Our Airbnb Home

I told Brett the other day that after seven months in our apartment it still feels like we’re living in an Airbnb. I like our furniture, the personal accessories and art we kept and display in the apartment from our time in Japan and our travels, and yet it really doesn’t feel like “ours.” It feels temporary.

And to that we both said, “Good!” Temporary is where we want to be right now.

We will most likely be spending three years in Tennessee versus the original two we signed up for. Our daughter-in-law’s position is initially for two years, but most consuls stay for three, and she doesn’t feel she can accomplish what she wants in just two years. Also, they would like our grandson to finish middle school here. We’ve said we would stay for an additional year, but that’s all.

Our daughter-in-law and we have discussed moving after our leases expire this summer, either to a new apartment complex, or to bigger apartments within the complex here. Nissan has a big presence here, and there are apartments near their headquarters that she has seen and likes. There are more Japanese people living there as well, which would be more pleasant for her. But neither of us wants to pay the fees or the costs of moving our stuff to a new apartment complex. A move to a bigger apartment here would be much easier, but again there would be costs. Every time we talk about it we both seem to get to a point where we remind ourselves that where we live now is temporary; it’s not forever and maybe it would be best if we stay where we are until it’s time to go. We have six months until our leases are up for renewal, so we have time to think about it some more and decide. I would love a bigger space than what we have now, but have also come to appreciate the big positive of living in this smaller space – there’s absolutely no room to add or accumulate anything above what we currently have. M would like a bigger space now that our grandson is here, but both she and I dread the prospect of moving or doing paperwork again.

Brett and I are going to keep most of our things when we leave Tennessee. A few pieces of furniture will go to YaYu (coffee table, dining table, chairs, and side table), but for the most part we are keeping everything else and will put it into storage here. We are done with selling everything and then having to start over again somewhere else if we end up doing that in the future.

So temporary it will be for a while longer in our “Airbnb home.” Our goal for the remainder of our time in Tennessee is to be comfortable but unattached, and what we have now fits the bill perfectly. No matter how long we stayed in an Airbnb when we traveled, we eventually moved on, and it will be the same here.


Where Did My Desire To Travel Go?

Hanging up my traveling shoes for a while

The urge to travel used to grip me, fiercely and all the time. I thought about traveling constantly, and loved every part of the experience, from the early planning stages to completion (some parts more than others, to be honest). Recently though my desire to go somewhere has been somewhat missing in action and I’ve been wondering where it’s gone and why

Have I seen everything and done everything I wanted to do? Definitely not! While I’ve never wanted to see everything, I can still think of places I’d like to see, or locations I’d like to see. However, none of them creates a burning desire to travel or makes me feel impatient to get going.

Did recent bad travel experiences affect how I feel about traveling more than I realized? Our trips from Hawaii to the mainland, then down to Mexico last year were flat out awful, and those memories seem to pop right into my head any time I started to think about traveling again. Any desire to pack a suitcase, lug it around, sit on an airplane, or take a long drive anywhere just leaves me cold. For now, any travel will be with a carry-on only.

I sometimes wonder if our two “pandemic years” in Hawaii had an affect. That time now feels like a wonderful, long adventure, a long travel experience between rampant COVID, travel restrictions, and travel availability now. We always knew the whole time we were there we weren’t going to stay even though we thought about it quite a bit, and I sometimes think our time there drained some the travel bug right out of me.

Am I feeling my age more than I’d like to admit? I’d like to say I don’t feel old, but if I’m honest I don’t have the energy I once did, even a couple of years ago. Most days I want nothing more than to enjoy my surroundings, the possessions we have now, and being near family. Although we have no intention of staying permanently in Tennessee, life is peaceful right now, there are no looming changes coming up for another couple of years, and I am enjoying the calm we currently experience.

Brett and I know where we will be going when our time in Nashville is over. Most importantly, we know why we have chosen that location, and we are slowly making plans to eventually make our move. We’re looking forward to it but for now we want to enjoy where we are and learn more about the area where we’re living. We want take advantage of the time we have with family. Traveling is always going to be a part of our lives, and I know there are still places we want to see, but for now the urge to go, go, go seems to have moved to the back burner.

Life is apparently asking me to slow down for a bit, and I’m happy to oblige.

