mypositivegarden

Watering the seeds of your soul.


2 Comments

Breathing New Life in the Big Island of Hawaii

Nearly a month has passed since my family spent our final sleepless night in Nampa, Idaho. The 48 hours prior to our departure were the most mentally exhausting hours of my life. So many loose ends to tie up. So many tears amongst friends and family. The four months leading up to this moment had been nothing but physical and mental labor in our efforts to sell all of our possessions, finalize my employment, ship our vehicle, locate a home sight unseen…and the list goes on. Now, this final night, my family of five lay silent in our home that was eerily empty with the exception of a few blankets we reserved for sleeping. On one blanket, lay my 19-year-old stepdaughter, Laura. Next to her, lay 12-year-old Grace and 7-year-old Ella. On the last blanket, my husband and I held each other tight.

Silent tears ran down my face. Not tears of sadness about leaving. These were tears for those we would leave behind, Laura included. Although given the option, she chose to stay in Idaho with her mother to continue her degree at Boise State. I listened in the darkness as she and her sisters chatted and giggled. I would miss these times with her. But, she’s a wise girl and I knew she would be okay.

At some point, I dozed off. It seemed I barely closed my eyes when the alarm sounded at 4 am. It was time. Our bags were packed and ready to go. They were all we would take with us. There was too much luggage for our small rental car to handle (our remaining vehicle had been shipped two weeks prior), so Laura would drive separately to help carry it all.

There was both joy and sadness in the air. A strange feeling that I had not experienced since my stint as a nanny near New York City at the age of 19. But, this time, it was a much bigger feeling. After nearly 40 years, I would leave the only home I had known and venture off to the Big Island with my family, sight unseen. There was absolutely no question I was doing the right thing. This was my calling. Moving to Hawaii was something I had envisioned since I was a teenager and further solidified when my husband and I were married in Maui 13 years earlier. Following years of being “responsible” by working my way in and out of corporate jobs and a near-divorce because my husband and I were both living a “lie,” we were ready.

Laura assisted us in unloading our luggage at the airport drop-off. We all exchanged a few more hugs and tears and watched her drive away. I felt so thankful we had already purchased her ticket to come see us for three weeks at Christmas.

As the plane shot up from the ground, Grace and Ella stared in awe below as the large buildings transitioned into toy houses. I shed my final silent tears and said goodbye to the last 39 years of my life. With the exception of visiting, I knew I most likely would not return. I was ready to begin living for the first time.

Ten hours (including one layover) later, the plane finally touched down. We were home. This island had been calling my family for a long time, but we had been too caught up in the “rat race” of life to hear it. Now, even in the midst of the whirlwind comprised of retrieving our luggage, locating another rental car, and finding our new dwelling, nothing felt more right. As we drove from the airport to our home, all windows were down. I stared in awe at the ocean before me and deeply inhaled the ocean air. I felt as though I were in a dream. It was then I recognized that this really was a dream, only we had finally made it come true.

We arrived at our furnished townhouse around 5 pm (9 pm Idaho time). Nancy (the wonderful woman who managed our place) was waiting to greet us at the front door. She had helped us through so much of this process and now she was there with open arms and a friendly “Aloha.”

Upon entry, we were so pleased with this home that we rented on faith. Although our former house was three times larger and significantly less money than this 972 square foot, 2-bedroom, 2-bath townhouse, I instantly liked it more. There was something unexplainable and nearly magical about the energy here.The mainland owners had left friendly notes in every room instructing us about things that we would need to know, including the use of the television/fans/lights and how to keep those pesky cockroaches at bay!

We could not get the grins off of our faces as Nancy led us out to the back lanai and around the corner. We knew the beach was close to our home, but were shocked to find it was only about 30 feet from our backyard. Nancy could see our excitement and left us to take it all in.

We returned to the townhouse and began to explore. The girls excitedly ran from room to room and exclaimed their love of our new home and did not seem to care one bit that they would be sharing a room and king-sized bed for the next 6 months.

It didn’t take long for the ocean to beckon us. We walked out to our new retreat and stared off into the horizon. Thousands of miles of nothing but water separated us from where we came. I felt complete peace. The sun was beginning to set. It descended toward the ocean and it seemed it was sinking into the water itself. It was breathtaking. I took one more deep breath. I felt as though I was absorbing the island into my being. Yes, indeed we were home.

