Off the Beaten Path – My Trip to Leeuwarden

Leeuwarden Off the Beaten Path

Usually when people think of travelling around the world, they think of travelling to major cities: London, Paris, Tokyo, New York. And I’m not going to lie, that’s where I usually go too. But while those cities have amazing qualities of their own, many times the pure culture of an area is found off the beaten path.  When I took a trip to Amsterdam, I took a day trip to a small town called Leeuwarden to visit some friends that lived there. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but it turned out to be amazing.

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My First Fall!

My First Fall

We all know that my time abroad in Europe so far has been full of surprises – that’s what this post is all about.  But the season of fall was another big shocker.  Growing up in Hawaii, I had never experienced the season of fall before. The leaves don’t change color and fall off of the trees, and I had never travelled anywhere at that time of the year – until this year. Going nineteen years without having this experience though, made me have some expectations about fall that didn’t really turn out to be right…

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The Art of Haggling

Greece Haggling Parthenon

This week I went to Greece, where I tested my haggling skills.  Now, there was a major mental barrier that I had to conquer before I could actually haggle.  I actually felt bad thinking about arguing for a lower price with people who might need the money.

Then I realized that the vendors were prepared for people to haggle.  They probably previously raised the price to compensate.  And let’s be real, I don’t have a ton of money to be throwing around either – thank you, college.

I ended up successfully haggling for two of my souvenirs…well, I got them down to two-thirds of the original price.  Obviously, I’m no means an expert, but here are a few tips that I learned on through my experiences.
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Week One: The Surprising Swiss Customs

Surprising Swiss Customs Sunset

I’ve officially started my study abroad experience. I’ve been in Switzerland for six days. Six whole days.  I’ve officially been studying abroad in Switzerland for six whole days. And it’s been amazing. Lake Geneva, locally known as Lac Léman, is one of the most picturesque areas I’ve ever seen. The food here, especially the bread, is amazingly delicious. However, there are still some cultural differences and surprising Swiss customs that take a little getting used to. I’d been to Europe before and noticed the obvious cobblestone streets and ubiquitous smokers, but there were a few aspects of the culture that I’ve only noticed now that I’m living here.

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The Greek Festival of Honolulu: A Festival of the Gods

Greek Festival of Honolulu

Hawaii is always described as a melting pot of different cultures, but, let’s be real, it’s always thought of as a melting pot of Asian cultures.  I’ve even written quite a bit about the influence of the Asian cultures in Hawaii in my posts on Chinatown and the Japanese Byodo-In Temple.  However, there are other cultures in Hawaii that, while they have smaller populations, have an influential presence, like the Greeks.  Just this past weekend, Honolulu’s annual Greek Festival took place at Ala Moana Beach Park, and, as precedented by years past, my family and I stopped by.​

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My Rainy, Muddy, Spontaneous Manoa Falls Hike

Manoa Falls Tree Arch
…so this isn’t really how the hike started, but wouldn’t it be cool if it started with this awesome tree arch?!…

Monday morning, I woke up to a bunch of texts and phone calls from some friends telling me that they were going to hike Manoa Falls that morning.  I’d wanted to go on a hike the entire summer, but it just hadn’t happened.  But that day, it was going to happen.

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Discovering the Northeast Side of Oahu, Hawaii

Northeast Side of Oahu, Hawaii Byodo-in Temple A few days ago, my family and I acted like tourists and travelled to the northeast side of Oahu, a part of the island almost completely unknown to us.  We started at the sacred Valley of the Temples, where we saw the Byodo-In Temple, a small-scale replica of the original Byodo-In Temple in Japan that is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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Hawaii’s Aloha Stadium Swap Meet

Even though I was born and raised in Hawaii, I had never been to the famous Aloha Stadium swap meet (flea market) until just a few days ago.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but it was definitely worth the experience.

After paying the entrance fee of $1 per person, we gained access to all of the booths surrounding the entire stadium.  They sold all sorts of items (catered mostly to tourists) at surprisingly cheap prices!  (Many of the booths sold 7 T-shirts for $20!)

Aloha Stadium Swap Meet Sarongs

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