A Travellerspoint blog

USA

A frog in your soup

So here's the news for today. After more than 2 weeks of travel, we landed back in Kailua kona at 10am this morning, and are all very happy to be here. Bodhi has been tearing his shoes and socks off all week, to which I promptly reply, "you have to keep those on until we get back to Hawaii. It's cold here honey.". Of course, he didn't listen to the 'don't take those off' part, but apparently he understood the 'until back in Hawaii' part because as thelane was about to set down, he was again yanking both socks off and throwing them with such gusto, I know he was hoping he would never see them again.

My husband also responded by systematically stripping off layers of clothing until he looked native again in his slips, shorts, and a hat. I however, was stuck in jeans, sneakers and a long sleeve shirt, and I couldn't wait to get the heck home.

Once home we visited our favorite spot for some fresh island poke (raw marinated ahi), and settled in. Bodhi went down for a nap, so I decided to read and rest as well. I heard something, and figuring my husband had come home, I got up and instead found, at the foot of my bed, a little someone. Looking dazed and sleepy. A little someone who is supposed to still be staying put in his crib. I have caught him the past few weeks testing me by sliding his foot up the side of the crib as if to say, 'you know I could do this if I tried, right?'. And I knew he could, but I was hoping he wouldn't have the desire to figure it out. I had a feeling the end of this trip would be our deadline for the dreaded transition to the toddler or the twin bed, and it alas, is here.

So, we are getting settled back into life in our condo here, which means opening windows, turning on the air, and getting the place aired out. And a little spring cleaning is in order too, since the bugs take over as soon as you leave your tropical paradise. But... I had no idea just how much they took over. I grab a glass and pour some sparkling water into it, but instantly taste thT it isn't right, and spit it into the sink. I look into the bottle expecting to find mold and instead to my horror, I find... A dead gecko. I am so completely disgusted I am feeling my skin crawl. I spit, gargle salt water. Then my husband suggests vodka, and I drink that as well. I am still shivering with the thought of that floating reptile in the water bottle. Then, my husband tells me, at least you didn't drink a whole glass...

There are more blogs written about the past few weeks, I just haven't had a chance to post them, so get ready to hear tales of the Caribbean, cruise lines, meetings with old friends, citizenship appointments, and travel to Sonoma and San Francisco.

Posted by globalmomma 19:42 Archived in USA Tagged water travel dead baby bugs hawaii airplanes gecko crib Comments (1)

Principled Sickness

rain 53 °F

Today is the first day I have been able to pause and reflect on this long month of journeys we have been taking. Perhaps that's why this bug hasn't loosened its grip on my chest since the first of the year. I am getting a little tired of being sick: Why can't I be like everyone else and just dose up on medications until I feel better? Why Can't I mask the symptoms and move on with life?

This principled stance that I have from years in holistic medicine keeps me holding out, drinking fluids, trying to rest, cheering on my body to naturally heal itself. Not so easy sometimes when a jet-lagged child keeps you up from 4-5am, and buses, taxis, excursions and rain are calling you to go. go. go. I remember talking to my sister once when she had two young kids and walking pneumonia. I was in medical school. I gave her all the good advice. I told her, you need to slow down, get lots of rest, fluids and warm nourishing foods. You need to take a month to just recuperate, sleep well, and rebuild your immunity so it doesn't get worse. It is a testament that she didn't laugh in my face. As I find my own immunity faltering and feel a cold mounting in my own chest, I find I am now preaching to the choir. And the choir is not amused. In fact, the choir want to throw the preacher out and find some new principles to follow that include Nyquil and Theraflu.

We left Kona February 13th, and have been in flight for over two weeks. It was an epic trip from Hawaii to San Francisco, San Francisco to Greenville SC, South Carolina to Florida, cross Florida to a cruise ship, cruise throughout the Caribbean, then back to Florida, and across country to San Francisco. We have one final portion of the trip back from San Jose, CA to Kona. All with a toddler in tow. We realized while on the ship that we had traveled likely halfway around the world to get there, in less than a week.

