Day 17 – A picture of something that has made a huge impact on your life recently

A move always turns your life upside down. After our recent move, however, things were supposed to settle down a little sooner. Things still haven’t come together quite yet. I’m still unemployed. Still don’t even know what I’m really supposed to be doing, actually. My family is still finding their groove, and lots is still up in air. Unfortunately, I went into the move with the mindset that everything was going to instantly be better–life would make sense again, things would fall into place, and all the hard stuff we went through in Texas would be behind us. That did not happen. I will say, I feel much more at peace here (must be the ocean :P), but we had a whole new set of challenges. However, the bright side of this season’s trials is that our family has been drawn much much closer together. That’s saying a lot, too, because we have always been a tight family unit, but we have banded together and worked through some pretty desperate situations. My family rocks. California is pretty awesome, too–they just need to get their whole budget/unemployment thing worked out.

Our time is short…

and new beginnings are on the horizon. This has been the hardest 3 years of my adult life, and for as much as I complain about Tejas, it’s really not Tejas at all. It’s just all the “life” that has happened over this 3 years. Leaving here will be bittersweet, but I’m very excited for the new chapter to begin! We have just 2 weeks to go, and while some major components have fallen into place, there are still a million and one things to do. As hectic as it is to have our rotation fall in December, it’s rather nice to be able to have Christmas at the end of the whirlwind.
Soooo, for the sake of tradition I’ve compiled a list (I did this when leaving Hawaii, as shown here), a list of things I will definitely not miss about the Lonestar State, and another made up of all the things I will be very sad to leave.

Things I will NOT miss about Texas:
–The Weather… first and foremost, must be at the top of my list. Weather is highly overrated, and Texas has proven that to me. We are definitely outdoors people–beach, walks, camping, even just having coffee outside in the morning–but since we have lived here, we have become hermits (me, especially). Our first year here I looked at my kids one day and couldn’t believe how WHITE they were. They’ve always had golden tans and healthy glows. Even my brown husband has gotten super pale, and it’s rather depressing. The summers are just way too miserable to spend too much time in the sun. Plus, it’s ridiculously humid. So gross I have to keep the AC blasting, or I just can’t handle it. Winters are equally unbearable–cold, windy, yucky, bleh. I would rather just stay inside than deal with it. I’ll be honest, I love autumn around here–spring is also nice, but allergy season is brutal. Overall, Texas can just keep its weather. I really think this is what initially ruined things for me.
–Wasps. Hawaii had centipedes, TX has wasps. I found 12 nests under my deck the summer we moved here. They would dive bomb me as I cleaned the pool, keep me hostage at my back door (they liked to smack into it in groups of 5 or more), and we also have ginormous cicada-killers burrowing in various parts of the front and backyard. I’m deathly afraid of stinging, buzzing, flying things, and I’m pretty sure the wasps contributed to me staying inside.
–Texas drivers. Sorry guys, you really don’t know what the hell you’re doing on the road. You have traffic every day, why do you keep driving like traffic is a new concept? And weather! Come on, you have plenty of it–why haven’t you learned to drive in it? And for the love of God, please learn how to merge.
–Tex-Mex. Gross. I learned very early on that Mexican food is some kind of horrible amalgamation of southerners trying to make what they think is Mexican. Even the Mexicans have given in. Maybe I’m spoiled being from New Mexico and also from SoCal Mexican cuisine, but “green enchilada sauce” does not mean tomatillo sauce, corn does not belong in every single dish, and sour cream should be a garnish used sparingly in maybe a few dishes, not as a sauce thrown over tortillas or dumped atop everything on the menu. Blech.
–Living in the Cowboys’ backyard. It was bad enough when they were in Irving, but then they had to move to Arlington. While making fun of the Cowboys was enjoyable, I couldn’t get away from them ANYWHERE during football season. Plus, Cowboys fans are super sensitive. There are a lot of them you can’t even joke with, or they get totally butthurt. I’m thinking it’ll be a lot more fun to make fun of them when I’m far way. 😉

Things I will miss about Texas:
–Christian values. They are in the culture, they are part of life, and people are not ashamed or shy about them. Prayers before school/sports events, cheerleaders dancing to Christian music, teachers being able to share ideals with Christian undertones (without being obtrusive or proselytizing) and not be afraid that they will hung out to dry by parents or school boards. Town meetings or events start out with prayers. I love that it’s just a way of life. I understand that we’re heading to California, where the culture is the polar opposite. I will definitely miss not having to make excuses for my beliefs, but I’m thankful for the time and foundation my family has received.
–Schools. We were so luckily to be part of an awesome school system w/awesome teachers and parents. Plus, no state in the nation can beat music education in Texas. No budget cuts to deal with, no furlough days or early releases. Bus services still run, and the focus is simply on kids getting an education.
–Taco Cabana. Yes, even though I bitched about the Tex-Mex, tacos are awesome. Taco Bueno comes a close second, but Taco Cabana is my mecca. Fajita tacos, street tacos, breakfast tacos… all of it. No one does it the same, and I don’t know if I’m gonna function w/o them. The people that work there even know me. They know my orders, they know my car, they know my face. Yes, I realize I have a problem. I’m okay with that.
–MY FRIENDS. One of the best things about my time in Texas. My church family that we followed from Hawaii, Randy & Linda–our spiritual parents– I don’t know what we’re gonna do without you! Koa, Tom, Dee, Reed, Annette, Mike, Sandra, we will be pressed to find such a wonderful group of people. Truly our family, and it will be difficult to leave them. Amy and Cindy (and respective families), thank you for being two of the most loving and supportive friends a girl could ask for. <3
–Living so close to my Roswell family. I loved being able to be so close, especially with the health issues that have happened. Getting in my car and being able to be there in a few hours has been wonderful. 7 hours will soon translate into 16 hours, so I’m glad I took advantage of going home as often as I did.