Advertisements


1 Comment

Hawaii Life: ‘Secrets’ I Have Learned Living on the Big Island

“Mom, you know what I love about living in Hawaii?”

“What is that?” I inquired, anxiously awaiting my 12-year old daughter’s response.

“When you meet new people here, they just give you a hug and it is like we have known them forever.”

My 7-year-old quickly chimed in, “Yeah, like tonight when we met our new friends, they were so nice and I felt like they were really happy to be with us.”

Life through a child’s untainted eyes is a beautiful thing. I smiled proudly knowing that they are gaining wisdom from these islands that so many in this world overlook.

“I love that about living here too.” I told them.

Hawaiian people have a treasure they hold dearly and for good reason. There is so much we can all learn from their wisdom and it is for this reason I have decided to share a few of the ‘secrets’ my family has come to know that make this land so sacred.

Talking Story

Everyone ‘talks story’ in Hawaii. Upon first arriving on the island, I often found myself explaining to local friends that I was running late because I ended up ‘talking story’ with a neighbor I had not seen in a while, a grocery store employee who is excited for the outcome of the store’s remodel, or a woman in the parking lot, who just wanted to get to know me a bit. It seems that people in Hawaii feel a connection with one another and, if there is no connection, they will find a way to make one. People don’t look past one another.  Whether friends or strangers, they look one another in the eye and greet each other with a friendly ‘Aloha.’ It is a mutual understanding that time spent connecting is time well-spent, so I no longer apologize for running late because all people here run on ‘Hawaiian time’ and that is perfectly okay.

Driving

Prior to moving to the island, it seemed no matter where I traveled on the mainland, my experience was the same. People either riding my tail in a frustrated effort to get somewhere or I was riding the tails of other drivers going 10 miles under the speed limit because I had somewhere to be. These scenarios rarely happen on the Big Island. Most drive the speed limit or slightly under and plenty of space between cars is the norm. There is so much beauty to see. Why should anyone be in a hurry to go anywhere? I adore taking in the sights of the lush greenery and the water as I travel to my next destination. I am allowed to do this now because other drivers are doing the same thing. People don’t ride your tail and the slowest drivers generally recognize they are holding others up and courteously pull aside to allow traffic to pass. I drive like a ‘little old lady’ now and it is a wonderful thing.

Appearance

The phrase “No shirt, No shoes, No service” is not seen anywhere on the Big Island. Life is truly a beach in Hawaii and people spend a lot of time in the water. Men with no shirts, women in swim suits, and people wearing no shoes are often seen in gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Tank tops, sun-dresses, worn t-shirts, Hawaiian shirts, shorts, and ‘slippas’ (the term used for flip-flops) are the standard attire. Half the women have permanently ditched their bras and they rarely wear makeup. What is the point in makeup when it is going to melt off or be washed off at the beach anyway? My clothing expense has dropped to zero. My family got rid of most of our clothes before we arrived and we still brought way too much. We have each worn the same three or four outfits since we got here and (Gasp!) nobody cares.

Social Class

Millionaire or on welfare. It doesn’t matter on the Big Island. All people interact together and treat one another the same. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t have a clue if the man in line next to me was the founder of Google or the homeless person living on the beach. Unless I have spent a lot of time getting to know someone, people don’t even ask me what ‘I do’ for a living. Nobody cares. There is little sign of social class in Hawaii. People don’t discuss their jobs, their homes, or their belongings. Instead, they discuss life, love, and what they like to do for fun.

Greetings

When I first arrived in Hawaii, I was surprised when I sometimes received an odd look as I extended my hand out to greet new friends. I have since learned that a handshake is a sure sign a person does not live here. The handshake originated as a gesture of peace by demonstrating that the hand holds no weapon. Since Hawaiian culture is based on peace, they do not utilize this gesture. Instead, all new friends are greeted with a welcoming hug and a kiss on the cheek. I am still getting accustomed to this and often find myself extending my hand without thinking, but am beginning to welcome the hugs and kisses and am excited for the day this gesture becomes my new reflex.

Since the day my family left our old life behind in search of a new and better life in Hawaii, we have already learned so much and feel gratitude each day for our experiences here. While the land is the most breathtaking I have ever seen, it is the people who make it truly beautiful. Whether one lives here or not, I believe the world would be a much better place if all humans absorbed some of the sacred knowledge that the people of Hawaii hold so dearly. Live, laugh, love, play. That is what the human experience is about.