Now from California, we will fly directly back to Kona, where I find, I cannot wait to return. Turns out, after only 6 months in Hawaii, I cannot bear to live anywhere else. Even in mild San Francisco temperatures of lower 50's, I have been shivering uncontrollably. I simply cannot bear the cold. I never particularly LIKED it, but I had no problems braving the SF or Seattle rainy days when I lived there - jogging through it, even sitting outdoors for an outside music festival through the cold, wet drizzle. In fact, occasionally I welcomed the fogging of my glasses when entering a warm coffeeshop, the sound of rain against the windows while I slept, the solitary jogs through musty Lincoln Park... Now after five minutes I am hacking and looking for the nearest way indoors. I think my body thermostat has adjusted to Hawaii temperatures, and I am not sure it will be easy to adjust it back.

For now, I will cuddle in for the evening, sip on my hot tea, and envision my body's defenses going to war.

Posted by globalmomma 14:06 Archived in USA Comments (0)

School shootings

A moment of long pause and reflection comes over me as I watch the words scroll across the small video screen imbedded in the airplane seat: Shooting in Ohio school. Another shooting in an American high school.

I find this so hard to take. Not just because I have my own child to think about, but because the whole concept is so unthinkable. Children killing children. I want to scream. I wish I could rewind it and stop the words from coming, wish I could stop this pain and this loss of innocence. It is very hard to find the words to write because I am sick down to the core of myself with despair. Maybe it should not come as a shock - there have been at least a dozen shooting in the past decade, but each one, no matter where they occur, is like a dagger to the heart of every parent.

How could this happen to our kids? Why? I am afraid to think of the answers.

I read an excerpt from a book called The Bully Society, and I wonder if that is a concept we are teaching our children, that bullying and teasing is a natural part of growing up. I wonder if the promotion of individualism sometimes leaves community and socialization behind. In all our strivings to create the perfect life for our children - perfect neighborhoods, good schools, nice things...sometimes we lose track of the most important thing of all - spending time with our children. Reminding them of their intrinsic worth. Loving our children as if they are all that matters in the universe, because they are. They all are. I worry about an infection of cultural unhappiness that I see around me, and I wonder if it contributes to the unhappiness rampant in children.

As I struggle to make sense of this situation, I worry about where I will send my son to school. Or how I will drop him off at school knowing these things. And I worry about children who are not feeling loved at home, and who are not being accepted at school. I don't know how to affect each and every one of them, but I wish that I could. I wish I could wrap my arms around the hearts of every child in the world and let them all be loved. I hope in some small way, we can all contribute to this mission, and we can all reverse this epidemic, bringing safety and kindness and acceptance back into our schools and our kids' lives.

Posted by globalmomma 09:07 Archived in USA Tagged children school love violence shootings Comments (0)

Overcome

overcast 84 °F

These days I feel chronically overwhelmed. Today on my way out the door, I spent fifteen minutes looking for my cell phone. Yesterday it was five minutes doing the same. I am always asking my husband, "Do you know where I put that?" "Did you happen to move it?" "Any idea where X could be?" Usually I find it in one of several obvious locations. But some rare times it is in an odd place, like say, the Windex is on top of the refrigerator, or the glass of ice water is next to the shower.

I find myself wondering if my husband is messing with me, if my son is really to blame for hiding these objects, or if I am honestly losing my mind. Hopefully none of the above, but my brain does not seem to be as sharp as it once was. I wonder why this has affected me, and not my husband. He gets the same lack of sleep. Maybe it is some odd shift in hormonal function after you have a child that suddenly makes a woman forgetful. He thinks I ignore him when he asks me to bring him some water, but the truth is, I forget what he said somewhere in those fifteen steps between the time he asks me and the time I get to the kitchen.

