In my travels, I have lived places where I am the majority and other places where I am the minority based on race/ethnicity. It’s been great and I have loved meeting people from all over the world, seeing blended families through the military life as well as the locals in our various locations. I have noticed a few things lately though…..
I have met some interesting individuals….many families who have some out of the ordinary situations in their home….transgender or “gay” children (if that can be determined at 4), lots of homeschooling families with various non-traditional practices, and one family in particular who has taken on the Japanese culture to the 9th degree….they homeschool in Japanese, go to a Japanese church, only watch Japanese television, sleep on Japanese futons for beds, take the Japanese drumming lessons and get this….no one is Japanese nor do they live in Japan.
Unique? Yes, very unique and I’m completely fascinated by all these people. But one thing I have noticed, these people are all white!…meaning Caucasian/European descent, American born, English-speaking people. I have never met a non-white person that has a transgender child, a blog about their 4 year old gay child or one that takes on a completely different language or culture. So it made me dig deeper on all the people I know, have met over the years and whose blogs I follow on various unique situations like these and I’ve noticed all the same….white people!
So I came to a little conclusion just based on my limited observation….is it that non-white people just don’t happen to have these situations or interests, or are they not so open about sharing them or do they not feel the need for this expressed diversity? Hmmm? Is it that white people feel they need a stake in the land of what our culture deems diverse?
1. Do White (Caucasion/European descent) families who are English-speaking, American born and convervative get a bad wrap…they are often deemed narrow-minded, intolerant and prejudice in our culture….just for being who they are.
2. Do you have to have someone with brown skin, speak a foreign language, be gay or have someone gay in your immediate family to be considered open or diverse? Can you be an all Caucasion family, born in the great USA, speak English only, have conservative views and be “diverse”?
3. I look at my children and someone who sees them may not know the story of all that went into making them….the Native American, the Mexican, the French, the Croatian and Ukranian. If they look “white”, would people have a pre-conceived notion on their “diversity” or lack thereof?
Isn’t diversity about how we fit into the big picture and our our part can make it better. Why does our piece have to look like anyone else’s? But isn’t it okay if it does….all white, all black, all any one thing or not.
I once heard an instructor say “I don’t need each student to be diverse, be jack of all trades or a master of all subjects….I need each student to be an expert in their field of study and that’s when the class is great”.
I’d be interested to hear thoughts and perspective!
So it’s been almost 6 months since we arrived on island!! I can’t believe how time flies…the stress of finding a house, spouse’s injury to include an ER visit and physical therapy (who told him to jump off a big rock??), moving in to our old, unrenovated home, getting the family settled, kids starting school, beginning a new job for husband and touring the area! It has been filled with adventures and beautiful scenery! We have met the kindest people….great neighbors and new-found friends!
What I love about the military life is the opportunity to reinvent oneself. For someone who has barely sewn a button, I am taking a Hawaiian Quilting class, for someone who doesn’t like the water, I have taken up paddle boarding and for someone who doesn’t make too much time to read, I joined a book club….who am I?
Living in Hawaii is a dream come true for most. Visions of relaxing on a warm beach, sipping mai tais without a care in the world is what comes to mind. Well I hate to rain coconuts on the paradise parade, but our arrival has its share of challenges.
We arrived over a month ago and it has been enlightening. After the amazing greeting at the airport by coworkers, we checked into our temporary lodging which I am truly grateful to have. But its an old building with stained carpeting, no kitchen and lots of unwelcomed “visitors”! My kids are getting used to the these critters and are excited to see what is the latest arrival everyday. Lizards decided to have babies in our room and they were dropping from the ceiling onto our bed….imagine my surprise!
But it’s temporary right? Well, housing has been a challenge….there just aren’t enough homes for all the military here and the commutes are wild. Traffic is similar to LA or DC…the other day, it took us one hour to drive 4 miles! And only one vehicle gets shipped so we are a one car family right now. We have done extensive house hunting and have seen the most unusual homes….bathrooms outside, roasting pits by bedrooms and the oddest additions to homes. So we want to live on base and are willing to pay the exorbitant amount for tiny, non-renovated homes just to not have a commute. Oh did I mention the resident rat problem?!
People may think Hawaii’s weather is perfect, but we came from perfection so for me, the weather is hot and humid. Let’s just say my hair looks like Diana Ross’! And why must I be sweaty at 8am already for just walking outside!
So I know I shouldn’t complain, but it has helped to decode the lingo…”paradise” means no place to live and $9 for a gallon of milk, “tropical” means humid and bugs & rodents of unusual proportion, “historic” means old and rundown and “quaint” means you will have to put most of your belongings in storage.
But after being vagabonds for almost 2 months, in lodging with few belongings and kids, I can still say that I am still very happy! My husband is home from deployment, my family is healthy and together and even though you can play connect the dots with my daughters bug bites, she is happy as well! We have met the best caring families that are turning out to be great friends. Isnt that what its all about…people. And we have had great moments, like having church by the beach and seeing this view..picture I took with my phone. It was a moment with my great family that I was happy to be in quaint, historic, tropical paradise!
“Find a good spouse, you find a good life – and even more the favor of God!” Proverbs 18:22 The Message
So the day finally came………….
I thank God for our reunion that was better than could be imagined. At our tiny airport, we had the local news station present, Operation Welcome Home committee and about 100 people who consisted of military members, friends from church, kids’ school families, neighbors, etc. It was a wonderful sight with flags, banners, live music (cello, piano and guitar from kids music teachers), patriotic cake pops for kids and more than anything….gratitude and excitement!
God bless all the families who continue to be apart right now, who had a loved one come home different from when they left or who never had their love come home at all!
As any challenging time in one’s life, you learn a lot about yourself…..you make mistakes but you do better, you make friends and you learn how to be a friend, you love and miss your spouse yet you learn you can do things that you’ve never done on your own….most of all, you appreciate life and all the fullness therein. Thank God that my husband is home!
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life will be given over to the Lord.” I Samuel 1:27 – 28 NIV
I recently converted some videos to DVD and going over the memories in just these short few years was heart-wrenching. What a journey we’ve already been on in these years and in our many locations. I’m excited to see what’s ahead, but reminded how I need to enjoy each day to the fullest because it goes so quickly.
I see what my children have accomplished in this year and during this time of deployment…..learning of other cultures, math skills going up to multiplication, reading classic literature (which is amazing for oldest’s age), science experiments, etc. But more than anything is that I see them grow in their love and understanding.
They have made friends and have felt love for them. My oldest has felt sad as we begin to depart this location…the first of these feelings for him. And I’m grateful that he is learning to experience the good with the bad of life and learning to handle each side with grace, strength, wisdom and most importantly, love!
“The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” Proverbs 11:25 The Message
I was shocked to hear the new of the passing of my son’s t-ball coach. He was young, healthy and had a sudden heart failure after a workout. He left a beautiful wife and 5 children, the youngest of which is only 6.
So we gathered to celebrate the life of a great coach, a wonderful man in our community who has a wonderful family and who gave of his time and energy to young people through sports for over 15 years. He played ball for 30 years and coached over 800 kids throughout those years….the most overqualified t-ball coach there could have been:) My son played along side the coach’s son and he had a ball (pun intended). The coach was kind, encouraging and supportive to my son during this time in which my husband is deployed. At our closing party, he made special remarks about each player that were so funny, correct and insightful into each little guy. And he also talked about my husband’s service…there was not a dry eye at the park. “Who cries at a baseball party” is what he said. But that is how touching his heart was, so sincere, so genuine and without effort.
He will be missed by those closest to him, but even those of us who just knew him these few months, he made an everlasting impact. God bless his family!