. If the gates to this garden is closed, walk on a small path on the left side of the wall, which will lead you to "Temple Beach" as the locals call it. This beach is not as popular as Hukilau Beach, which is a 5 minute walk on the sand to the left. However, my childhood memories remind me of its calm clear waters, very different to Hukilau's strong but exciting current. When you stand in front of Temple Beach, you will also find that there are houses built on cliffs to your right. These houses are on one street, and at the end of the street is Laie Point. The shopping center in Laie includes Foodland, Subway, Taco Bell, Ace, and other services. At the intersection in front of Laie Shopping Center is a road that leads to Laie Point. If you want to see and feel a breathtaking view, follow this road, then turn right until you reach the end.
There are around 4,500 locals in Laie and 2500 college students from near and afar. (I'll describe this university in the next paragraph.) There is an an elementary school, which is on your right if you face the temple on the main road. There is only one middle and high school for us on this side of the island. From Waimea/Pupukea/Sunset to Kaaawa/Kualoa area is the boundary for Kahuku High & Intermediate students. Students from these 5 elementary schools (Sunset Beach, Kahuku, Laie, Hauula, and Kaaawa) eventually gather at KHIS for secondary education. Here I encountered and observed children of different cultures, from the mostly haole surfers of Sunset to the ukulele playing Hawaiians of Kaaawa
. Polynesians (of course) dominate in the racial category (keep in mind that there are many different cultures and languages in Polynesia itself), but what's unique about Hawaii is that almost everyone is multiracial. I never met a pure Hawaiian (not that I knew of), but if someone said they were Hawaiian, it was that they had Hawaiian blood (along with 10 other different nationalities). If you're wondering what I am, I'm actually Micronesian and my parents moved here from Kiribati. Therefore, I'm a rare pure blooded girl. What I found is that children whose parents migrated here are pure, but that children whose parents grew up here are multracial. Outsiders refer to anyone living in Hawaii as Hawaiian, but here we are distinct in our culture and origin.
In Laie, you will find a small university that is richly blessed with students from over 70 countries. I'm a current freshman at this small institution, and I've made many friends from countries such as Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Burundi, Mongolia, Denmark, China, Easter Island, Ghana, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and nations all over North, Central, and South America and the Pacific. It seems like I'm exaggerating, but I truly haven't yet named all the countries from which my friends represent. This institution is surely a blessed place. Adjacent to this school is the famous Polynesian Cultural Center, from which I had been working from the age of 15 until a few months ago. I started and ended as a waitress at 2 restaurants, called Gateway and Ambassador
. In those years of working part-time, I gained my self-esteem as a co-worker and a host to many people. During my early years, I had always been self-conscience and quiet. However, this experience opened me up to people. The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) is an opportunity for many students to afford their education. There are students at BYU-H who are on a work scholarship (IWES), and they had agreed to work 20 hours a week during school and 40 hours during the summer break in order for them to have an education, housing, and food. They receive around $80 every paycheck, which they can use to buy school supplies and other necessities. These international students come from families that can't afford to pay for their education. This work scholarship is a blessing to them, as they don't owe the school any money after their 4 years of education. Growing up, I always thought I was poor but when I met these students who value everything they have in possession, I realized that materialistic wants I had desired was not worth pursuing. When I was younger, I always wondered why I had to live in such a small town on such a small island. Now, I know that God's will is the best and that He only desires for us to learn from our earthly experiences. I travel to Ecuador in July, and I hope that I will take the opportunity to help my fellow brothers and sisters.
Oh, a few more things...next to PCC's parking lot is a gas station (Chevron), McDonalds, and a small motel called Laie Inn http://www.laieinnhawaii.com/
Well, I hope this blog inspired you to visit my beautiful hometown of Laie, located on the magnificent North Shore of Oahu.
*P.S. If you're the type of tourist who loves to meet people and you're in Laie, then I suggest you visit a church session on a Sunday. There are different sessions that start at 8am, 10am, and 12am. There are 2 chapels in Laie...one by the right side of the temple and one by the main road. Here you will better interact with the locals since most of the people in Laie are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Or if you're someone young who's wanting to meet other young folks, go to the chapel on the BYUH campus. Drive straight into campus, then turn right. and the first building you see on your right is the chapel.
*I'm not saying this is your only way to better experience your visit. I'm just suggesting this as a way for you to get to know others. If I were to visit a town in which most were Catholics, I'd seriously plan on attending mass in order to get to know the folks. After all religion is a way of life, and culture's definition includes one's "way of life." So don't be afraid in experiencing another culture!:)
Mahalo and Aloha
Hawaii is in general a beautiful state, and is indeed a natural paradise. Though I haven't been out of Hawaii (yet), I've come to appreciate the beauty of this world. I live in a town that dwells by the ocean and is also a neighbor to the mountains. The beach stretches forever, and is at most, an 8 minute walk from any home here on the country side. What sets my town apart from others is its rich history in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Here, you will feel the influence the church has had over the years. There is the Laie Temple, which lies in the center of town. You can't miss it because of its pure, white glow that is set on a small hill. From Kamehameha Highway (the one and only main road) you can see and feel its beauty. If you decide to take a turn, don't hesitate to walk through its gates. Visitors are welcome, and there is a Visitor's Center on the temple grounds that is especially made for those who want to know more about the Church. The Laie Temple faces the highway, but if you look on your right you will find a small garden