Olowalu Town

During our stay on the beautiful island of Maui, we had the privilege of meeting Bill Frampton, a man with the vision of developing a sustainable town. Maui used to be several small towns surrounded by agricultural land. Each town would have local shops and vendors, and locally grown food. The original small town feel of Maui was disappearing as urban sprawl caused smaller towns to merge into each other, leading to unsustainable growth. Bill explained to us that this was largely due to Maui’s zoning code which designated certain areas of land for certain purposes, as opposed to churches, schools, shops and houses all interspersed in the same area. This zoning code was adopted from Los Angeles, and is not fit for an island like Maui. The mentality behind that kind of design is to clear large areas of land and design it. However, Hawaii being rich in wildlife and nature, cannot afford to do so. The development needs to be designed around the characteristics of the land, not vice versa. After returning from college in the mainland, Bill was all fired up about sustainability and wanted to stop all development. The original small town feel of Maui was disappearing as urban sprawl caused smaller towns to merge into each other, destroying the land between them that used to produce food to sustain the people. Bill soon realized that preventing all development was not the answer, but instead promoting sustainable development and going back to the old system of little towns with defined boundaries. His plan for Olowalu town is to have affordable housing, a community which is not divided by economic status, stop susburbaban sprawl and retain that small town feeling. He involves the community in decisions that are made so everyone is on board with whatever plans are carried out. Bill estimates that the project will start in about 3 years. We wish him all the best in the construction of this sustainable town. Image

Posted in Maui | Leave a comment

Big Island Bees

After visiting the cocoa farm and coffee plantation, we made our way to Big Island Bees, an apiary in Kona. It was very different from the first two visits because this time the product was being harvested from living animals, the bees. We were warmly welcomed into the museum and tasting room, which contained beautiful artwork, lots of honey, and plenty of information about the bees- including a live beehive! Displayed were sculptures that were made out of old beehives and beeswax, creating some very unique, intricate designs. We were shown around while being handed sample after sample of honey sticks. The honey was delicious, and from flowers native to Hawaii alone, such as the ‘Ohi’a Lehua blossom, making it even more special.

An interesting aspect of the Big Island Bees visit was learning about how bees produce honey and the hierarchy in beehives. Our guide explained that the Queen bee lived for up to five years, laying thousands of new eggs every day. Once a queen slowed down or died, half the colony would migrate, start a new beehive and choose one egg to become the next queen bee. Queen bees are very different to worker bees in terms of physical attributes and function. The beehive in the tasting room had one queen, marked with a red spot on her back.

The apiary made several types of organic honey. All the honey they produced was manually bottled, sealed and labelled, one of things that made their honey extremely special. It captures the Hawaiians ties to the land and what it produces, and they have a close interaction with all the food they produce and consume. This was evident in all the farmers markets we visited too. Most food sold was planted, nurtured and harvested by the same people who package and sell it. If this is encouraged and more self-sustainable local businesses are encouraged, it would help to make Hawaii a more sustainable state. Aloha grown, not flown!


Posted in Hawai'i | Leave a comment


Most people would agree that Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places this planet. Since we’ve been here, the views from atop mountains, inside lava tubes, and among the waters have been the most breathtaking we’ve seen. The flowers and the plants of Hawaii provide the foundation of the thousands of colors that can be seen. Even the smaller creatures, such as the chameleons and geckos, showed a different perspective of the nature of Hawaii. The detail of their scales is absolutely incredible!

IMG_16 IMG_30 IMG_60 IMG_93 IMG_110 IMG_133 IMG_139 IMG_161 IMG_184 IMG_195 IMG_213 IMG_202 IMG_236 IMG_194

God’s great earth had so much beauty and complexity. I could go on and on about how much I adore His creation. The plants, animals, even the water show signs of God’s magnificent power. Nature can be as beautiful as a sunset, as adorable as a bunny rabbit, as magnificent as the volcano, or as powerful as the waves of the sea.

While I am no experienced photographer, I think some of the pictures I took reflect the beauty of nature in Hawaii. I hope these pictures can show you a bit of the wondrous sights that we saw and had the opportunity to take in.


P.S. On  different note… The only way to understand the title of this post is to watch this video. It is only a taste of one of the many inside jokes of our trip 🙂


Posted in General | Leave a comment

Hiking Diamond Head

It seemed like we waited until the end of our trip to get all of our exercise in. No issues for me, since I’m the master procrastinator.

We started our hike with a brisk pace that very soon after turned into a heaving stroll. It turned out not many of us were as in shape as we thought (or wish to be) but we weren’t quitting! Up, up, up, stop for some scenic pictures, up, up, and we reached the top! The view of Honolulu was breathtaking from atop the mountain. When I’m up that high, I remember how small we all actually are. The shoreline was visible for miles and the high risers that we had recently walked by seemed like Lego structures.

IMG_394 IMG_396 IMG_397 IMG_392 IMG_391

Unfortunately, we planned on breakfast after the hike so some of us were pretty hungry once we got to the top. But, having that hunger made the trek down the mountain go much faster, and eating later made breakfast all the more delicious!


