My Visit to the Islands of Aloha

When I was younger, I’d often dream about visiting the mystical, mysterious islands of Hawaii, a place that countless others had said was one of the most beautiful places on this Earth. Never-ending shorelines of soft, pale sand, and waters of the clearest blue… it was hard to believe such a place existed. I had been to beaches in San Francisco, the water murky from the city’s pollution and the skies always so grey and cloudy. My best friend had visited the island of Kauai a few times, always coming back and telling stories about Hawaiian men eating fire, fun-filled adventures on the beach, and the annoying rooster that crowed very, very early in the morning. That made me even more curious to visit Hawaii.

Finally, this year, I got to visit Hawaii for the first time! We visited Oahu island, and when we arrived there, just the sight of it was breathtaking. The waters were super blue, unlike the beaches I had been to before. It almost seemed… fake. And the air was amazing! An abundance of nice, cool breezes without any allergens on the air… I didn’t feel allergic the whole time there. (Visit my Allergies Post.)

View from Diamond Head
View from Diamond Head

Oahu is known for Diamond Head Crater, a dormant volcano located near Waikiki Beach. At the beginning of the trip, we hiked up to Diamond Head. It was pretty hard going up since the trail was uneven and rough. I haven’t hiked much in my life, so for me, that was pretty challenging. (Don’t worry, if you’re reading this and are now unsure if you should hike there, it’s actually a kid-friendly trail uwu.) However, at the top, the view was amazing!! It’s really picturesque, and at the right angle, you can capture the city, the crater, and the ocean all at once. When we climbed down, we got to eat coconut water straight from the insides of a real coconut! The meat inside was pretty tasty too, so I’d definitely recommend that if any of you guys decide to take a visit.

I also hiked Moana Trail, which, in my opinion, was slightly harder than Diamond Head. Unlike Diamond Head, which was dry, Moana trail was humid, since it’s in the middle of a tropical forest. Because it was humid, the trail was muddy and slick. Tip: Bring a hiking stick on this one. I thought that getting up was the hard part but noooo going down was actually the real challenge. I fell on that trail two times, and on the second time, I hit my knee on a rock. (To not keep falling, I had to hold on to the plants on the side of the wall at some times, or the rocks that were sticking out of the ground.) However, all the sweat and scary I’m-gonna-slip moments were worth undergoing. At the end of the trail was a waterfall- and it was pretty darn high. I had actually seen this waterfall on the internet before that I’d used in school projects, and I was really in awe to be standing before the very same waterfall. 

After all the hiking, everyone got to have some relaxation. We spent one day at the beach and the pool just lounging about and gazing at the ocean. The waves really have a way of putting you into a trance. (If I look at the waves for over a minute, I start to get dizzy…>.<) I also snorkeled for the first time! Putting on the mouthpiece made me feel like I was a baby with a pacifier. It was really weird breathing only through my mouth. For about thirty minutes, I was swallowing (and inhaling…) salt water, which is not fun, trust me. But when I got the hang of it, it was pretty interesting. As I was gazing at all the colorful fish swim about, I felt like I became a fish too. I only was able to snorkel for a little over an hour though because the water was really cold. 

Hawaiian tidepool
Hawaiian tidepool

On the final day, I got to visit a “secret beach.” Secret because not many people knew about that, which was perfect for taking pictures. Getting there was no easy task… Well, if you wanted to do the way that passed all of the people-free nature spots. We had to walk over a bunch of rocks for about a fifth of the journey. Then, we got to a small section of beach that had little tidepools in them, silvery fish darting in and out of sight and wary crabs that hid in between the rocks. We crossed another beach which had lots of tiny pebbles and bits of shells that were washed up by the waves. After spending some time examining them, we continued onwards, to our final challenges; climbing the rocks of doom. Well, it was not that bad, but for me, it was really scary. The rocks were all sharp and hurt my feet, and with the waves crashing at the other rocks below(and a dead crab nearby), I actually felt my heart racing. And. THERE WERE BEES. (I have uh, a small fear of bees.) So when I finished crossing those rocks and saw more walks, I was like, “Nuh-uh, no more rock-climbing for me!” So I took to the waterways(it was protected from the waves by some rocks), and swam across, finally making it to the secret beach(and beating the rest of my family hehehe-). It was pretty cool, and I spotted a turtle at one point. 