1 Comment

The Selfish Woman

Once upon a time there was a very unselfish woman. She was a mother, a wife, and a full-time sales person in Corporate America. She gave little to herself. Instead, she sacrificed all of her time and energy to her life duties. Yet, regardless of how much energy she devoted to these things, she never felt it was enough. Day in and day out, she held strong to her belief that if she could just get her kids to their activities on time, make all of her work clients happy, and provide the love and support to her family that they desperately craved, then she had succeeded. As hard as she tried and as unselfish as she was, the woman never succeeded.

Each day, the woman felt guilt about not living up to her own standards and the guilt consumed her. She spent more time apologizing than living and because guilt is to the spirit that pain is to the body, this woman’s spirit rapidly deteriorated. Soon, she was sick. So sick that she could no longer face her family, her clients, or any of her duties. One day, out of her suffering, she prayed. She prayed a prayer so powerful that she had used every last ounce of the energy just to say the words. She prayed for hope. Then, she fell asleep.

The next morning, the woman awoke to a new day and, unbeknownst to her, a new beginning. She stretched her arms and took a good hard look at the world around her. Then, she went back to sleep. She slept for days. She did little for her husband, her children, or her employer. She told them all she was so very sorry, but she was tired and needed rest. Since she now spent her time sleeping, these people all worked very hard while she rested.

The woman spent the next month selfishly resting. She occasionally made it out of bed long enough to visit a client or take her children to school, but mostly she meditated, she prayed, and she read. The house was in shambles, her clients were no longer happy, and her husband missed her dearly. Yet, through all of her selfishness, the woman began to discover something that she had not felt before…Hope.

As the serum of hope was injected into the woman’s body, she began to heal. Soon, this medicine gave her enough strength to leave her bed. It also gave her the energy to open her eyes and see what she had created. She did not like what she saw. So, she began to meditate more. For hours each week, she would sit and clear her mind completely. As she did, the guilt that had previously consumed her began to flow out. Upon recognizing that there was now space for more, she decided to replace it with light. She did not know how, but something deep inside of her told her the light would heal her. So she waited.

For days the woman waited in silence, yet the light did not come. She implored for it to find her, but the darkness remained. Then, one day, it suddenly occurred to her that she would never find the light because the light was already there. It was inside of her the entire time. She felt a burning of excitement and the light exploded from within. Then, she walked outside of her home and looked at the sky. Her light connected with the stars and together they beamed brightly.

The woman went back inside and again slept. The nightmares of guilt and remorse that she was accustomed to facing previously had dissipated and this night she dreamed of flying. When she awoke the next morning, she could see everything clearly for the first time. The world was so beautiful. She saw the same light that came from her also beaming from her children and her husband and they were breathtaking. She smiled at their innocence and their love for her. For the first time, she felt Love.

The woman thought she had known love, but this was unlike anything she had experienced before. It was a sensation of connection with everyone and everything around her, including herself. Trees, animals, and even strangers held a beauty that she felt so deeply, she wanted to hug them all. She also saw her own beauty so powerfully, that she no longer compared herself to the woman in line next to her or to her ‘picture perfect’ friends on Facebook. She was content and she was healthy.

Within a month, the woman had withdrawn her children from most of their activities. She told them to go outside and play and explore instead. She did the same and she invited her husband to join her. There was so much she had been missing and she wanted to experience it all. She told her boss she was not following her heart, so quit her job, sold her possessions, and moved with her family to a tropical island. Her family began to selfishly live solely for the purpose of joy. Together, they dreamt, they played, they laughed, and they loved.

The woman and her family realized that living a life that suited them and nobody else was indeed selfish and that was okay. For it brought them joy and, in finding it, they could begin to share it with others.

And they lived happily ever after.


1 Comment

Leave the Windows Down: Finding Freedom in Hawaii

“My hair!” I exclaimed to the man at Supercuts. “It used to be so straight!” I pointed to the mess of layered frizz that had taken a life of it’s own since moving to Hawaii one week prior. Like Medusa’s crown, I witnessed it becoming more ‘alive’ by the day.

“I need something to tame it. Can you help?”

My husband piped in, “But, I like your crazy hair. It matches your personality.”

I scoffed at my hubby and turned back to the 20-something employee. I’m pretty sure I saw the gleam of hope in my eyes reflect in his…or maybe it was just dollar signs. Either way, 30 minutes and $40.00 later, I exited the store with two vials of cream that I was certain would create the sleek curly tresses that would once again bring a sense of ‘normalcy’ to my appearance.