Simple Winter Pleasures

I’m trying to stay positive this season in spite of winter’s wrath, and paying attention to the little things that bring me joy while I wait for spring and warmer weather:

  • The first hot cup of coffee in the morning
  • Sunlight streaming through the windows
  • A big mug of hot soup on a cold evening
  • Bundling up for a walk on a (not too) cold day
  • Starting a new book in a series I love.
  • Video chatting with Meiling in the morning
  • Going through pictures from our travels and reminiscing
  • Kai sleeping next to me on the sofa
  • A warm pair of colorful socks

What are some of the simple things that bring you pleasure in winter?

Could We Live Here?

Brett’s and my frame of mind right now.

“Could we live here?” is a game Brett and I have played in every place we’ve visited. Only twice has the answer has been in a heartbeat (most of the UK and Japan), but usually we give a location a lot more thought no matter how much we like it (places like Strasbourg or Bordeaux in France as well as Florence, Lisbon, and Buenos Aires), weighing the obvious negatives along with the positives (the negatives have so far always won). There have also been a few places we’ve known right away that we either couldn’t or didn’t want to live (India, Rome, London, and Sydney, although all were fun to visit).

We’ve been playing the game again during our stay in San Miguel de Allende, and now over halfway through our time here we’ve started debating whether this might be a place we could eventually settle down. The strongest reason for moving here is the low cost of living. We could, as I told Brett the other day, “live in the style we’ve always dreamed of being accustomed to” including having a beautifully furnished home with multiple bedrooms, a gourmet kitchen, a housekeeper (and gardener), and so forth all at a price that would be unaffordable in the U.S. This would also be a place I could continue to live well if Brett predeceases me, and his navy pension disappears.

There are negatives of course: the dry climate and heat, the language, and the distance from our kids being the primary ones. A couple of weeks ago you couldn’t have paid me to move here because of the hot, dry, dusty weather, but my feelings have been changing as things have cooled off. Just after we arrived I would have loved to live in the complex where we are now, but after seeing more of the city this place has moved down the list a bit. We love our apartment and the neighbors but know we could have much more, in a better location.

We could live in a purple house in SMA!

There are loads of positives to living full-time in San Miguel de Allende. Besides the low cost of living, there’s also world class affordable dining as well as good health and dental care. So far there’s nothing we use or want that we can’t find here. There are two international airports each about an hour’s drive away that can get us back to the U.S. and then on to our kids or international destinations. The city is home to a lively expat community and the ability to connect with others who share our interests (to be honest though, the number of expats who descend on the city every winter seems kind of overwhelming). There is art, culture, history, and classes galore from language to cooking.

It sounds like the perfect place for us except we feel absolutely no joy or potential excitement whatsoever about living here full time. None. It’s just not “us” and that’s the sticking point.

Brett and I have been nomads since we met in 1977. During our years when Brett was in the navy we learned how to make any location a home, how to overcome obstacles encountered, and make friends and create a good life. We’re heading to Nashville in just over a month but our time there, as with a military posting, will be temporary, and we’re already beginning to feel some pressure to figure out where we’ll go or what we’ll do after that. Traveling full time is still on the table, but Brett will be in his mid-70s, and I won’t be far behind, and settling down doesn’t sound as bad as it once did. We have much to decide and choices to make, and we want (and need) to get it right . . . stay tuned!

Our Home In San Miguel de Allende

We somehow ended up with another beautiful view out our front door!

We’ve only been in San Miguel de Allende for a couple of days, but we are already in love with our apartment. Located in the Allende neighborhood, the apartment complex is a little slice of paradise tucked away in the city. We’re located just a short walk away from the center of SMA, and the streets that take us there are filled with everything we could possibly need. The only downside, if there is one, is that the complex is located up a hill. That means the walk down is easy, but a bit more difficult on the return, especially when carrying bags full of groceries or such. Our neighbors have already advised that we should walk into town but take a taxi to come back. We haven’t tried that yet, but it’s good advice.

Our apartment is located on the second level of the three-level complex. We have a open-plan living/dining/kitchen, a bedroom with a king-size bed and a big closet, a small bathroom with a shower, and a large hallway with extra storage. Like our living room on Kaua’i, the front door looks out onto nature, to a gorgeous central courtyard, complete with a fountain. It’s all very peaceful, and a wonderful place to relax and come home to.

