Friday, November 30, 2012


I started putting together a directory for my Hawaii-related posts. I still have a bit to add, but don't know when I'll get around to doing it, so here's what I've got for now...



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Throwback Thursday: Mauna Kea at Dusk

 When I was on Mauna Kea I felt like I was on Mars. The limited light cast the bare soil in a deep shade of red. The sky was bright orange, but only up to the cloud's horizon. The skyline was dotted with crazy-looking satellites and telescopes. I had studied data collected from Mauna Kea many times while working on my bachelor's in geography, but I had never actually been there. It was surreal- a vast contrast from the warm green jungles below. There was snow on the ground and it was only June. I looked up through a telescope and gazed at the "jewelry box" constellation. It was a magical night and a great way to celebrate our 5th anniversary. :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Downside of a Nomadic Lifestyle

Becky, a fellow blogger from From Mrs. To Mama, recently started a project called “Women Connect.” The goal is to tell a little about who we are or what we are currently going through in life, and find connections with other women through writing. I love the idea, and it gave me some inspiration to JUST WRITE, which is something I haven’t done in a while.

So… what is defining me at this moment?
All I can think about is our big move.
In a couple of weeks, I’ll be halfway around the world.

In many ways, I’m ready.
Our house in Hawaii was packed up months ago.
I’ve been back and forth between my parents’ houses for the past 2½ months.
I’ve been living out of two suitcases.
I miss my husband.
I miss my wardrobe.
I miss my kitties.
I miss my stuff.
I miss being somewhat settled.

At the same time, I’m terrified.
Not of the country I’m moving to, but of having to say goodbye again.
When I first moved away I was 18, and although I cared about the family I was leaving behind, I was dying to get away and experience the world. I almost felt entitled to it.

Now I’m at the point in my life where my heart is torn between globe-trotting and living near my family.
The more time I spend in Texas, the more I feel this way.
There are many things I'll miss when I'm gone.
I will miss the joyous expressions on my parents’ faces when I walk in the room with their first grandchild.
I’m know they have grown accustomed to having her around, and I feel terrible for taking her away.
I will miss eating dinner with them, and lounging around the television afterwards.
I will miss being able to call my best friends over whenever I'd like.
I don't even know if I'll have friends in my new country.

I've been living away from home for 7 years now, and every year it gets harder.
My heart hurts to think of all the holidays and birthdays I've missed.
Now that I have a daughter, I don't want her to miss out on them either.

But maybe something good has come out this constant coming-and-going.
I know of many people who rarely even talk to family members that live in the same town as them.
Or others who take for granted family get-togethers, and complain about being obligated to go to them.
Knowing that the time I have with my family is limited makes me appreciate every second of it.

Being away from my family has been the most difficult thing I've had to deal with in the last seven years of my life.
Some may think I'm lucky for having this as my biggest problem, but I don't. I hate it.
Still, I'm not quite ready for this lifestyle to be over yet. 
For one, we don't really even have this option until my husband retires.
For two, experiencing the world is my dream. Not just seeing it, but experiencing it.
It's the geographer in me.

I'm ecstatic and anxious about our move.
I can't wait to learn about all sorts of new places and things.
But soon I will have to say goodbye to my family again, and I'm dreading it.
The only thing that ever makes it easier for me is planning my next visit, and knowing that one day it will be a move.

So that's me, right now, in a nutshell.
Thanks for stopping by.
Now go call your Mom (or your Dad... or sibling, or grandparent, or great aunt... or anyone else who loves you.)
Or better yet, stop by their place if you are lucky enough to have a chance.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Eva's First Thanksgiving

Eva's First Thanksgiving was spent away from her Daddy but with the rest of her family in Texas. The festivities pretty much lasted a week long. The first Thanksgiving dinner we had was early in the week at my mom's house. I didn't take many pictures that night, but here's one of the few I took for my mom.
In the early afternoon of actual Thanksgiving Day, we went to Daniel's sister's house for lunch. She happened to also have a "gender reveal" party that day. I found out that I'm having my first baby niece, who will be Eva's first first cousin. I'm so excited!
The evening of Thanksgiving we went to Daniel's grandmother's house (on his Dad's side). Eva got to meet three of Daniel's aunts that she had never met before, including the one whose Eva's name came from. 
Early Friday morning, my little brother D.J. and I drove Eva up to Bandera, TX for a Thanksgiving meal with my Dad's side of the family. It was the first Thanksgiving I've been able to spend with my family since 2005. I'm glad that Eva was able to spend some quality time with her Uncles Ryan and D.J. and most of my cousins. Eva wore the cutest little turkey headband made by Ashley's mom (Mrs. Byrd).
Friday Evening we went down to the Alamo for the annual lighting of the Christmas tree and the Riverwalk parade. We didn't end up staying for the parade, but we did check out the lighting, like I remember doing every year when I was a kid. It was beautiful.
Every year throughout my childhood, my family would go ride the train at Brackenridge Park during Thanksgiving weekend. I think it started with my grandfather and is the main reason we'd make the four-hour drive up to San Antonio from the Rio Grande Valley. Being the oldest grandchild, I was the first to partake in this tradition. 25 years later, our family has grown to 12 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren, and we're still keeping the tradition alive. We even waited for a couple of trains to pass through so we could get our spot in the back.
After the train ride we ate Cooper's BBQ in New Braunfels (DELICIOUS!!!) and did a little shopping in Gruene. Evita seemed to love the classic country music in one of Texas' oldest dancehalls. 
Despite missing Daniel, I had a wonderful week. I think I have more to be thankful this Thanksgiving than all the others combined. I've had a wonderful year with countless blessings- to include my healthy, beautiful baby girl. I was able to spend time with my family and friends and eat four delicious meals. Life is good... mahaloz to all who have made it this way.
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