Prior to moving to Hawaii, my hair was straight and I spent a lot of money on having it cut and colored.

Prior to moving to Hawaii, my hair was straight and I spent a lot of money on having it cut and colored.

‘Normal’ is something that I have always strived to be. After all, I was raised in a ‘normal’ household with both a mother and father, two sisters, a cat, and a dog. I strived to make my family proud. I got good grades in high school and even earned a few scholarships. I excelled in ‘Future Homemakers of America’ (yes, that really existed) and I went on to get my college degree. From there, I got married and had two children. We eventually built a home of our own and I worked my way into corporate America.  I was an ‘All American’ girl. I proudly hung my college degree on the wall next to the photo collages of my ‘perfect’ little family. I dressed the part by wearing fashionable clothing, keeping current on the latest beauty tips, and never allowing a single hair to be out of place. Without my brush, I was lost. Car windows down? Don’t even think about it! Then, everything began to change.

January of 2008. My second daughter was about to be delivered into the world. We were living in our beautiful, newly-built custom home with a breathtaking view of the Snake River. My husband, a project-manager for a custom-home builder, had more work than he knew what to do with. In addition to his regular paychecks, he had just received a significant bonus that allowed us financial freedom like we had never known before. For the first time ever, we were not living paycheck to paycheck. My daughter was born and my corporate job allowed me to enjoy my maternity leave with her. This time away also allowed time for reflection. I thought routinely about the life I was living and the new life I had just brought into the world. I contemplated even harder the emptiness I felt despite all that I had accumulated. Then, I prayed.

I had not prayed for some time. As hard as I had tried, religion had never been something I could fully grasp, so I wasn’t even sure who or what I was praying to. But, I did it anyway. I asked for the fulfillment and joy that I was lacking. I asked for a new life. A voice entered my head and said, “You realize this won’t be easy? You realize I must take it all away for you to be reborn?” I hesitated. Then, I responded, “Yes.” I knew my prayer had been answered, so I waited.

A few months later, the world entered a financial crisis of epic proportions. My husband lost his job and, during the next two years, we lost our home and our credit. We had two mouths that we could barely feed and were helping to support my teenage stepdaughter. The next five years felt like I was tumbling down Mt. Everest. I dragged myself forward on hands and knees. I gave up. I climbed again. Through it all, I continued to pray. It seemed that each time I found the courage to ask, I received a glimmer of hope: a book that inspired me, a documentary I needed to see, or a friendship that opened my eyes to new possibilities.

Another year passed. In my weakest hour, I decided one final prayer was in order. The only thing left would be hope, so I prayed for that. The following day, I found myself on the internet reading a spiritual blog that inspired me. The author wrote about what it takes to live the life of one’s dreams. He stated that one must be willing to give up everything to start again. I told my husband that I felt I was ready to move forward again. In order to achieve this, I explained we must move to Hawaii….a dream we had discussed many years ago, but was somehow abandoned along the way.

We did not have any concept of how we would make our dream happen, but we both knew that there was no other alternative. Our friends thought we were crazy when they came to our moving sale. They asked, “What is for sale?” We responded, “Everything! Just make an offer.”

Five dumpster loads, a yard sale, and multiple trips to Goodwill later, all of the things we had built our life upon were gone. So, we departed for our new life. I was climbing again. Yes, it was a slow climb, but the obstacles were no longer there. I had cleared the path to freedom and, for the first time, not only could I see it, but I was nearly there.

It has been five weeks since my visit with my Supercuts consultant. Following two days of taming and cursing at my hair to no avail, I gave up. I’ve learned to embrace my crazy tresses. My husband was right. My hair does match my personality. Like me, it is now crazy and free. I no longer use the word ‘normal’ because I’ve learned there is no such thing. My college degree is in a box somewhere and so are the photos of our ‘perfect’ life. And, yes, the windows are always down.

My hair  now in Hawaii. No bangs, since the sweat would plaster them to my head. I color it myself and it has a life of it's own.

My hair now in Hawaii. No bangs, since the sweat would plaster them to my head. I color it myself and it has a life of it’s own.