The fireplace in the living room works, but is not for use by renters. The floors throughout the apartment are tiled – they help keep the place cool.

Another view of the living room from the dining table, looking back to the hallway and bedroom. The very comfortable sofa can be pulled out to make another king-size bed.

The dining area with the kitchen behind. The cabinet is full of cleaning supplies because once-a-week maid service is included in the rental (a surprise to us).

The well-equipped kitchen with the purified water jug front and center. We will probably use a bottle a week, with it delivered to our door when requested. The only downside here is we are still washing dishes by hand.

The hallway to the bedroom with its lovely built-in storage – Brett is keeping his clothes in three of the drawers. Our small bathroom is to the right.

The bedroom with its very comfortable king-size bed, big closet for our clothes and suitcases, and built-in corner desk which Brett immediately commandeered when we arrived.

I love everything about our apartment, but the courtyard may be the best thing about this place. Cool, colorful, peaceful, and filled with plants of all kinds, it’s a joy to have all of this right outside our door and to awaken each morning to birds singing outside. We also have delightful, friendly neighbors!

Home Sweet Homes On the Road

We had some amazing views from our Airbnb homes during our travels.

We love staying in Airbnb rentals. I enjoy looking at different homes, imagining us living there for a while, and seeing if I can find a place that fits our wants, needs, and budget. It can be a challenge, but a fun one. We did very well with our rentals overall during the Big Adventure, and stay in just one place that was a disappointment (in Bath; thankfully it was a very short stay, only two nights).

Finding accommodations when we travel has always been one of my tasks. Brett is usually in on the final decision, but not always. I have a list of requirements, amenities, and always a budget when it comes to finding a place, with some of these things negotiable and others absolute requirements that we won’t budge on.

The first thing I do is go is narrow my search to Superhosts. We had a couple of bad experiences having our reservation abruptly cancelled, but Superhosts can lose their status if they cancel. They are also experienced hosts and go out of the way to make guests feel welcome.

The next step is to go through the pictures. Does the home look like a comfortable place to stay? Is the kitchen nice? Are there lots of pictures of the tchotkes or pictures around the apartment? Why are there so many pictures of the toilet (this seriously happens)? Is the place filled with stuff or is it minimally furnished, or even too minimally furnished? Does it look clean overall? Does it feel like a good fit? I generally can filter out several places on the pictures alone – some places just don’t feel right.

Next I take a closer look at the price. I adjust the search to look for the maximum we are willing to spend per month on lodging. Having an upper limit is critical because Airbnb always tacks on a service fee, and they almost always add a cleaning fee as well which can drive up what looks like an affordable daily amount. We did allow ourselves to stay in a slightly more expensive place as long as that cost was balanced out with other less expensive rentals. We stayed in some “over budget” rentals during the Big Adventure but when combined with some that were well under our budget we ended up going just $38 over what we had planned for lodging costs.

Although a daily price is given for each Airbnb rental, that price can be adjusted according to the time of year or the length of the stay. I’ve looked at places advertised for say, $56/night, but when our dates are entered the price comes out to more than $100/night. Nope! Many rentals will give a discount for a week’s or month’s stay, but I’ve come across others that either don’t or even increase the price for a month’s stay! Sometimes the increases given are ridiculous or outright funny. When I began searching for place to stay in the Cotswolds back in 2017, I found one lovely home that was exactly what we were looking for, at a price within our range. I saved it to a list, and went to look at a few other properties and locations. When I came back to the first property, the cost for one month had jumped to astronomical proportions, something like $16,000. What? I cleared the cookies on my computer and checked again, but the monthly price had climbed even higher. It became a game to see how high the price would go as it continued to climb every time I checked. I stopped when the price for a month’s rental reached over $300,000 – we didn’t want to buy the house for heaven’s sake! Check out the monthly price for the Tokyo apartment below – crazy! I have know why this happens but it does now and again.

We won’t be staying in this Tokyo apartment for a month!

