Sunday, September 30, 2007

Grehec Is Home


Finn's journal entry for Thursday, September 20th, 2007.


Gretch is Home.

Tonight Auntie Gretch is coming over for three days.

It's true: We had our first non-Grandma-Emely visitor last week when Auntie Gretchen visited us here in our new Hawaii home!

We had lots of fun together. We went to the beach, watched Finn play soccer, and even visited John downtown, skipping over to Chinatown for some yummy lunch.

Her visit happened to fall on the autumnal equinox, so Auntie Gretch showed all of us the famous egg trick, wherein an egg stands on its end (with the assistance of little salt) as the Earth is in perfect balance.

Gretchen and I even had a chance to fill the better part of an entire day exploring Honolulu while John took the kids to the beach. Our outing started with a gorgeous hike up to Manoa Falls, assisted by some bamboo walking sticks, sunscreen and mosquito repellent.

After working up quite a hunger on the trail, we retreated to the famous Wai'oli Tea Room & Bakery, built in 1922 and set in a lush and secluded parcel of property in Manoa Valley owned by the Salvation Army.

It's also rumored to be the place Robert Louis Stevenson stayed while he lived in Hawaii. (You know, while eating scones and sipping Darjeeling.) We had a long, leisurely lunch unfettered by tiny, loud voices. Delightful.

All in all, it was a great visit -- although over much too quickly. We are reminded regularly here in Hawaii, living in the most remote major inhabited city on the planet, just how important the strong bonds of friends and family are -- no matter the distance.

And time and time again, we feel so blessed to be able to follow our dream of living in the beauty of Hawaii while at the same time keeping such a wonderful support system around the globe.

Aloha Antee Grech, indeed.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The View From Here

From the seats of our dining room table, we can see the majestic green ridge of the Koolau Mountains out our windows. Every day the view is different, depending on the light, the clouds, and the mists that typically surround them.

(This view sure beats looking at our neighbors' beat-up, weekend surf vehicles, which was what our old dining room window view used to offer.)

From our bedroom at night, we can gaze out the window and watch the moon rise above the ridge line above our valley.

During the daytime, provided you crane your neck around a tad, the same window provides a glimpse of a mango tree, a lychee tree, an avocado tree, a strawberry guava tree, and a tangerine tree (pictured below, in front of the cactus).

These generous shade providers (all but one have yet to bear ripe fruit so far) surround a large grassy area where the kids are able, for the first time, to run through the sprinklers and kick a soccer ball around in their own back yard, instead of having to retreat to the neighborhood park.

And on clear days -- and most of them are -- from our backyard we can see a slice of sky where planes pass over the eastern tip of Oahu as they make their way back to the mainland.

I imagine the people on board, slightly sunburned and well rested, pants and skirts perhaps a little snugger than when they arrived from all the good food, but relaxed and better off all around from the time they've spent here in Hawaii. And not once yet have I wished I was on one of those planes instead of where I am now.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

On Tourist Dress-Up Day

EDITED TO ADD: Janice, you totally called it. He wore dark blue socks with his strappy sandals for the authentic clueless tourist look. Here's another shot, for full effect:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Things I Already Love About Living Here

  • Trash (rubbish, it's called here) is picked up TWICE a week, not once.
  • People drive slower here than they do in California. In a good way.
  • Finn picks up freshly fallen plumerias on his walk to school every morning.
  • I can hear doves, ducks or gekkos at almost any time of day or night.
  • I can buy sashimi, poke and fresh sushi -- in bulk -- at Costco.
  • There are certain views, roads and vantage points that remind me of my favorite parts of Baja.
  • The local food options (gourmet dining aside) are plentiful, affordable and diverse.
  • The ocean water temperature is so warm you can stay in the water for hours before chattery teeth and blue lips set in.
  • I used to think the famous Hawaiian trade winds could be a bit annoying -- erratically blowing things over, encouraging dust in the house, even waking up our always lightsleeping little Shea in the middle of the night. Then we had a couple of still, sweltering August days without them and I quickly had a change of heart. Now I LOVE the trade winds, dust and all.
  • The slower pace here reminds me of my former home town, as it was during the '70s.
  • Can't bear another burger? You can order Saimin at the airport, at Ala Moana Beach -- and at McDonalds.
  • The only time I've put on a sweater here was when the air conditioning in a restaurant was turned up too high for my personal climate zone.
  • Hanauma Bay.
  • People really do live aloha here.