YaYu will graduate this coming Friday evening! She finished up the last of her academic work last Wednesday and is now busy with her class preparing for their ceremony. But, there are no more sports, homework, conferences, meetings, crazy schedules, tests, etc., and only a couple more days of school lunches to go. Brett and I have had a child in school somewhere for the last 35 years, so this is going to be a BIG change for us, but one we’re looking forward to.
YaYu also got a job! She started work last Thursday as a hostess and busser at a popular and busy nearby restaurant. This restaurant was her first choice of places to work so she was thrilled to be hired. She’s come home tired every night, but loves it. WenYu worked as a busser at another restaurant last summer and made a LOT of money, so fingers are crossed that YaYu does as well this summer. Both Brett and I have noticed that just the two of us being home feels a little bit different because our “baby” is at work versus hanging out with friends or at some school activity. It’s another sign that the times they are a’changin!
I got an email from the owner of our Tokyo Airbnb rental this past week, that as of next month she will no longer be listing her apartment(s) with Airbnb and our reservation will most likely be cancelled. Oh no! Apparently Japan is not banning temporary rentals (Airbnb, VRBO, etc.), but all of these rentals must be registered with the government by June 15, and Airbnb will require registration before continuing to list rentals. The Tokyo office doing the registration is completely backlogged, and the owner wrote there’s no way her registrations will get done in time so her listings will be coming down. We still want to rent the apartment though, and she still wants to rent to us at the same price, so our son and daughter-in-law have agreed to serve as go-betweens for us so that we can hopefully keep our reservation. If this was happening in any other country we would give up the rental and start over, but Japanese people are very honest and we feel it’s safe to deal directly with the owner, especially since she lives so close to our son (and because he’s an attorney). Temporary rentals (minpaku) are a necessary part of lodging offerings in Japan as there are not enough hotel rooms and inns for tourists, especially with tourist numbers sky high and the Olympics coming in 2020, and there is also an overabundance of empty rental properties. Tokyo apartment and condo residents however want better regulation of who owns these rentals and who is staying in their buildings.
This afternoon I am:
- Reading: I finished I’ll Be Gone in the Dark last Thursday. It was a terrific read, and I highly recommend it if you are at all into true crime stories. I felt sad the entire time I was reading knowing that the author died before the suspect was arrested, but the book was also creepy to read at times because the rapist/murderer was active in the area where we lived for a few months while Brett was going to school for the navy. I’ve just started The Heart Is a Shifting Sea: Love and Marriage in Mumbai, and am looking forward to it – besides the topic, it’s said to be one of the best books in recent years set in Mumbai (Bombay). My fascination with Indian history and culture continues . . . .
- Listening to: Birds are singing outside, and there’s a nice breeze moving through the trees (which is also helping to keep the house cool). Brett is studying Italian, and the washing machine is doing its thing so it’s fairly noisy inside, although YaYu still hasn’t come out of her room. We started the laundry earlier than we did in the past in order to wash YaYu’s uniform – it looks like she’ll be working most Sunday evenings.
- Watching: Although I did stay up late on Friday night to watch the royal wedding (and loved all of it), Brett and I are otherwise still watching the Footloose series on Amazon Prime. Yesterday we watched the episode on Madeira, and now we want to go there! We’re almost done with the series though, and saving the Tuscany episode for the last. We did watch an episode about Rome in their city break series, and another about hiking the Cinque Terre, and gleaned quite a bit of useful information from those. We’ve checked to see if there was anything else interesting to watch when we’re done but haven’t found anything that catches our attention. I would love your recommendations!
- Cooking/baking: We’re going to be having fried rice on Sunday evenings for the next few weeks because we have to use up a lot of rice in the next couple of months, and without YaYu being at home for dinner as much as before we need to find ways to use it. YaYu is working tonight though and I will be manning the wok (my portion will be made with riced cauliflower vs. regular rice). It will pretty much be just Brett and me at home for dinner most evenings going forward, so I’ve had to recalibrate what and how much to fix and currently have no idea how that’s going to go – hopefully I’ll have a better idea by next week so I can come up with a menu. YaYu has asked though that I still cook enough for leftovers for her to have for lunch, or when she gets home at night. I baked a pan of chocolate-glazed brownies yesterday, so no baking until those are finished.
- Happy we accomplished this past week: Although it feels like many things were left hanging this week, Brett and I did get our Big Shop done, and also bought cleaning and other supplies from Home Depot that we need for the big move-out cleaning. He and I also signed up to be poll workers on the day of the Hawaiian primary election in August. YaYu usually worked at our local polling place, but because she has a job she can’t commit this year, so we’re taking her place. Brett stopped by the local car rental agency and got a price for a month’s rental beginning in July, while we sell our car. We missed two days of walking this week because of scheduling difficulties, but I drank lots of water once again. I still haven’t picked back up my French.
- Looking forward to next week: Besides YaYu’s graduation ceremony, I also excited about attending the Senior Awards assembly at the high school on Tuesday morning, where all students receiving scholarships and grants are recognized. Our meeting with the moving estimator got bumped until this week, so I’m once again looking forward to finding out what that part of our journey is going to cost us (and also a bit afraid). No beach for us last week (busy schedules and not-so-great weather) but fingers are crossed for this week.
- Thinking of good things that happened: Brett and I had a wonderful time at our meet-up with Laura and her husband Mike last Tuesday. We talked for over two hours and probably could have gone a couple more. I am batting 1.000 with reader meet-ups, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting and making friends with some very lovely people! I had a very nice birthday – lots of birthday greetings from friends and family, and Brett and YaYu stopped by the Kilauea bakery and got lilikoi cream puffs and a lemon-lilikoi bar for a treat (I had the bar!). YaYu getting hired by her first choice for a job was also very good news. Fresh pineapples from Maui were only $1.99 each this week so we bought a couple of those to enjoy.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: We spent $130 under our food budget this month even though we bought house-cleaning and other non-food supplies from Home Depot with our grocery money. We put $17.76 into the change/$1 bill jar this week: $5.01 change from our cable bill, $4.69 change from coffee at Java Kai, $3.22 from recycling,$1.50 left over from the farmers’ market, $3.48 change from Safeway, and 6¢ found change.
- Grateful for: All four of my children have always loved going to school, and I am so thankful that through all these years that it’s never been a chore to get them up in the morning or interested in their studies. All four attended an array of diverse public schools K-12, had amazing and dedicated teachers for the most part, and were challenged academically. They also all hung out with great kids and made wonderful long-term friends. With all the bad you sometimes hear about public schools, we are thankful for the education all our children received and their positive experiences.
- Bonus question: Have you ever experienced any big weather events or natural disasters? I have experienced three hurricanes: a Category 1 when we lived in Key West, and two Category 3 typhoons when we lived in Japan. Even though we didn’t personally experience any issues, I don’t care to go through one of those again. A tornado touched down nearby our house when our son was a baby, less than three months old. I was taking a class (the classroom was actually a tornado shelter) and never knew it happened, but Brett had to go into the closet under the stairs in our apartment, and he thought the whole place was going to come down because it shook so much. I can’t count how many earthquakes I experienced when we lived in Japan. One night we went through four of them, from a 6.0 to 6.4 (the strongest I’ve ever experienced), one right after the other for a period of around four hours. Thankfully none of them lasted very long, and no damage was done, but the experience was disconcerting to say the least. The current volcanic eruptions happening on the Big Island are very upsetting, and the possibility of a tsunami genuinely frightens me (thankfully that possibility is low, but still).
That’s all the news for now from Chez Aloha! How was your week? What good things happened for you? Did you save any money this week? What are you reading?