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June 15, 2011

A Work in Progress

Mokulua Islands, Kailua HawaiiFunny thing about travel. It’s changing how we see the world, and how we see ourselves.  When we set off to Australia almost two years ago, we didn’t really know what to expect. Truth be known, it was rather terrifying. Could we really carve out a new lifestyle, a new educational reality, a new normal for our family?

Two years later, we’re still answering those questions. This experience is changing us in ways we probably haven’t even realized yet. But we have learned a few things.


  • When it’s your passion — when you just know in your gut it’s the right thing to do — then you go do it. (Of course, our guts have also spoken to us — quite literally — from time to time throughout our adventure, but that’s another story and another post entirely.)
  • There is no right or wrong way to do extended family travel. You do what works for you and your family, and the other details somehow manage to fall into place. And if they don’t, well…they probably weren’t so important to begin with.
  • A roadschool classroom is absolutely magic. The lights are on, the brains kick-in, the energy is electrifying. Unless its math, or grammar, or some other godforsaken topic that would be sacrificed for a root canal on some days. From those days I’ve learned the real meaning and value of three words I never previously understood:  teacher work day.

And last but not least . . .

  • Blogging is harder than it looks.

Who knew I would be so hit-or-miss with a blog to chronicle our adventures! Like most of these projects, it started out as a way to stay connected and chronicle the experience. Then I ran headlong into the world of widgets and analytics and templates and text, not to mention erratic internet connections, tech glitches, and the periodic notion to give it up completely. (Besides, if a tree falls in the forest and no one . . . well, you get the point.)

But then I remembered the first thing we learned on this adventure: when it’s your passion, you just do it. Everything else will fall into place. In my case, there are three interwoven passions: my family, our travels and the written word. This blog embodies that. I just had to let the details work themselves out.

It’s with that mantra that I’m back home in Hawaii and reviving our blog with a new look, a new feel, and (hopefully) much more regular posts, updates, and information worth reading. Just as we’ve evolved and changed over the last two years, it’s time for this site to do the same. Like us, it’s a work in progress.

Thanks for giving me a second chance.


February 28, 2010

Tsunami Tsaturday . . .a Fine Line

Once in a while we’re reminded that we live on a tiny rock in the middle of the Pacific.  Yesterday was one of those days.  Chile, on a continent far away, suffered an 8.8 earthquake as we headed to bed, and we awoke well before dawn to the sobering reality of a potentially devastating tsunami barreling our way.

We go through the drills regularly; the civil defense sirens are tested monthly and even the youngest children know to cover their ears and it’ll end soon.  Everyone I know has batteries, flashlights, water, sleeping bags and a radio in an emergency kit; the computers are routinely backed up and the important papers are all kept together.   We keep our phones charged, our gas tanks reasonably full, and a bit of cash on hand just in case.   We know our infrastructure is tenuous; phone lines crash every time there’s a heavy rain and the power can mysteriously go out when five people sneeze simultaneously around the state.  The possibility of devastation always looms,  perhaps as a part of subconscious life, but we’re island people, and we consider it part of the price of paradise.

This time, however, it wasn’t a drill.  By the time the civil defense sirens began blaring at 6AM — this time, for real — we were already in high gear.  Lines at gas stations and supermarkets had queued up in the wee morning hours.  Supermarkets quickly posted signs rationing Spam, a local favorite that deserves its own blog report at another time.  Ringing phones up and down the street pierced the quiet morning air, and neighbors gathered on the street to compare notes, strategies and supplies.  Friends checked on friends.  It was quiet, deliberate, kind and calm.  It was unlike any emergency I’ve ever known.

For us, we gathered the things that mattered — personal papers, a change of clothes, some food, water and supplies, and our 2 dogs and our cat — and headed to higher ground.   We took an assessment of our treasures — kids special art projects, photos, collections, our beloved Bandit’s ashes, special travel mementos — and moved them upstairs, just in case.  With our neighbor and dear friend Julie, and our new friends (until now strangers simply staying in a rental cabana for a few days) we took refuge in a client’s hillside home, where peacocks roam the conservation lands just beyond the back yard.  We nibbled on cheese, chips and chili, sipped a bit of wine, and waited.  Our animal menagerie settled into their kennels, nestled just outside the front door and within earshot.  We knew we were blessed, and that our “evacuation” bore little resemblance to the images typically conjured by the word.  Yet the fear and the unknown was palatable.  What would happen?  Would our homes still be there?  Would our island suffer the same devastation of southeast Asia, just a few years ago?

It came.  It rolled in, sucking out the water then rolling back in…enough to know it was there, but not enough to make a difference.  We’d been spared.  We’d dodged the bullet.  As one client put it so well . . . what happened, and what could have happened, an incredibly fine line.  Like everyone, we obediently waited for the all-clear, tidied up the home where we’d taken shelter, packed up the car, and headed back to the beach, back home.  We joined our neighbors on our stretch of beach, just to make sure our “home” was really okay.  We celebrated; we exhaled.

All the emergency supplies are back in the plastic bins and the cupboards, until next time.   Life has quickly returned to normal, restaurants re-opened, and the all-day news gave way to the Olympics.  It’s almost as though nothing happened . . . almost.  We walk our beautiful, calm beach and say a silent prayer for our friends in Chile, not quite so lucky.

June 21, 2009

Fathers Day Regatta

Nanakuli 6-21-2009Happy FaNanakuli on Regatta dayther’s Day!  Dundee kicked off the day’s celebration with a 4:45 wake-up call so we could trek to the other side of the island for the Father’s Day Canoe Club Regatta.  Competitive paddling is a not-to-be-missed cultural tradition; this is his first year on a team, and today, his first competitive race.  Up with the birds, we hit the beach just as the sun rose behind us, and the water glistened silently as the beach slowly awakened to paddlers, coaches and onlookers by the hundreds.   What’s not to love…the perfect beginning to a spectacular day!  Race over - 7th Place