It's my third full day in Hawaii and I still can't believe that this is real. I'm not just on vacation...I am actually going to LIVE here! It's almost too good to be true. There are definitely going to have to be some adjustments. For example, I'm going to have to be really wise in budgeting my money and I'll have to learn how to cook! But I feel like those are skills that I need to learn now anyways.
The past couple of days have been great. Yesterday was our first Sunday at our new church, International Baptist Fellowship. This church was created for international students and has become a close-knit community of people from all over the world. It reminds me so much of Encounter (the international student ministry at Campbell), so I felt right at home. I went ahead and joined the church and look forward to getting really involved this year. It was wonderful to worship with people from so many different cultural backgrounds and I look forward to getting to know them throughout the year.
Karlie and I have had some free time to explore on our own. We went to Waikiki beach yesterday afternoon and stayed to watch the sunset. It is absolutely gorgeous here. It really looks just like the postcards and calendars that you see...but seeing it in person is just breathtaking! The beach is about a 5-10 minute drive from where we live and so far we have been every day. It's going to be really nice to just drive down to watch the sunset after work whenever we want!
Today was our first official day of work. We are working with Joy Turner and Amy Duncan (in the picture below) and they are both great! Joy is our motherly figure, and Amy is like a fun older sister. I've really enjoyed spending time with both of them so far. I went with Amy this morning to pick up our first international student at the airport! Her name is Ying Hu (though she named herself "Yolanda") and she is from China. I think that the airport shuttle is such a key part of this ministry. These students are coming from so far away and it makes such an impression to have a friendly face greet them and give them a free ride.
I stood outside the airport holding a little sign with her name on it, anxiously waiting to meet her. She walked out with one rolling suitcase and immediately smiled and said, "That's me!" We chatted and I found out that she is 21 years old and is here to pursue her masters and phD in electrical engineering. She will be here for 5 years and she is totally alone. What a brave girl! She told me that I was the first foreigner that she had ever spoken to! She was nervous to use her English, but she did great! She is such a sweet girl. We took her to the place she was staying and helped her get settled in. I've already been e-mailing her and I think we're going to hang out this weekend and hopefully she'll be able to come to church with us on Sunday.
Karlie and I went to a different beach this evening and went for a little swim as the sun was setting. Now we're hanging out at the International Center, drinking some hot tea and relaxing. More airport pickups tomorrow...can't wait to meet these new friends!