Overall, my trip to Hawaii was a blast! I had a lot of fun hiking, adventuring, snorkeling, and eating all the delicious food! (Try the kalua pork, it’s pretty yummy 😉 )

I would definitely recommend going to all the places I visited, and to try new things there! Until later,…

Aloha! 

(P.S. If you’d like to see more of my photos, take a look at my photography page.)

hawaiian shore
hawaiian shore

The Soul Eaters known as Drugs

Image result for free domain drug addict picture

Many people don’t understand how people can become addicted to drugs. They think, “They just don’t have enough will power,” or, “That must mean they have very low moral principals,” a common mistake. Just as a lot of other things in real life, drug addiction is much more complex than that. Even with a strong will, in most cases, it takes much more to quit once you become addicted, due to the fact that drugs can alter the way your brain works. 

So what is drug addiction?

Drug addiction starts with drug abuse, which is different. Drug abuse is when you use legal OR illegal substances in ways you shouldn’t. Some examples are taking more pills than the regular dose, using someone else’s prescription, or to get high(relieves stress for awhile/avoids reality). The part where it turns from drug abuse to drug addiction is when you can’t stop using it, not if your health is in danger. The more you use drugs, the more you feel like you need it and become dependent you on it to feel, “happy.” (The worst cases of drug addiction is when you have the urge to take drugs all the time, and can’t seem to stop thinking about it even if you want to stop.)

Effects on the brain from drug addiction

When a person first takes drugs, he/she feels high, the result of euphoria and the chemical messenger dopamine being released. This is known as the brain’s “reward circuit,” which is a system that prompts people to repeat behaviors needed to thrive. If a person continues to take drugs, dopamine keeps on flowing throughout one’s body, causing your body to want to repeat those behaviors. Eventually, the brain adapts by reducing the ability of the cells in the reward circuit to respond, an effect called tolerance. The high that someone feels the first time the drug was taken was much stronger than the high after someone has been taking drugs for weeks. Oftentimes, to try to achieve the same high, people start taking larger quantities of drugs and/or increasing the concentration. When the brain has adapted like this, then other activities that one used to enjoy aren’t as pleasurable anymore, such as spending time with friends/family, food, or hobbies. In a sense, people start losing themselves. 

Over a long period of time, other brain circuits/systems can change, affecting functions such as:

  • Behavior
  • Stress
  • Ability to learn
  • Memory
  • Judgement
  • Decision Making

“Drugs take you to hell… disguised as heaven.”

Donald Lyn Frost

What influences the risk to becoming addicted to drugs?

(Important: Although some people can get addicted easier than others,

EVERYBODY HAS THE RISK OF BECOMING ADDICTED TO DRUGS IF THEY CHOOSE TO TAKE IT. It’s the only way of ensuring that you will not become addicted to drugs!!)

  • Biology: Half of a person’s risk for addiction is in someone’s genes( such as gender, ethnicity, and the presence of other mental disorders). 
  • Environment/Development: Family, friends, economic status physical/ sexual abuse, peer pressure, and parental guidance are also strong factors in the likelihood of drug use and addiction. 

Although anybody at any age can get addicted to drugs, the younger a person is when they start, the higher the chance is to progress to addiction.

Signs of Addiction:(Warning signs to look out for)

  • You don’t take care of yourself or your appearance.
  • Stealing, lying, or doing dangerous behaviors.
  • You spend more time alone.
  • Urges to do drugs multiple times a day.
  • Most of your time is spent getting, using, or recovering from the effects of the drugs.

Drug addiction is a terrible thing to get into and is extremely hard to stop, but with time and the correct treatment, it can be overcome. The good news is- is that more and more educational programs are addressing this issue, teaching kids that drugs are harmful.

Don’t let drugs control your life, YOU are the master of your sails.

Share the word, and comment your thoughts on this!


Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/addiction-adult-capsule-capsules-271171/

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/drug-abuse-addiction#1

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/addiction-statistics

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction

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