Sunday Morning 3/20/2022: Like A Couple of Ducks

A few pastel wisps last Monday were the only evening color all week.

Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!

It’s almost hard for me to believe that this week it’s been two years since Brett and I found ourselves scrambling to leave Japan to return to Kaua’i. The State Department had asked Americans who were overseas to return home because of the pandemic, and in the matter of a couple of days we changed our plane tickets, found an Airbnb rental on the north shore, and flew back to Kaua’i with absolutely nothing but the clothes in our suitcases and a bag with 31 different flavors of KitKats. While Japan hadn’t yet been put into shutdown, the circle around our lives and where we could go there had tightened considerably. There were no masks, hand sanitizers, or toilet paper to be found anywhere. We arrived on Kaua’i to a complete shutdown and again no masks, toilet paper, or hand sanitizer to be found anywhere, and no tourists either. Slowly, with the help of friends and others on the island, we found a place to live, bought a car and basic necessities, and began a second round of island life. We will always treasure the quiet life we experienced back then, but after two years of lying low, it’s time again to spread our wings and see the world.

One year ago: out to see the cherry blossoms on our last day in Japan; an eerily deserted Narita Airport; an empty plane from Honolulu to Kaua’i; all the KitKats

Brett discovered this past week that I had gotten our departure date from San Miguel de Allende wrong leaving us with a full week before we’re scheduled to be in England (oops). So, we booked a week in Mexico City! I found a great apartment in a great location, and we’ll spend our last week in Mexico touring and experiencing the capital city. I’d also been watching prices carefully on flights between Mexico City and London and this past week I got the notification that this was the time to buy so we now have that flight reserved.

We’ve entered what feels like a pause in our departure activity: stored items have been sent and have arrived in Massachusetts, we’re waiting for the furniture to be picked up but it’s too early to sell the car or start cleaning the apartment, and so forth. The apartment is finally starting to feel empty, although we appreciate having our furniture for a bit longer than expected versus having to use our patio furniture. The pantry and refrigerator continue to empty out as well. When our neighbors on the other side of the building left last year they filled two trash cans with their leftover condiments and such. We’ll barely fill a small trash bag. We still feel like a couple of ducks at times these days, appearing to be calmly floating around on the surface but underneath we’re paddling like mad!

This morning I am thinking about:

  • What we accomplished last week: Besides booking our flights to the UK and finding an Airbnb in Mexico City, 1) we did a Not-So-Big Shop on Monday and found everything we needed/wanted. 2) Six more packages were mailed to Massachusetts. We have just one (big) package left to send but it won’t go for another week or so as it will contain a couple of things we want/need to use before then. 3) We informed our landlord of our departure and set up our move-out walkthrough for May 1. It’s almost hard to accept we have just six weeks left here.

Hot and humid on Wednesday, breezy and warm yesterday – two great beach days!

  • Good things that happened: 1) Our upstairs neighbor shocked us by paying for his Internet share on Monday after only one reminder. Previous payments have required four to five reminders over several weeks. 2) Tuesday was hot, humid, and hazy, the worst sort of day for a hike, so we headed to the beach for a few hours instead. While we were there we spotted a shark in the waves, fairly close to the beach but in a rocky area where people don’t go in to swim. The shark was about four feet long so not a monster but still eerie to watch (there were people in the water but not anywhere near the shark). I’m not sure the shark was a good thing, but it was still interesting. 3) Yesterday was somewhat overcast and windy at our place, but we still thought we’d give the beach a try. It was the right choice and we enjoyed a near-perfect afternoon. 4) WenYu let us know she is going to come for a visit when we’re in Oxford!
  • The ways we saved: 1) We shopped at Costco, Walmart, and Times market last Monday, stuck to our list, and came in right on budget. 2) We filled the gas tank (@$5/gallon – ouch!) but otherwise didn’t spend on anything else this past week. 3) We’re continuing to save $1 bills and change (and $5 bills as well) into what we call “the sandwich fund,” to cover a few takeout meals toward the end of our last week in the apartment. So far we have about three days covered.
  • What I’m looking forward to this week: We have another (outwardly) quiet week coming up but I hope the weather will provide a beach day or two. Some might think it’s boring not having much of anything planned or scheduled, but I dreamed of this back when my days were over-full with the girls’ comings and goings and I almost lived in our car, let alone dealing with all there was to do at home. Having nothing on the calendar is every bit as wonderful as I imagined it would be.

