And another busy week at Casa Aloha comes to a close! We’ve had dental appointments, doctor appointments, swim practices, a swim meet, a birthday, the monthly Big Shop, farmers’ markets and more going on all through the week. Next week will be only slightly better, but then hopefully after that life here will calm somewhat down for a while. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to a day when I can wake up and know I don’t have to be somewhere at certain time.
WenYu returns to Massachusetts this week, and none of us is looking forward to her departure. Although she’s happy about being with her boyfriend again, she’s not particularly excited about classwork starting up again, and is definitely not happy the cold weather back east. Brett and I and YaYu just love having her around though – she’s such a calm, easy-going person. She’s not sure if she’ll be back next summer before we go – she’s applied for a couple of internships in Boston, and will stay back there for those if she’s chosen. It’s been dawning on me that it might be a whole year until we see her again, and on her that she might not come back to Kaua’i, or at least not for a long time. She was so against our moving here, but has come to love the island life, and now says the move is the best thing that could have happened for her.
Things continue to fall into place for the Big Adventure. This past week we were able to find and reserve a rental in Tokyo for our three-month stay in 2019! I had found a place we liked a couple of months ago, in another part of Tokyo that we’re familiar with, but when I went back to check on it the monthly cost had soared sky-high. Not sure what was up with that, but there was no way any longer we could afford the new price. I started looking for rentals nearer to our son’s new address, and found this great apartment that fits our budget (we were given a substantial discount due to the length of our stay) and had lots of great reviews. The Tokyo rental was the one we have worried about the most because of the length of time we need it, and the cost, so we are thrilled to have gotten this set up already. We are looking forward to having our grandson over for some sleepovers while we’re there, and also being close enough to babysit for the grandkids so M & M can go out for dinner, or a movie or something once in a while. Meiling is also going to come visit during her spring break, and maybe WenYu and YaYu as well.
And, here’s another reminder that if you haven’t already, I hope you’ll check out and follow us on Instagram at #theoccasionalnomads. I post just a few times a week now, but plan to post daily when we begin traveling later this year!
This afternoon I am:
- Reading: It’s been slow going with Grant’s Memoirs, not because it’s tedious, but because of the detail he has included. The only difficult part so far was when he described his service during the Mexican-American war, and the battles fought in Mexico. I have no sense of place with any of that, and several military terms and tactics went right over my head. It was interesting though to read about how many future Confederate generals he met and served with in Mexico, including Robert E. Lee. I’m able to follow along a little better when he’s writing about the Civil War – I just finished reading yesterday about his experiences during the Battle of Shiloh.
- Listening to: There was lots of noise outside this morning from several neighbors working on their lawns, but it’s all quieted down now, thank goodness. Brett is out taking care of the recycling, the girls are puttering around in the kitchen, and the washer and dryer are quiet for the time being. The weather is a nicer than it has been the past couple of days – the sun is shining again and there’s a nice breeze blowing through the trees.
- Watching: I still haven’t found anything I want to watch, but Brett has been continuing with an episode or two of The Republic of Doyle every evening while I read.
- Cooking/baking: I’m fixing Chinese stir-fried tomatoes and eggs for dinner tonight. We all love this dish, and I wanted to make it for WenYu before she left. Beautiful tomatoes were in abundance at the farmers’ markets so the timing is perfect. I’ll serve rice and cucumbers (also in abundance) with the tomatoes and eggs. I’m also hoping to make the olive oil orange cake this afternoon – I think I can squeeze it in. This week we’ll be having grilled fish tacos with mango salsa, grilled polish sausages with coleslaw, ravioli with pesto, and I’m trying a new recipe: Ghanian groundnut (peanut) chicken stew. I bought a big bag of riced cauliflower at Costco last week, so now can have some of that whenever everyone else is having rice.