I am also losing my sense of motivation. I blame this on motherhood too. We went to our little beginner surfer's beach yesterday. I had many excuses in mind for why I couldn't go out: I had a headache, I was tired, Bodhi wanted me to stay, I had more pressing things to do... I DID build up the nerve to paddle out. So I swim out and find myself bobbing in the waves thinking, this is not safe. What am I doing out here alone? I don't know what I am doing. Maybe I should play it safe. Maybe I should paddle into shore. I paddled into a few waves like a boogie boarder, riding them shortly but without fully committing to a stand. This is our first big winter swell, and the waves were larger than we have seen, and I heard the first break in the distance thundering loudly. By the time they get in to where I am stationed, they are just bumps, but the oncoming white water and pounding sound make me hesitate and think I should go into shore. I sit there for a few minutes, wishing I felt the urge to attack the waves with gusto, like a lioness over her prey. Truth is I feel more like a puppy, wanting to watch from the shore. I don't want to be one of those people that always opts out and sits on the sidelines, I want to be a mother who adventures, takes chances, and learns new things. I want to teach my son he can do anything he sets his mind to do.

When I paddle back into shore, I am both feeling relieved and slightly bothered by this apprehension that I feel in the water. I remember a time when I felt fearless, when I would try anything, when I had more guts. I want to still have that audacity, that reckless abandon for adventure...I want my child to see it, and to also have a carefree courage. But something comes along with motherhood that causes me to take pause, survey the situation for safety, be cautious. It is what also makes me now woozy at high elevations. Heights never bothered me before, I would walk a razor-thin edge out to a clifftop. Now I see them as a danger. I watch these kids in the X-games go flying over a ramp doing backflips on their snowboards, and instead of thinking, 'wow, I wish I could do that'; I think 'Never'. I am gratified by the fact that I at least took the step to swim out there and be amidst the waves feeling these uneasy emotions. I hope it turns into a more fierce determination to overcome this fear and prevail. I want to succeed in surfing and I want to experience new things, but I find those things completely overshadowed by my greater desire to be a mother, to spend time with my son, and to cheer on his successes. Perhaps there is room for a little success and discovery for each of us, if I can only remember how to find it.

Posted by globalmomma 06:27 Archived in USA Tagged surf waves hawaii fear memory courage motivation Comments (0)

Big Shoes to Fill

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Each day I am amazed at how quickly children grow, and how much they absorb. It is a constant struggle to keep present and aware, so that I don't miss a thing. Last week, Bodhi came out of our room yelling momma! momma! and I rushed over to see him grinning ear to ear. Momma shoes. He was walking around in my shoes. Since then, he has been pulling every pair of our shoes out of the closet, walking around the house in them, so pleased with himself.

Cutest thing ever. And a reminder of how much he watches what we do, who we are. He wants to follow what his parents do, a natural process of a kid, and an incredible responsibility for the parents. Since I was pregnant with Bodhi I felt this concentrated desire to be a better person, not for me, but for him. Now as he grows, I feel this even more. I hope to be the person that I want him to see, to aspire to become, to know in his life. It is absolutely baffling what children will inspire within you.

Posted by globalmomma 04:17 Archived in USA Tagged children up shoes growing inspire Comments (0)

The most unadulterated place in the US

sunny 84 °F

We are back on the amazingly beautiful and peaceful island of Lana'i for our fifth wedding anniversary. In my opinion, after traveling far and wide across the US, it is the most unadulterated and genuine little piece of heaven in this country.

I AM biased, because we were married here, and every year we come back; but every year, it does not disappoint. I talk to many people who are lured by the activities of Maui, the scene of Oahu, or the nature of Kauai. They ask me, "Isn't Lanai boring? I hear there isn't much to do there". Um, exactly. Precisely the point. You don't need to spend your time doing anything, except just living and soaking up the amazing beauty and friendliness of the people and the slow easy island life that can sink deep into your soul.

