The World Turned Upside Down

We’re going home.

The U.S. State Department announced today that all overseas travelers should arrange for an immediate return to the United States unless they are prepared for an indefinite stay overseas. Since we cannot extend our visa, we are cutting our stay in Japan short and will return to Hawai’i on Monday. 

We have been scrambling all day to get our flight changed (Delta reps have been amazing), start packing, and put together the things we will be taking over to our son’s. Our rent here was due today, but our landlord appears to be out of town, so we will be exchanging the yen back to dollars; our DIL will work with the landlord if there will be anything still owed.

We are returning to Kaua’i, and after a two-week self-quarantine at a condo we rented through Airbnb we will hopefully be able to begin to look for a place to live and get started on getting ourselves resettled there. YaYu will be staying in her dorm for now, but we are prepared to fly her to Kaua’i immediately if and when the dorms close.

I have been crying ever since we got the news. The grandkids have not been informed yet that we are leaving, but we’re going to take them to a toy store tomorrow and let them both pick out their birthday presents for the year (our grandson’s 9th birthday is a week from tomorrow). We’ll have dinner with them before coming home and continuing to pack, and then spend the day with them again on Sunday. They have promised to come to Hawai’i as soon as international travel is feasible again.

What a crazy time this is. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve made plans and then had to change or cancel them in the last couple of days. Every time we have tried to get out in front of this pandemic, things have changed before we even have time to catch our breath it seems. At least we are well, and our family is well, but we want to do what’s best for everyone else in the U.S. and ultimately for our family. We will be OK. We have enough in savings to get ourselves set up again on Kaua’i, including getting our stuff that’s been in storage shipped back over. There have been 26 reported cases of COVID-19 in Hawaii (two on Kaua’i), and the island is on a partial curfew as I write. They are moving to a full shutdown though, so we want to get in and get settled as soon as possible.

What a time we’ve had though! Our traveling days are not done, but we’re going to take a break, get through this pandemic, get YaYu through college, and then hopefully hit the road again although not full time. Thanks to all of my wonderful readers for sticking with us all these years.

I’ll post again after we get resettled on Kaua’i.

P.S. Our mystery destination was San Miguel de Allende in Mexico.

 

78 thoughts on “The World Turned Upside Down

  1. It’s sad and sudden end to your time in Japan, but it’s wonderful you’ve had so much quality time with your son and his family.

    When you get to back to the US, I urge you to get at least three months of supplies, including prescriptions, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. I’m sure North America is headed for an extended lockdown period, sooner rather than later. That may sound crazy, but just look at Italy.

    Several provinces in Canada, including mine, have already declared a state of emergency as cases of C19 are now rising rapidly. We’re all being told to practise social distancing while outside of our homes. Libraries, community centres, restaurants (though still allowed to offer takeout), bars, theatres are all closed. Most stores closed. Dentists running out of supplies, so only able to offer emergency care. Events cancelled.

    Have a safe trip back, will be sending good thoughts.

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    1. This has been very sudden, but everything seems to be in order. We do have 90+ days of our prescriptions, and will pick up food when we arrive before sequestering ourselves. We have everything otherwise that we need so should be OK. We’re staying in a lovely place on Kauai, and I think we’ll be able to get out for a walk each day as well.

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  2. Hang in there, desperate time &desperate measures—home to Hawaii seems very reasonable. Safe journey & once life is less crazy your readers look forward to hearing how you & Brett & how the girls are doing. This is going to be a long journey for the world to the other side of this Pandemic.

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    1. We are glad to be going back to Kaua’i. We know our way around, we have friends there, and we feel safe there. We will stop at Costco before heading to our condo and then sequester ourselves for a couple of week (and try to recover from the jet lag). We’ll start looking for a place to live once we get the all clear – after our two-week self quarantine we will move over to our friends’ home.

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  3. Fingers crossed that you will still be able to get your stuff out of storage!

    By the way, there’s talk of restricting domestic travel (which I’m pretty sure will happen) so it’s probably safest that YaYu join your immediately, rather than waiting for her dorm to close.

