In Love With The Aloha State

One of the perks of homeschooling is that you own your time. You can plan whatever you want, whenever you want, and the way you want it. Our calendar is pretty much what we make of it. Our travel schedule is planned on a whim, and I must say I am so very grateful for this. As all homeschoolers know, traveling is the greatest way for kids to learn, explore, and know more about the big world that is waiting for them when they grow up. Traveling for kids is an invitation to fully immerse themselves in different cultures, traditions, and lifestyles. They learn more about geography, money, geology, history and so much more.

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With the beginning of spring, Adam and I, packed our bags and we got ready to set sail for Hawaii. We have been putting off this trip for about two years, due to the extremely long flights: One to NYC, about 14 hours long, and another one to Honolulu with another 11hours of flying, which is not really a wise decision if you have kids.  With a push from our dear friends who live in Hawaii, we finally decided to dive in and hope for the best.

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My friend Lisa, and her boy William are some of our very best friends, from over 4 years ago, when they also lived here in Bahrain. We had the best adventures and the most awesome friendship. During the years they spent in Bahrain, we explored all the hidden gems our island had to offer, we traveled together to Seychelles, and had one of our best trips, we stayed in touch even though we were across the globe from each other. So visiting them in Hawaii was the next step.

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Even though we split the journey and stayed in NYC for a couple of weeks in between, to visit the family, it was still a really long trip. So when we finally sat foot in Honolulu, we were beyond relieved!

Hawaii… Where should I start from? The Aloha state is more than what I had ever expected! From the minute we landed and breathed the clean pure air, my eyes grew wider, to suck in the beauty of the place, and my lungs doubled in size to soak up the clean and fresh air around me.

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We spent about 4 weeks in Hawaii, every day we did something new and exciting (sometimes 2 and 3 wonderful things), yet my friend Lisa says there was so much more to do, see, and enjoy in the Islands of love.

Every morning we would wake up to the birds chirping, the sound of the water trickling, the tree leaves swaying, and to the brightest colors all around us. Every day we would wake up, my son and I, with a smile ready to fall in love even deeper with the place!

We were very lucky to have -hands down- the BEST guide EVER! My friend Lisa, made sure to take us to every wonderful corner she thought we might be interested in. She always made sure to line up many choices for every single day, for us to choose from. She also took advantage of each trip we took, to explore all the nearby gems, and came up with a whole itinerary, each and every time, this way we miss nothing, so yeah my friend is better than yours haha!

Our first day, we started with an easy trip to the library, since we were still tired from the flight, and also because it was the weekend.

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There was a Dr.Seuss hip hop musical show, with Mr.Kneel (an award winning Hip Hop musician and educator, and a fabulous entertainer). He had the attention of a room full of kids, of different ages, for 2 whole hours!  The show was definitely a hit! Adam got to go up with him, and do a little duo together. The library and the show were obviously FREE (Yup something we really miss in Bahrain!). The library also holds a tiny-tots meet-up every Tuesday and Friday, with fantastic activities for the kids… and yes for FREE too! One of the things I adored about Hawaii, is how much they love and appreciate kids. There are tons of activities for kids, planned by the community centers, and the volunteers. Children enjoy a wide range of events specially tailored for them, and parents don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for that, I wish I could say the same about Bahrain.

After making sure we were well rested, we meant business! In the course of the next weeks we kept very very busy.

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The weather was so lovely, sunny with a sweet breeze, and wherever you turn your head you would either see the sea, the mountains, or the green grass. The kids were so easily entertained by just letting them run around, play with rocks and grass, climbing trees…etc. It was a pure joy!

We kicked the week off with a trip to the Tropical Farms of macadamia nut. They show you how to crack open a Macadamia nut, which the kids enjoyed doing for a very long time- We got to taste (and buy) all the wonderful flavored macadamia nuts made in the farm- from the roasted and salted, to the onion and dill, and the cinnamon glazed ones! All so yummy! –  I also had the pleasure to taste a very tasty macadamia nut flavored coffee (Thank you Lisa for the recommendation). To end the visit, we took a bus tour, where a wonderful gentleman explained to us how life was before in Hawaii, how they made fire, milk out of coconuts, and how they sang and danced. He also showed us around the farm and explained how they did all the hard work to get such awesome macadamia nuts!

Next was the Green World Coffee Farm! You can see the pattern here haha, I love farms!  The coffee farm wasn’t as big as the Macadamia one, but full of treasures! I loved their coffee and the kids loved playing with the chickens and roosters, while running around the farm.

