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4 Days and Moving In to the Airport

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I just keep getting tireder and tireder. This post is barely making it before the end of today. And tomorrow is going to be another long one. All this fun might kill me.

I took everybody to the mall today so Geoff and Gaz could get their outfits for the wedding. I tried to get my dress steamed, but I guess I’m just going to have to be a wrinkly bride. The first place wanted $115, and the second place said it would take 7 to 10 days. Man, that’s just crazy talk. You can buy a steamer for $60.

This meant I had to take the dress back home, then go back to the mall. Consequently, I didn’t even get to start my shopping by the time Geoff was finished. I ran around like a mad woman trying not to have a meltdown and bought the few things I needed. All was made right when I got my hands on a mango mai tai, though. Those things can fix nearly anything.

I absolutely had to take a nap before embarking on any crafting projects. I have not been getting nearly enough sleep lately. We did get some things accomplished today, though, so I feel a bit better.

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All of our evening was spent at the airport greeting a total of ten guests. I should just bring a tent and move in there. I’m so pleased that everyone arrived safely. I found an Emily, which was just about the best thing in the world.

I hope we can all meet up for breakfast in the morning before departing for various activities. There’s not enough time. That’s all there is to it. Where can I get more?

Backward

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With only two days left to go in the year, I decided it was time to do some obligatory reflection.  Let’s see if I can recall some highlights from 2011.  I am in no way organized enough to give you something like a top ten.  That would mean planning out this blog post before I started writing, and you know that never happens.

One of the most exciting moments of my life technically happened on Christmas day in 2010, but it was one of the things I wanted to share that made me start this blog in the first place.  Geoff asked me to marry him. I cried like a girl and then said yes.  I was ecstatic for days, and I’m sure it must have spilled over into the new year, so I feel like it most definitely deserves a shout out.

After doing a ton of research into the immigration process, (This was all done by Geoff.  He’s the smart one on this team.) we decided that the only way for us to move to Hawaii without the possibility of being separated was to get legally married in Taiwan and apply for a green card for Geoff from the US “embassy” in Taipei.  This meant a ton of paperwork had to be gathered from all over the world, but eventually we gathered all of the stamps and signatures.  Without any ceremony, we went down to the household registry office and filed our marriage certificate.  On March 4th, we became husband and wife in the eyes of the law in Taiwan and America.  We’re still not legally married in the UK.  I should probably hide his passport.  Okay, not really.

A lifelong dream came true in April when we flew to England for two weeks for Geoff to be in a friend’s wedding.  I had grown up reading and loving English literature.  It only takes half a second on my blog to realize I adore Harry Potter. England has always held a romantic fascination for me.  I couldn’t believe I would finally get to walk the streets of London and stroll through the English countryside.  It was an exhausting and wondrous trip.  We traveled all over England by train, and we had nearly perfect weather.  I absolutely fell in love with the country, and I can’t wait to go back, especially to see Geoff’s family and my great friend Gaz.  I know a lot of people who live there aren’t that fond of England, but to me, it’s still of place of magic and wonder.

Definitely the most stressful experience of  2011 was getting Geoff’s visa.  There was a week when we thought it might not happen.  He had pretty much already been offered his job at the zoo.  It was time to book the tickets.  Everything was happening.  But we didn’t have that one piece of paper that said he could get in to the country.  I cannot express the level of relief when, without ceremony, they told us he was granted the visa.  I nearly fell over right there in the immigration office.

With that most important piece of paper nicely laminated in his passport, we were able to pack up most of our belongings into our suitcases, give the rest of our stuff away, and leave Taiwan forever.  There’s not a lot about that place that I miss, but I do dearly miss our friends and hope they come to visit soon.  Also, we have yet to find a place as perfect to hang out in on a Friday night as the Early Bird Diner.  Go and drink a white Russian for us, Taiwan friends.

So now we’re here living in paradise, and it is as completely beautiful as you could have imagined.  Every single day I am in awe of its beauty.  I hope I never take it for granted.  We found a place to live, two scooters, and now a car.  I got a job, got another job, quit the first job, and am now really happy working retail at Island Sole selling flip flops and not being responsible for any children’s futures.  We’ve made some really cool friends here.  And the most exciting thing is, there’s still so much to explore on this island.  But that’s in the future.  And that’s a blog for another day.  The last day.  Well, probably later today.

I guess this is the part where I say, “Well, a lot can happen in a year.”  Well, it can, and it did.  It’s been stressful and wonderful and full of laughter and full of tears and completely horrible and completely perfect and it’s my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  The best thing about the new year is that it’s the end and the beginning at the same time.  That’s its own kind of magic.  I’m ready for it.