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    1. Well, we don’t need to make any arrangements for our stuff until we find a place to live so that gives us some time. It’s currently in a friend’s basement in Portland, so if Royal Hawaiian is able to get it moved we’ll set it up.

      We’re talking with YaYu today, and if she can get ready to go we’ll get her on a plane on Monday as well.

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    1. The reason we decided to do this so quickly is because we don’t want to overstay our visa, and Japan would only give us 30 extra days anyway in case of an emergency (and they don’t consider this an emergency). Definitely not how we wanted to do this though. As our son said, yet another adventure in a long life!

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  4. Laura, I have been following your blog for a while now, started when you were still in Hawaii and just travelling in your mind. I have been worried that you have not packed up and returned to the States. It was clear to me, here in Israel, and after being quarantined for visiting Venice, last month, (or was it a lifetime ago?), that the USA was in a state of denial, and that once things began to go to hell, it would move rapidly.
    Do let us know when you are safe on Kaua’i, and how the girls are. I can understand how hard it is to say goodbye to your grandkids.
    Keep safe

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    1. I agree that the U.S. has been in denial. We were really in between a rock and a hard place as far as returning as we don’t have a residence in the U.S. to return to, but we’ve managed to work that out (a lot quicker than I imagined). We followed the news, but it wasn’t until the last couple of days that things started to REALLY worry us, so it’s time to go. I’ll probably be crying myself to sleep though for a long time – the thought of saying goodbye to our son, DIL and grandkids is almost more than I can bear.

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  5. PPS I know some people think three months of supplies is hoarding, but it all depends on whether you’re older than 70 and/or have health issues. The stores might not run low on supplies, but you might, so then you have to risk getting infected when you go shopping.

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    1. We’ll stock up for at least a month when we get to Kaua’i, but we’ll be staying with friends after our two-week self quarantine. We’ll coordinate with them about supplies and such and try to minimize our shopping. I have a feeling Kaua’i is going to look like a ghost town when we arrive, although when we were looking for lodgings there were an awful lot of places still booked.

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      1. I’m relieved to hear that you’ll be staying with friends after your quarantine period, and that YaYu will hopefully join you in a few days!

        You’ve done incredibly well adapting to a crazy situation.

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      2. Hawaii has declared that all arrivals to the islands must shelter in place for 14 days, so I’m glad we booked the condo for two weeks! After that we’ll head to our friends’ home and hope we can find a rental before we wear out our welcome. Tourists are currently not welcome on the island, meaning the mayor asked that they not come right now. It will be interesting to see what’s open and what’s not when we arrive. Hawaii’s main industry is tourism though, so I’m sure many people are currently laid off, and the state’s economy is really going to suffer the longer this lasts.

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  6. My two cents worth—we try to arrange grocery pick up or delivery. Plus lots of younger people on our Nextdoor neighborhood app are stepping up to pick up & shop for those who need it. Yes we are in the older demographic.

    Due to the numbers of folk going to Costco our local store is limiting the number that can enter at any one time due to need to reduce large gatherings. And to preserve stock.

    And now we do not want exposure we are planning to move our meds from Costco Pharmacy to Walgreens. That is because we can go through the drive through and not have to walk in the store for pick up.

    I have to agree your not waiting on dorms closing to get your youngest home may be best.

    This is not an easy time for the world let alone we in the US. At present am limiting not only exposure to others but to the news. Yes I do wish to be informed but there is a tipping point that leads to anxiety etc.

    Safe journeys—-

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    1. I don’t think there is grocery delivery on Kaua’i so one of us will have to go out, but we are going to stock up when we get there. Thankfully our meds are delivered by mail in 90-day supplies; we’ll be OK for those as we both currently have more than a 90 day supply on hand (we took care of that before we left Portland, thank goodness).

      I almost can’t read the news any more, but I try (and need) to stay informed.