After looking at pictures and prices I typically end up with a list of five or six properties that might work for us, and then dig into the details. Does it have all our must-have amenities? Does the location work for us? And what do the reviews say? Many only say things like “great host” or “great location,” but digging deeper I can usually always find information about the cleanliness, how comfortable the bed is, how nice the kitchen is, and so forth, and one or more locations will eventually rise to the top. If we’re not traveling for a while I save the location to a wish list, but if we’re close enough to book I will go over the top picks (if there’s more than one) with Brett, make a choice, then contact the owner to see if they will accept our booking. We have yet to be turned down for our top pick, but we always make sure we have others that will work as well if that should happen.

Must-haves for us in a rental are WiFi, a table for eating and where Brett can work, a washing machine (and hopefully a dryer, but it’s not absolutely necessary) if we’re staying for a week or more, a separate bedroom with a comfortable bed, a stove with an oven, and good kitchen space with a nice assortment of cooking tools and basic dishes. A nice bathroom with a shower is also a given. The location of the home is a big factor – we want a place where we can walk to various places and/or that’s near a station or other public transportation, and we like to have a grocery store within walking distance.

Do we always get everything we want? No! One of our favorite stays, Strasbourg, had no washing machine in the apartment – we had to take our clothes to a laundromat. There was no table, just a counter with two stools, and no separate bedroom. I didn’t notice until just before our arrival that I had not booked a one-bedroom apartment as thought but a studio with a sofa bed, and we arrived in Strasbourg dreading our three-week stay there. The sofa bed turned out to be the most comfortable bed we slept on during our travels, the counter worked fine for us, the laundromat was only two blocks away and we met and chatted with nice people there, and the apartment’s location was superb for walking throughout the city. The landlord was friendly and generous, and before we left Strasbourg we were invited to her home for dinner with her family. She cooked a beautiful, traditional multi-course French meal for us and stuffed us with treats. We have stayed friends with her and her family, and both of us look forward to meeting up again some day. That apartment also taught Brett and I that we could live comfortably in a very small space and get along just fine.

Almost all of our stays provided everything we wanted and needed and then some. Still, we have assembled a simple set of kitchen tools to carry with us when we next travel (vegetable peeler, paring knives, silicone spatula, simple grater, can opener, and a couple of other pieces) as these are the things we sometimes found lacking in an apartment. For the most part though we adapt easily to what’s available in each home. We always keep our temporary homes clean and fix things if we can but call the owner when we can’t.

The opportunity to “live local” was one of the best things we did during our travels, and we’re looking forward to further Airbnb experiences when we hit the road again.

A Blast From My Past

As I was doing some random searching to earn Swagbucks this past weekend, I came across the listing for our former beach house in San Clemente, California. Apparently the house had been on the market for a while, and the pictures taken then allowed me to get a look at the current interior.

Oh boy, did the memories come flooding back!

My mom’s younger brother, my Uncle William, designed and built the house in 1955. My dad occasionally went on the weekends to help with the construction; I remember going with him once and staying in a little motel with a kitchenette that had a bottle opener attached to the side of one of the cabinets which fascinated me. The house was considered very modern, classic mid-century design at the time. It was well built, and remains stylish to this day. It’s even had a moment of fame, serving as a location in the 1986 Clint Eastwood movie, Heartbreak Ridge, as the house Marsha Mason lived in.

My aunt and uncle started their family (eventually five children) in the house soon after it was finished, but a couple of years later they moved to another location in San Clemente and my grandparents bought the house from them along with the vacant lot next door. The house became a vacation home for extended family, but because we lived nearest to San Clemente our family used the house the most over the years, sometimes moving there for entire summers and hosting neighbors, friends, and relatives from my dad’s side. We grew a large garden in part of the vacant lot for many years, and played croquet on the rest. The beach was a short walk from the house – we’d walk down in the morning, then back up the hill for lunch and a short rest, and repeat for second session in the afternoon. Almost every evening after dinner Mom would drive us back down to beachcomb and see what we could find as we walked from the overpass to the pier and back.

Overpass (or T-Street) Beach and the San Clemente pier.

The house largely looks the same inside and out, with even some of the colors the same, and the current valuation of over a million dollars is unsurprising based on housing prices in southern California. My grandmother sold the house in 1971 for $43,000. President Nixon had purchased his “western White House” in San Clemente in 1969 and sent property values in the area soaring, and Grandma felt it was time to sell. The house has been owned for the past 50 years by the same people who bought it from her.

