Today the boys' preschool took a field trip to Lapakahi State Historical Park. It's about half way between Kawaihae Harbor and Kohala. The kids really enjoyed the hike and I enjoyed that one of the Grandpas was on the original excavation team of the site. So many awesome stories over snack!
I also found out today, sadly, that one of my good friends is moving back to Portland. I've mostly accepted that friends here will come and go, but I was sure she was a keeper (her husband's family is from Hilo and they met at Mauna Lani). Of course, it all comes down to what is most practical. They've been struggling to make it work here and they both got amazing job offers (almost simultaneously!) in Oregon. I'll be sad to see her go, but I totally understand why she wants to.
That being said, I reflected today on my own life in Hawaii. It's been almost 3 years since we moved out here and, let me assure you, it has not always been smooth sailing. Jobs are few and far between (10% unemployment on this island!), cost of living is through the roof (don't even get me started on the price of gas), and being away from family is sometimes the hardest struggle of all.
BUT...I wouldn't trade it for anything. I absolutely love where I live. Personally, I feel being here has given my life a new level of clarity. I know my children are being raised in a place that is culturally and spiritually significant to our family. I'm discovering new things about myself (I like rural living!) everyday. And it doesn't hurt that every holiday and every free afternoon are basically spent "on vacation" (snorkeling at a 5 star resort on any-given-Wednesday? not a bad life.)
Mr A and I are both very committed to raising our family in Hawaii and are willing to endure the hardships to stay. I know that if we lived in the Northwest I could enlist the help of my parents more often and send my kids to a better school. I could eat cheaper, take public transportation, and maybe even (realistically) buy a house sometime in the near future. But, none of those things could be worth the value of loving where you live. I love Hawaii and I'm willing to work harder and come up with more creative solutions if that means I get to stay. There's no traffic, little stress, lots of aloha. I'm willing to Skype with my family and pay more for my milk if it means I get to enjoy every sunset and appreciate every lu'au.
I don't think island living is for everyone - but it's definitely for me.