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  7. I am so relieved.
    Head up, shoulders down, You have got this!
    My suggestion is to drive by several smaller stores before hitting Costco. Send in one person to check. Our Costco is the main place because people are thinking big. It is way more difficult to shop there- IMHE. Take your own bags to carry things, it is easier then a cart to move. Shop separately- getting more things (they have limits on many things in DE).
    Think sideways- Home Depot, Lowes for house goods.
    Can you send your Air bnb money and ask them to get some staples? I’d pack any food you currently have. Have your daughter do the same. Your warmer clothes can be sent to you when it is time.
    I hope that you find that Hawaii is much calmer then it is here.
    Praying for a safe trip home.

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    1. Thanks, Janette. We won’t have a big selection of places to stop once we get to Kaua’i, and Costco is very near the airport. If it’s too crowded we’ll move on and stop at Big Save, Safeway, and Foodland in Kapaa on our way up to Princeville. We’re only going to be in the rental for two weeks though – after that we’ll move in with our friends until we find a place to rent. All my warm weather clothes are packed and ready to go. We have a lot of room in our luggage for this trip because we’re not carrying loads of Christmas presents like we were when we came. We also haven’t acquired much of anything except a lot of KitKats.

      We upgraded to first class for the flight back to Honolulu – long story, but basically the flight change downgraded our good seats to less desirable ones, and we want to keep our distance from other passengers as much as possible during the flight. An expensive choice, but we think it will be worth it in the long run because we’ll almost literally be in our own room during the flight. We will be cleaning down everything though with alcohol wipes, and we’ll be wearing masks when we’re moving around and through airports.

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  8. I’ll be praying for you during this time. I’m a new follower and understand how sad you must be to say goodbye to your family 🙏🏻😔.

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    1. Thank you! I can’t even begin to describe how sad I feel right now. Every time I think about saying goodbye I burst into tears. I’m happy we’ll have the next two days together before we go, and we’ll get to watch the grandkids one more time on Monday before we leave for the airport.

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  9. Oh, Laura. This makes me so sad for you. But I am happy that you have a way forward for now. Saying goodbye those grandkids is going to be hard. This is just such a challenge for everyone. And getting YaYu to join you will be a comfort, I’m sure.

    I fully expect my trip to see the new grandchild is off for the immediate future, which is really heartbreaking. It’s about eight weeks out, but I think this is going get worse before it gets better. I am just grateful my DD is safe, healthy, and has a friend who is sending her a few masks (from China!) so she is less anxious about her ongoing medical appointments. The women’s hospital is across the street from the main hospital in her city, but the ‘big’ hospital has at least one Covid-19 case, and she’s been nervous about masks. Not sure how effective they are, but they do give her a feeling of safety and lessen her anxiety, so that’s a positive.

    Sending positive thoughts and wishes your way for a safe and easy journey to Hawaii and getting settled back in.

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    1. I am sad for you as well, Laurel, thinking that you may not get to meet your new grandchild. Such an important time for you to be together with your daughter as well. I will be thinking of you both and hoping everything goes well on both sides of the pond.

      We have masks and are saving them to use when we’re transiting through airports. I know wearing one is going to drive me crazy, and I’m not sure how much help it will be, but even a little is better than nothing.

      Things are coming together – we’re spending the day at our sons and then coming home to pack some more. The trip itself should be OK but we heard last night that Hawaii is now requiring anyone coming in to self-quarantine for 14 days, which is what we planned. Our friends will get groceries for us.

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  10. I’ve been really worried about you two. You’re my only friends overseas. I can’t believe Japan does not consider a pandemic and emergency! So glad you are able to get back to Kauai (and let’s face it, a little jealous lol). I know it will be really tough to leave your son and family, but we will all be okay. Safe travels and please update us as soon as possible.

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    1. An emergency in Japan would be hospitalization, or too ill to fly, stuff like that. So no, an order to return immediately to your country doesn’t count.

      We are happy to be going back but settling in will take a while. Maybe we’ll get lucky and find a rental sooner rather than later, but we still have to get it furnished and useable and I think that’s going to take time.

      I’ll write as soon as we get into our condo. I hope all is going OK for you and yours.

