Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!
I was chatting with Meiling this past week, and she said she was glad we were leaving Hawaii, so that she never had to fly here again. I reminded her that less than two years ago she and her sisters had sat her dad and me down and told us that they all hoped we would move back to Kaua’i some day so they had a good reason to come here! I said she must be feeling this way now after learning what it costs to buy her own ticket as well as having the very long flight coming up, and she admitted that’s what had happened. We love it here, everyone loves it when they’re actually here, but the reality for everyone else of what it takes to get here (and for us to travel from here and back) is one of the reasons we’re ready to move on.
We purchased the last of the things needed for the girls’ gifts last week and then finished up the wrapping. Everything is stacked under our bed until Christmas Eve as there is no room to put things out in the living room, and there will be even less so after the girls arrive. Less than two weeks to go until they arrive! We also put out our holiday decorations this past week, with the twig tree decorated (took all of ten minutes) and fairly lights strung through the big silk palm tree. We have one more big shopping trip the day before Meiling and WenYu arrive but everything is starting to come together nicely! Can you guess how excited I already am?
Knowledge is power, and I’ve been reading everything about the Omicron variant I can find every day. I still believe it is, as President Biden says, a cause for concern but not panic . . . yet. I always keep in mind as I read that the “goal” of a virus is not to kill off all its hosts because then it has no place to survive, so I’m hoping this is truly a milder version even though it seems to be much more transmissible than the Delta variant. Just like the flu has done over the years, I believe the COVID virus is going to continue to mutate and produce new variants, with some more virulent than others, but as more people get vaccinated it will become easier to control and less deadly. Brett believes we’ll be wearing masks until the end of our days, along with getting boosters and/or annual vaccines and I agree. We still plan to go about living our best lives possible, no matter what comes and remain careful. We are going to follow Rick Steves when it comes to delays or pulling the plug on our upcoming travels. If he cancels or delays his tours then that will be our cue to move to Plan B.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I’ve almost finished I’m Traveling Alone. It got quite complicated in the middle, with maybe too many storylines competing, but eventually things started to weave together and the denouement is coming. My place in line for library holds is still far enough down for any to become available any time soon, so I plan to look for something else later today to fill in until a hold becomes available.
- Listening to: I thought we’d be waking up to another very chilly un-Hawaiian morning, but it’s actually quite pleasant outside today. Yesterday started off very cold, below 60 degrees in the morning and it didn’t warm up much during the day. There’s a light breeze blowing this morning, and nearby residents are doing some sort of work as there are saws being used off and on in the distance, but overall it’s a very pleasant, quiet morning.
- Watching: We’ve been watching a couple of episodes of The Morning Show each evening so we’ll finish it up maybe by the end of this week (we’re into the second season). It’s been very good and a sobering watch. We’ve watched The Tower on Britbox, a new three-part crime drama, and are still watching the latest episode of Shetland every Friday evening. I miss the Great British Bake Off.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: 1) Brett and I went through more of the girls’ things and got them organized. There is an awful lot of stuff for them to take back – I hope we can figure it out. We also worked on the logistics of getting some of our things shipped back to be stored with WenYu. 2) Our little twig tree and ornaments and our wooden Santas were set up on December 1. Brett also strung some lights through our thrift-store palm tree so we’re ready as far as it goes for holiday decorations. 3) We had a successful end-of-the-month semi-Big Shop last Tuesday, and 4) studied French every day. 5) I made another six-week set of activity cards yesterday that will see me into the new year. Those cards have made sure that everything I need to do daily has gotten done, even when I didn’t feel like doing them. Next year however I will be segueing into a bullet journal format that will be easier to carry along on our travels.
- Looking forward to next week: We have a quiet week coming up, with no shopping, appointments, etc. It will be the calm before the storm and we plan to relax and enjoy it.
- Thinking of good things that happened: 1) Our 31-year-old Christmas mugs made their appearance again on December 1. They were purchased at the kitchenware store I worked at the year Brett retired from the navy. We are experiencing mixed feelings about letting them go after all these years, but know if we hold on to even just two of them something else is going to have to come off our “keep” list. 2) Etsy orders are always a good thing, especially big ones, and after a somewhat busy week (well, busy for my little shop) I decided to go ahead and order more of the small boxes and keep the shop going a little while longer. As of yesterday I only have 130 hashioki left to sell out of the nearly 500 I had when I opened the shop. The more I can sell before we depart, the better. 3) My Duckfeet boots arrived in three days and I love them! I ordered a different color (slate) that the one I wanted (black), so was a little frightened of what I might get, but the color is lovely and quite close to black. I’ve been wearing the boots inside every day for a little while, softening up the leather, and they are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn right out of the box. I love the nice, thick cushiony sole. I still need to get insoles, but those can come later. 4) Our neighbor across the street surprised us with a beautiful bouquet of flowers on Thursday! And, 5) the avocado tree left its jar and was transplanted and is thriving in its new pot.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) Our Big Shop went well although we went over budget by around $50. We bought a few things that were not on the current list but will be needed when the girls are here and would be gone by our next shopping trip in another week. The stores all seemed to be well-stocked once again. 2) Other than food shopping we bought two Christmas cards at Target to send to our grandchildren (which will include some yen inside), and two more strings of lights for the palm tree for a total of $15 enabling us to use a $5 off $15 purchase coupon. 3) We’ve stayed within our budget for holiday shopping and we are done! 4) We put $6.65 change into the change/$1 bill bag, ate all of our leftovers, and didn’t throw away any food.
- Adding up what we sold last week: I had seven Etsy sales this week: 20 hashioki and an antique tea ceremony basket left the apartment. The woman who bought the basket initially asked if I would lower the price even though it was already on sale! I gently explained that the selling price included free shipping, and because of the size of the basket the shipping was going to eat up a chunk of that price so I wasn’t willing to go any lower. I wasn’t sure if I would hear back from her, but her order arrived the next morning! A total of $142.66 will go into our travel account tomorrow.
- Grateful for: Both Brett and I are very grateful to have options for our future if our original travel plans can’t happen for some reason. We’re also thankful to have time now to see how things shake out for next year, and are staying optimistic and patient.
- Bonus question: Have you selected a location to eventually settle down in? After a LOT of research, deliberation, and give and take, we have decided on the location where we want to permanently settle after traveling or if full-time travel is not possible. We carefully evaluated the cost of living, weather, taxes, proximity to our children, healthcare, housing, transportation, medical care, and more, in many locations around the U.S. and eventually settled on a location that has almost everything we want and will need as we age further. We may end up settling there sooner rather than later depending on what happens with COVID and how that affects our upcoming travels, but we’re happy and satisfied with our decision. I’ll reveal the location if and when it happens but for the time being we still plan to leave Kaua’i in May to attend YaYu’s graduation, and after that we’ll either be heading to Europe or the new location. We also have come up with a Plan C that’s looking good, so we’ve tucked that into our pockets as well. We wish we could stay on Kaua’i, but it’s no longer the best location for us for several reasons, cost of living being just one of them.
I should have a couple of posts up next week, but after the Sunday post on 12/12 I will be taking a couple of weeks off, at least for mid-week postings. I’m going to try to get a Sunday post done every week, and I may take pictures of some of our meals, but otherwise I’m setting my laptop aside while our daughters are here. I’ve been feeling the need for some time off as it is, and having extra family members around is the best excuse for doing just that.
That’s all for this week, another good one that just went speeding by. We got a lot accomplished though, enjoyed some good books and good food, and we love having the house decorated and ready for the girls’ arrival in ten more days. Ten more days! We’re looking forward to another week of getting things done and ready, and hope everyone is as well. Cheers!