We live a beautiful life. At times, it's still hard for me to believe. For almost a decade, August was my most difficult month of the year. This August has been bliss in comparison. My stress level is lower than I can ever remember. I feel good. Really good. Does that mean life is perfect?
It would be easy for me to gush on about how I walk on flower petals to get to my front door and live in a world scented with plumeria. I could drone on about the healing properties of the ocean, the benefits for the body, mind and soul. I could talk about how much I look forward to pouring my creativity into the laptop or seeing the smiling faces of all the beautiful people I work with - both options unbelievably attached to a paycheck. I love my life. But there are things I find myself missing now that we're four months into this adventure.
This is an odd thing to miss, I know. I never wear shoes. Not even at work. Aside from the occasional bout in slippers, my feet are consistently bare. This is so far from Mainland Me, it's unreal. I love shoes. I used to own countless pairs of barely worn, beautiful works of foot art. I spent more than a normal amount of time and attention to making sure my feet were clean, a habit which prepared me for living a life without shoes. That being said, there are times when I miss both the gorgeous specimens of foot art I left behind and the comfort of the glove-like fit of a good sneaker. It's not that these aren't available to me here, I just have no occasion to put these in the need category. Without need status, these are just things that have no priority. So, I live a life without shoes.
My Ridiculous Hair
My hair is somewhat different here and I have no idea what to do with it. Not that I've ever been a hair wizard. But at least I had a clue about how to deal with the thin, straight, obstinate nonsense that crowns my head. Here, it's become a drier and a somewhat thicker beast than I've battled in the past. I have little to no idea what to do with this new development. Nor have I found a new hair guru to teach me new tricks. There is a bit of me that misses my ability to deal with (read: ignore) the irritating mess on my head. The slight change in hair behavior isn't the only thing I miss either. For the first time in my life, I have to consistently consider my scalp and the sun. Scalp burns are the worst. And it's not like I can walk around in some cute vacation-esque floppy hat all the time. Nor am I capable of pulling off the ball cap look on a daily basis (or at all, really). Again, I miss not needing to spend time thinking about what is on top of my head.
A Shepherd Community
There aren't a lot of GSDs on the island. Maybe this is the reason we encounter more trepidation than interest when we take Miss Monster in public. Granted, she's a big ol' puppy. Her size alone (of which she is blissfully unaware) would cause strangers to pause. I get it. It does, at times, hurt my heart a bit though. Miss Monster would love nothing more that to be cuddle friends with almost everyone she meets. Those that see and understand this the best have been mostly tourists that are also shepherd owners. We encountered people who were less than enthused about being in the presence of a GSD on the mainland, but we didn't have to go far to meet someone with an opposite opinion. On the other hand, people are much more interested in making kissy face with Old Dog who could not be less interested in the general public and actively loathes the younger people population. We've been faced with turning down ample offers for play dates for Old Dog while facing more of a desert atmosphere when it comes to finding many four-legged friends for our not-so-little girl. I'm very thankful for the few pup friends she has, I just sometimes miss easy access to those who are as enthused about the breed as I am.
Chief among all the positives of our decision to relocate to Maui has been the opportunity to discover new flavors, ingredients, and preparation techniques. We're having a great time learning new stuff on the culinary front. As a bonus, we're eating healthier as well. However, I do miss access to my comfort foods on occasion. Specifically, my favorite dishes at my favorite Midwest haunts. The ability to recommend dishes with detail, offer restaurant suggestions with enthusiasm. This, I know, will come with time. Exploring the restaurant scene is a slow process as the cost of going out is at least double what we've previously experienced. And that's just at the run-of-the-mill restaurants. The real gems that get my taste buds excited are nothing short of $$$$. Happy hour offerings have been helpful. They at least allow us to sample yummy treats without breaking the budget. Like I said, we'll get there. It just takes time. For now, I'll nourish my foodie soul on the memory of a Pint Room PBB&J. Grog House curry wings. State Fair sweet corn. A Milky Way cherry coke. An ICP coney with cheese. Anything on the menu of Late Harvest Kitchen. Sigh. This list could go on for years.
The Doctor Dilemma
With the exception of a few bumbles along the way, I've been very fortunate to work with some excellent medical professionals in my life. Most of this was not luck, but the result of having both family and friends in the local medical community that were able to make wonderful recommendations. Thanks Mom! Here, however, we have struggled with finding a permanent internist. Admittedly, we haven't spent as much time researching this as we should have. Which means the hiccups we've had like getting regular prescriptions filled are our own fault. But really, who wants to spend time finding a doctor on a day off when the beach is just. right. there?
Family & Friends
I'm the family fixer. This has been both a relied upon skill and point of contention, depending on circumstances. It's just how my brain works. A problem is mentioned and my immediate, almost involuntary, reaction is to brainstorm solutions. It's who I am. So, you can imagine my brain cramp when life stuff happens with my family or friends on the mainland and I'm here, hands virtually tied. Sure, I can still offer suggestions and be a sounding board, but as far as the actionable role I'm used to playing - forget about it. Even making phone calls is often a challenge thanks to the time difference. No one really has issue with this except for me. This is just one aspect of understanding my role in this new life that has been a challenge.
But not the only one when it comes to family and friends. When medical emergencies pop up, I want to be there to hold a hand. Congratulate the new mommies. Be the bringer of wine for the friends preparing to send their kiddos off to college for the first time. I even miss hearing about the simple nonsense that happens during a day that may not seem important enough to bring up on an less than regular phone call. It's hard to feel connected with people when people can seem so out of reach. At least with social media I can tell myself I'm not completely disconnected. And this is a two-way street. It's only been a breath over four months since we moved and we're still getting our bearings. Still figuring out life. Still getting settled into our home, our routine. All of that serves too often as a distraction to putting in the time and energy to staying connected. But it's where more of our time and energy need to be spent.
These are times when I have a fleeting moment in which I miss the mainland. There are many more in which I am eternally grateful to be here. This island has been more than welcoming. The list of things I love has no end. Everywhere I look the beauty is breathtaking. I love (and feel loved by) my Snorkel Bob's family. I write a TON. I laugh more. I'm looking forward to winter. Actually, that's an understatement. I'm riddled with excitement about winter. I can't wait for the first time I'm snorkeling one of the incredible reefs while listening to the song of the Humpbacks. Just. Can't. Wait. We live more in the moment. Sometimes we don't even know where our phones are. Crazy, I know.
It really is a beautiful life.