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!
“The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8 NLT
So this was a great way to begin our Spring Break….fun, sun and witnessing a guy jump off a cliff, sail around for 15 minutes and land right in front of us. It doesn’t get much better than that on a Monday afternoon.
We rushed to meet him like he was a Rock Star and learned a little about what he does and how he does it. He talked about the way he assesses the weather, location, proximity to dangerous objects, etc. But once in the air, he really is just guided by something uncontrolable….the wind.
It wasn’t until that evening that I realized how this great visualization is truly exemplifying life. We can make a decision based on what we see, but once we’re in it, we have to modify based on the changes in the elements. It takes preparation and knowledge, but more than anything, it takes faith!
But when the nice paraglider offered to take my young son up for a tandem ride, I’d have to opt out of that kind of faith for now! I rather just watch his faith in action!
“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.” Psalm 126:5 NLT
I love planting metaphors! Maybe it’s my current rural area, maybe my new love of gardening….I’m not sure, but I am really digging it right now (pun intended).
I love that God turns our sorrow into gladness and does it when we least expect it. For instance, I was disappointed that our desired location for our next assignment was not met and on top of only being 1 month into this deployment, it was lemon juice on my paper cut. But then, Aloha, we received word that we are heading to Hawaii! Wow, I was so excited and surprised! But then, the very practical and often cynical side of me kept thinking…..3 years on an island??!! Oh my goodness.
I had flashbacks to Gilligan’s Island and even though I consider myself a “Ginger” who is more like a “Mary Ann”…..and who am I kidding….I’m heading to the age of “Ms. Lovey”, I really have no desire to live that reality.
My husband reminds me that I won’t get “island fever” and there are 7 islands to boot. People around me talk of swimming with sea turtles, cruises, luau parties, etc. It hasn’t yet settled in yet.
But I have said that I never wanted to live north of the Mason-Dixon line and my wishes have been met so far so I should have no complaints, right?
As someone who has lived by a beach (both Atlantic and Pacific) for almost 6 years now, I often don’t get it…..the need to pack various items, be in the heat, apply gross sunscreen, sit in sand, swim in salt water infested with jellyfish and sharks….all in the name of summer (or any season) fun! What?
Don’t get me wrong. I love looking at the beach, smelling the beach (well, sometimes) and walking on a boardwalk, but I don’t enjoy being immersed in either sand or water. But I am married to a swimmer, interested surfer and basically someone who LOVES the beach. So I try to get him his “beach” time as often as I can. My kids inherited his qualities in that aspect too….they get in the water, no matter the temperature, weather or environment. For example….Christmas Day – at the beach and in the water. They are crazy! They tolerate the sand in pants, crowds and heat all for the love of large bodies of water.
So I do what any good wife and mother would do….give them their beach time and complain to anyone who stands still long enough!
But on a recent family day at the beach, I think I may have softened up a bit and possibly changed my mind just a little. I was playing with my daughter with her sand toys (which constantly keep sand in my car at all times) and watching my husband and son play a game of catch. I was messing with my very low-grade camera and captured what I thought to be a nice photo. I’ve looked at this photo more often than others and feel that my sentiments may be changing! In this picture and at this time, I can honestly say “I love the beach”.