I’ve been unable to access anything via WordPress for the past few days (including anyone else’s WordPress blog) – this post is being written through a proxy site. The problem seems to be with our home ISP and it is being investigated and will hopefully be fixed soon. If it can’t be fixed I will have to transfer the blog over to a new platform (basically starting from scratch).
Anyway, if I don’t answer your comments, or there isn’t a new post for a while, I hope you’ll understand. But keep your fingers crossed that the problem gets resolved!
The view from one of the bedrooms.
We have Internet service again!
We have FINALLY gotten moved in and settled. It was a bit more of an effort than we thought it would be, but that’s mainly because we hadn’t moved in a long, long time, especially inter-state, and forgot just how much work is involved in getting things set up, and getting settled in. But, it feels like we’re finally home after a few months of sleeping in someone else’s beds, eating off of someone else’s dishes, etc.
Here’s a brief catch-up on what’s been going on:
- We are all really enjoying our new house. It’s a good size for the five of us, and we brought just the right amount of stuff. We call it “The Treehouse” (I need to figure out how to say that in Hawaiian) – up here on the second floor we have a view of trees from every window. We also have great breezes flowing through most of the day, although there seems to be a couple of hours each evening where the tradewinds die down and the air gets still. Thankfully that’s only temporary. Our neighborhood is quite rural, too – there’s a cow living across the street! If I had to find one thing I don’t like it’s that we’re not within walking distance of anything – no shops, restaurants, etc. We have to get in the car to go anywhere.
- We have nice neighbors all around.
- The refrigerator in the house didn’t work all that well when we moved in, especially the freezer, which would barely make ice. We brought our own small chest freezer along so we managed, but instead of fixing the old fridge the landlord bought us a beautiful, brand new one which was delivered three days ago! He is also having a water filter installed at the sink (it was supposed to have been done yesterday – the handyman showed up, checked things out and said he was going out to get some parts . . . and never returned. It turned out he couldn’t find the parts anywhere on the island. What can you say . . . it’s Hawai’i).
- Amazon Prime has been our best friend these past two weeks. There have been all sorts of things we haven’t been able to find here, but have been able to get from Amazon with free shipping, including a small bookcase and a lovely little bedside table for WenYu and YaYu’s room. Shipments have all arrived within three days. The annual cost for Prime is $99 – we’ve decided to go ahead and pay the fee as we have gotten way more than that back in free shipping already. Plus, we now have access to all sorts of movies, TV shows and books – I think we will get our money’s worth out of the membership.
- Meiling got a part-time job working in a gelato shop! It’s just 2 – 4 days per week, but she likes the work and especially likes the tips she gets :-). She will begin driving lessons soon. She hasn’t made up her mind whether she likes it here or not, or whether she wants to stay. We bought a new inflatable bed for her to sleep on in the meantime.
- Just two more weeks until WenYu and YaYu go back to school. They are both excited and dreading it, but say they are ready to go. Orientation will be on August 1. WenYu got her learner’s permit the other day and will be taking driver’s ed after school this fall (and yes, I finally got my driver’s license too). Both girls have also gotten child care work from our neighbors up front.
- It is humid here, but nowhere near as bad as back east on the mainland. Still, it’s an adjustment for us, coming from a place where there was no humidity (rain yes, but no humidity). Bugs haven’t proven to be too big of a problem . . . yet, although we do have quite a few mosquitos down in front of and in the garage. The only thing we’ve encountered in the house are geckos, but there haven’t been all that many of those either. The girls love them though, especially the little bitty ones.
- I am hoping we can start to get our food budget sorted out this next month. Our first month here was expensive (which was expected) as we had to buy so many pantry and staple items (vinegar, sugar, stuff like that).
- I’m still trying to figure out cooking here as well. It’s too hot to use the oven or stove most evenings, so we have been grilling quite a bit and have used the slow cooker or made salads. I just don’t feel like I’ve established any sort of rhythm with meals yet, and haven’t felt much like sitting down to do any sort of planning. It will come though. WenYu and YaYu asked if they could cook for us a couple of nights a week and have done a good job so far, but we need to talk more about what sort of things they’d like to fix.
- I ♥♥♥ going to the beach here! I have rediscovered how wonderful sitting in my beach chair in the sun (coated with SPF 60) and swimming in the ocean can be. Our goal is to go at least a couple of times a week, just for an hour or two, but this past week there’s been a lot of rain so we haven’t been able to go (and are so glad we are not here on vacation!). Our favorite beach is Brennecke’s, down in Poipu on the south shore, but we have gone to a few others around the island as well – they’re all beautiful. I never get tired of seeing the ocean.
That’s all I can think of for now – sorry it’s so disjointed. I’m looking forward to getting back to regular posting!
