We have four weeks left here. There’s so much that we’re trying to do before we leave. The last few weeks have been invigorating. K and I want to leave something behind that we can continue to contribute to even after we leave and alot of the pieces have been falling into place, but I’ll leave that for another post.
Four weeks left. Almost 2 years behind us. We’re returning to a place that you rarely see green, you don’t wake up looking at the sky, and mochi is not in abundant supply. So while we were having lunch the other day I brought a notebook with me and we started our Hawaii wish list: all the things that I hope we get to do before we leave. Some of these things we want to do together. Some only one of us wants to do (ie skydiving (eg not me)).
1. Volcanos (Big Island)
2. Black sand beaches (Big Island)
3. Swim with dolphins in the wild (with a life vest)
5. Take a surf lesson ( I don’t swim)
9. Stay on Kauai’s North Shore
10. Old Lahaina Luau 11. Merrie Monarch
These are sort of touristy things. Hopefully more specific ideas will occur to me.
In four weeks we’re back home. I find myself trying to take stock of all kinds of things:
what we want to do before we leave here;
what our new home might look like;
what kind of job I’ll get
We use alot of towels here. We got to the point of only being able to use them only a couple of times before they would smell really mildewy. It bugged the heck out of me and I would wash them in hot water and dry them at the hottest settings. It didn’t help. I looked up ‘getting mildew out of towels’ and I found this and it works!
Another neat thing that I found was dry cleaning sheet. I was skeptical about them but they work in a pinch. I wouldn’t use them on big stains but they’re very useful for freshening up clothes.
K’s friends Paul and Tom came to visit us one weekend from NY via Kauai. We grilled lobster tails on the lanai and had it with rice and poke. The World Series was on and we got to see the Yankees go-ahead run before going down to the beach to watch the full moon.
We spent most of the next day driving all over Oahu. K was working so it was just the three of us. I’ve come to love driving. I marvel at how just a few weeks ago I was terrified of driving on highways. Now, as K predicted, I prefer driving on highways to the stop and go of downtown. I love driving. I actually feel markedly happier when I get into my car to head off somewhere.
I had to parallel park with Paul and Tom in the car. I usually can do it when I’m by myself but if there’s anyone in the car with me I get super self-conscious. I told them this and Tom talked me through it. In two turns of the wheel I was in the spot. Tommy was singing my parking praises and even talked about taking a picture of it because it was such a perfect parking job. I smiled on the outside but on the inside I also did a little dance.
As we were leaving the HIFF reception last week, my friend Sean joked that when we first met I still had alot of New York in me, and now I have alot of Kailua in me. It was a remark in passing but I found it poignant.
It feels like eons ago that we stepped off the plane to make a home here. I was still high off of my last event with MOCA. I had quit my job but believed that I could maintain my life in NY from thousands of miles away. I literally thought that if I woke up at 5AM PST to make my calls and write my emails that no one in NY would notice that I’d left. Which at the time was more important to me than figuring out how to make a life in Hawaii. When I think about myself back then I feel a little sorry for myself.
It’s been a slow process letting go…but I have. When this is over I will have lived here for a total of eighteen months over two years. It’s a funny combination of being settled, but not really.
At Beth’s house last week I ate a burger her brother grilled and though nicely charred on the outside it was pink pink on the inside. I ate it all anyway because I like steak tartare. This reasoning had me pretty sick for the rest of the night. We played the game Werewolf and at one point I was torn between leaving because I felt like I was going to die and playing another round of the game.
Grilling is a mystery to me. I likely wouldn’t have fared better. Measurements, temperatures, timing…generally befuddle me. The fact that I can cook anything is because I’m really good at following recipes. And I use the term ‘really good’ loosely.
My friend Seth was incredulous when I told him that I didn’t know how to use an outdoor grill. I pointed out that among the many things I didn’t know how to do here, grilling was low on the priority list. Learning how to drive without killing myself and other people basically usurps everything else.
A few days later Seth and Melissa came over and showed us how to use our grill. Or I should say they showed K how to use it and it did in fact look pretty easy. Our burgers were perfect–delicious. And they were ready alot faster than when we make them on the stove top. I think part of it is my great burger recipe. Next time I want to try steaks.
So one day I wasn’t a driver and the next day I was. I have a rented car that we’ve affectionately dubbed Suzu (it’s a Suzuki) and can now get myself around unlike last year.
It’s been a mini earthquake in my brain to accommodate thinking about driving. It’s not easy. Especially when you’re 35 and your total driving experience prior wouldn’t amount to 24 hours.
The day after we got the car K made me drive all over the place, mainly our Meals on Wheels route so that I would be comfortable doing it alone if he was working. That first day I drove 75 miles over the course of 6 hours. It was great–liberating even.
Then came the first day that K left for work and I was going to spend most of the day alone. I dilly-dallied around the house for hours doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom, answering emails… I felt so much pressure to make good use of my day. To take the car and go do some ‘good’ with it, when all I really wanted to do was focus on my chores.