Since the middle of February I’ve been using the 1SE (1 Second Everyday) app on my phone to take a short video of something I’m doing or experiencing that day. At the end of a year the short videos can be combined into a larger film showing your life for the year. I found out about the app because a friend’s daughter (and a friend of WenYu’s) died suddenly last month, and her mom shared her 1SE compilation from the year preceding her death. It was a wonderful, moving film, showing the beauty of life that can be found in the everyday and even mundane. It’s become a great little project for me and I’m having fun deciding what to film each day.

That’s a wrap for another week! Outwardly it didn’t seem very busy, but there’s been some family things going on in the background that have been keeping Brett and I on our toes (nothing bad). We still got a lot done, but mainly relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. We’re looking forward to the week coming up and hope you all are as well!


12 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 3/20/2022: Like A Couple of Ducks

    1. WenYu’s friend’s death was a shock to all, both family and friends. She was an amazing young woman. WenYu and Meiling will be attending her memorial this week.


  1. Thanks for the tip on 1SE app, I’ve downloaded. Sad to hear of the death of someone who had so much living to do, however glad that the mother will always have the memories of the to cherish.

    I had not realised that France was totally off the table, however probably a wise choice. We have Europe booked for August but are still it the holding zone debating the wisdom of going. You will love Mexico City, I lived there for 2 years and found it to be so vibrant. The food is so delicious and the people so generous. It’s nearly 30 years since I left and I do find it disappointing that I am unlikely ever to make a return visit.


    1. 1SE is a fun app (I just remembered I still have to make a video today) – it will be interesting to my year play out.

      I have been to Mexico several times, but never to Mexico City. Friends have sung the praises of SMA for years so we’re looking forward to our time there, and our serendipitous visit to the capital before we go.


  2. Glad you’ve reached a point when you can actually catch your breath after so much busyness. The thought of going to the beach and just lying there sounds extremely appealing.
    That app sounds interesting, I’ll check it out.


    1. Well, we catch it once in a while! Most of the time there’s still plenty to do and plenty to keep us busy. Another wrinkle was added this past week, but won’t know for a little while if it means changes, more work, or nothing at all. It’s always something!

      I love going to the beach. I am coated in sunscreen, sit under an umbrella with a hat so no tanning for me, but it is extremely relaxing.


  3. Wow! After some time preparing, it’s almost here! Enjoy the beach days and the “nothing on the calendar” days!


    1. I love going to the beach here. I was a “beach kid” growing up, but stayed away for a long time because I have high-risk skin. I decided though if I was going to live in Hawaii I needed to make peace with the beach, and these days protect my skin fully so I can relax and enjoy my time there.


  4. Had not heard of 1SE, but I downloaded it. It seems a very clever and quick way to capture the year. So sorry about WenYu’s friend. I can only imagine how happy her family is to have those video memories.

    Hard to believe it was two years ago that we all locked down. We’re getting out and about more, but I still feel like this has changed life forever. Some good, some bad. That’s kind of what nudged me to get a dog again…I need more joy in my day to day life. 🙂


  5. I did 1SE in 2020 so it was a very interesting project during the start of the pandemic. You can use pictures too which is nice when you forget to take a video!


  6. It’s been a busy week so I didn’t get a chance to post until now. Very sorry to hear about WenYu’s friend.

    I had never heard of the 1SE app, but I will have to check that out. I’m sure it will be a nice way for you to reminisce about your time on Kauai after you leave.

    I remember when you had to leave Japan in a rush and how stressful that was. Hard to believe that was two years ago now. I was basically a hermit for the past two years, but now I’ve had to return to my office once a week and have resumed other activities and while it’s nice for things to be back to normal (or somewhat normal), it does feel a little overwhelming at times because I was so used to just being at home!

    Enjoy your beach days!


    1. Sorry for the late reply – the last few days have been sort of crazy.

      We still talk about how eerie Narita Airport was that evening. It’s normally a VERY busy, crowded place and there was just . . . no one. Our big jet had a total of 14 people, including the flight attendants. And that Hawaiian flight! They were always packed before, so flying over to Kaua’i with just 7 other people was just surreal. Our flights back to the mainland in May will be packed once again – I’m frankly not looking forward to them at all.

      No beach days this past week – the weather was not good, but we did get to hike a few days (and got soaked through to the skin on one day!).


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