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  11. One thing that jumped out at me, Laura, is that you started your post off by referring to Kauai as ‘home.’ So perhaps that is one piece of uncertainty you can forever set aside – you now know where home is for you and Brett. 💖 (Insert virtual hugs here)

    I feel your pain so much, and I share just a bit of it as we will not be seeing our granddaughters in a few weeks as expected, and have no idea how soon we will be able to see them again. Being grandparents is the best of things, however now we all wear our hearts on our sleeves, which is both good and bad. It’s helping me, and perhaps you, to recognize that our grandchildren likely won’t remember this event, nor our unexpected, prolonged absence in their lives, once this passes.

    We have been talking long walks at the beach from our home, and it helps with the stress immensely. Try and do same, if you can, once you get to Kauai. It may be a temporary distraction, but it helps remind us the world is still beautiful even in the midst of all this.

    If there is a positive from all of this, it’s that I believe sweeping political changes will occur in November. The rumblings of change have already begun. You might consider looking up Heather Cox Richardson on Facebook. She is a Boston College American History professor, and her daily updates on what is happening in our nation’s capital are spot on. I think you and Brett will appreciate what she has to say.

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    1. Our not getting to say and spend time with our grandkids is sad, but a small thing compared to the suffering that many are enduring and many more will endure. I am hopeful that we will make it through this, and in the meantime I’m grateful for the time we have gotten with our grandchildren, that we have created memories with them that will last until we can see each other again.

      We’re now supposed to quarantine ourselves for two weeks after arrival in Hawaii; I hope that means we can still get out and take a walk around the property once in a while, or go sit outside or maybe use the pool. But probably not. Our condo has a nice balcony though – it we have to stay inside we’ll make good use of it.

      Thanks for the information about Heather Cox Richardson. I am not on Facebook any more, but I will look her up and find a way to connect with her updates.

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  12. I’m sorry you have to cut your visit short, but I agree you must leave now. I don’t know the situation on Kauai, but if it’s anything like it is where I live, stores like Costco don’t have much because people have been panic buying. Maybe it’s not as bad there. My town is also under a strict curfew and no gatherings are allowed (police will enforce). Bare shelves and everything else going on is tough to deal with and very upsetting, but we will get through it.

    Stay safe, stay well.

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    1. I think things are going to get a whole lot worse in the U.S. very soon – I am glad we will be out on our little rock in the middle of the ocean. Not that we can or will escape the virus there, but that we’ll be in a place where we will be surrounded by nature, calm, and aloha. We will initially have a lot on our plate, but we’ll get through it.

      We’ve heard that Costco on the island has stayed pretty well-stocked although they limit the purchase of certain items. Friends have offered to pick up non-perishable items for us before we arrive so that we can swoop in and only have to worry about perishables to take with us up to the condo (we’re staying in Princeville this time).

      YaYu should be joining us this week. She has to arrange to get her things packed up and into storage and as soon as that’s done she’ll give us a date and we’ll be able to get her over (if travel is still allowed).

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  13. Laura & Brett, I enjoy your posts immensely. I’ve been wondering when you would return to the US given this covid19 situation. Please think about entering stores upon your return from Japan. The purpose of the self-isolation is to limit the transmission of the virus. Are you limiting potential spread by entering stores? Is there someone who can deliver supplies to your destination or is home delivery from the vendor possible? Be well.

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      1. As I’ve said, they will bring us non-perishables, but we will need to shop once for the other stuff. I was once an expert at stocking up at Costco there so hopefully those skills will come back quickly. We’re also going to arrange for a CSA deliveries from one of the local farmers if possible.

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    1. Mona makes an excellent point! See if you can find an alternative, whether ordering groceries for delivery or asking friends to pick up an order for you (my approach is to order and pay for groceries online, then pick up the order in person).

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      1. There are no grocery deliveries on the island so we will be stuck going ourselves, but we plan to do it as little as possible and will team up with friends to do it as efficiently as possible. One supermarket has instituted early morning hours for seniors, so we will take advantage of that.

