See you later, Hawaii!

And we stress that it’s “see you later” and not “goodbye!”Wow, what a semester. Where to begin?

Gratitude seems to be the overwhelming feeling right now; gratitude for the opportunity to have had this experience, gratitude for our families for helping make this experience a reality, gratitude for the people of Hawaii who have made our time so special, and gratitude for the beauty of the natural world.

From the ethereal sunrises to the starry nights and all that has filled our days, it sure has been beautiful. Although, the scenery has been nothing short of spectacular, the most remarkable product of our time in Hawaii is us, the group.

Despite the current world events, and perhaps partially because of them, 13 exceptional, young adults decided to embark on a journey at a time of unprecedented uncertainty. We met, as total strangers, in the San Francisco Airport on September 15. Today, just more than a month later, we write you as not only a group of friends, but as a family.

In a short time, we have done all the things families seem to do; laugh, cry, fight, love. We have had our fair share of bumps along the road but we have come out stronger. We do have a long way to go, more to learn and accept about one another, much more to experience.

In closing of our time in Hawaii, we share a quote from Anthony Bourdain.“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s ok. The journey changes you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. And hopefully, you leave something good behind.”