Monday, June 27, 2011

Kicking off Summa

Tan's mom knew we would have a hard time coming home.  She decorated our bedroom and immediately whisked us away to Cafe Rio to drown our sorrows in tostada heaven.

Our first order of business after moving home was finding a car. We sold ours in Hawaii and needed something reliable with good gas mileage that we could keep for a long time. After countless hours of scouring, visiting lots of dealers, and test driving different cars, we settled on this 2009 Kia Optima. We are in love with our new "precious." It's roomy and a super smooth ride.  We're still in the process of coming up with a name, and suggestions are appreciated.

I have to brag about Tanya for a minute. She was so stressed about finding a teaching job when we moved home. It's hard because there are only so many middle and high schools, and each one only has one or maybe two health teachers, so the odds are not good. She had an interview the day after we moved home and was hired 3 days later. She's the new health and PE teacher at American Preparatory Academy in West Valley! It's a classy charter school that is brand new (they're still building it). It was also voted Utah's charter school of the year. I'm so proud of her and I know the kids will love her.

Since we moved home, we've been to Sonic three times for slushies during happy hour. It's a summertime tradish that isn't going away any time soon.

On Saturday morning we went on a hike to Grandeur Peak in Millcreek Canyon with our friends Curtis and Ashley. It was the perfect day with blue skies and green mountains (except for when we took the wrong trail for a mile or so)


That night we went to the Real Salt Lake game with Curtash. It was the first time for Tan and I, and we had a lot of fun. We had awesome seats right next to all the action, and of course they won.


Today we FINALLY got around to using our season pass to Seven Peaks! We went with Tanya's little brothers and had a blast (before the crowds showed up in the afternoon). The half pipe slide = favorite.

Our motley crew

It can only go up from here . . . because tomorrow we head to Lake Powell!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Aloha 'Oe

Saying goodbye to Hawaii was one of the hardest things we have ever done. Anyone who has spent a good amount of time there knows that it somehow becomes a permanent part of you.

After we came home from Thailand we spent four days living with our friends Tommy and Jozie in married student housing at BYU Hawaii. We are lucky to have great friends to act as our family while we lived so far away from home. They took such great care of us! On our last night we decided to take some pictures of each other at sunset beach.

We love you J & T.

There are so many things we are going to miss about Hawaii.

The view from our front yard

The view from our back porch

And everything else . . .

We have a lot of other places we want to see in this world, so we don't know when we'll get back to Hawaii. I miss it so much already - especially the smell of the ocean. We know it was the right time to come home and we are looking forward to the future.

Other updates to come . . . my teaching job, our new car, and Lake Powell next week!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Grand Palace

I promise this is our last blog post about Thailand. We ended up with almost 700 pictures that we loved from the trip, so this is the best we could do to narrow it down.

On the way out of the country, we had a 6 hour layover at the Bangkok airport. On the way into the country, my parents had arrived in Bangkok a night before us (they didn't have a night layover in Manila), so they had already gone to the Grand Palace and kept raving about it. They insisted on watching our luggage while we took the air train into Bangkok for a fast and furious walk-through. We finally made it, I bought some linen pants (men and women had to cover their legs) and we were off. We flew through this thing and it was pretty mind blowing. There are just dozens of ornate palaces, temples, and gardens all jam packed into a tiny area. Here are some highlights:

On the way home, we had another overnight layover in the Philippines. This time we went to Manila Ocean Park to pass the time. It was actually really cool! We saw tons of fish and alligators and stingrays and sharks. My favorite is the shark on the top right picture. Is his saw nose real? Tanya and I have always dreamed of going to an aquarium where you can walk through a water tunnel. Dreams came true!

Next up: Saying farewell to Hawaii

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Koh Phi Phi

After Chiang Mai, we headed south to Phuket and Koh Phi Phi. We flew this time, which was convenient. We arrived in Phuket for a night and stayed at a brand new nice hotel, but the town really wasn't anything spectacular (maybe we were just in the wrong part?) We walked around trying to find a restaurant for dinner and there was nothing but bar after bar and sketchy massage parlors. We finally found a perfect place with an awesome bakery. There were actually good bakeries and desserts throughout our trip, which was an unexpected surprise.

The next morning, we took a 90 minute ferry ride to Koh Phi Phi Don, an island out in the Andaman Sea. The boat ride was hot and miserable, but totally worth it. We read our books and tried to stay hydrated.

The island is incredible - lush green with crystalline waters. It's made of limestone and surrounded by other smaller uninhabited islands.

We finally arrived!

Since there are no roads on the island, we had to take a long-tail boat to get away from the busy harbor and to our quiet resort on "long beach"

We stayed in these bungalows

Our beach was nice and quiet. It had a few VERY small resorts and there was hardly anyone staying at any of them. We practically had the place to ourselves.

 We even spotted a monkey on the beach

My Thailand travel book had a picture just like this on the cover. I used to pick it up and think "if only the water was really that blue." Here I am, eating my words.

There was basically one restaurant on the whole beach, and it was at a neighbor resort. We ate there about 6 times and it never disappointed. It was only about $2.50 for a meal there and the view couldn't be beat!

They had good pineapple fried rice

And banana pancakes with chocolate sauce

We think this is a cable car that they used to use to get up the mountain

Tan and I were reading on the beach and looked at each other to talk. This little guy had snuck between us and we both shot out of our chairs in surprise

One day while we were there, my dad and I went scuba diving. It was a lot of fun because we were almost the only ones in the group. This is one of the islands that we dove by

The coral there was amazing - much better than Hawaii. We saw spotted rays, seahorses, lion fish, box fish, eels, and even SHARKS! They told us before we left that they sometimes see them at the dive sites we were going to, and i was hoping we would see them. These pictures are actually from the Manila Ocean Park (we went diving too deep to take our underwater camera), but you get an idea of what we saw.

 While we were diving, Tanya and my mom got seaside massages, drank smoothies, and relaxed. They were too relaxed to even take pictures.

It was fun to just play in the ocean. Even though we had been living by it for the past year, we are never sick of it.

After just three short days, we took the ferry back to Phuket for one more night before heading to Bangkok and then home. We did some shopping and my parents took us to a fancy restaurant for some awesome food and desserts.