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    2. Things got real very fast as far as travel – we saw it coming but not this quickly. We have friends on the island who have offered to purchase non-perishables for us (including toilet paper); we plan to go in to Costco just once to get a good stock of perishable items and then will isolate ourselves in the condo for two weeks. We have masks now, and alcohol wipes and will make use of them. There is no home delivery on Kaua’i BTW – we have to go into stores but plan to go as few times as possible.

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  14. My sister and I were going to visit you in San Miguel.. had our AirBnB chosen and were looking at flights. Was going to be a surprise and we were so looking forward to another trip together as well as doing some fun things with you and Brett.

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    1. Oh Joan, that would have been so much fun! Someday, someday . . . . In the meantime, I hope that when it’s possible that you and your sister will come visit us on Kaua’i. There’s lots of fun things we can do there and it’s beautiful as well. XOXOXOXO

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  15. What fast moving times we are living in! Each day feels like a week of events.

    Saying goodbye with a rushed ending to your trip would be hard but things will settle and you will see your grandkids again!

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    1. We are doing much better today – yesterday was excrutiating, but we’re getting organized and ready to go. I’m so grateful that we’ll have the next two and a half days to spend with our son and family, and help out with the kids one more time before we go (I have no idea what they’re going to do after we’re gone though – M’s parents can help out a little, but they don’t live very close by, and they’re older than we are). We’ll all find a way through this somehow but it’s going to get more and more “interesting” before it gets better.

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  16. Laura and Brett, I’m sorry to hear you have to leave Japan earlier than planned. I wish you safe travels on your way home. It’s a good idea to ask your friends in Kaua’i to buy some food items and essentials for you to have upon arrival or if you have room in your luggage, bring something with you to sustain energy for a few days (e.g protein bars). You never know how you’ll feel after a long flight and what the store inventory in Kaua’i will be like on Monday. Take care.

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    1. Thanks, Natalie. Well, we are bring along 27 bags of KitKats with us! Actually, our friends are picking up some non perishable items for us this weekend, and we’ll make a quick stop for other items before heading up to our condo. According to our friends, Costco has has a good supply system and only a few items (toilet paper, water, etc.) have had to be rationed or limitied. I think that will hold through Monday, but who knows these days?

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  17. I am sorry your stay is ending early. I have been worrying about you both. Safe travels on Monday.

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    1. We have actually been pretty safe here in Japan, and have taken precautions to keep our selves healthy. I’m a frankly a bit more worried about going back to the U.S. although Hawaii is a better location than some currently. This visit certainly was a different one, that’s for sure. Still, memories were made, and we got to see and do things and go places we wouldn’t have otherwise, and for that I’m grateful.

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  18. I hear your pain, I am so sorry that you need to leave. There is a lot to take in for everyone right now. Have a safe trip back and let us know how are you doing. Maybe your host can buy you some essentials to tie you over few days until you figure out the changes. A lot has changed in the last few days and things are changing by the hour seems like. But you guys are flexible, have adapted to so many places so far so I am confident you’ll figure all out quickly. The main thing is to stay healthy. Hold on to those masks and gloves if you have, take them with you. Warm wishes!

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    1. By the end of our last month we would have been prepared to leave, or at least more prepared. I am holding on to the fact that when things get better our son and family will be coming to Kaua’i to see us. I still feel so incredibly sad – as I lay in bed last night I could hear my grandchildren’s voices – I hope I can keep that memory until we see them again.

      We have kept our masks – they will be used when we’re in airports. Alcohol wipes will be used to wipe down our seats and surrounding area on the plane, and we will practice vigorous handwashing during our trip. I will update again when we get settled in our condo!

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  19. I’m sorry you having to leave in such a rush and no getting to enjoy that last month with family. However, getting home before lockdown is probably the right thing to do as the girls would be distraught if you were away from them with no access for an extended period. We were going to return to Australia however borders are closed which means airlines are ceasing flying by the end of the month and we could not make that deadline. We are having to come up with a plan B shortly. Stay safe and stay smiling. It’s all any of us can do with the addition of practicing good hygiene.

