Brannick and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary last month. It has been such an amazing first year, filled with lots of fun, love, adventure and excitement. And in keeping with that theme, Brannick thought it would only be fitting to celebrate our first year of our marriage in the same way, with a week long trip to Hawaii! Now I know this may come as quite a surprise and shock to our family, but Brannick thought it would be fun to take a "secret vacation," so we didn't tell our families we were going. But I can't keep the secret any longer, I should have never gone along with Brannick's crazy secret idea, because what fun is it to take a cool vacation without being able to tell anyone about it. So family I'm sorry we kept you in the dark, but now you will know all about it.
We spent our first day at Pearl Harbor, and were surprised by how many Japanese tourists there were (probably more Japanese than Americans), except for on the USS Missouri (where the Japanese surrendered to the Americans to end WWII) we didn't see a single Japanese person, very interesting.
On our actual anniversary, Brannick was nice enough to go against his better judgement and let me fulfill one of my life's dreams, to go SKYDIVING! We met up with a group of kids from our ward who are going to BYU Hawaii and had so much fun! I was the last one to get on the plane, not realizing that you got out of the plane in reverse order, so I was the first one to jump. Since we were the first ones to go and there wasn't much room, my instructor and I were just sitting on the floor of the plane and just rolled out of the door, which was terrifyingly awesome! If you look closely in the plane pictures you can see us sitting on the floor, and then right as we're going out the door. The drop zone is right on the coast so the whole time you falling (we free fell for almost a full minute) and floating (a very peaceful and gentle return to the ground) you got to see the beautifully clear ocean and lucious green coastline (the company claims its the world's most beautiful drop zone). Brannick had no desire to jump, but rode up in the plane with us to be our photographer, and he ended up having a scarier ride down than we did jumping!
We spent the rest of our anniversary at the Polynesian Cultural Center, which was such an amazing testament to me of the truthfulness of the Gospel and the prophetic foresight of the leaders of the Church. Our night ended with more excitement, Brannick left the head lights of the rental car on all afternoon, so we had to be rescued by our friends Abby and Tommy and the great security guards, it was very amusing.
Our last day on Oahu we went snorkeling at Hanauma Bay and did a crazy hike up Koko crater. There isn't a real trail to the top, just old army rail ties going straight up, and remains of bunkers and stuff from WWII at the top. And because I always like an extra challenge, I forgot my shoes at the hotel, so I hiked up in flip flops.
We flew to the island of Maui for the last few days of our vacation. We drove the very narrow and winding road through the jungle to the remote town of Hana, where we stayed for one night in a sketchy cottage, but got to go to beautiful white, black, and red sand beaches, all within a few miles of each other.
Then we made the same long windy drive back to civilization and stayed our last two nights on the desert side of the island in Kihei. While in Kihie we found an amazing snorkeling spot and even saw two sea turtles! I also introduced Brannick to one of my favorite beach activities, boogie boarding. He got the hang of it pretty quick, and only got slammed by a few big waves. One of the highlights of our time on Maui was going humpback whale watching. We could see lots whales from the shore jumping and blowing air, but we wanted to get closer. So we took an afternoon ship ride and saw tons of whales, baby whales, and dolphins up close. It was pretty neat to be out on the boat in the middle of the ocean and be surrounded by these huge animals (even though I got a little sea sick by the end).
We had an overnight flight out of Hawaii and when we landed the next morning we heard about the earthquake in Chile and the Tsunami warning in Hawaii, we got out just in time. We had an amazing trip which was the perfect celebration of such a wonderful first year of marriage. I truly am the luckiest to have Brannick as my eternal companion.