This final entry is going to be of a slightly different format, and I'll explain this at the end.
One of my absolute favorite things that we did this summer was go camping. When I was little, we used to have the MOST epic camping trips ever- we'd pack up cars and cars and cars full of things that would last us three or four days, and the entire family would head down to our favorite spot in Ma'alaea (where, sadly, camping is not allowed anymore). We'd set up maybe five or six huge tents, and we would just camp out there together, on the beach. I remember waking up in the morning, eating breakfast, then throwing on my bathing suit and joining my cousins out in the ocean ALL DAY. We'd stay out in the water nonstop except for lunchtime, and we wouldn't come out until the sun was going down and the parents and aunties and uncles threatened us with cold showers (which we always had to take, since we refused to leave the water!). It was so much fun, and those camping trips are such special memories to me.
We haven't been camping like that in quite a few years now, though, much to my disappointment every year. But this summer, although our camping expeditions were a bit more adult, we still had a blast. Uncle Bill and Aunty Ada loaded up their truck with essentials to last us overnight, the fishermen (my Granpy and later my Granny, Uncle Richard, Uncle Willy, Aunty Lucy...) all loaded up their gear, and we piled into the truck and in Uncle Richard's truck and headed behind the mountain (Haleakala), found a spot and had an amazing night :). There were usually so many people that went with us that there wasn't enough room to sit in the cars, so that along with the fact that Aunty Ada and I both get mean carsickness provided for very special accommodations for us: camping chairs in the bed of the truck! It was quite fabulous, actually!
So we'd drive behind the mountain (usually to our favorite spot, Kipahulu Landing), and the drive there was always stunningly beautiful.
It's just something about the way I was raised that it happens this way- I spend all of my summers home in Hawaii, but none of my favorite memories include times when I'm sitting alone by myself on the beach reading a book (although I do have some very amazing chats with God in those times), or when I'm leisurely sitting at home relaxing and watching TV. What makes my summer- what really leaves those impressions in my heart- are those simple family get-togethers that get thrown together the morning of, with all of the amazing food and the amazing people and the amazingly simple way that we just be together. It's the gift of just having each other, sharing our love and laughter and tears and joy and sadness and stories and silence. It's the reason that the word "kamakananui" or "The Greatest Gift" is a daily reminder to me of the immense treasury that God has blessed me with, and it's the reason that I truly believe that I'm the luckiest girl in the world.
So, summing up my entire summer can be done in reflection of everything I just said.
My favorite memory? The one I spent with my family. Translation: All of them.
A lesson I've learned? Yes, indeed, all of the lessons I've written about in the first six speculations. But most simply? Love conquers all.
A wonderful relative? Look at all the pictures I've included in this seven day project. There they are.
I live a very stressful life. I'm growing up. Life goes by too fast. I'm impatient.
GOD HAS IMMENSELY, FULLY, FAITHFULLY BLESSED MY LIFE.
Then you will see and be radiant- your heart will tremble and grow large, because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you