The way I felt made me realize how different my days have been when K isn’t around and that even though I wished so badly that I could get around on my own that there were parts of it that I looked forward to. Days being home for 14+ hours alone, far away from anything and anyone became almost an imposed meditation. Not that I really produced anything (aside from this blog) but I had found ways to be comforted by my routine.
That’s different now. Now there’s really nothing stopping me from being part of this place outside of the confines of our house and it being part of me. That is, if it was mobility holding me back. I guess we’ll see.
This isn’t my car but I wouldn’t mind if it was. It look likes Mystik stickers from the 80’s.
This past weekend I drove to Koko Marina to meet Sarah for an amazing Bikram class. Manny didn’t disappoint. I got into such a zone that by the end I wasn’t breathing heavy, even though I worked so hard and I looked like someone dunked me in a tank. But that’s not the news.
I. drove. myself. there. Granted it took me 45 minutes, but I got there in one piece. It’s the longest and farthest I’ve ever driven by myself. Though I didn’t think about that until after the fact. I just knew that I wanted to get there and I didn’t want K to have to drive me after working so hard this past week.
It turned out to be fun. I have a feeling that I secretly love driving. We’ll find out soon because Ken reserved a car for me today at Alamo-National. We decided to go with renting a car rather than buying because we’re only here for another 7 months or so. To have to cope with getting rid of two cars seems silly. Also, they gave us the kama’aina rate which was awesome. There are slim pickings when it comes to compact rentals. This article helped me decide on the Toyota Yaris.
After a week of long late hours working, K is home again. The best part of this week was when Bethany stayed over to keep me company. She showed up early Friday evening with three seasons of The Office on DVD and half of a Baskin Robbins birthday cake. Can one ask for anything better??? We heard a loud bump on the lanai and Gabi the cat appeared–gave me a fright.
After arming the security system, we fell asleep in the living room on our respective couches, laptops close by and season 2 on the TV.
Speaking of which K and I accidentally set off the alarm this morning and 2 police cars showed up–one was an SUV! I was so embarrassed yet impressed at the same time. I had to show them ID and they looked all around the house before leaving.
We moved this past weekend.
I was instantly more comfortable in this house than places I’ve lived for years and years. Normally when I’m alone, I have to manage all kinds of irrational fears–including those of the supernatural realm. I spend most of my time looking over my shoulder… mulling over unfamiliar noises. I like to blast the TV to drown out any potentially alarming sounds. When K was here in Hawaii and I was back in NY, I went to bed every night with the TV turned up high. Every morning I would drag myself bleary-eyed into work at the museum with a venti coffee. I was so tired that many times I contemplated buying two ventis at once.
This house is free of bad feelings–free of dark corners or suspicious sounds. I was describing it to a friend and came up with a good metaphor. The house is like a labrador retriever: golden, warm, and solid. It’s like a big dog that embraces anyone entrusted to its care. When we’re out, I’m excited to come home. And when we’re home I’m constantly discovering new things. The other day, bringing in groceries, I peered into a giant pot which I thought was just a pot. Inside it was filled with water and tiny lily pads. Beneath the water I could see movement and when I focused I saw schools of tiny fish and tadpoles. In the morning a lotus blooms and emerges from underneath. As the day goes on it disappears only to come back the next day.
When we first got here I had to get a new bathing suit because I’d left mine in NY. We wound up in the swimwear section of Nordstrom’s at Ala Moana Mall. Along with a wide variety of swimsuits they have all manner of beach cover-ups. This is generally somthing you wear over your suit when going to the beach, sitting at the beach, or leaving the beach.
I was so enamored by these light loose fitting garments that I got a few. I think I believed that these dresses would help me ‘fit in’ to what felt like an alien sunshine-filled culture. I don’t think I’d ever owned a beach cover- up before this. I also got three pairs of glittery flip flops.
I proceeded to wear these dresses not only to the beach but everywhere else too. I think I wore one to my first staff meeting at HIFF. I was always confused when people in non-beach situations would say to me ‘oh I like your beach cover-up.’ I always thanked them but then wondered how on earth they knew it wasn’t just a regular dress.
Now that I’ve had a little time to mull it over I realize it’s because of several reasons:
1. they’re usually see-through
2. if they’re not see-through they’re made of terry cloth
3. they usually come in offensively bright colors and patterns.
4. and often times they’re held together by drawstring, ribbon, or elastic.
I started to notice that outside of Kailua, people wear very normal non-beach clothes. Honestly I don’t know what took me so long to realize this. I also realized that although flip flops are pretty prevalent out here it’s not really appropriate to wear them everywhere. Say, dinner at a fancy restaurant.
So this time around I left half of my beach cover-ups back in NY so that I wouldn’t be tempted to wear them everyday. I have a new one that’s all black and doesn’t even look like one. Honest. I only wear it around Kailua and the times I wear it into town are times we’re actually going to the beach.