Leave a comment

Become Your Own Soldier: The ‘Secret’ to Manifesting Destiny as Learned from my BFF

A few months ago, I received an excited call from my best friend, Shannon. She told me she had been caller number 10 in a radio contest, which put her in the running to win an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas, including a Taylor Swift concert. She exclaimed, “I know I’m going to win this, Jenny. I just know it!”

There are people in the world who have unlocked what I perceive to be one of the biggest ‘secrets’ that most have yet to fully understand. This is the secret of manifesting one’s own destiny. While the knowledge that I am the painter of my own life portrait is something I always felt deep within, I believe that I attracted Shannon into my life to help make this knowledge tangible.

Through a series of events, Shannon popped into my life one day unexpectedly. We had both worked in the dental industry for over a decade. Shannon was hired in the office where I worked to handle re-care (a term in the dental industry for keeping the schedule full). At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of this 5-foot-tall, cute, spunky ball of fire who proudly exclaimed each day after filling the schedule, “I’m a ROCK STAR!” It didn’t take long for me to recognize that she was indeed something very special.

Five years later. Together, my friend and I had spent countless hours pouring our hearts out to one another while sitting three feet apart at Southridge Dental. I cried with Shannon after her husband of nearly 20 years decided he was meant to take a different path. The tears flowed harder when her mother tragically passed of cancer shortly after. This was the woman who regularly made her famous Gingersnap cookies for our staff and called several times a week inquiring if “that little twirp” was available. Like her daughter, her smile could light up any room.

Shannon had lost the two people she loved the most. Yet, through all of the pain, she continued marching forward. She was a soldier in the battle of life. No time was taken away from work. Each day she had a smile on her face and a kind word for every patient that walked through the door. Flowers and gifts poured in daily from her male admirers. She seemed to attract people and everything she desired like they were the magnets to her metal. But, solid gold does not contain metal, so the ‘mystery’ behind her ability to manifest anything she set her mind to remained.

I felt an incredible amount of guilt for ‘dumping’ on my friend about my own suffering as my marriage began to crumble. There was never judgement on her side. Not once did she bad-mouth my husband, even though I had done plenty of that. She kept an open mind and heart at all times. I asked her in desperation one day, “Shannon, how do you do it? I don’t understand. My pain is nothing compared to what you have been through and here you are helping ME through it.” Her response? “Jenny, everybody suffers. That’s just part of life. Nobody is exempt. It’s what you choose to do with it that makes you or breaks you.”

Shannon’s wisdom helped to turn my life around. She was right. I was no different than the next person. In fact, I had it much better than most. I could continue to feel sorry for myself or I could use my circumstances to grow. And grow I did.

One of the most difficult decisions I had ever made was leaving my ‘family’ at Southridge Dental. Shannon especially. But, I pushed myself to take a sales job that would allow for more income and personal growth. The next two years consisted of me consistently pushing myself outside of where I was comfortable…in all aspects of my life. There were meltdowns at my new job, there were blow-up fights between my husband and I, there was anguish between my parents and siblings as I tried to figure my life out. Not only did I experience a great deal of pain, but I created a lot of it too. Although I had to take a number of ‘breaks,’ I did not quit. Each day, I dragged myself out of bed and forced myself to march forward like the soldier who had taught me.

The storms in my life raged. For a full year, I experienced depression, desperation, and pain as I clung on for dear life to a seemingly small branch of hope. During this time, I continued to turn to my friend. She encouraged me and held on to me each time I was about to let go. And then, something happened. I began to see a hint of the sun rising once again. My grip became tighter and the winds calmed. Once again, I had my husband to turn to and he had a piece of me back as well. We held one another tight and began to weather the storm together. As the sun continued to rise, the light grew brighter and there was hope.

A new day was beginning when I received the phone call from Shannon. My husband and I had found joy again. It was our 13th anniversary and we anxiously prepared to celebrate with a kid-free day of doing nothing but spending time together, followed by plans for dinner and dancing that evening.

“What’s up!” I exclaimed as I answered Shannon’s call.

“I won the trip!” she exclaimed. “Can you believe it? I actually won!”

I responded nonchalantly, “Of course you did, you big goofball! I had no doubt. I knew you were going to win from the moment you told me.”

You have great things ahead of you my dear friend. And I will continue to spread what you have taught me.

Thank you.