We couldn’t visit Hawaii and not go to the Dole Pineapple plantation! It is a huge farm and it took us the whole day to finish it! So much to do and see. All the pineapples around and all the fun activities for the kids. We rode a train, that took us all around the farm explaining how the pineapples were planted, and the kids loved everything about it!

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The thing about Hawaii is that even if you just go around the neighborhood, you would still have a fabulous time. The scenery, the clean and fresh air, the chilled but warm and welcoming people, all make you feel like you are in paradise, stress free and so very relaxed.

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We enjoyed all the hikes we took and the kids did so well. I was warned against mosquitos, but luckily we made it with only a couple of bites ;). We also managed to get a fabulous tan!

The beaches were so gorgeous and peaceful. The water so blue and warm. Truly heaven on earth! Our favorite was “Baby Makapuu” beach, very calm with protected tide pools, with sandy bottoms that the kids loved to splash in. it was more like a pool than a beach.

 

I obviously can not finish all what I have to say about Hawaii in ONE blog post. So I will talk more about the other places we visited and loved as well as the restaurants/ coffee shops we enjoyed the most! Stay Tuned..!

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My son and I fell head over bare feet in love with every aspect of this magical place. We were truly blessed with the kindness of our friends, and all their efforts to make us enjoy our trip and create wonderful memories together that we will cherish forever. So Thankful and blessed!

 

ALOHA!!

 

Ouiam

 

 

A Holiday In Heaven…

  

Okay… Who doesn’t like going for a vacation?! And who doesn’t like to go for a calm serene get away, every once in a while?! I am pretty sure we all know the answer already! We just came back from one! So I thought I definitely should give you guys my feedback and recommendations, in case you too were looking for a fantastic place to go on a holiday! 
   
It has only been a day since we left Bodrum, and I sure miss it like crazy! I miss those beautiful warm breezy and sunny days. The calm that surrounded every parcel of our beings! 

  
This break was a much needed one. For the last few weeks I have been feeling that I had a hundred things running through my mind, and my brain skips from one thing to another in a mild merry-go-round that truly has no ending. I felt my to-do lists were getting bigger each day and my “ME” time was slowly disappearing from my schedule. This was driving me insane! So when we found out that my husband’s leave wasn’t canceled (absolutely normal when your husband is a pilot), you can imagine how happy and relieved I was. 

Bodrum wasn’t our first option. We had: Sharm El Sheikh, Jordan, and Bali too. We didn’t know what to choose, so we abruptly chose Turkey (Bodrum). 

We stayed a couple of days in Istanbul, a destination we love so much (by “we” I mean I, and certainly not my husband lol), then we took a flight with Turkish Airlines to go to Bodrum. The flight is only 50minutes long. A very smooth and quick flight. We landed early in the afternoon, in a small airport. We then found our driver, sent by the hotel to pick us up, waiting outside. The ride took about 40minutes to reach: Mandarin Oriental Resort & Hotel. The second we parked the car, we were in awe with the beauty of this place! 

  
The staff were very welcoming, smiling and making sure we had everything we needed, before one of them took us to our suite/ apartment.
  
Our room was incredibly amazing, spacious and beautiful. The living room was also very spacious, and beautifully decorated. In addition, we had an insanely beautiful garden attached to our suite! Everything around us was screaming: “Calm, Serenity and perfect vacation!” They even had some autentic turkish delights waiting for us on our table! 

  

  
We were pleasantly surprised to find cute little things already prepared for our toddler: Organic baby shampoo and shower gel, tiny matching bath robe and slippers, a small bath tub, and a panda bear! It is the only hotel we have ever visited that took into consideration our little one’s needs! So here is a big shout out to this amazing hotel! 

  
They also have a small kids’ club, where the little ones can have some fun of their own, with a lovely lady to take care of them! There is also a great video game room for the older kids and their dads lol ! 

Wherever we went we were delighted to meet exceptionally nice staff, always ready to help and always making sure we had all what we needed! 
My husband and I had a chance to try out their spa, and have an oriental massage done……and Oh Boy! It was amazing! No wonder their spa was ranked the second best spa in the whole world! 

  
We spent 6 days in this amazing hotel, and we enjoyed every minute of it so very much! I can’t recommend this hotel enough you guys! We absolutely positively had an awesome stay at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bodrum!! 

   
    
 
Ouiam