A Travellerspoint blog

September 2011

10 years after 9/11

I remember exactly where I was on the morning of September 11th, 2001. I was in a hotel room in Kauai, waking up on that day like any other day. I went downstairs to the hotel lobby to get my coffee, and that is when I saw a crowd of people, gathered around CNN on a big screen. I heard the news hours after it had already happened, due to the five hour time difference. I saw the planes, the fires, the chaos of crowds and smoke and sadness. I know what I felt was shock, disbelief, and then a profound loneliness. It is hard to be thousands of miles across the ocean from friends, family, and the larger community of your own nation in a time like this. I was removed, isolated from the events, watching it happen as if it was happening to someone else, someplace else. But this was happening in a place close to home, close to me, my best friend living a few blocks away. Here I am on the tenth anniversary, back in Hawaii, and it feels like it has come full circle.

There is a time for every purpose under heaven. (Another Song I cannot get out of my head...for this occasion)

"To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

A time to build up,a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late"

Looking back on the last ten years, I am proud of this nation and its people. Proud of how we have stuck together, forged ahead with new projects, new dreams, new communities, and have helped each other when we have needed it most. It's has been a rough few years for many of us. I am however, disheartened by our politicians and our politics. This is not a political blog, and never will be. But I have to say, these times when I nation most needs leaders, those I had hoped would rise up and claim leadership have not. I have put so much hope in our president, Obama, and I hoped he WOULD be the change he was proclaiming. Sadly, all I have seen is more of the same posturing and bickering, and political garbage that keeps this nation from excelling and holds its people back. I watched Obama's "Jobs Plan" speech this Thursday, and I was again hoping for good things. Positive ideas, middle ground unity, a rising up. What I heard instead was a line drawn in the sand, a steady tug of war that never seems to sway. I am again moving toward disillusionment on both the right and the left. It is not just Obama that I am disappointed in; it is our Congress taking vacation just after a weak, last effort debt deal was passed, the feeling I get from both sides that it is most certainly not ME that they are looking out for, but actually themselves. I have travelled around the world enough times to speak with many different people about perceptions of the United States that range from belief that it is still the best country in the world to thinking the leaders are making major errors in judgment or worse. I hope the best is true. I hope that our leaders can become half as good as we all imagine they can be. I know the people of America are great, and we deserve leaders who are also, unyieldingly, great. Now is the time for our leaders to come together. Now is the time for their very best, for the people that are still hoping. Now is the time.

Posted by globalmomma 14:29 Archived in USA Tagged usa time jobs obama political disappointment recession Comments (0)

Huli huli chicken

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Huli huli! I just had the best chicken, no, possibly the best THING I have ever eaten!
We received a tip for a maintenance man in the place we are renting..."If you see a truck that says G.J's chicken, stop and buy it. You won't regret it". So, we stopped along the side of the road, and bought this whole chicken from a truck in the parking lot, beside which was a huge rotisserie roasting the most amazing-smelling chicken over a wood fire. I never would have thought to stop here. But there was a line out the lot, and we nearly didn't get our chicken. Now, I want to make the hour drive back up into the hills of Waimea tomorrow and buy it again.

The wonderful thing about life on an island is the way it reveals itself to you, bit by bit, moment by moment. When you venture out past the tourist zones and comfort zones, you find the magical stuff. I was drawn a map yesterday of some tide pools behind a gymnasium north of Kona. A very unassuming place, by the airport, down a gravel path, that opens up to gorgeous natural lava pools filled with seawater. Large natural soaking tubs for children with a stunning ocean view beyond, but no waves. This is perfect for our son who walks toward the waves shaking his head, no, no, like he is saying, "don't even think of putting me in there!" And here is a place that has public ocean access to these perfect ocean water pools, and we are now privy to the information. Last week we found two perfect toddler playgrounds. This week, fresh, cheap Ahi tuna at the local grocery, and a nice harbor restaurant with the best french fries you have ever tasted, and a marina view. I love this exploration and expansion of a new place. Very similar to falling in love, Kona shows you more and more of what makes it unique and who you are when you are here.

Posted by globalmomma 00:41 Archived in USA Tagged food tide harbor pools kona Comments (0)

Fiesta, wrestling match and safari

sunny 31 °C

Recent quote by Harvey Karp, author of Happiest baby on the block and Happiest toddler on the block:
"Toddlerhood is like three parts fiesta mixed with two parts wrestling match and one part jungle safari"

This made me laugh with the clarity and chaos of it all. Watching my son progress from innocent sweet baby to opinionated toddler has been definitely a growing experience for me, filled with new challenges and forcing me to again go to the books, after I thought I had finally gotten this parenting thing down. I told my husband last night, 'well, here we go. As soon as this parenting thing gets easy, as soon as you seem to have it figured out and are in a groove, it throws you a curveball and you are in a new phase.'

I suppose I should have known this to be true, and I have certainly been warned about it by those with older children, but I guess it hadn't hit me until this week. I thought I had figured out who this child I birthed was, had his personality, his needs, his general attitude figured out, but now it seems to be a moving target. There are days now where I find myself just scratching my head, wondering where to go from here.

The 3 parts fiesta:
1. A 16 month old literally had me laughing harder this week than I remember in a long while. What was it?
First time, it was during his wind-up hyper phase right before a nap, and he was peeking out from behind a door going "a-boo", "a-boo", trying to engage me in peek-a-boo. Then I walked into the closet, turned around, and caught him by surprise "A-BOO!" He literally fell over in hysterics. He was on his back giggling wildly, kicking his feet in the air. Which of course had me cracking up, which kept him going. It was so funny my husband had to peek in on us from his work in the office to see what was going on in there. Nothing, really, just another day with a joyful little kid... and the things that can make him laugh seem so simple, I have to remind myself to take that extra time to do it. Seeing him laugh that hugely is definitely one part fiesta.

