early because I felt pretty exhausted too actually.

On Saturday morning I did some workouts before my mother and I drove with the bike to backyard bowls to meet Christian there. There we had our last island bowls and a good cup of tea and coffee. I am glad my mother liked Christian as much as I do. Saying goodbye to home was one of the hardest things for me to do today but I am sure that we will see each other again in the future.

Then we started our cycling tour through Santa Barbara. First I showed my mother the east and west beach and then the lake with the bird refuge. Afterwards we drove to montecito and walked through town. Then we stopped at butterfly beach my favorite beach here in Santa Barbara.

Our next stop was the shoreline park where we had a amazing view over the ocean and could watch the surfers at Leadbetter point my favorite surf spot. We strolled along the park and cycled then to Elings park. There we hiked to the top and had a marvelous view about the Pacific and Henry’s beach where we went next. In the boathouse there we had some ice tea and garlic bread haha while we watched the big waves and the nearing sunset.

Afterwards we cycled to the pharmacy and Lazy Acres to get some last necessary things. Then we brought the bike back to Dominique’s place and went back home. There Carmen had prepared some brussel sprouts with goat cheese, chicken curry, couscous and a big salad for dinner. It was delicious and a nice last dinner together with her. We even got Christmas presents: I got my favorite tea and a sugar cookie and my mother a bottle of Pinot Noir.

In the evening we tidied the room, got our luggage and belongings ready and did our beauty routines before the flight tomorrow. Then finally we made ourselves some tea and sat together with Carmen in front of the tv before we said goodnight to catch some sleep before our earlier journey tomorrow.

Sunday we had to get up at 3:45 am to catch our flight in LAX. In the night I quickly checked the room, made my bed and said goodbye to Carmen before we drove off. The highway was pretty empty and it was a good time to drive.

Driving through LA was a little bit tricky but we managed to stop for fuel as well. Then we got to the Hilton hotel where we will stay before we fly back to Austria. There we left my big suitcase which we won’t take with us to Hawaii. Afterwards we left the rent car at Alamo and took the shuttle bus to the airport. It was a small terminal for the flights to Hawaii and check in was really quick. After the security check we found ourselves a bistro where we had a good breakfast – mum had huevos rancheros and I yoghurt with berries and granola. Then we just strolled along the terminal, I worked on another application, read my book, did sudokus and played card games with mum before we had boarding for our flight to Kona.

The flight took about 5:30h to Kona at Big Island. We had a little bit of turbulence but it was alright. I loved the airport of Kona! It was an open-air one and really small and cute. There we got our rental car at Alamo and drove off to Hilo on the east side of the island. The vegetation of Hawaii and landscape is very unique. There is rainforest, high grassland interrupted by those big black chunky basalt rocks brought by the AA or Pahoehoe flows or formed in the hotspot formation process of the island. Of course we had to stop because I wanted to walk on the basalt and also take a stone with me.

Around 5:15 pm we arrived at our bed and breakfast in Hilo. We were greeted by a letter at the entrance where they told us where our room was because the family has been out shopping. Also their car Pikachu greeted us. The room is amazing. We have an amazing ocean view and you can hear the sound of the waves all the time. Furthermore, the room is blue colored and we have a swimming pool and hot tube as well. A little bit later the owner Ric showed us around and said we will get all other information tomorrow morning at breakfast. At 6:15 pm we already had a reservation in the pineapple restaurant in downtown Hilo. The food was amazing and I really liked the ambiance and decoration with pineapples. They also served big strong Hawaiian cocktails in a empty pineapple with whipped cream and fruits on it.

Back at our bed and breakfast we almost collapsed on our beds. Before we took some showers after the long day, looked in the island guide and enjoyed the evening together. You can imagine how this looks like if you know us Gerstorfer girls well…

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