Kona is a small town, but Lanai City is smaller. Kona's beaches are wonderful, but Lanai's are breathtaking.

The ferry from Lanai to Maui is a really nice way to see the ocean, the whales, and to get back to the airport, so we opted for that way of travel, instead of the small commuter plane from Maui to Lanai that is also available. Going from Kona, you have to pass through either Maui or Honolulu to get to Lanai, so we took a direct flight to Maui, then a cab from the airport to the ferry. On the way back, we opted to stay overnight in Maui. Don't even get me started on Maui. We stayed there for one night just passing through, and it is enough. We arrived to a busy lobby and a line for check-in. There were people everywhere, the pools were full of beach chairs and the complex requires a map. Oh boy. This is not the relaxing Hawaii that I know. And it is ironic, because it is the Hawaii that most people see. They see the same fast paced Hawaii, same full restaurants, and waiting in line for morning coffee and crowded beaches. Most do not get to see the beaches that are mostly empty and remarkably peaceful, the small hotels and towns that do not require maps or agenda or planning ahead. The ones that offer less in terms of attractions, but so much more in terms of a sense of deep calm and restoration and authentic island life. This is Lanai. And why we love it so much. Every time we go, we wonder, where did all the time go? Already it has been a week, and we didn't do anything at all - no snorkel adventures, no hiking, no golfing (although you can do all those things!) Just time spent walking leisurely down to the ocean, listening to the waves, watching the dolphins jump and the whales breach, having a mai tai, lounging in the pool, reading a book, sitting on the lanai...it is the slow times like this where you can be so still you can actually listen to your own thoughts, reconnect with your partner, revisit your life. DSC00084.jpg

Posted by globalmomma 13:49 Archived in USA Tagged islands relaxing hawaii peaceful lanai hawaiian serene Comments (3)

Waves of Life

one nap days

sunny 80 °F

Here I am in the middle of the one nap day, the 2 hours of personal time that I get while my son sleeps. It used to be two little breaks, and now as of Christmastime, we are officially down to one. I was hoping to drag this process out. Mostly for my own sanity and time management purposes, but also so he could get two opportunities for extra sleep. But my son appears to be a cold turkey kind of guy. He stopped one day with his second nap, and never looked back. So here we are, savoring this midday pause.

I realized last night, once again, how lucky I am, and what a gift it is to have a partner to parent with. Last night our sniffly, sweaty tot couldn't sleep. His fever was making him uncomfortable so for 4 hours, from 6:30pm until 10:30 pm, we took half hour shifts, holding him to sleep. Picking him up when he woke and rocking him back down. It could be enough to drive you mad if you didn't have someone to share it with. But now it is precisely these times that cause me to be the most thankful for what I have.

The harder a moment is, the more I realize how much ease is in the majority of my life. So I am grateful for the one nap, and the little boy who lets me spend the rest of my day with him.

We are right now considering the options moving forward: toddler bed? twin? full? How do we transition from this crib that he is starting to outgrow? Most likely he will give us the answers to this question, as he has with so many other questions. We will try and try again. It will have its hard points, and then it will go smooth and easy again, as the waves of the ocean flow out and in. I have a steady reminder of the rhythm of life, and the flow of time. When one day is stormy, the next is calm. The waves rise up, crash, and retreat. Life ebbs and flows, the good days follow the bad, and time keeps moving forward.

Posted by globalmomma 03:47 Archived in USA Tagged beach waves work life sleep hawaii toddler Comments (0)

The heat

sunny 84 °F

For those who have not been following my previous blog, globalmomma, I had a 4 month blog about my life in Italy traveling with our one year old son. Full of adventures, sightseeing, traveling, parenting, and the mundanities (mundane realities) of life all rolled up into one.

