As the Hawaii Program is nearing its end this Fall, students are looking back and reflecting on their last 10 weeks of traveling around, volunteering and team bonding. Read all about Lauren Castleman's discoveries and realizations about herself and her time on program in this week's blog!


During these past nine weeks in Hawaii, I’ve been able to explore the Pacific. Traipsing around the islands of Oahu and Hawaii, I gained a deeper understanding of Hawaiian culture and its ties to other Pacific islands through educational farming, historical exploration, informative conversations with locals, and, of course, many dips in the ocean. With only one week left of this journey, I would say I am pretty well acquainted with the Pacific. Therefore, in this Pacific Discovery blog post, I won’t be focusing on the Pacific; instead, I’m going to delve into the many discoveries I’ve made and share the wealth with you all.

The first discovery I made on Pacific Discovery: 15 servings for 15 people will not suffice. It doesn’t matter if the box of Barilla penne pasta says it is enough for five people; your quick math will be thwarted and your three purchased boxes demolished in a matter of seconds. Thirteen hungry teenagers and young adults become even hungrier after hiking 8 miles. Do yourself and your fellow group members a favor and put a little extra time into your math — up the expected amount of food by 25 percent.

Another fact I discovered in my times as a Pacific Discovery chef is that a drying dishtowel left in a wet sink will not remain a towel meant for drying. Rather, the newly soaked towel will require a trip to the dryer, and your dishes will remain wet. Never fear, for there is almost always a drying rack nearby, but you’ll soon discover that this drying rack is almost always full and most definitely damp. Luckily, these discoveries led our group to a brilliant new find that would solve all of our dish related problems: hanging up the dishtowel.

My treasure trove of discoveries go beyond the kitchen. In my times camping around the islands, I’ve determined that some bugs truly love the tropics. Even more so, these bugs love wide open spaces in the tropics that are filled with food. Luckily, all of these bugs are harmless. Still, I never grew to love the sight of a swarm of ants crawling out of a walmart bag filled with personally purchased snacks. I think Hawaii Group 1 can definitely add closing food properly to their list of learned skills.

I could continue talking about my many different realizations, like watch where you’re hiking so as not to trip over a group of pebbles, always bring a raincoat in preparation for the random downpours, and many more seemingly obvious but evidently evasive lessons. However, none of these carry any weight in comparison to the most important discoveries I’ve made during my time with Pacific Discovery.

Firstly, every experience you have on this trip will provide a different insight into yourself. You may find new passions or reignite old ones. Either way, your sense of self will increase immensely. Additionally, you’ll find new perspectives everywhere you turn. From the people you live with to the hosts you work with, you’ll be exposed to a ton of different opinions and values to listen to, appreciate, and/or potentially identify with.

And finally, fourteen complete strangers will end as family after spending every moment with them for two and a half months. The initial awkward conversations will quickly turn to hour long talks about everything and nothing. While I am saddened by the impending end of our journey together, I know that our relationships with each other won’t end with the finishing of program, and I look forward to our taking every discovery with us to our next phases in life.

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Author Pacific Discovery Outreach Posted

Category Hawaii Departure Fall 2021