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    1. I am so sorry you won’t be able to get back to Australia – hopefully you already have a new plan going forward, and that you will be able to get back home sooner rather than later. Our big worry now is whether we will be able to get YaYu home in time before any lockdown – she has to get her stuff packed up and into storage before she goes, but we hope to have her on her way to Kaua’i by Wednesday. We’ve talked with the other girls and they are fine, and sheltering in place. I’m thankful they both have such great boyfriends helping to take care of them.

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  20. I totally understand because I am sure I won’t get to fly to see my grandchild in late April, even though it is domestic. I am distraught because son-in-law is in health field, working long hours on front line, and I fear he will contact it or worse, bring it home to my nursing daughter and the baby. We will all just do the best we can do. I hope your daughter can go ahead and meet you in Hawaii. Virtual hugs

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    1. I hope you are able to see your new grandchild as soon as possible. I feel so much for all of those that have to give up these these things, like family visits, weddings, graduations, etc., events that have been planned for a long while.

      But you are right – we will all do the best we can and somehow we will get through this. I think though we’re very much going to be a changed nation. At least I hope so.

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  21. Sorry to hear you have to leave so early. Shelves here are bare, unable to find gloves as I do wound care for my father. We received a partial shipment of medical supplies today with a letter that it was all our insurance would cover but I’m wondering if that is the true reason. Cases are growing rapidly but only because they just started doing more testing. It’s spring break and the beaches are packed with college students who seem to be totally unconcerned. All the parks are closed, DisneyWorld, Universal Studios, Sea World etc but they closed before the government requested it.
    I know leaving will be very, very hard but they have already closed the north and south borders and I’m afraid if you don’t come back early you won’t be allowed in. Stay healthy and safe travels

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    1. We are ready to go home, and have made the best plans possible, we hope. YaYu will be flying to Hawaii on Thursday – it’s the earliest she can get her stuff into storage back in PA, and out of the dorm. Fingers are crossed for her. We bought her a first class ticket (less than what we used to pay for economy to bring the girls home at Christmas!) because she can be further apart from other passengers on these long flights, plus get meals, and free checked luggage. It’s worth it to us, although I think her college will reimburse the amount of an economy ticket. We just want her safe with us on Kaua’i.

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  22. My heart goes out to you. As others have said the abruptness doesn’t give the brain much time to process the enormous change and at the same start making plans. I’m so glad you did get two months to be with family. Also how great that you had spent time in early January in Kauai! That experience must have made the decision of where to go much, much easier.

    I was at Aldi this morning (Sat in CT) and shopped for several neighbors. There were 40 people in line waiting to get in. There was a limit of two of each type of product. Normally Aldi has a pallet of flour, and it was just empty floor space. Some other items I noticed: no pepper grinders, no pancake mix, six bags of tortilla chips but produce was really well stocked. I also visited the small Asian market and they were well stocked!

    Last night I was at a store buying seeds for myself and older neighbors. The vegetable seed selection was great! I’m thinking we will be planting the pandemic version of a victory garden! All non-essential businesses are ordered closed effective 8pm Monday for the tri-state area.

    Nurses at Yale are being told to reuse their face masks as the hospital doesn’t have enough. We’ve organized a group to start sewing masks for them. If anyone else wants to do this for their area, Joann Fabrics has a pattern online.

    The tri-state area expects to be in lock down soon. I have been so impressed with Governor Cuomo (NY). He has truly been leading the charge and prodding the Federal administration to step up to the plate. His daily press conferences are educational with very little political slant.

    Sending best wishes for a safe trip back to Hawaii. Hope you can also find enough CookDo packets to fill the empty-Christmas-present spaces in your luggage!

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    1. Yes, Northeast is closing quickly–but the Southwest is still in a dream zone. I hope Hawaii is the same. That will give you a chance to do a dash!
      The nice thing is that you have been doing the social distancing in Japan for a while. You have a good idea that you are not ill. That should empower you a bit when going to shop. I am glad your friends are picking up things for you, I thought they may.
      I went to get elastic to make masks for our minute clinic–the line was all socially distanced – 15 people in the store at a time! :). Enjoy those grands! I miss mine already and they are only 70 miles away. Thinking good thoughts for your journey from the locked down Nana.