On one of those adventures, we ended up in the hospital with our son, who was having a febrile seizure in the car, while driving through Southern Italy. It is a moment in time that I cannot forget. I was scared, frantic, and worried. However, everything turned out well, he got over his cold, and we continued on our path. But each time he gets an infection now, I find myself holding my breath. Hoping it passes quickly and hoping he doesn't turn into the fiery red, hot dry infant that I remember so helplessly trying to nurture and protect. Tonight, our son's sniffles of the past few days turned into that all-out riot of feverish redness and hoarse coughing. And twenty minute wake up calls that last through the night. Part of you wants to scream for sleep but the other 99% so desperately is wanting for the fever to subside, the pain to release, the body to cure. Waiting for nature to fight its battle can be a very difficult time...I completely empathize now with parents everywhere. Every night your child is sick is one night you do not sleep. And a night spent praying to Gods you hope exist.

Sometimes Tylenol and the world's other miracles are definitely in order, and tonight is no exception. here's hoping our little guy gets some much needed rest, and wakes in the morning healed and well-rested... without feeling like he is emitting rays of the sun.

Posted by globalmomma 13:59 Archived in USA Tagged son sick hot fever sleepless tossing tylenol Comments (0)

Reminiscing

The wonder life

I am sitting here brewing my own home espresso, reminiscing about our summer journeys in Italy. What a perfect morning ritual - the intense little shot that is espresso. Waking in Hawaii to warm salt air is wonderful, and similar to our days in Italy - beginning with a cool morning breeze, and developing into a day of heat, sun and outdoors. Early in the morning our son goes straight to the front door, pulling on one of our hands, asking us to open it so he can go outside. He's definitely an outdoors kid. And that is no doubt in part due to our adventures in his lifetime being in warm climates, where he is free to roam with minimal clothing or effort. It's been a real gift, starting his life this way; spending nearly all of our time together as a family, enjoying and living life.

And living here does something to my psyche that I cannot explain. I love waking in a tank top. I love the feeling when the sun begins to warm the Earth as it rises high in the sky. And how the color of the water changes from a light greyish blue to a deep ocean blue as the day develops.

Barefeet. Skin that smells like salt. Hearing the gathering waves crash the shore. Watching the sky turn orange then pink then the deepest azure blue. Waking to the sounds of birds out the open windows, and little feet running, and giggles.

We live simply here - in four sparse rooms. But it leaves more space and time to being outside, in nature, on the Earth.

So many places to see...so much life and Earth and world to experience. So many adventures and discoveries, so much wonder and motion and sunshine. Why live any other way? Why not appreciate every day?

Posted by globalmomma 22:01 Archived in USA Tagged vacation sun life weather earth wonder hawaii warm sunshine wandering Comments (0)

The World of a Toddler

Our son is now 20 months old, and he can sign more words than I can. His current list is: milk, juice, pear, apple, good, bird, dog, chicken, sheep, cloud, rain, snow, sleep, eat, help, music, outside, clean, wash hands, all done, more, yes, no, thank you, please, cold, hot, car, boat, bus... and those are just off the top of my head, I am sure the list goes on. He recognizes at least 3x that many signs. This baby sign language thing was definitely one thing I did right - it is amazing! And I believe it really helps our son to feel more independent and to feel understood. He looks so pleased when he can get his point across with signs and words. And it leads to a lot less frustration. He is starting to get frustrated when he cannot figure out a toy or get something to work, or if he cannot communicate what he wants. It's tough - you can't help but feel for toddlers trying to express themselves. They understand so much, yet no one understands them. They can't express what they feel. The sign language helps. The whining and protests of frustration are difficult. But every little piece they get, it is exciting to watch them put it all together and develop an awareness of the world and the things they see and feel. I am glad to have the time to really be here and watch this whole world in him develop.

www.signingtime.com (and no, I am not paid for this promotional)

And excuse my holiday hiatus please. I am now officially back in my island home, and back in the writing groove. Expect more of the regular almost daily blog posts. ;0

Posted by globalmomma 14:26 Archived in USA Tagged sign language communication signing todler Comments (1)

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