We’re all moved in to the new Chez Aloha, but without Internet service for the next couple of weeks (and cellular service is very spotty where we are). I’ll be back once we’re wired again.
I had hoped to get this written and posted earlier today, but we headed over to the house intending to work for just a couple of hours and ended up staying for over four hours.
Today is our last full day in the rental condo – tomorrow we finally move into our Kaua’i home! Pictures have been hung, beds have been made, everything has been put away except for one stack of books that we can’t find a place for – it’s looking like we will have to purchase or find a small bookcase of some kind for those.
We are all very, very tired of living out of a suitcase and greatly looking forward to living in our own home again with our own things, knowing we don’t have to pack it all up in a couple of weeks to go somewhere else. We have enjoyed our time here in the condo, especially the close proximity to the pool and the beach, and it has provided us with a clean and comfortable place to stay while we put our house together, but it is time to go and get on with our life in Kaua’i. Tomorrow we will get up and clean, load up the car with the last of our stuff and head for home.
This afternoon/evening I am:
- Reading? Still working my way through Just One Evil Act. I am enjoying it immensely.
- Watching? WenYu and I plan to watch another three episodes of Downton Abbey: Season 4 later this evening. It has been a pleasure watching the series again, especially with WenYu, and we are both immensely looking forward to Season 5′s arrival in the fall.
- Listening to? The tradewinds are strong today, so lots of tree rustling going on outside, and lots of birds chirping as well. Otherwise it’s pretty quiet here (although we have acquired some rather noisy neighbors here at the condo).
- Cooking/baking? Today is leftovers and clean out the fridge day here so we’re all eating lots of weird stuff. Dinner tonight will be hot and spicy chicken wings, leftover rice, leftover grilled chicken, papaya, salad, and yogurt for dessert. It’s difficult to transport refrigerated food here, even with a cooler – everything gets warm very fast – so we want to eat as much up as possible before we head to the house.
- Excited about? Other than finally living in our own home again, Monkeypod Jam’s Lilikoi Curd reappeared this week! Lilikoi is passionfruit, and this curd is heaven in a jar. I tasted it when we were here in 2012 and have been faithfully waiting for it ever since. All of Monkeypod’s jams are delicious, but Lilikoi Curd is my favorite (my second favorite is the Tahitian Lime Curd – tastes like key lime pie). It’s only available for a few months every year so I am stocking up.
- Thankful for today? That I live in Hawai’i – - it is astoundingly beautiful here and I am reveling in the sunshine. I’m also deeply thankful for SPF 60 sunscreen. It really works.
- Hoping to accomplish next week? The big task will be to help Meiling find a job, taking her around to different businesses to fill out applications, etc. I’d also like to get her signed up for driving instruction, but think she needs to find a job first so we know her schedule.
- Thinking about financially? We have one last “big” purchase to make here: a new gas grill. Part of me is sick to death of spending money, but we have dreamed of the opportunity to grill year round and buying a grill here is part of that. So, we will need to go over the budget again and see how much we can afford to spend on a grill, and then head to Home Depot and see if that have anything that fits our budget and needs.
Thank you again Carla, for hosting Sunday Night Chit Chat!
Earlier this week, the Chez Aloha family decided to take a break from the sturm und drang of moving and head to west Kaua’i to visit Waimea Canyon. We had planned a visit for the last day of our 2012 visit, but discovered a large nail in our tire that morning and instead spent (wasted) the day taking care of that issue. Since we still have a few days left in the condo, we figured this would be our big chance to get over to see the canyon since Waimea is only 16 miles away from our temporary lodgings on the south shore.
Waimea Canyon is approximately 10 miles long, and up to 3,600 feet deep in places, and was carved by the Waimea River, which begins in the highest mountain on the island, Mt. Wai’ale’ale (which averages over 430″ of rain per year – the rainiest place on the planet!). Mark Twain called Waimea Canyon the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” referring not just to its appearance, but to the scale of the canyon. Waimea Canyon State Park is accessible by car, and there are numerous hiking trails as well (of which The Big Kahuna will be partaking in the future).
At the end of the highway through the state park is another, Kokee State Park, where you can camp or stay in the lodge. Kokee State Park is home to the spectacular Kalalau Valley overlook and the view of the Na Pali coast. We missed going this far because Meiling did not feel well, and we decided to turn back. But, it gives us a great reason to visit again – I’m greatly looking forward to it!
I’ve never been much of a clothes person, but I have honestly been surprised by how much my wardrobe decreased with this move. There’s only one season here – warm – so it was fairly easy to trim clothing items down to those that are practical for Hawaii’s tropical climate.
