March 3rd, 2018 I embarked on my journey to Hawaii. After a 10 hour flight, I landed on the island of Oahu. My first day, I traveled the tourist part of the city of Honolulu. I went shopping and enjoyed a day of relaxation on the beaches of Waikiki. The second day, I went to the Bishop Museum on the island of Oahu. There, I learned about the history of Hawaii and different artifacts, fruits, and people. My favorite takeaway from the museum was learning about Ku, a mythological war god who was deemed the protector of the islands. There is the supreme Ku and there are also lesser Ku’s, (4) which represent a spear, the God of war who takes life, and the digging stick who brings forth life from earth. My third day, encompassed more history. I visited Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona memorial, where thousands of Americans died when the Japanese armed forces attacked the U.S. Naval base taking down and destroying the USS Arizona and the USS Utah ships. The rest of the ships were able to be repaired to some degree. Thousands of bodies got trapped inside these ships and were unable to be returned home to their families because most had either became ashes or were so severely burned, they became unrecognizable.
Perhaps, the most overwhelming experience came from my visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii. There, I explored the different Polynesian cultures such as Hawaiian, Fijan, Tahitani, Marquesan, Tongaan, Samoan, and Aotearoan. Polynesia is made up of more than 1,000 islands and home to islands like Hwaii, Fiji, Tahiti, Marquesas, Tonga, Samoa, and Aetearoa (New Zealand), which are a few of the islands I learned about at the Polynesian Center. My biggest takeaway from the cultural center was learning about the island of Tonga. One I had not known or heard of much before my visit to the center. However, in visiting the Polynesian Center, I learned that Tonga had never been colonized meaning they remain independent. Vacations are a great way to get away from what is happening in your home land. But, it is also a great way to submerse yourself in new cultures you did not know about before. Hawaii was a great experience to tour and I am grateful to have walked away from it not looking at it as a great vacation island, but as a beautiful island with a beautiful culture I hope everyone comes to learn about someday.