Aloha HPU! Arriving in paradise after German lockdown

We just arrived in Honolulu five weeks ago and study at Hawaii Pacific University for one term now. In this blog entry we want to introduce you to our lives here in beautiful Hawaii. We are going to start out with the variety of activities you can do besides studying.

Surfing – Typical Hawaii

When you think of Hawaii, everyone has an image of surfing in their mind. Surfing has its origin in Hawaii and is therefore also part of the Hawaiian culture. If you are in Hawaii, you should have tried this sport at least once. It is simply a special attitude towards life to rent a surfboard for 10$ after university and to plunge into the waves. Especially in Waikiki, you always see many surfers and as a beginner you can always get tips from others. Moreover, it is a great experience to watch the sunset on the board in the ocean.

Hiking – Big City vs. Jungle

Honolulu is the largest city in Hawaii with nearly 350,000 inhabitants. It definitely has the most hustle and bustle and all the skyscrapers give you a big city feel. But the fascinating thing is, if you drive out of the city for just 15 minutes, you won’t notice any of that anymore and you’ll be standing in the middle of nature. Hiking is one of the activities you should do in Hawaii. There are countless hikes with very different levels of difficulty, so there is something for everyone. We have decided to try out a new hike once a week, and we have already been able to capture fascinating views and enjoy the unique nature in Hawaii. Last week we discovered a hidden avocado tree with lots of ripe avocados.

Weekend Trips – Exploring other islands

Hawaii consists of many small islands, the largest and most famous being Big Island, Maui, Kauai, Molokai and O’ahu, on which Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu is located. If you are already on the other side of the world, you naturally want to take as many impressions with you as possible. Since the schedules of the university are usually arranged in such a way that you have a day off on Fridays, long weekends on the other islands are a good option. So far, we have explored Maui in one weekend. We left on a Thursday evening after university, the flight just took 30 minutes and cost 85 euros for a round trip. So, it’s very doable and worth it! On Maui, you should definitely check out the Sunrise/Sundown on Haleakala and drive along the “Road to Hana” with a rental car. For the next weeks we are already planning our trips to other islands.

Soccer – The World’s Game

As most of the German boys, I grew up playing soccer. Thus, I was highly motivated to find some people to play soccer with, in Hawaii as well. And a friend of mine brought me out to play with his group and it’s the most diverse mix of people you could imagine. Many of them are from different parts in South and Central America and North America of course. But we also have some guys from Southern or Eastern Europe and different parts of Asia. This is typical Hawaiian to meet people from all over the world. They just come to visit the island at some point in their lives and fall in love with it, so they decide to stay. Many of the people you meet there have inspiring stories to tell. Furthermore, they play an awesome ball. As a German you might think that you are going to be the king on the pitch in the US, but this is not the case here. It is always a lot of fun!

Life while COVID 

Planning our trip to Hawaii has been quite challenging at times because of all the different COVID regulations airlines, countries and states had. For example, we had to take a special COVID test from a certain health care company at the San Francisco Airport in order to avoid the mandatory quarantine in Hawaii. All of this even though we were fully vaccinated, so every country and state are making its own rules. For instance, we could have easily arrived in mainland US without a certain, expensive COVID test if you have been vaccinated with an US American vaccine (J&J, Comirnaty and Moderna). COVID cases had been rising in Hawaii prior to our arrival which is why the government decided to use this regulation. And while numbers are still high, they are not rising as rapidly as they did in August. This is due to some strict regulations the Governor had decided on. For us, this means that we must show proof of vaccination as soon as we want to enter a restaurant, bar or gym for example. The bars must close at 10PM and you are not allowed to have gatherings with more than 25 people outside and 10 people inside. But still, we are living in Hawaii right now and there is so much you can do even with COVID around.