So this has taken long enough…
Since we live our lives in academic years, we are well underway on our second year in Hawaii. This year has been one of fairly unexpected changes and doing things a little bit differently.
The school where Cam worked last year closed after 94 years of service. It basically came down to the cold hard fact of businesses needing revenue, and nonprofits needing funding. If you’re spending more than you’re receiving, eventually, that’ll catch up with you. The early notice (the school announced the closure of their middle/high school division in the winter, and primary in the spring) meant that there was plenty of time to look for jobs for the following year (this year). Fortunately, he was able to stay in the private school system and has fewer students, more resources, and a teaching partner. He’s also teaching the oldest kids he’s ever taught – grade 6! It also came with a pay increase, which allows us to live fairly comfortably despite the need for careful budgeting in super-expensive Honolulu. He signed for his new job in the spring, so we went into this school year knowing that we would both have jobs. A big relief. I returned to the same position from last year but working with a different team of people. They’ve been at the school for longer and are fairly easygoing, so at least I’m spared of any in-team drama. Also a big relief.
The biggest curveball of this year was our unexpected move at the beginning of the summer. Around May, our owner let us know that she intended to sell the apartment we were living in, despite the fact that we were still had about two months in our lease. It was disappointing, because a) we weren’t really planning to move, b) it meant unexpected moving expenses, and c) we were going to have limited time to look for apartments and move because…
We had both signed up to do summer school. Which is roughly six weeks.
I did 4th grade English (it was a nice change of pace from sulky teenagers) and Cam did 3rd-grade Robotics. It was great, and it helped financially because it provided us with some additional income to take us through the time Cam wasn’t getting paid. It did mean that in between the end of the school year (fourth week of May) and the beginning of summer school we had 10 days off, which were largely spent moving and closing up at the old place. Then once summer school was over (third week of July) and the start of the new school year I had about 10 days off. Granted, teaching summer school is only half-day, but it was a good experience to understand that we do need and appreciate the time to not teach in the summer. Not doing that this summer!
Our big travel event last year was the Big Island over spring break. More on that later. In a nutshell, the Big Island is quite beautiful, very undeveloped, and very underpopulated compared to Oahu. In its defense, there is a massive National Park in it. And multiple volcanos that are anything but dormant.
Our lives in Oahu are fairly predictable: mostly work and home. We do live a mile walk away from Waikiki Beach, so we do go there for walks from time to time. We also live closer to a quieter part of the beach without too many people, and right by a park. The people-watching is quite good.
So I guess the point of this blog is just to tell you guys, we are alive and well. We’re mostly used to living in Hawaii. No, we will not retire here (Way too expensive and far from everything. Taxes are high and nobody knows where the money goes). We feel privileged to both be working in pretty stable private schools (no concern over whether the school will close tomorrow, lose funding because of test scores, or dip in enrollment or that kind of concern).
The most important thing I’d like to stress out here: WE LIVE IN FREAKING HAWAII AND HAVE A SPARE BEDROOM, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD COME TO VISIT. SOUTHWEST FLIES HERE NOW; NO EXCUSES!
We are always comforted and strengthened by the amount of love we know we can count on all over the world. The net of incredible friendships we’ve made in the last 10 years is truly amazing.
More to come! With all the aloha,