I am currently sitting on a slightly rusted, well-worn wicker chair, drinking hot coffee and staring out at the ocean. The waves are breaking out in the distance and frothing white before they come rolling into the shore. There’s this chipper bird in the tree to my right, adding some harmony to the consistent thrum of the ocean waves. My bare feet are pressed into the worn red wood of my backyard porch. Another wave crashes.
Okay, I’m stalling. I kind of don’t want to tell you any of the bad stuff I’ve been planning to share in this post, because I really am blissed out today. But, for as many literal rainbows as I’ve seen stretching the length of this island – our move to Hawaii has not been all bouncing, primary colored light beams. To be honest with you, I feel like hitting my 20s has meant a lot of lessons in failure; learning what not to do. Our move here is no different, even when it all might seem like that opening paragraph. There have been some financially irresponsible, slap my forehead, foolish, learning moments since we’ve been here. And since that’s the truth, I think it should be shared (à la Glennon Doyle Melton). This list will be all “Maybe don’t do that if I were you and guess what hindsight really is 20/20.” If the below are not mistakes you would’ve/have ever made, I’m sorry I couldn’t offer you any solid advice this time around. But maybe it’ll be like your quirky friend’s shoe collection: even if you try on every strange, eclectic pair and none really “fit,” the experience will still be fairly entertaining.
- So for my first three weeks in Hawaii, I had to wear the same drab (quite unattractive, actually) outfit pretty much every day: A red and white crop top I’d brought from home and a pair of black track shorts I had to buy from the military store on base here. I occasionally switched the top out with a lollipop-print crop of the exact same style when the mood struck. If you’re cringing, just know that I was too. Oh, I was too. This is how it happened: I somehow forgot – pause for dramatic effect – that my baggage I took on the plane would be the only thing I had access to until the rest of our things were shipped… And then I learned that shipped baggage sometimes arrives way later than expected. I had only packed “loungewear” (cough sweatpants) in my carry-on, which wasn’t even a bit effortlessly chic. Just effortless. And kind of grubby.
I’d give you two potential paths of advice if you’re ever moving somewhere overseas:
- Don’t forgo all the advice you’ve all probably already heard from the women in your life about packing your favorite things in your carry-on. Duh. Slaps forehead.
- Or do. I learned a small lesson in minimalism through this mistake, and also that no one in Hawaii cares if you always dress casually. I still cared, of course, so I was very glad when our shipments arrived.
- We landed in Hawaii and immediately bought a used, beat-up jeep after only test driving it once and not looking at any other cars … You probably shouldn’t do this. Even if you realllly love it. This is the biggest mistake we’ve made here so far. I won’t dwell on it too much – but suffice it to say that some people suck. If you move to Hawaii, I can certainly tell you where not to buy a car. I learned big decisions shouldn’t be rushed, no matter how spontaneous and carefree you plan to be in your pursuit of an island-persona. And on that note, I think I’m learning that when you’re 22, spontaneity should be saved for long walks on the beach and other free things.
- New stuff is expensive. Filling a house is expensive. And moving into a home is kind of hard in general, my dears. You can’t get everything unpacked and orderly in 24 hours, because your husband will think you’re kind of psycho and he’ll want to enjoy his first few moments to breathe, on his own, in peace. (But like, how, when there are boxes taking up all the oxygen?) And buying a bunch of furniture (or a new wardrobe) all at once is not actually possible when you’re this young. It has hurt my heart to see the big, wide empty spaces while Pinterest visions (like sugar plums) dance in my head. So many French Country, Farmhouse, Beachy, Bohemian possibilities. Ouch, my heart – it throbs.
- Moving with the military means movers may not care (at all) if they provide good customer service. Federally and contracted are two words I’ve acquired a distaste for when they’re in association with my sets of Cabernet glasses and champagne flutes. We also had a room filled floor to ceiling with boxes from the move for two weeks waiting to be picked up by the movers. I really obsess over annoying things like this – clutter is hard for me.
- Lastly, for this particular list, is a mistake I am still making. When Christian and I first got married and moved in together, it was into a hotel in Virginia for his military training. And then when we moved to Hawaii, it was into another hotel. It isn’t easy to make new friends in a brand new place, and particularly, in hotels where interaction is often elevator talk… literally. That’s meant that Christian and I have spent tons of time together, with him as kind of my only friend. And that we’ve lived in one room together for more than 6 months. I’ve expected a lot out of him as my sole friend (for now, I hope), and now that we’ve moved into a house with, gasp, multiple rooms (!) sometimes I find myself bugging him for the kind of attention no one really needs or deserves: AKA, to be in the same room together, talking, at all times. Lol. I wish I was kidding. Newlywed marital bliss happens every day. But not every minute of every single day. Go figure!
I’ve learned that you can get through most things, even financial bumps, with an incontrovertible sense of humor and hope that things will look up. Like yesterday, for example: I rode into town on my bike to buy some fruit, and a nice old man showed me where the store was, watched my bike outside for me, and invited me to start a band with him. Hehe. Ultimately, some people will sell you broken cars, and some will ask you to be the lead singer in their band.
I think it’s very important to laugh.
*But also maybe to do some thoughtful hours of research and/or ask me if you plan on making any mistakes since I’ve probably already made ‘em and can advise* 😉
So cheers to our mistakes. They’re future stories.