The new owners carpeted the house, but it used to have soft red linoleum floors throughout, all the better for sweeping up the sand we dragged back from the beach every day. The kitchen has been remodeled, and while the space appears to work better the decor is a poor fit (in my opinion) with the the beautiful mid-century design of the house. However, the wicker stools at the kitchen counter look like the same ones that were there when we used the house! In the real estate photos the interior is filled with furniture and other stuff while it was uncluttered and minimally decorated when we used it.

My grandparents were parsimonious to a fault, and as I was going through the photos I laughed as I remembered all the things in the house that had needed repairs but that my grandparents (especially my grandmother) chose to ignore because they didn’t want to spend any more than absolutely necessary on the house. For example, the front door became difficult to lock at one point, but instead of having it fixed we were instead told to leave it alone and just stop using the door. It was the same with the bathroom in the outside cabana bedroom, the central fireplace, a wonky light fixture on a wall, and closet doors that fell off their railings. We just stopped using them.

The most powerful memory I have of the beach house didn’t come until after I closed the link the other day: my grandfather died in that house. My grandparents had wanted to go look at it one day in the summer of 1959, and brought me along with them – I was seven years old, in between first and second grade. Grandma and I knew the whole way down to San Clemente that something was wrong because Grandpa was driving erratically at times and kept complaining about not feeling well. When we finally got to the house (a miracle, in retrospect), he laid down on a bed and said he was going to take a nap, but at some point he got up and went into the bathroom, collapsed, and died there, apparently from heart failure. My grandmother broke down the door and found him. Her first action was to calmly ask me to sit in the corner of the sofa in the living room and stay there until she came back. I was an obedient child and did as I was told, and had absolutely no idea anything was seriously wrong. She moved my grandfather into the front bedroom, laid him on the bed, and shut the door, then came and asked me to remain on the sofa while she went next door for a few minutes (I’m guessing because I would have heard the phone conversation in the living room). Grandma came back shortly and sat with me until my parents arrived a couple of hours later to take me home. I remember how normal my grandmother was the whole time, never acting in any way that scared or worried me, and telling me that Grandpa was resting. All of her efforts went toward making me feel safe and calm in spite of what she had to do and what she must have been feeling. There was a big car outside when I left with my parents, and later in life I figured out it was the hearse that had arrived to pick up my grandfather’s body. It wasn’t until the next morning that I learned my beloved grandfather had died; my dad told me when I woke up.

We continued to use the house until 1971, and other than my grandfather’s death, the beach house holds only good memories for me: happy summers walking to and from the beach each day and early evening beachcombing walks; fires in the living room fireplace every evening to take away the chill coming off the Pacific; looking out from the kitchen sink to Catalina Island in the distance (that view now blocked by the house that was built on the vacant lot); reading Nancy Drew mysteries and doing big jigsaw puzzles checked out from the San Clemente library; fresh vegetables from our garden; listening to Dodger baseball games in the evening on a little transistor radio (there was no TV there); croquet tournaments and all the other games my siblings and I invented to entertain ourselves.

It was a magical place.

Just the Right Size

My favorite thing in the morning is to sit on the sofa with a cup of coffee and look out the French doors at blue skies and palm trees. The sofa has enough room for everybody – there’s no need for additional seating.

Perhaps the best thing Brett and I learned on our travels was that we could get along in a very small space and with very little. We learned we didn’t need a fancy place either: a comfortable bed, decent kitchen equipment, good WiFi connection, and a location that allowed us to easily get out and around to explore, and we were good to go. 

Before we set off on our travels, during our four years on Kaua’i, we had also discovered we didn’t need as many things as we had once thought we did, and by the time we departed we were more than ready to let most of our possessions pass on to others. Traveling full-time only reinforced the enjoyment of having less, and we embraced a more minimalist lifestyle.

And then along came Covid-19 and the end of our Big Adventure. We returned to Kaua’i, found a place to live, and needed to acquire things once again. It’s not how we expected things to turn out, but in the past few months, we’ve managed to put together a home that will allow us to live simply and comfortably, in a small space that’s just the right size for the two of us.

We have only three pieces of furniture in the bedroom: a comfortable bed and two nightstands. This is the first time in our 41-year marriage that we have had matching nightstands and lamps! The lamps have USB ports – very useful!

