Monday, December 15, 2008

A lesson in appreciating what you've got

We've been in Hawaii for almost 2 years. There are things about it I've liked - the weather, the physical beauty, the ability to go to the beach 365 days a year - but mostly I've been wanting to leave. I hate being so isolated from the rest of the world, including what I obnoxiously think of as the "real" America (so very Sarah Palin of me). The expense and time it takes to travel anywhere (other than another Hawaiian island) is depressing. The public schools suck academically, and the local culture promotes an attitude of anti-intellectualism that drives me insane. The cost of living is astronomical. The provincialism and racism makes it hard to make friends. The traffic is horrendous all the time. There's no Target.

But -- and I've said this before -- it is a wonderful place to be unemployed, especially if you can put your kid in daycare. The past two months, Jason hasn't been working and I've been working only sporadically, so we've had lots of time to play.

We go surfing at least 3-4 times a week.

Our tans are fabulous.
(My tan is rockin'. Zeke's, not so much. I may be an unemployed bum, but I'm still a responsible parent with the sunscreen.)

We take naps in the afternoon before going to pick up Zeke at daycare. We've hosted visitors and had time to show them the island.

(With Andrea at Waimanalo Beach)

We've seen Kelly Slater, the best surfer in the world, win the Pipeline Masters surf competition, which is on every surfing fan's list of things to see before you die.

(A competitor takes a steep drop on a huge wave --
the face of that wave is probably 15 feet. Yoiks.)

Basically, it's been an extended vacation in paradise, which few people ever get in their lives.

But we know we have to leave soon, because we can't afford to stay. So I've been job hunting in Denver, and I've got two interviews there at the end of the month. The odds are pretty good that I'll get an offer from at least one of the firms, so the end of our run here is becoming more and more discernable.

And it's making me a bit sad. Living in the cold, having to go to an office and do actual work
every day (*shudder*), giving up all of this fun and relaxation -- it's going to be a shock to the system.

I know that Denver will be a great move for us. I will loooove being close to Kathleen, having Zeke grow up with his cousins, being a short plane ride away from everyone I love.

But the prospect of actually leaving has brought all of the things that have been great about life here into sharp focus. It puts a lump in my throat.


  1. I know you've been really financially stressed, but it does seem like a little blessing that you've gotten to have such a fabulous imposed vacation at the end of your time there. It's really an extraordinary experience you've been having. And so great that you've had time and space to explore the best of it.

  2. It has been a blessing. It's been like a second honeymoon, being able to spend to much carefree time with my husband.

  3. First of all, I LOVE your profile photo.

    Other things in no particular order
    ---There. Is. No. Target. Not to be gauche, but Target is one of the greatest joys in life that should not be denied to a thinking person.

    --- You guys have had an amazing time, even with the hard parts, so what's better than that?

    ---We watched the Pipeline on Sunday (HILARIOUS with the Scandinavian commentators, for reals) and looked for you guys. Would have LOVED even a glimpse.

    Can't wait to hear how the interviews go. I know it will only be good!

  4. Oh one more thing:

    I really do think there is something to the thought:

    Always leave the party when you're still having fun.


  5. In order of points:

    1. the profile pic is part of a series of ridiculous self-portraits that Jason and Andrea and I took while at the beach one day. We cracked ourselves up. "Fun for the feeble-minded," as Andrea's dad apparently calls it. I thought the one of my "war face" looked fierce.

    2. In Hawaii's defense, they are getting a Target some time this year, but it's too little, too late, in my humble opinion. Not having it has been a major source of depression.

    3. We have had an amazing time, especially towards the end, and we will cherish it always.

    4. We were kind of off to the side, and thus likely out of camera range. The weird thing, we were sitting directly in front of the wave, whereas all of the judges and official tents (in front of which most of the spectators sat) were off to the side, with a crappy view.

    5. I like your "quit while you're ahead" philosophy. And in following it, it does guarantee that I will always look back on these two years fondly, rather than bitterly. So that's good.

    6. I miss you like crazy, wish I were there to see you in all of your glory and feel Pickle tap dance on your belly. xoxo.

  6. I love this post and the comments. So much wisdom there. The changes are scary/exciting, I'm sure and I really hope that you'll find a new kind of happy in Colorado.

    I visited Maui once and just fell in love. But that was for four days or so, not years. I can't say I would love it for years (though I'd be willing to try).

    And as for leaving places behind (which I know you have plenty of practice with), I miss Chicago more every day. Until I look at the winter weather forecast.

  7. DCup-- Hawaii is beautiful and quite frankly, if we were independently wealthy and had the means to live comfortably and travel everywhere first class, it would be tempting to stay. But alas, those are not the facts of the case.

    I've never really been anywhere long enough to miss it that much -- it's more that I miss people and a certain familiarity with the culture that I don't feel here.