Some days I’m overcome with how incredible this place is with the warm weather, surfing and laid back lifestyle. Other times I’m in tears because of how difficult some of the adjustments can be. Moving a family of seven thousands of miles away to an island is a crazy roller coaster of an experience. So this post will be a roller coaster as I will share with some of the highs and lows of our new life Hawaii.
When we arrived here I basically started over from scratch. I brought a bunch of my tools out with me, as well as appliance parts to repair appliances with. Once we got a bit settled, I purchased a little Toyota Tacoma to move, pickup, and deliver appliances with. However, finding a truck to move appliances with was the easy part. It’s been much, much harder getting my hands on broken appliances than I first thought it would be. There are a few reasons this is the case.
First, the people on the island are used to just taking their appliances to the transfer station for free when they break down. People don’t think they have value so they automatically just get rid of them. My problem has been getting these appliances before they get to the transfer station. It’s going to take quite a while for me to overcome this and get the word out that I’m willing to buy these broken machines.
I have gotten my hands on a good number of machines, and they sell very quickly. It’s been awesome to see the response to my ads, but then sobering as I realize that I can’t even come close to meeting the demand because my supply of machines is so low right now. I’ve got to figure out how to get more machines.
Appliances on the mainland rust, but it is absolutely nothing compared to the rust out here. The salt in the air, coupled with the humidity and depending on the location up to 200 inches of rain a year, appliances practically rust before your eyes. I’ve had multiple washers where the frames were completely rusted away in spots. What used to takes us 15-20 minutes to clean and grind on the mainland now takes us 1 1/2 to 2 hours now. It’s been discouraging fighting the never ending battle with rust.
The little community that we live in has an incredible outdoor swimming facility located about one minute from where we are living. It has a large kid pool with a large fountain. Next to that, it has a full sized olympic swimming pool with two large diving boards. The filtration system in this pool is incredible, making the pool feel at least twice as clean as any pool I’ve ever swam in. This pool facility is open every day and here’s the kicker: it’s free. We probably take the family to the pool about 4 times a week. Needless to say, it’s been an incredible blessing to our family.
In 1999, Fire Ants were discovered on the Big Island. They have since spread all over the island and they have proven very difficult to get rid of. They are a very small, reddish ant whose bite can sting for hours. What makes fire ants so difficult to get rid of is that you must stop the queen from reproducing or the colonies never die. So simply spraying pesticides all over your property will kill many of the worker ants, but almost never kill the queens, who will bring the colony back to life eventually.
Shortly after moving to the house we are at, we realized that the entire back portion of the property we are on had fire ants everywhere. So I’ve recently started a multiple month long project of ridding the property of these little devils. It takes multiple steps. First I had to buy and mix up an expensive concoction called Tango. Tango is a growth limiter that when mixed with a bunch of ingredients, and sprayed all over the property, will eventually get taken back to the queen’s and make them sterile. So you spray Tango everywhere, then a few weeks later you can spray a barrier around your home that consists of pesticides so that all ants will die when they cross the barrier next to your home. You don’t want to spray them at the same time as you want the worker ants to live and take the Tango back to the queen, and ultimately lead to the demise of the colony.
I would describe homesickness kind of like a soup. It’s a mix of of all the little things you loved about the place you used to live. A moment of loneliness will be followed by the reminder of your friends that you used to hang out with. Driving down the street and seeing a neighborhood cat floods us with memories of our cat that is still back on the mainland. Going to the grocery store reminds us that we used to pay 1/2 has much for our food.
Homesickness comes and goes and I think it’s too be expected. Whenever there is a big move and life changes, it’s natural to be reminded of things you miss and have left behind.
Our Friends Here
Our move out here would have been unbearably brutal without our friends here. They have helped us find a place to stay, provided us with temporary work, helped us find our first car, helped me get my first appliances to repair, invited us to birthday’s, bbqs, beach trips and hiking trips. They have provided friendship when we have needed it the most. I think the average length of stay for someone that moves to Hawaii is less than a year, and I understand why. Without good close friends to help and support you during the transition to life on an island, it’s very hard to make it. We have been incredibly blessed by our friends and the church we go to here.
I’ve been trying to go surfing at least 3 times a week for a few hours each time. I went this morning and want to share with you what’s it’s like. The ocean where we surf is 78 degrees, and a bit warmer in the top few feet. It’s crystal clear so that you can see the bottom of the ocean and swarms of tropical fish and occasional turtles swimming by underneath you. This morning my good friend Matt and I went out.
As we paddled out, it started raining pretty hard. The wind was pretty calm so it made the surface of the ocean look like a 3D model. It was a pretty spectacular site. Five minutes later, or about the time we had paddled out to our surf spot, the rain had stopped. There was only one other person out in the surf spot, and they left after about 10 minutes leaving us with the entire bay to ourselves. It wasn’t a big day, but that didn’t mean there weren’t bigger sets of waves. Matt and I just floated there and talked about life, soaking in the sunshine while we waited for the next set of waves. Often while we are floating in the water we will be surrounded by turtles swimming by, coming up for a breath before descending again. We would often be in mid sentence when a wave would arrive and immediately would stop talking and start paddling to catch the wave.
On some of our better waves, the ride was long and glassy and seemed to never end. Imagine riding down a wave that keeps forming in front of you and keeps going and going. You have this smile plastered on your face, mixed with reverent terror of the giant wave that will smash you with one wrong move. When you are in the ocean, and especially when you are riding a wave, the cares of this world quickly fade away.
I think one of the things I’ve learned since moving back here is that anywhere you live is going to have it’s thorns. Some have tornado’s, some hurricanes, some droughts, dust storms, excruciating heat, bitter cold, endless rain, piles of snow, friendly people, bitter people and everything in between. I’ve found that there are a few things that have helped me transition. The first, is focus on the things you love about where you live. There are incredible things about just about every location in this world. Focus on those incredible things because life is too short and almost unbearable when one chooses to focus only on the negative. Secondly, do what you can to make where you live a better place. I’m becoming a fire ant expert because I want to rid not only the property where I live of fire ants, but of all my friends and anyone else that would like help getting rid of the little devils.
Lastly, I want to share a story and say thank you to someone. This past week we were over in Kona eating at a restaurant for dinner. It was the end of a day of driving, and then car shopping as we purchased a larger truck for our family. I was exhausted and still nervous about whether or not I was going to find any surprise with the truck after we drove it back to our side of the island.
We had an nice table overlooking the ocean. My wife and I were just sitting there reflecting on how blessed we were to be sitting there all together as a family overlooking the ocean and watching the sun set. After our dinner was over, our waitress came over to our table and told us that a man who had been watching our family had paid for our entire dinner and all our drinks. She said he wanted to leave before we found out. It brought tears to our eyes as we realized what a gift it was.
To whoever bought us that dinner, thank you for your generosity. It was an incredible blessing and encouragement to us.
I hope you all are doing well. Let me know if there is anything I can help you with.