Leave a comment

Life on the Big Island: Settling In

Following our arrival at our townhouse in Kona and a brief exploration of the gated community where we would reside for the next five months, our little ohana (‘family’) needed rest. The months of preparing for our move, combined with the long flight and 4-hour time difference had finally set in. There would be no unpacking this night. Around 9 p.m., we ascended upstairs to our rooms.  Scott and I sacrificed the nicer of the two rooms (including the king-sized bed) with the hopes of minimizing the fighting and tattling that “She touched me first!” Once the kids were soundly tucked in, we settled into our queen-sized bed.  This would be a new adventure for us as well, since we vowed when we purchased our king-sized bed 12 years prior that we would never go back.

Since we were in near sleeping proximity to one another anyway and this was our first time in our new home, cuddling seemed like a good option…for about 30 seconds. We promptly realized it was HOT. Now, it’s important to understand that the majority of homes in Hawaii do not have air conditioning and, even if they do, energy is so costly that few people utilize it. The absence of air, combined with an upstairs room and memory foam mattress retaining our body heat like an insulated pizza carrier did not provide for the sort of quality sleep we were hoping for. I pushed my hubby aside and settled in for a night of tossing and turning. The good news was that fighting over the blankets in our queen-sized lava bed would not be an issue. This was taking the term “things are really heating up in the bedroom” to a new level.

The next morning, we hightailed it to Costco to stock up on food and fans. Some of the first words out of our leasing agent’s mouth was “We all shop at Costco here.” I promptly understood why. The prices at this Hawaii Costco seemed no more expensive than the Costco in Boise, Idaho. In fact, we noted multiple items that we had purchased in Idaho that were the exact price as those from which we came. Needless to say, since we had arrived in Hawaii with nothing but the clothes on our backs and a few suitcases, we dropped the bomb!

Two carts and four fans later, we exited Costco and hurried home before our frozen items took a turn for the worse. It was quickly noted that Siri was going to be of no help to us. She had obviously never been to the islands because she knew nothing about them. Either that, or she wanted to take us on the “scenic route” everywhere we went. I’m guessing Siri’s self-esteem has since plummeted because Scott and I could no longer control our exclamations of profanity at her. So much for technology helping us out in this department.

We gradually settled in to the time difference (four hours earlier) and slept progressively better as we began to figure out a cooling schedule with our prized fans based on the hottest and coolest times of the day. Additionally, we decided we must get the “tourist” out of our system before we settled in as residents. Each day, as we explored our new town, we proclaimed our gratitude that we did not have to pack in every activity like most people who were forced to leave when their vacation to ‘paradise’ ended in one or two weeks. It was still challenging for us to grasp the concept that we had all the time in the world to explore. We were excited and wanted to pack everything in. We frequented restaurants, farmers markets, shops, beaches, health-food stores and located every chain store in close proximity.

One of the most refreshing aspects of our first week on the Big Island was the immense kindness of the people. Mike at the sandal shop seemed genuinely happy we had arrived. We had a long, pleasant conversation and he informed us that the shop owners were from Fruitland, Idaho. We also learned they had owned our favorite fruit stand that we frequented in Fruitland. Angie at the farmers market had grown up on the island. She proudly proclaimed she was 78 years-old, but her smile and her youthful attitude made her seem much younger.  We informed her we had transplanted from Idaho and she told us she attended and graduated from the College of Idaho in her youth after receiving a scholarship there. She also took our information after explaining she considered herself the island matchmaker for newcomers and held a quarterly potluck for newcomers and locals to meet. Karen from the jewelry booth moved from California to join her children and grandchildren who had also followed their dream of moving to Hawaii. She told us of the amazing garage sales that could be found on the weekends. We exchanged numbers, so we could go together. Nate, at the little souvenir shop on Alii drive gave us lychee and mangos and invited us to a barbeque at his home.

I could go on for hours about the kindness and love we have received since landing on the Big Island (of course, this is a blog, so I probably will in future posts). I could also ramble on about the disgusting cockroaches that are the size of small rodents or the humidity that occasionally seems to melt us on contact.  Yet, it’s amazing how quickly one adapts to a new environment. Although, I’m not sure I’ll ever be comfortable with the cockroaches, the humidity clears my skin and the ocean air clears my soul. We are climatizing and learning to live without the luxury of air conditioning. The kids have yet to fight over sharing a bed or a room. In fact, I have never seen them smile more. Nearly every day, Grace says, “I’m so happy, Mom!” I simply respond, “So am I, honey. So am I.”