The small size of our apartment has guided our purchases this time around. Everything we’ve bought since we arrived back is not only useful and used regularly, but was chosen not to overwhelm the space.

We’re not quite there yet when it comes to having everything we need, but our stored items will fill the remaining gaps once they arrive. I can’t wait to have my cookware, knives, and utensils to work with again, and the dishes we’ve collected in Japan over the years. I can’t wait to have our art hanging on the walls, and my jubako out again, the one collection I held onto.

Our kitchen is small but mighty! There’s room for everything, and the small sink has turned out to be less of a problem than we imagined.

Although we have only around 500 sq. feet of indoor living space these days, we’re not minimalists by any stretch. We’re not feeling the least crowded either. Big mirrors were strategically placed throughout the apartment by the landlord – they give a feeling of spaciousness, as do the French doors at the front of the apartment and big windows throughout. The deck and backyard also make the whole living area seem bigger than it is. There is a surprising amount of closet space and storage area in the apartment as well. The massive bathroom, chandelier and all, has turned out to be an amazing luxury and also makes the apartment feel larger.

It’s all exactly what we hoped for this time around – a small footprint, but just the right size for us.

The B Word: Boredom

I did not think I would ever get to a place where I felt bored, not after the last few years anyway, and certainly not here on Kaua’i. But I woke up yesterday and realized that I was indeed bored. Very bored, in fact, and feeling a bit depressed as well.

Two months ago Brett and I were walking around and exploring our immediate neighborhood in Tokyo, discovering all sorts of new things right around the corner or just down the road from where we lived. We spent time with our family and felt like we were contributing something important. We were excited about our upcoming visit to Mexico, seeing Meiling in NYC, attending “Hamilton” on Broadway, and then heading on to WenYu’s graduation in Massachusetts. We are blessed and thankful to be healthy now, and safely back home again on Kaua’i, but I’m just beginning to realize what a shock it was to our system to have to have all the plans we had carefully put in place discarded and changed so abruptly.

The moving, shopping, and setting up our house is finished. No more packages are expected except for a spice order from Penzey’s, but I think YaYu is more excited about that than I am. The house is as set up as it can be until our shipment arrives, but there’s still been nothing happening with that. We walk most evenings, and although the view when we arrive at the beach never gets old, the walk itself sort of has. We’re stuck at the apartment almost every day unless we go for a walk or go food shopping but neither of those outings lasts very long. We do have a wonderful deck to relax on, and we thankfully all get along very well, even in our small space, and still seem to have plenty to talk about.

The potential was there though for me to mope, grow bitter, or even more bored, so I spent a good deal of yesterday reflecting on what I could do to change my attitude, as well as how to use my time more effectively to improve the situation. Just telling myself to snap out of it is not an option, and it’s still going to be a while before we can get together with friends or go to the beach. Our budget is going to be tight for the next couple of years as well so I have to deal with that as well.

After deciding on some things I could and wanted to do now, I decided to go back to my old card system, at least for a while, listing and checking off tasks to make sure the things get done every day and so that inertia doesn’t set in. I came up with six items for both mind, body, and the future:

  • Drink eight glasses of water every day
  • Walk 1.5 to 2 miles at least five times a week
  • Read for pleasure 45 minutes every day
  • Study Japanese for 20 minutes every day. YaYu and I signed up for a new online program called FluentU and will be doing it together.
  • Earn at least 50 Swagbucks a day. I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this, but I figured out that at an average of 50 SB a day for two years I can earn $400 in Southwest Airlines gift cards, which will help keep the cost of YaYu’s travel down as Southwest now flies to Hawaii.
  • Spend 45 minutes a day on future travel planning (because it’s fun).

The card system has worked very well for me in the past because I’m someone that once there’s a list in front of me, I have to check off all the things. The items on these cards are all small activities that won’t overwhelm the day but will keep me productive as well as motivated and moving toward future goals within the current situation we’re in. They’ll also give each day a bit more structure.

One other thing I’ve learned from my card system is that time seems to go a bit more quickly, and before I know it it’s time to fill out a new set. Fingers are crossed that’s the way it goes this time as well, and that in five weeks some changes will have occurred and some new habits set.

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.