- Happy I accomplished last week: It felt like we did everything this past week. I had a good check-up at the doctor’s (he was really pleased with the weight loss!), picked up my new glasses, had a great birthday celebration with YaYu, did some more decluttering in the garage, and much more. Brett got his new hearing aids on Monday and we’ve all noticed the change. It was a somewhat tiring week overall though, but very satisfying with all we got done. Brett and I walked three miles every day but Friday and Saturday (rainy weather), I drank all my water, and I studied French for at least 10 minutes every day. I sadly didn’t get to work much in my coloring book because it was just too busy most days. Not my accomplishment other than I reread everything and checked for errors and such, but YaYu submitted the last of her college applications last Sunday evening. Now we wait, although there is still more writing coming up for scholarship applications.
- Looking forward to next week: I am having my annual fasting blood work done on tomorrow morning (which I’m not looking forward to), but Brett, YaYu and I are going to go for coffee at the Kilauea Bakery after that’s done. I’m getting my hair cut on Tuesday afternoon (YEAH!) – I am so excited to get rid of this big frizzy mess that’s on my head right now. Saturday will be YaYu’s final swim meet, and I know already it will be bittersweet. She’s ready to be done, but she has improved so much over the past four years, and is such a pleasure to watch swim these days (her swimming yesterday was exceptional). We couldn’t be prouder of all the effort she has put into it. All in all though I’m mainly looking forward to things beginning to slow down a bit.
- Thinking of good things that happened: Brett and I had a nice coffee date at Java Kai on Friday and used up the gift card on a couple of smoothies. Neither of us had been for a while and enjoyed ourselves and our drinks, and I saw a couple of low-carb items on their food menu that I’d like to try before we leave the island. Finding and then actually getting a reservation for an apartment for the Tokyo part of our journey was very exciting, and a BIG relief. While I was in with the doctor last week, Brett scooted over to Banana Joe’s and got me a pineapple frosty! I prefer the banana frosties, but the pineapple one was low acid and delicious. We had a big order come from Amazon with lots of travel-related items this past week. It was like Christmas all over again! I feel though like we are getting to the end of accumulating travel things, including clothes and other accoutrement.
- Thinking of frugal things that we did: 1) We came in approximately $50 under budget with this month’s Big Shop; 2) We saved over $60 by booking WenYu’s flight to Honolulu a couple of hours earlier in the morning on Friday versus closer to her departure time (and she’s fine with a longer Honolulu layover); 3) Pork loin chops were $3 off per package at Costco, so we bought two packages instead of one (pork is YaYu’s favorite protein), and saved over $100 on other sale items that were on our list (including new electric toothbrushes for Brett and me); 4) We put $9.00 in the change/$1 bill jar, leftover from the farmers’ market. 5) We got a substantial “discount” on the Tokyo rental ($200+) when the exchange rate improved in our favor the day the payment posted.
- Grateful for: Brett and I walk three miles every day along the Kaua’i beach path, which runs for approximately seven miles along the east coast. The views are fantastic no matter the weather or which direction we go, and the path is wide and smooth enough to share with others whether they’re jogging or on bikes or walking like us. I’m so thankful this walking venue is available – in my own case it makes me want to get out and walk every day, and the views never disappoint.
- Bonus Question: Do you ever suffer from road rage? LOL – I yell at other drivers all the time . . . from the safety of my own car and with the windows rolled up. Actually, I’m pretty much a very patient driver, but now and again I get stuck behind a bad driver and get frustrated (or actually angry if they’re doing something dangerous). The one thing that gets to me more quickly than anything else is being behind someone who drives inconsistently on the open highway (speeds up, slows down, brakes for every curve, etc.). Arrrrrrrgh! It’s especially maddening because they seem to always speed up when I try to go around them. There are also occasionally tourists who get lost and just stop in the middle of the road in town – seriously! Pull over, park, go around the block but please don’t just stop and sit there while you check your GPS! Brett has a shorter fuse than I do, but he’s grown more patient the past few years, and all of his yelling is also done from inside the car. The girls think our grumbling at other people is pretty funny, but we’ve told them it’s a way to safely let off a little steam in what for us can be a frustrating situation.
That’s what’s been going on here at Casa Aloha – how was your week? What did you accomplish? What are you reading? What good things happened for you?