Early tomorrow we will fly back to Honolulu and then on to Japan for a three-month stay. We have had an absolutely wonderful time being back on Kaua’i. In spite of the weather, we’ve still done some of our favorite things, eaten at some of our favorite places, and visited some of our favorite locations. And best of all, we reconnected with some of our favorite people. The weather here was honestly pretty lousy up until late Wednesday afternoon, then got nicer for a couple of days, but reverted once again to strong winds and colder temperatures on Friday. Yesterday and today it’s just been OK (and of course tomorrow when we leave it’s supposed to turn sunny and warm again). Our time here has been everything we hoped for though, and we’re now pretty sure this is where we’ll land in another couple of years. We still have some traveling we want to do and we still need to get YaYu through college, but Kaua’i feels like home, we have friends here, and the girls would love for us to live here again.
We visited the Kilauea Lighthouse and National Wildlife Sanctuary yesterday. It’s always beautiful, no matter the weather.
Brett and I are no longer the parents of teenagers. YaYu turned 20 this past week, and thus ended an era for us. I can so clearly remember meeting each girl for the first time, Meiling and WenYu as infants, and YaYu when she was five years old, and now they are all beautiful young women ready to make their mark on the world. The years have been busy ones for all of us but they have flown by, and I’m feeling a bit bittersweet, sad that their childhoods are over while happy for all they have accomplished and the paths they have chosen.
Finally, one of the blog’s readers, Char, wrote this week imploring me to ask other readers not to forget about Australia. It has started to rain (finally) in parts of Australia, but the fires are still raging in areas, and help is needed in so many places and will be for some time, for firefighters, residents affected by the fires, and for animals who have been injured or whose habitats have been destroyed. The New York Times has a full list of charities that you can donate to help out in Australia, and The Center for Disaster Philanthropy is another highly-rated charity that will continue to help long after the media has moved on to other things. I hope you’ll reach out and contribute to Australia’s recovery if you are able.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I have done no reading this past week. We’ve stayed up most evenings chatting with Alan and Cheryl and then I’ve gone to bed and fallen right asleep. The insomnia is pretty much gone (thank goodness).
- Listening to: Outside it’s a typical Kaua’i morning: roosters crowing in the distance, birds singing, palm trees rustling in the breeze. It’s still overcast, but I did see a few patches of blue move by so it looks like the weather will be like it was yesterday. We would have course loved to have seen more of the sun this week, but I remember how much I enjoyed this cool weather when we lived here, especially knowing what would be arriving in a few months.
- Watching: Neither Brett nor I have watched anything this past week for the same reason I have read nothing.
- Cooking: I have absolutely no idea what I’ll be eating or cooking this coming week – I don’t even know what we’re having tonight. I do know I am going to miss all the wonderful fruit we’ve enjoyed this week. We’ll most likely have our dinner at our son’s home on Tuesday night, maybe some sort of take-out. We’ll get moved over to our apartment later in the evening and do our first grocery shop at the Seiyu store on Wednesday. Both Brett and I have decided we want to have kara-age (Japanese fried chicken), potato salad (Japanese potato salad is the BEST), and Japanese cucumbers for our first on-our-own meal, but after that I have no idea what we’ll get other than I’m pretty sure some variety of CookDo will be purchased and prepared.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: We went to the bank this past Monday and I got all the business for our local accounts taken care of for the year. My big suitcase has been repacked and is ready for our departure tomorrow; Brett will be working on his later today. It’s amazing how much space we had after my winter travel outfit, boots and coat came out! Brett filled up the gas tank yesterday so we are ready to turn the car back over to Alan and Cheryl. We’ve had a busy but relaxing week, and seen and done pretty much everything we wanted to do while we were here. That’s accomplishment enough for me.
- Looking forward to next week: While we are feeling very sad about leaving Kaua’i, we are thrilled to be going back to Japan! Our son will meet us at the airport on Tuesday afternoon (we arrive the day after departure thanks to the international date line) and will get us back into Tokyo where we’ll spend some time with our daughter-in-law and the grandkids in the evening before heading over to our nearby home for the next three months.
- Thinking of good things that happened: Our get together with Joy on Friday was fantastic, and I was so very happy to get to see her again. The place she suggested for us to meet up in Princeville was perfect, with lovely views overlooking the town and out to Hanalei and the ocean. The five of us shared two pasta dishes and two salads and chatted away the whole time. We were all having such a good time that I forgot to get the group picture I wanted and didn’t think of it until we were halfway home! I found fresh lilikoi at the farmers’ market we visited yesterday morning after enjoying breakfast at the Tip Top Cafe, so I got to have another one of my favorite tropical fruits while we were here this time. Everything we’ve done this week has been a good thing.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: We’ve been very careful and have not spent all the money we allocated for this visit. We had gotten a notice that our bank here was going to charge me a fee because my account had been inactive all of last year, but one of the transfers we made took care of it and I didn’t have to pay anything extra. I will definitely need to remember to make another transfer in 2020 or I will get charged next year. After paying Portland prices in December, we’ve found island prices to be quite affordable (gasoline is 25¢ less per gallon here, for example).
- Grateful for: We are beyond grateful for the generosity Alan and Cheryl have shown us during our stay. We have had the full use of our old car all week so we didn’t have to rent a car, and we also haven’t had the expense of a hotel or Airbnb as we stayed in their lovely home (we’ve actually been sleeping in our old bed!). There’s been no pressure to get up and go every day, and we’ve been able to set our own schedule. We’ve had an absolutely perfect visit because of their hospitality.
- Bonus question: What’s been your favorite thing about returning to Kaua’i? I think the most surprising thing for both Brett and me was how quickly we felt right back at home here, especially when we were driving around in our old car. We thought coming back we’d feel differently about the island, but for the most part, it’s almost been like we never left. All the things we loved about living here before are still here, especially the joy of seeing the ocean every day, even with the surf rough and the skies overcast. The island is still intensely beautiful, and the people exceedingly friendly. The pace of life here remains slower and more laid back than on the mainland or other places we’ve been. Of course, the humidity is still hellish and my hair has looked like a fright wig most of the time. The traffic issues remain as well, but we know now those are things we can find ways to deal with or work around if we return here to settle.
I want to end with a question for you: Are topics you’d like me to cover during our time in Japan? Would you like me to write about how we’re doing with our budget each week since we’ll be living on less this time in a famously expensive city? Would you like to see what our food shopping looks like each week? Is there some aspect of life in Japan you’re interested in knowing about? I will stick with my usual format for the most part, but I’d also like to write about topics you are interested in knowing or have questions about. Let me know! (I will be continuing the Back to the Future posts from time to time).
Anyway, that’s a wrap for this week! I hope everyone had a great week (and better weather than we’ve had) and is looking forward to the week coming up. I’m not sure when I’ll post next as besides traveling we’ll also be under the influence of jet lag for a few days, as well as busy getting settled. I’ll definitely be back with a post next Sunday.