Harry Potter Saves the Day

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Our day began well before the sun rose.  The alarm went off at 4:15 am so that we could get Emily to the airport with plenty of time before her 7:00 am flight.  When I went in to wake her up, the first words out of her mouth were, “I was eating steak.”  That’s my kid.  She’s nuts.

All too soon we had loaded the car, driven to the airport, checked in, and got to the gate.  My stomach was churning, and I knew the tears were right around the corner.  I was so grateful for having my stoic British husband by my side to help keep me from crying.

Once they called her to board, though, it was impossible not to cry.  I tried my best to smile.  I told her how much I loved her and reminded her of the great stuff she had waiting for her on the other side and how great it will be when she comes back.  Teary-eyed, she disappeared down the Jetway, and I collapsed in a chair, holding back sobs, and waited for her plane to pull away from the gate.  Geoff put his arms around me, and though I felt extremely sad, I felt safe.

He brought a smile to my face by telling me that if Emily was going to Hogwarts, we would only see her at Christmas and in the summer anyway.  What a genius.  He completely distracted me with a conversation about how jealous I would be if Emily really were going to Hogwarts and why Hermione almost never spent any time with her parents.  I mean seriously, she was with the Weasleys almost every Christmas and summer.  Also, did she confund all of the immigration officers in the UK and Australia when she sent her obliviated parents there?  Immigration is complicated. That’s a lot of magic to work.

See, it totally worked.  He found a way to make me smile.  So, instead of flying off across the ocean, I’ll pretend that she left on the Hogwarts Express for an amazing adventure.  Whatever it takes to get me through.

Emily made it home to New York with no problems other than losing a stuffed Smurf off of an escalator.  It’s time to start planning all the fun and exciting stuff we’re going to do when she comes back.

Shopping Spree aka United Sucks

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For those of you on the edge of your seats painstakingly following the ongoing saga of my daughter’s lost luggage, here’s an update.  As of this morning, the nice man presumably in India informed me, once I told him what was in it, that her bag has been located in LAX and is being put on the next Continental flight to Honolulu.  It should be delivered today or early tomorrow.  Apparently, if you don’t call the nice man in India, nobody bothers to do anything to find your bag.  And they say patience is a virtue.

But this post is not about this morning.  It’s about yesterday.  Also known as the second time in a row that I got my schedule wrong.  Only this time, instead of being early, I was late, which is humiliating.  I’m never late.  What’s happened to my brain?  Why can’t it seem to tell me to go to work at the correct time.  I’ve written it down in several different places, and I still get it wrong.  I’m in big trouble.

The first thing we did was head to the Ross in Waikiki to buy Emily some new clothes since she still had no baggage.  We stopped off at Starbucks after a stroll through the shops and hotels, then picked out some shorts and t-shirts for the little lady and walked back along the water in the simultaneous rain and sunshine.  I never stop being amazed at how beautiful this place is.

I was in the middle of trying to bake a second batch of vanilla butter biscuits when I got a phone call telling me I got my work time wrong again.  It was a bit of a mess.  But Geoff was diligent and didn’t let the cookies burn, so all’s well, and maybe today I’ll actually be able to decorate them.

Geoff and Emily took the bus to the mall to do a bit of their own Christmas shopping.  We all had dinner at Panda Express on my break.  They were very sneaky with their shopping, so I have no clue what they bought.  I hate not knowing.  It makes me crazy.  I always want to know everything.

In conclusion, United is lame, Ross has a very limited selection of kids clothes, and The Bus is usually pretty fast and efficient.  It’s almost Christmas.  I can almost feel it.  I’m looking forward to having a bit of time off.  I can’t wait to plan the Christmas dinner menu today.  And maybe make some fudge.  And some chocolate chip cookies.  ‘Cause that’s what my mom would do.

Landed

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Tuesday must have been one of the longest days in recent memory.  I started counting the minutes until my daughter arrived from pretty much the moment I woke up.  This is especially unfortunate when I tell you that her flight wasn’t going to arrive until 8:31 pm.  I still had pretty much an entire day of waiting.

I got up and tidied up the house a bit, made some breakfast, finished watching one movie and started another (Midnight in Paris), and got ready for work.  It was a stormy blustery day, so I had to dig my snazzy free raincoat out of the suitcase under my bed so as to avoid arriving at work soaking wet.  Luckily, the rain held off relatively well while I was driving.

To my surprise, I actually arrived at work an hour early.  I don’t know what schedule I was looking at, but I somehow had it in my mind that I needed to be to work at 11:00 instead of noon.  I may have gone to Barnes and Noble and bought myself a food magazine.  You can’t prove it.  Unless you come to my house.

Shipment was tedious and took forever, and I did almost the entire thing by myself and got a bunch of scratches on my arms as usual.  The day drug by.  I just wanted to be at the airport and have my child safely by my side.