9 Comments

Why Not? : Some FAQs About our Move to The Big Island

Why not? This is my new slogan. It’s a funny phrase really. If my daughter asks, “Why not?” after I tell her she cannot have candy, she is expressing disappointment (a daily occurrence in my household). But, my use of this phrase acts as a question to myself. A thought-provoking statement, which requires me to truly reflect upon the reasons why I should or shouldn’t do something. So, recently, when my husband and I realized moving to our dream spot just may be do-able, we asked ourselves, “Why Not?”

Why Are You Moving to Hawaii?

April 20, 2002. Scott and I were married on the island of Maui. It was perfect. We were both big dreamers at the time. And we dreamed of living in Hawaii. We vowed to move back as soon as the opportunity arose.

Nearly twelve years and two children later, we were not living in Hawaii. I felt like a stuck tape recorder, replaying itself. Get up at 6:00 am, rush the kids to school, race to work, hurry home, get the kids to bed, escape to our phones or the television, then do it over again. There was little joy in this life and our relationship deteriorated. The divorce papers were ready to sign…then something changed.

After a brief separation, my husband and I both recognized that we were making a huge mistake. We understood that we had lived a “lie.” We were both part of the rat race, just so we could finally “live” when we turned 65. We were dreamers who had lost our dreams. We wanted to live now. We didn’t ever want to find ourselves asking “what if”? So, I shred the divorce papers ($300 well-wasted) and we decided that every day would be a new opportunity to create something beautiful. We were ready to dream big once again. We received counseling. Life got better. Eventually, permission was granted by my husband’s employer for him to work remotely.  I purchased four one-way tickets to Kona, Hawaii. We would depart in 3 months. The pendulum had been set into motion.

What Are You Doing with All of Your Stuff?

Selling it! Shipping belongings to Hawaii from the mainland is more costly than just buying new stuff when we arrive.  We are taking suitcases and shipping one vehicle (we sold our second vehicle to put the money in savings). Regardless, purging our stuff has helped us realize how unimportant things are, so our goal is to minimalize and have as little as possible. The money we make from selling our belongings will help us with our move. Also, gutting our home of 15 years of possessions has been both cleansing and eye-opening. Aside from a few sentimental items and pictures, there isn’t anything we wish to keep. In fact, we now view “stuff” as a burden rather than something to be prideful of. We spent many years trying to find joy at RC Willey, but never found it…go figure!

Do You Already Have a Job?

No. I don’t presently have a job in Hawaii. However, I am so grateful to have a husband who has purposefully worked very hard, so we could pay most of our debts and afford to get to the island. Because of the time difference, Scott will work remotely from 5 am to 1 pm each day and I will homeschool Grace (12) and Ella (7). I also intend to spend more time writing. I want to practice and improve, especially in the area of creative writing. Depending on how things continue to go for us financially, I may pick up a part-time job.

Isn’t it Expensive to Live in Hawaii?

That depends on how you look at it. Yes, the cost of food, housing, and electricity is significantly higher in Hawaii. However, most of our expendable income currently goes toward expensive outings such as movies, dinner, fun centers and shopping. In Hawaii, we will be surrounded by what we love the most…warm weather, plentiful fruit (the majority of our diet now), the ocean, nature, and a low-key lifestyle that encourages “living” rather than simply “existing.” All of these things are free in Hawaii and they are all we need.

What Do the Kids Think?

Fortunately, Grace is a dreamer and Ella is an adventurer. Their sister (my step-daughter, Laura) is in college and has opted not to join us. All of the girls are excited. Grace is unique in that her thinking is “outside the box” and she doesn’t fit any “norms” for kids her age. Home-schooling gives her more flexibility to be creative. Ella is a nature-lover and an explorer. She’s “rough and tough.” Has been since the day she entered this world and refused to cry. She cannot wait to explore the island, volcanoes, and sea life.

Of course, Scott and I understand that living in Hawaii is not all fun and games and the kids may encounter prejudice or be called “haole” by the locals. They will most certainly get homesick and things will seem strange and unfamiliar for a while. We continue to remind Grace and Ella of these things, so they don’t experience too much shock when it happens. To help, their dad and I will do our best to keep them busy and excited to learn.

Do You Plan to Stay Long-Term

If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you can’t plan your life. Life is meant to be wondrous. What lies around the corner is uncertain. Just accept what comes your way and find good in it. It. So, do I intend to stay long-term?

Why not?