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      1. I saw pictures this morning from Arizona showing crowds of people visiting parks and such – yikes! Kaua’i is quiet, but tourists are still arriving.

        We have this social distancing thing down now, thank goodness. And so far we are fine. With the cherry blossoms opening we have been suffering a bit from allergies, but those symptoms don’t match the ones for the virus. No fever, no aches and pains, etc. Our DIL’s mother found some hand sanitizer so we will be getting some of that to take along on our flight as well as alchohol wipes and masks, so think we’ll be OK. We’re flying first class direct to Honolulu and although there are other passengers, there is no one in the seats surrounding ours. Our wonderful son and daughter-in-law helped us afford the seats for our anniversary this year (which is a week from tomorrow)! I can’t even think about saying goodbye to the grandkids – we have had such a good visit with them this time. They know we are going home and so far it’s been OK, although our grandson is a bit upset (at three our granddaughter still is oblivious). They are planning to come visit us on Kaua’i as soon as it’s safe.

        Food stores, including Costco, are open but not crowded except for Friday, which is the day toilet paper is dispursed. I think we’ll be OK – we know where things are and plan to dash in and out and then head for our condo and lock ourselves in until we have to go get YaYu on Thursday (please think good thoughts that she makes it out of Philadelphia).

        Good on you for making masks!

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    2. We just bought YaYu a ticket to return to Kaua’i on Thursday and now have our fingers crossed that she can get out OK. Unfortunately, it will take that long for her to get her things into her dorm room into storage. Brett and I are ready to go – finished the packing this morning, and will head over to our son’s later this afternoon and will spend the night there so we can be up early to watch the grandkids one last time before we leave.

      People are social distancing on Kaua’i, but apparently, tourists are still arriving! According to friends though the island is very quiet and few people are out. Food stores are open, so we will stop at Costco before heading up to our condo. Our friends picked up some non-perishable items for us, but we need to get ourselves produce, meat, dairy, etc. before locking ourselves down. Farmers’ markets are currently closed, but we are hoping to find out if we can arrange for a CSA delivery from one of favorite farmers.

      Other than KitKats we didn’t really buy anything here, but our bags are stuffed! I think we’re just not on our packing game because of the circumstances of our departure.

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      1. We just extended our stay at the Airbnb rental so that YaYu an be quarantined for the full two weeks. Brett and I will self quarantine except to go out for groceries.

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  23. Hi Laura and Brett, I am so glad you’re able to travel while the border is still open, YaYu can join you, and you have a place to stay! Our kid, Link, has travelled from Toronto to settle in for the shut-down with us. We stocked up before they arrived and now we’ll all do a 2-week isolation (since they were in a busy airport and on a mostly-full flight).

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    1. We are sad to be leaving but to glad to be going back to a place we love. YaYu arrives on Thursday (fingers crossed) and will be quarantine for 14-days – she can’t leave the condo. Brett and I will stay inside as well except to shop for groceries. Sounds like you all have a solid plan as well. BTW, our son and grandson were supposed to be in Toronto this week on vacation – that trip has sadly been postponed.

      The airports we’re transiting through, Narita and Honolulu, are both practically deserted, and all shops will be closed. I sure hope that doesn’t mean food venues – we arrive early in the morning and have a 3 hr layover. Our flight is practically empty too .

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  24. NJ is under lockdown as of last night and NY will be later today. I’m so glad I got all my grocery and supply shopping done before this all happened. I live on a busy street and it is eerily quiet. I feel like I’m trapped in a science fiction movie.

    I’m so happy that I went to Kauai in early December. I’ve been looking at my photos from there and it’s just so hard to believe that the world has gone completely upside down in a few months.

    I hope YaYu will be able to get out of Philly. Have a good flight and I look forward to your posts from Kauai.