Posted in Oahu | Leave a comment


One one of our last days in Oahu, we took a road trip around the south, east, and north shores of the island. We drove along the coast, and because Oahu is an island, everywhere we drove we had beautiful views of the shoreline, beaches, and sparkling blue water. We started out in Waikiki and drove past the Koko head crater into the Hawaii Kai area.  We stopped at a lookout where we overlooked Cockroach Cove (where part of the movie 50 First Dates was filmed), the Halona Blowhole, and Sandy Beach (a beautiful beach known for being one of the most dangerous beaches on the island).

SAM_3727 SAM_3729

Next we drove to the eastern most point of the island and hiked up the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse trail. Although the hike was extremely hot and slightly challenging for some of us wearing flip flops, we were rewarded with an amazing view of the Rabbit and Turtle Islands, a beautiful shoreline, and some very cool tide pools.

SAM_3735  SAM_3737SAM_3740

We continued farther up the east coast past Waimanalo Bay into Kailua District where President Obama stayed during his Christmas Vacation this year. We stopped at Island Snow (supposedly one of Obama’s favorites) for our last taste of authentic Hawaiian shaved ice, and I’m pretty sure we all thoroughly enjoyed our treats.



The last leg of our road trip took us up to Hauula where we enjoyed Oahu’s “best fish tacos” at the Northshore Tacos restaurant. This was probably one of my favorite meals of the entire trip. We all drove home with content stomachs and awe and appreciation for the beauty of the Hawaiin islands.

Posted in Oahu | Leave a comment

Our Ohana

P1030442  P1030642

This blog is for all the wonderful people that I spent two weeks with. I cannot believe that we were only with each other for two weeks. It is feels like that we have known each other for at least a semester. Everybody looks so different after I got to know you guys better.

Start with Morgan. Thanks so much for sitting with me and not disliking and avoiding me with the danger of being puked on (when I had eaten too much). One of your most memorable stories for me is your “o mygarlde” series. Don’t worry; I am still practicing and slowly improving. Thanks for all the self-pictures we took; hopefully, I will be in your memory forever! Furthermore, upload all the pictures because you are so slow!

Lauren! You are my hope! The bar, the night club, the wine, the beer, are all in our future plan. We definitely need time alone away from all little kids in our interim group and enjoy some adult-only time. Now I know, whenever I want to do something that is “not good” in my other little friends’ view, I always have an accomplice with me!

Michelle, I am so sorry that you didn’t get a cute Hawaii guy plan. But don’t give up! What you maybe can do is, whenever professor Koetje goes to Hawaii, just let him collect the cute guys’ pictures and contact their information for you, but make sure you guys have a same taste about cute boys.  And thank you for standing guard when I had to go off into the woods.

Blala, I still cannot even think about burgers anymore; they make me want to throw up……thank you so much, now I am finally saying goodbye to all the meat except seafood. You are such an inspirational person, the short hair, the tattoo, the eating habits. However, I love all the changes I made under your inspiration. Life is short, so just do it!

Kara, you are almost one of the most interesting person I have ever met in my life. I do not know what I can say to you. One thing is that I am so regret that I miss the moment you put your neck on the back of the seat. I like how you are so curious and always ask good questions, and how Blala and Tasha become “idiots” due to your theory.

Tasha! My Chinese buddy; I like how we miss China together during the trip! Like how you’re patriotic towards Asia, proud to be an Asian! Remember our tea party! I have all kinds of good Chinese snakes that I got from China; my snake drawer is open to you forever!

Stevie, thanks for your brilliant idea so I did not puke on the floor. You saved all girls who lived in our room in Annie’s place. You are the witness of my Hawaii love story with my six-year-old little friend. And thank you so much for messaging my Prince Charming.

Joy, you are the first person I talked to in this trip. And thank you so much for encouraging me to make friends with everybody on our trip. You are the most ridiculous girl when I saw you go snorkeling in the ocean without both life jacket and swimming skill! However, you added so much fun in our trip, like the game Contact!

Mitchell, are you ready for next semester, for all the work you have to do? Are you planning studying hard? The answer must be yes, and remember you will invest in my invention after I graduate as an engineer. And be a good friend and do not ask too much in return.

Austin, I am still trying really hard to get you to be the best Ping-Pong player, so don’t worry. And do not try to be the humpback whale, stay straight.

Wesley, I was so disappointed after you failed your Sumo-size saimin challenge. But that is ok, I understand between good food and not throwing up, you chose not throwing up. To be honest, you made a good decision.  I should know.

Last but not least, Professor Koetje, you are such a weird professor! Like I say, I am so glad I am not a biology major. Because I will have a hard time to be a serious student in your class after this interim. And thanks for all the hard work you did to make this trip so enjoyable.


Posted in General | Leave a comment

Tide Pools

As a desert camel (what people who cannot swim are called in China), I am wondering around the beach instead of swimming in the ocean. Instead of just sand, the beach is rocky; lots of little puddles are formed in the lava rock. Being almost as curious a person as Kara, I started checking all the puddles.

Surprisingly, all little puddles are extremely busy. I saw a lot little fishes and a mini conch.  The funniest creature are hermit crabs. Each puddle is like a little society, all residents are mating (or fighting, I just saw them stick together), running, foraging.

– Hanfei

Posted in General | Leave a comment