Part two. Early morning, I awaken to hear Bodhi yelling, "awa", his word for water. I listen a bit longer and hear running water and more noises, awa, awa. I get up and find him and my husband splashing and spraying the shower hose in the bathtub. "Why are you in there so early?" I ask my husband. Go check out Bodhi's crib and you will see. I step into his room and I see his travel crib, sheet, sides, everything, covered with smeared poo. Looks like someone was a little bored when he got up this morning, my husband said, and then we both started laughing so hard we couldn't stop. Bodhi, when he hears someone else laughing, lets out this fake little, haha! laugh that just made it that much funnier... like he was in on the joke, and maybe he was. An early morning fiesta.

3. Bodhi is a bird chaser. He runs after any bird, pointing and screaming, 'didahh!' (as in doggie, because, every animal is currently a doggie to him) The birds of course, tend to fly away when they see an excited child running toward them, shouting, so he doesn't ever get very close, but it does not seem to deter him one bit from following them. There are so many birds here in Hawaii that this game has turned into a fairly steady event - diddahh! every time he hears a bird call, diddahh! when he sees the little birdies eating remaining crumbs off people's plates at restaurants. This awareness and excitement in the simple things is fiesta #3.

2 parts wrestling match:
Recently, he is becoming more and more determined to keep me in his room or even better, holding him, until he falls completely asleep. Actually, I think he would prefer me to hold him for his entire nap. Well, this is not happening for me. I physically cannot hold him up that long anymore, for one thing. I don't want to, for another reason. Hence, the wrestling match begins. It is baffling to me, this struggle of wills. I am caught completely off-guard. He tries all his angles, he stands up and cries for me, mama! mama! OK, this one still works on me. But he also tries wiggling out of my arms and running across the room, hoping it will become a game and he can stay up a few minutes longer. I try to keep a stern (and straight!) face about all of this. I try to be level-headed and calm, but I find myself using the words "STOP", "NO" and "DON'T" more than I care to think about...

The second wrestling match comes when it is time for dinner ("dodindodin"), and he is more interested in playing than eating. He rubs the food in his hair. He asks to get up out of his highchair as soon as we put him in. Please don't contain me, he pleads, I want to play... He wants to run around with me running after him, spooning food into his mouth while he plays. I mean, really. Can't a baby sit and eat a meal?!?

And this brings me to the one part safari, which is basically the feeling that I have everyday when I literally do not sit down...he is moving so constantly, that it is like being on a safari, observing and following the action as closely as you can. So, (when I have a moment), I am going back to the drawing board... reading, experimenting, and realizing that this whole parenting thing really is a roller coaster, and I just need to hang on and ride.

Posted by globalmomma 14:02 Archived in USA Tagged sleep wrestling patience routine toddlerhood struggle parenting Comments (0)

Partial Enlightenment

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Apparently I angered the Gods with my latest post about the vog and volcanic eruptions, because thereafter, we had a particularly cloudy, particle-rich day, and now we have had two straight days of intermittent rain...

I came across a poem from one of my favorite poets, Brian Andreas, called Partial Enlightenment

"The problem with knowing everything's going exactly as it needs to is that
when you're not having that much fun it doesn't even do any good to complain."

Made me laugh. How true it is.

Posted by globalmomma 23:08 Archived in USA Tagged hawaii andreas brian poetry poem Comments (1)

The Vog

Life in Kailua-Kona

sunny 31 °C

So, I have been hearing a lot about the 'vog' that plagues the Kona side of the Big Island. Vog is the smog/polluted air and volcanic dust that spews from the Kilauea volcano (the only currently active one in the Hawaiian islands), and causes health problems ranging from breathing difficulties to lowered immunity to chronic cough. Apparently, as it is told, the winds tend to blow this air over the mountains where it settles over Kailua-Kona and the coastal areas surrounding it.

I have been here now on the Kona coast for three days, and have been coming here yearly for vacation, and I don't feel a thing. The air looks perfectly clear to me, bright, sunny skies, no clouds, no eerie haze, no tightness in the chest. I am beginning to have suspicions that this is somewhat similar to Seattle being known as the rainiest city. Those of us who have lived or do live there know that this is not really true...it is a convenient misrepresentation that keeps many people from being interested in moving there. It keeps many away so that only those who really work for it, or who have lived there long enough to appreciate its beauty will know the truth. That on summer days, the clear days, it is one of the most beautiful places in the United States. (Sorry Seattleites!)

And it does not actually get that much rain. Yes, lots of clouds, yes, grey days, but the sunny days are treasured and enjoyed to the fullest. And we all know that when the rainy days get to be too much, Seattle people just have to get out. You just take a trip during those prolonged days of gloom, and when you get back, you feel fresher and the days are likely getting longer and brighter. It is part of the price of living in a place that cultured, that nice, that naturally beautiful. I have a feeling the same holds true for Kona. No one wants anyone else to know how perfect and lovely it is here, so they tell others about the 'vog' and it discourages them from wanting to live here. But those who decide to stay anyway are let in on the dirty little secret...that the vog days are fleeting, and the beauty and sunshine and ocean and plumeria...
are forever.

Posted by globalmomma 14:32 Archived in USA Tagged islands island big seattle volcanic ash sunshine days hawaiian pollution kona rainy vog Comments (0)

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