Moving is never easy. I know there’ll be a big adjustment for all of us, and for as much as I joke/complain/whine I have loved the people and connections I made while living here. Texans are some of the nicest people on the planet. That being said, I know this move is the right one for us. I know that God has some amazing things planned for us, and I can’t wait to find out what they are.

Adios, y’all.

Almost time to go…

Wow. Trace got his orders. He leaves on 29 October, which is a short 7 weeks away. Even crazier, is 6 weeks after that, the kids and I leave! I keep thinking about this and wondering what it’s going to be like when it’s finally time to head out. I know it will be so bittersweet.

I’ve made 2 lists as I reminisce over the last 2 years–things I will not be missing here in paradise, and things I don’t know what I’m gonna do without.

Things I will not miss about Hawaii:
1. Humidity~crawling into bed and the sheets are damp. Climbing out of bed and the carpet is damp. Drying off from the shower and your towel is still damp from the day before. Having a film of sweat on your entire body every minute of the day, except for that 10 minutes after you’ve gotten out of the shower.
2. The critter factor~our first house was overrun by centipedes. You’ve looked into the face of evil when you’ve seen a Hawaiian centipede. We also had millipedes that came out of the woodwork–if you get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, you WILL step on one. They pop when you step on them, and they leave a yellow stain on your foot and the tile. We moved off base and yay! no more centipedes and millipedes. However, we have ants–3 different kinds to include the micro-ants that crawl into any package in the cabinet, opened or new, and eat through the plastic lids to get to peanut butter. I have to keep my pb in the refrigerator. We also have “B-52” size cockroaches. At work and in many other homes and businesses there’s a mouse and rat problem. It cracks me up, because on the mainland, you DO NOT talk about problems you have with cockroaches or mice. It’s not something you want other people to know, and only “dirty” people have pest problems. Here, it’s so common, that we talk about it all the time! People I know that have million dollar houses talk about conking mice on the head with their high heels! They’re just everywhere, and a factor for everyone, every walk of life, no matter how clean and neat you are.
3. Being so far away from my family. Having an ocean between you is a sad and daunting thing.
4. Ukus. Enough said.
5. No Sonic, no Target…

Thing I WILL miss about Hawaii:
1. Food~Spam Musubi, Li Hing Mui, Good Japanese food wherever and whenever I want it, poke I can buy even at the commissary, lemon peel, crack seed places in the mall :), toasted nori sheets you can buy like chips, shoyu (it will again become soy sauce when I go back home), huli huli chicken, fried noodles, also eating rice with every meal no matter what it is–at restaraunts, you can get rice instead of fries, Coco Champs and Acai Bowls at Lanikai Juice (I’m still hoping to see some cast member of Lost before I leave), Aloha Salads and their awesome Asian salad.
2. Driving with locals who care about people other than themselves. As a rule of thumb, you stop and let someone make their left turn at least once when you’re in the car, no matter where and how far you are going. I would never get home from work were it not for the kindness of strangers. Pedestrians actually have the right of way, and everyone waves at everyone else as a thank you and you’re welcome. If you’re lost or miss a turn or need into the next line at a stoplight, just stick your head out the window, wave your hand in the direction you need to go, and you’re in like Flynn. Shaka when you drive away, and it’s all good.
3. The beautiful scenery. No matter where you go, it’s gorgeous, from the beach to the mountains, from the fields to the jungles, God is so present and obvious wherever you may look.
4. Access to a beach wherever and whenever you want it.
5. Aunties and Uncles… no matter who it is, if they’re older than you they are either an auntie or an uncle, whether you know them or not. Whether you’re 30 or 3, you always have an auntie or uncle around. I love the fact when I tell my kids, “Go ask Auntie…” and they say, “Which auntie?”
6. My job. I love my kiddos, I love being so close to my own children, I love the people I work with and for, and I love the fact that at work, I can go tell someone, “I need prayer”, and they will all join in and cover the situation.
7. My extended family–my surrogate mother, Auntie Pam, and my surrogate sisters, Rachel, and Teri…the Yuen family has become my family away from family, and I don’t know how I’m going to live without them. Py, Jocelyn, Jacob, Earl, you all have also become like family to us, and we will miss you all fiercely. I know I’ve made some lifelong friends, friends I will visit for years to come, and friends I know will visit me, wherever I may be.

This list is not all-inclusive, and I’m sure over the coming weeks, I’ll be adding to it. I just can’t believe our time is almost up.