Pants, tees, bathing suit and skirt
Plus, one of my favorite things about living on Kaua’i is that no one cares what you’re wearing. Well, I care of course, and I’m guessing my husband and the girls do as well somewhat, but there really is no big push here to dress up or coordinate outfits. You can get all fancy if you like, but for the most part, casual and comfortable are what’s in around the island. I love it.
I counted things up the other day, and my total number of clothing items (leaving out undergarments and sleepwear) for daily wear now consists of just 30 pieces. Most of them are at least a couple of years old if not older, and several pieces came from thrift stores. I didn’t buy anything new to come over here other than two bathing suits:
- 4 pairs of linen cropped pants (super comfy and cool) in neutral colors
- 1 pair white capris
- 1 pair lightweight khaki cotton pants – the legs can be rolled to make them cropped or capri length, if desired
- 1 blue cotton tie-dyed skirt
- 6 cotton short-sleeve t-shirts
- 1 sleeveless t-shirt
- 4 linen long-sleeve big shirts
- 4 cotton tanks that coordinate with the linen shirts
- 1 pink cotton shirt with 3/4 length sleeves
- 1 orange sleeveless cotton shirt
- 2 bathing suits, 1 purple and 1 turquoise
- 1 pareo that coordinates with both suits – I found it several years ago at a Portland yard sale for just $5!
- 1 straw hat
- 1 pair blue Birkenstock sandals
- 1 lightweight blue hoodie
- 1 lightweight black cardigan
I also share several pairs of “slippahs” (flip flops) with the girls, and have a bag of clothing in a space bag that’s still in my suitcase, but I don’t miss any of those pieces and imagine they will eventually go to a thrift store except for the two pair of black yoga pants – I may need them for a visit to the mainland or Japan. I also have two pair of Keen sandals, but have yet to put them on since we’ve arrived and am not sure whether they will stick around or not (most likely not for the black pair). They are great for walking or hiking though, so maybe I should keep them.
Daily wear these days is typically one of the t-shirts and the linen pants; I usually save the white capris to wear with one of the linen shirts for “dressing up,” which I actually haven’t done since we’ve arrived. I love that the linen pants don’t need to be ironed and looking wrinkled is actually expected. The t-shirts are easy care as well. And, nothing is easier that slipping on a pair of Birks or flip flops as you head out the door.
I’d like to say I could get used to this except I already am!
It’s late afternoon here, but evening and nighttime now back on the mainland . . . so time for me to chit chat while it’s still Sunday!
Today has been a day off from going anywhere or doing anything other than relaxing at the beach. We all needed a break, and are all feeling much better for our couple of hours sitting in the sun and swimming in the ocean. I definitely need to get myself an umbrella though . . . just another thing to add to a seemingly unending list of things we have to buy or find at one point or another.
We took Meiling shopping yesterday for a bed and a dresser – it’s looking more and more like she will be staying with us for a gap year before heading off to the University of Hawai’i in 2015. She says very much wants to go back to Portland, and seems determined to be miserable here (although she thinks it’s beautiful) but still hasn’t been awarded enough financial aid to go back. But, she has also been unmotivated to find a job here to make up the difference, so maybe deep down she wants to stay. Who knows? A job will turn up eventually, but probably not in time to earn enough to cover tuition and a return to the mainland. She has an art commission though that keeps her busy in the meantime.
This evening I will be:
- Watching? WenYu and I started in on Season 1 of Downton Abbey the other day and we watch an episode or two every evening – she is hooked! We all got library cards this week and our local branch had seasons 1-3 available. I’m finding it’s just as enjoyable the second time around.
- Reading? A new Elizabeth George Inspector Lynley mystery: Just One Evil Act. So far very good!
- Listening to? The breeze blowing through the palm trees.
- Cooking/Baking? We’re going to grill some chicken this evening, and have it with a green salad and bread.
- Excited about? Getting our house finished up this week and ready to move into. All the boxes have been unpacked, but we are still putting things away and assembling things, like beds. It’s coming together though and looking more and more like home.
- Thankful for today? That we rented this condo. At first I was ticked off to be paying for both it and the house, but now am grateful for a clean, organized and comfortable place to stay while we get the house in order. We love being so close to the beach, and are greatly enjoying the pool as well.
- Hoping to accomplish next week? Besides finishing up the house, hopefully getting Hawai’i driver’s licenses, and learner’s permits for both Meiling and WenYu.
- Thinking about financially? How much money we are spending/have spent on household items we didn’t bring along, or on replacing things that had worn out and we didn’t bring along. We have a fund set up for this stuff, but it’s almost empty now.
Thanks as always to Carla at My 1/2 Dozen Daily for hosting Sunday Night Chit Chat!