I got home, and Geoff made me a cup of tea.  I tried to patiently drink it and distract myself with my laptop so that we wouldn’t arrive too annoyingly early.  But finally, we set off for the airport.  Thank god the car started.  We had never driven to the airport and weren’t quite sure where we were going.  We ended up parking in completely the wrong place, but luckily we were immensely early, so it wasn’t much of an issue until later when Emily was too tired to walk back and I had to go get the car and fetch her and Geoff from the sidewalk.

We checked in, went through security, and bought Emily a lei for her arrival.  Then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Her airplane finally landed and we waited some more.  She was literally the very last person off the plane.  When she finally got to us, she looked exhausted and once again taller and skinnier than I remembered her.  We went to collect her bag, and it never arrived.  As I write this 24 hours later, it’s still not here.

I felt so relieved and thrilled to finally have her back here with us.  She was so excited to be somewhere warm, even though to us, it was a chilly night.  She didn’t have much energy when we got back to the house and went to bed fairly early.  There’s a six hour time difference, so I’m hoping that she gets over the jet lag quickly.  But she’s here, and that’s all that matters.  I wish she never had to leave.

Moped Manifesto

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Thursday was a pretty crap day.  I slept horribly for some reason and woke up feeling completely exhausted.  Try as I might, I could not find any energy at work.  One good thing about Thursday was that I still didn’t have to get gas in my scooter.  Or moped.  Whatever you want to call it.

This is what sits in our driveway.  See that car back there.  I’ve only driven it three times, and one of those was to drive it home from the place we bought it from.  The car is for deliveries, long distances, big item shopping trips, and passengers only.  Most of the time, it stays exactly where it is, looking cute in front of my house and giving people an excuse to punch each other.

That blue scooter, yeah that’s mine.  It has a one gallon gas tank.  I fill it up approximately every two weeks.  This is my main mode of transportation.  That one gallon gas tank will take me 100 miles.  I spend less than ten dollars a month on gas.  I haven’t done the actual research on pollution, but I figure if I’m only using two gallons a month, it’s got to be way less than my car.  AND it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that I’m reducing my dependency on foreign oil which is a huge reason why we’re involved in all these wars.

I think you should get a scooter, too.  A brand new 50cc scooter cost me $900.  Just think of how much space there’d be on city streets if everybody who was alone in their car was on a scooter instead.  If some states’ laws were changed to allow a passenger on a scooter, there’d be even fewer cars on the streets.  In one block, I counted 21 cars with only the driver inside.  Why weren’t those people on scooters?  And you can probably fit five scooters in the space it takes to park one car.  They just make so much sense.

If you’re going somewhere by yourself, you don’t have to drive on the freeway, and the temperature is above 50 degrees and not raining, you should be going there on your scooter, not your big SUV.  I know it’s impractical to suggest that Americans not have cars.  Sometimes you need it.  Sometimes I need mine.  But mostly, I don’t.  Mostly, I can get everywhere I need to go on my scooter.  I just have to adjust my expectations a little bit and learn to live with less.  And trust me, when I pull up to the pump, living with less feels so good.

So buy a scooter.  And a helmet.  Always wear a helmet.  Unless you hate your brain and you want it to potentially be smeared onto a city street.  Not only are they economical, they’re also a lot of fun.  I’m not kidding.  Do it.  Consume less.  Pollute less.  Have more fun.  It’s a win win.

Ticket Please

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Trying to find airline tickets is so extremely annoying and frustrating.  Not to mention ridiculously expensive.  It makes me crazy and a little nauseous when I see how much money I’m going to have to spend.  It’s just completely ridiculous.  I can’t express how much it makes me want to scratch my eyes out.  Enough of that.  I’m sure everybody already knows how frustrating this can be.

Somehow I had a ton of laundry yesterday, but the sky was cooperative, and Geoff brought in the dry clothes while I was making dinner.  This is a huge relief.  Fingers crossed that it will go as well today.  The trials of this poor girl are many and varied.

Maggie was actually semi-pleasant and tolerable yesterday.  And I finished one of my four books.  It was a pretty good day.  Until I got to that ticket business, which I mentioned first because I still didn’t get the ticket and it’s continuing to make me crazy.

I made hummus in my food processor last night.  It came out pretty good, but not as good as the store bought stuff.  I’ll have to try a more traditional recipe.  I did, however, squeeze every single chickpea in the can out of it’s skin.  Each one.  One at a time.  It took forever.  If that’s not cooking with love, I don’t know what is.

In my boring life, an accomplishment for me these days is that I’m feeling extremely relieved that I’ve actually been able to finish a few of my library items so that I can return them on time and get something new today.  That’s about as exciting as my life gets these days.  Boring.   Really really boring.