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!
“My child, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life. I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths.” Proverbs 4:10-11 NLT
There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots and the other is wings. Hodding Carter Jr.
As I look at my once little boy turn into a young man right before my eyes, I get a little “verkclempt”. He is such a sweet and kind child. Smart, funny, athletic, inquisitive…..he is everything I ever hoped for in dreaming of having a boy. And he loves his mama! That is the best part.
I never thought I’d be the type of parent who would want to home school, especially during the time of deployment. But we found a great hybrid program so it’s the best of both worlds. I have to tell you that even though I’m exhausted from being on my own these past months, I treasure the memories I have with my children and hope they will as well when they look back.
So we live in strawberry country and during one of our “home school” days, I had the pleasure of taking my son. He was amazingly productive. There were times when he ate the “fruit of his labor”, literally. But for the most part, he was on a mission.
Ah, the memories! I’ve taken him strawberry picking ever since he was 18 months old on both sides of the coast in this country. He has loved every minute of it. I know one day, the novelty will wear off and that may not be the thing he wants to do. I am realizing that parenting is all about paying attention. Every season has a new field to explore and just when I get comfortable, things change. I just have to enjoy the field I’m in, look for the best of what’s being produced and keep going.
So we are leaving strawberry land, but my son and I agreed that we will just have to find new fields to graze in our new assignment in Hawaii!
“Adventure is out there”….one of my son’s favorite movie quotes from UP.
“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?