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    1. We are scared YaYu won’t be able to get out on Thursday, but she has a place to stay back there if she can’t. This week she is packing up and arranging for storage for not only her things, but two roommates as well. She is completely stressed. If it turns out she can’t use the ticket we bought her, it can be redeemed for a credit to use at Christmas. I sort of wish I’d bought her a refundable ticket for just in case but the price was outrageous and it feels like we’re already bleeding money. We’ll do some shopping as soon as we arrive on Kaua’i and then will isolate ourselves – our only other outing will be to return the rental car and pick up our old car, and then to pick up YaYu from the airport. She will have to stay indoors for the full 14 days, poor thing, but will be busy with school work so hopefully it won’t be too bad.

      I think Kauai is going to feel very strange, especially after being there in January when the place was hopping.

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      1. I remember you saying YaYu can stay with her boyfriend, so it’s good she has a local option in case she can’t get out, but hopefully she’ll be able to. I haven’t heard anything about PA locking down, but even if they do, states under lockdown are still allowing flights, at least for now. I did hear that Philadelphia is ordering people to stay home, but I haven’t heard anything about flights. It must be tough for her to have to pack up not only her stuff, but her roommates’ as well.

        I’m sure Kauai will feel strange. Everything is strange right now… Have a good flight!

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      2. We made it to Hawaii! We’ve got our fingers crossed that YaYu gets here on Thursday. Hawaiian Airlines is ceasing ALL flights (International, domestic, and inter-island beginning on Thursday when Hawaii starts quarantining).

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  25. I am glad you made it. Delaware shuts down tomorrow. Might need to be a grab and go for your daughter. Mail her stuff to her later? Pack 7 days in a carry on….you know, the lighter you fly…. I am glad she has a place here if she misses the cut off. Got my fingers and toes crossed for her- and you.

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    1. Everywhere is shutting down but it looks like she will still be able to fly so we have our fingers crossed. We won’t be able to go in the airport to meet her though – just pickup at the curb. Keep thinking good thoughts – it’s about all we’ve got left now.

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      1. Welcome home! These are crazy, challenging times. I hope your daughter will be able to join you. Meanwhile, stay safe as the way things are going on here are different from Japan. Here the virus is roaming freely, undetected, since there aren’t enough testing kits yet.We are barely catching up with supplies for medical staff and hospitals. Take care and stay healthy!

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      2. Thanks! We’re glad to be back on Kauai, but there’s a lot of work coming up. We’re being careful, not going out except for food (we’re well-stocked), and will stay in with YaYu once she gets here. Heaven help us if the virus gets a foothold on the island.

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  26. Thank goodness you made it to Hawaii! I have been checking all day to see if you were able to make a post that you made it. So so happy you are safe! That had to be so stressful! I do hope your daughter is able to get there on Thursday.

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    1. We had an easy and comfortable trip back. It’s amazing what it’s like to fly when airports and planes aren’t crowded and packed.

      We’re glad to be here but it’s going to take some work now to get ourselves settled, especially with the islands going into lockdown.

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  27. Glad to hear you’re in Hawaii now! I got an email from Hawaiian Airlines a couple of hours ago saying they are suspending flights starting at “the end of this week” so hopefully YaYu will be able to get there. Just to be safe, could she change her flight to Wednesday instead?

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    1. Yes, Hawaiian is suspending most flights beginning on Thursday. We asked about it though on our flight yesterday (HNL – LIH) and were told there would still be flights but they would be very limited. There were 16 people total yesterday on our flight over from HNL, including the pilots and flight attendants. Just surreal. YaAyu is not flying in Hawaiian, thank goodness. We’d like to change it to Wednesday but it puts her in a real bind. We’ll make a call tomorrow.

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  28. 👍Terrific News! You are now in Hawaii! Fingers crossed YaYu is also able to get on a flight on Thursday. Thank you for keeping us up to date.

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    1. Thanks! YaYu’s flight has been rescheduled but she’ll still be flying in directly to Kauai from the mainland on Thursday. Delta has been great about keeping in touch and fixing things.

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