Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A giant leap

Happy Leap Day! I know, two days late. But that's about two weeks sooner than this second announcement which is: WE'VE GOT ORDERS! Most everyone has already heard, but since it's not real until it's been blogged about, the Coast Guard is sending us to ...

wait for it ...



Bananas, people, just bananas. And I'm not even talking about the fruit. Although if I were, I'd mention that it'd be really great if we could find a house there with a banana tree, considering the amount of fruit these children of mine have been indulging in lately. I digress.

Back to Hawaii. Or thoughts on Hawaii. It's been a long road. If you remember, our original goal was to stay here one more year and then aim for the beautiful state of Colorado. We found out in early fall that that option was off the table. In December, we found out that our #1 choice (the one that I had devoted 95% of my research towards) wasn't going to be open after all. From then on, there have been so many times when we thought we were getting orders "any day now". They ended up pushing the deadline back two weeks. And right around the old deadline, the detailer called to offer us a job not on our list. It was an excellent position for Jon, close enough that we could stay in our house a few more years but far enough that the commute would have been a beast. Couple that with some predictably long hours and we were faced with a tough decision. After a few days of lots of thought and prayer, we turned the opportunity down and were assured we'd "be happy with our assignment" and that we'd get a call "next week."

Next week came and went with no news. And then the deadline came and went with no news. And then we found out they had extended the deadline yet again. Finally, [what seemed like] years later, the detailer called again and said he had us penciled in for one location but did we want to re-consider this other job at the bottom of our list? Well no, we don't want to reconsider. Just tell us!

And that is when we found out we were headed to the youngest State of the nation.

A few minutes after we got the news, I dropped my phone. A really terrible time to have a busted phone.
Several years ago, I'm pretty sure I was quoted as saying "Hawaii is the last place I'd want to live." It's just SO.NOT.ME. I love autumn and snow and seasons that noticeably change.

I really, really love this view.
I like old and established--I regularly look up 200-year-old farmhouses along the Eastern Shore on Zillow for "retirement research" and I nurse a passionate affection for all things British. But try as I may, there's nothing British about Hawaii. (Except for maybe these fabulous Rattan chairs from Target. I feel like if Jane Austen ever had a chance to visit Hawaii, she'd have sat in a chair just like this.)

Oh yeah, and crowds and traffic make my skin crawl. Should I mention here that Hawaii is one of the most densely populated states??

Then there's the whole proximity to family card. We have always lived within driving distance of our home state of Pennsylvania. Our kids regularly enjoy visits with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. And these last few years in Maryland have been that perfect mixture of not too close/not too far. Hawaii is going to be a different story. Plane tickets average around $1000 ... each. Multiply that by 6 and, well, Happy Birthday/Christmas/Anniversary/Everything for the next year, Family!

Breakfast + Zillow, every morning!
And while we're on the topic of finances, Hawaii is outrageously expensive. Thankfully, the military helps alleviate that burden, but there's still the sticker shock of $8 milk and $6 cereal. And we're also adjusting to the fact that a million dollar home could mean no AC, 70's paneling, and NO DISHWASHER!

Don't forget the notoriously under-peforming schools, vog, drug problems and rampant homelessness. But let's not go there.

Now that I'm done airing my anxieties, lemme just say that we are TRULY EXCITED! Well, most of us.

Jude is a little apprehensive about flying. But once Daddy assured him he could sit next to him, he seemed much more willing. And although the boys were originally gunning for some place with lots and lots of snow, I think they're starting to warm up to the fact that Hawaii schools end much earlier in the day than our current one!

House shopping is a family affair. Although the kids' wishlist is much different than ours!
We're also thrilled that our kids will have this chance to experience a different lifestyle. Not everyone gets to say they live in Paradise! We're looking forward to being in an area that's a bit more ethnically and culturally diverse than what we've been used to. And as for my cooking skills--I think Asian Fusion is going to be a good, healthy stretch for me! Then there's the whole outdoor living aspect. I'm hoping that the next four years will be full of quality family time hiking, swimming, surfing, fishing, and whatever else people do over there!

I'm thankful that our kids are now old enough that we can enjoy these types of things. And I'm also thankful that they're all close enough in age that we can start off this transition with our own built-in friendships. I've always said that God must have had a good reason to give us so many babies in so little time. And I think that this move is just a glimpse of the fruit of our 4-babies-in-4-years labors.

But you know what I'm most excited about? That God is leading the way for us to Hawaii. We didn't put it on our list because of the crystal blue waters and glorious sunsets. We put it on the list because it's a good career move for Jon. And slowly, over the last two years, God's been warming my heart to this giant leap into the unknown.

It felt like spring for a second!
For the first time, I'm completely at peace with leaving the east coast. I find the idea of flying overseas with 4 kids hilariously entertaining. We're leaving the sweaters, gloves and skis behind and packing our tambourines because I am confident that the Lord is going before us and preparing the way for this next great adventure. These final few months will be filled with sad goodbyes, as we prepare to part ways with all we've come to know and love here in Maryland, as well as joyous expectancy as we prepare to say aloha to Hawaii!
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