Ch-ch-ch-changes!

This past year has been ridiculous. Wild and unexpected and absolutely wonderful, but still ridiculous. Actually, not even a year, it’s really only been these last three months, which makes it all the more ludicrous.

For the past two years we’d been living in South Carolina, with little to no say in where we would be sent next. There are only so many bases that have the type of boat my husband is on, so there were only about ten or twelve possibilities, but they were all so opposite that there was no way to prepare. We submitted a “dream sheet,” a list of our top five choices, with no guarantee that we would get any of them. Our list was Hawaii, Guam, San Diego, Washington state or Georgia. And out of those five only the first three were really dreams, the other two had various issues. Although we would enjoy Washington and have some very good friends there, I would be unable to stay in winter, and most likely would end up moving back down to California for half the year to avoid being in constant pain. As for Georgia, though it is infinitely better, in our opinion, than South Carolina, it is still the south. Simply not our favorite part of the US. Actually, it’s not only south but also east coast, which is two strikes against it for us. We are just west coast people, the laid back, surfer/hippie type. We would have loved to be in California again, San Diego would have basically been going home, but being in the Navy you hope to see a bit more of the world, thus Hawaii and Guam. Physically, warmer, tropical climates are best for me so an island in the Pacific is a perfect fit. Guam has a similar climate to Hawaii but it’s less of a tourist destination so the lifestyle is very different. It would have been interesting to be there but it’s not where we would want to settle. An island where the three things people tend to mention first are the number of strip clubs, bars, and snakes just doesn’t have the same appeal as one with Disney resorts, world famous surfing, and no snakes.

So, as you can imagine, three months ago when we got the news that we’d be moving to Hawaii for the next four to six years, we were beyond overjoyed. Here was a place we could see ourselves, and not just in the short term. As we began researching housing out here we discovered that it is actually cheaper to buy a home than to rent one. When the world tells you that not only are you going to be forced to live on a tropical island paradise but that it would be fiscally responsible to buy a house…well, we would have been insane not to embrace our fate. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and not even once in every lifetime, just a very lucky few. You have to learn to recognize when opportunity is knocking because sometimes fear muffles the sound and, just to be sure, it glues your feet to the ground as well. This move has been amazing and beyond my wildest dreams, but it is definitely absolutely terrifying at the same time. It’s partly due to being so far from family and friends, so far from everything I had known, really. And it’s partly due to the speed at which all this happened. Three months ago we received orders to Hawaii, a month and a half ago we arrived, and this morning we signed closing documents on our first home. In two days we will officially be homeowners and residents of Hawaii. There is no way to process all of this so quickly. It’s simply impossible. It still feels like a dream, as if at any moment I’ll wake up back in South Carolina, or worse yet, all the way back in Chicago, never having moved to LA, never having met my husband. Even after three years with him I still can’t believe he’s real so adding moving to paradise into the mix makes me pretty certain that it must all be a dream.

I think it will sink in once we’re moved in and settled, once we’ve started to make this townhouse our home. Right now it’s such a strange state of limbo that we’re in, buying cleaning supplies, furniture, smoke alarms, for a place in which we aren’t living. Our car and hotel room are filled with odds and ends. A massive memory foam mattress in a box nearly my size, a coffee machine and a wet vac, mixed in with snorkel gear, boogie boards and beach umbrellas. All waiting for us to give them a permanent place to live. I’m living a balancing act, juggling a hundred different tasks with not nearly enough hands, trying to time the delivery of our household goods shipment from the mainland, our new furniture, and most importantly, the Internet installer. All the while hoping that we get the keys in time to at least start cleaning before everything arrives. Unfortunately, the people who were renting the place we bought were not the neatest people, to put it mildly. To put it bluntly, they were hoarders, and lived in disgusting conditions. Even the walls are greasy yet sticky, with a thick film of dust coating every inch. They had a dog who chewed up the banister and left a fog of fleas in the backyard, not to mention an unpleasant odor in the carpeted areas. So cleaning is my first and most important task, there are mouse droppings to sweep up, roach carcasses and who knows what else. But underneath all that gross is a house that we can picture making a home out of. I have a list of projects as tall as me, but once they’re all done we’ll really feel like we have settled here. I’ll be posting pictures and projects as we work, I have never attempted most of these things, never had the freedom to change anything permanently about my living space, so I’m very excited.

There has been so much upheaval lately, we have been living in this chaos, this world of unknowns, watching as the light at the end of the tunnel steadily got brighter and brighter. And now we’re almost there, almost out of the tunnel, and I’m anxious, straining to reach the end, that moment when we’ll at long last be in our home, all clean, unpacked…finally home.

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