Here I am again….
Once again, I took a long sabbatical from this blog. Life has been busy, with many changes, and blogging was not a priority. In the past months, I have been reviewing my life and making some changes (all good), and one of the things I wanted to improve upon was writing. Writing has always been a constant in my life, and it is something I enjoy.
This leads me to another one of my challenges – to only own, participate in, and cherish the people, places, and things that bring me joy. I stole this idea from Emily Gilmore in the Gilmore Girls revival, “A Year in the Life.” Emily is going through her estate and mansion, pitching carefully chosen clothes, furniture, and others items, as she chooses the items that “bring her joy.” It seems ridiculous, but I found it enlightening. Perhaps it is that I am growing older, as are my children and my family, so I do not want to waste time, money, and resources on anything that is unnecessary. Perhaps it is the simple fact that raising children costs money and we live in a high-economic area now, so frugality is essential. I like to think that in choosing joy, I can bear the other things in life that are not enjoyable but are necessary regardless. I choose joy and happiness when I can to balance out the negative and uncontrollable parts of life.
I am also working on living less for and with things. When we moved recently, we thought we had so many things, so much stuff! Imagine our shock to find that we were well under our weight limit for shipment. Our family has kept the things that mean something to us and have sentimental value, but we also buy many things that we do not use for long or can keep with frequent moves. It made me wonder why we need so many things and more aware of the things I would choose to buy or ask for. Also, there is a great push to be environmentally conscious in our new home area, which I love. Finally, there are so many things to do and see that are free or very inexpensive – you just have to do the research and be willing to try it! A gorgeous home and beautiful things are nice, but at this point in our lives, I would rather spend my time and money on experiences and enjoying where we are at life in the moment.
Where is this new place? The Carpenter family now lives in Hawaii – yes, that gorgeous, scenic, tranquil set of islands that everyone dreams of vacationing. It is beautiful here; pictures do not even do it justice. There are so many things to do here, but I am trying to pace ourselves with activities and sights, since we will live on this small island for a significant length of time. Hawaii is pushing me to try new things that I previously did not enjoy, such as hiking and new foods. However, I am going to burst your bubble for a moment – we do not get to live a picturesque life everyday here in paradise. We have to be normal! The kids started new schools, we moved into a new house, we are still adjusting to life in America after so many years in Europe, bills still need to be paid, jobs still need to be attained and attended to, etc. Living in Hawaii is expensive, hot, and full of traffic! Yet, I am finding that most of us like it here. I like the culture and the people, and it is not terrible to live so close to so many beaches. I think we will like it even better once Andy returns.
Ah, yes – Dad and husband is gone again. Another long year apart. If you ever wonder how we have been given such great assignments, it is because we have paid the cost with unaccompanied tours apart. We all hate it – he misses out on another year of the kids and with me, and I have to manage everyone in his absence. He is alone in a dorm room, and we are without him in a new place. It just sucks. Luckily, technology is so accessible here. We can FaceTime nearly everyday, and we can send packages with comforts from home. He loves that we send him his favorite hot sauce, since it is not sold near him! The days and months are passing, and we are pros at this separation thing (unfortunately).
The kids are all doing well – growing much too quickly and changing constantly. They are all at different ages and stages, and parenting them all is never dull. From middle school struggles, teething, and answering all of those brutally honest questions, I am always kept on my toes. On the other hand, I am always entertained and amazed at how children learn, think, and react to life. I have four children who all see things differently, and it’s challenging to help them adapt and understand life. We recently had a discussion about why people are homeless, as there is a large homeless community here, and I was amazed at their thoughts on people living without a home and why they either chose this or came to be in this situation. I say it a lot, but kids are amazing – I just hope I am raising them to be even more amazing adults.
I hope that I can continue to update this blog with any recent excursions, discoveries, news, and opinions while we live in this entirely new place. Tropical living is definitely unlike anything we have experienced! Until next time – Mahalo and Aloha!