another day in paradise

Photo by Amber--I made her take this one shortly after she arrived because I was so tickled by the drive-through serve-yourself lei stand--perfect for moms on the go!

Most of my blog posts read like propaganda for The Big Island. Forgive me. Lately I've been through a rough patch which could help balance some of the more glowing posts.

Sometimes it seems like one "off" moment leads to several more--like you can almost feel the moment of derailment and you just grip your seat (and grit your teeth) for the rest of the ride, knowing that it can only get worse. So it all began last night when I was walking beside the ocean on Kona's main street with Natalie on my back and Anna beside me and somebody yelled out of their car, "Your babies are ugly!"

I was already in a bit of a funk, so the comment only served to further boost my spirits. And then there was the night--Natalie woke at least every two hours. I was like a zombie trying to tend to her, to quiet her, tiptoeing as to not disturb my downstairs neighbors.

In one of the sweet, brief respites from Natalie's cries, I was asleep in my cozy bed, dreaming of weaned offspring, and my cellphone rang. Because it was three a.m. I was alarmed. But there was no human on the other end, just a message to the effect of: "Call the job line, call the job line, city, state, jobs, call, call, call the job line. Thank you!"

So this morning began, as many others have as of late, with me suffering from a severe case of SMOP. That's Sudden Morning Onset Paralysis, for the uninitiated out there. When my SMOP is acute, I can barely move, I'm so tired, I just sit there sulking into my cup of coffee, wondering what went wrong with everything in the universe.

I somehow got Anna ready for school while Natalie emptied the contents of my wallet onto the floor. As I rushed out the door, I scooped up my credit cards and cash and jammed them back into my purse.

After I dropped Anna off, I decided to stop by the Toyota dealership to inquire about the check engine light, which had been steadily on since yesterday, evoking dread every time I turned on the car. They were able to take my car immediately, and asked me to wait for the shuttle to take me to Enterprise. The courtesy shuttle seemed to have vanished, though (No thank you for that). So I decided to hike to Enterprise which was only a few blocks away, but the blocks were long and hot with Natalie in my arms.

I managed to get lost on the short walk, and when someone finally explained to me where to go, I arrived a the bottom of a cliff and could see Enterprise on the top. There was a handy staircase, but it was gated at both the top and bottom (no walking allowed around here!) so I was forced to climb all the way around and follow the curving road up. When I finally got to Enterprise I discovered that my driver's license was gone, and then had visions of Natalie's morning project.

So there I was at Enterprise, having surrendered my own car and unable to rent one. Fortunately my parents were still here (for just a few hours) so my dad came and got me. I was weepy by that point and had already thrown my cellphone at the ground in a temper.

Shortly after I got home, I discovered my driver's license in my wallet (surprise). So my sweet father drove back to get me. He had several packages to post so I offered to take them into the post office. But the packages were heavy and cumbersome and when I got to the doors they both said "PULL." I stared at the doors and thought to myself "Where is that aloha spirit when you need it?" Suddenly a man inside spotted me and rushed to open the doors for me. He said, "Have a blessed day."

So I posted the packages, rented the car, took my family to the airport, picked up Anna from school and then got word that my car was ready. Just as I pulled into Enterprise, I checked the back seat. I saw something small and shimmering in the crack between the seats, ran my hands along it, and discovered a diamond ring with three stones!

So I took my find into Enterprise and they said they'd call the clients who'd rented the car before me. I called my mom to tell her the news and she said, "You really cleaned up!" I was shocked by her suggestion. "Well I didn't keep it," I said.
"I mean, you were cleaning, it's the cleaning part that impressed me," she said. "By the way, I just wanted to tell you that your dad has lost his driver's license."

So anyway, I guess it's genetic. I'm missing the critical gene that keeps track of things like keys and driver's licenses and cell phones. And then tonight, the grand finally to this most unusual day was that Anna lost her first tooth. I took the garbage out and came back to her and her buddy Reese jumping in the kitchen. Anna showed me the tooth--bloody on one end--with pride. And then she wrapped her arms around my waist and leaned into me.

I couldn't believe how perfect that tooth was, how small and sweet and white. And I can't believe that that tooth, which began to form when she was still in my womb-- that tooth I worried and sweat over and urged her to brush--is now waiting in a gold jewelry box beside her bed, waiting for the tooth fairy to claim it, waiting for me to come back in and linger a little longer over my baby, a little less baby with each passing day.


Ser said...

Oh, what a lovely gift this morning, this post. It always amazes me what can pull me down into despair, and then, what can pull me back out.

I want to write more but Luke yells for me. I'll try to call.

Dove Knits said...

Oh, what a fun day. But what a wonderful ending!

We miss you.

marji said...

thank you for sharing your unfolding day. I like being virtual neighbors, as this is the type of conversation we would have. I'm wondering if you need a vacation from your life with a vacation setting? I send you some breathing room, just for you.

anna j said...

Lovely, Jenny. You know, I think when we move to an area that sounds either exotic or paradise-like to American ears, we tend to get comments like "Oh, how fun!" and "Wow--I'm jealous!" I've grown a bit less patient with these comments over the years, and a bit more weary of trying to explain that life is life wherever you are. And when you are in the midst of the daily-ness of living, working, being, then sometimes the "exotic" location is in reality perhaps even more difficult than home. Not that I would trade it for anything, but there is certainly truth to the difficulties of being in a different culture, no matter what that is . . .
but I am beginning to ramble.
In sum, my hat's off to you, dear--you are doing an amazing job of adjusting to life there, and of supporting your family, raising your children, and walking the life of faith!

jennyb said...

thank you for sharing Jenny.
i like these windows into your life.

Basil said...

I have been reading your blog after being directed this way by Carrie S. Some of your culture shock reminds me of learning to live in Okinawa when my father was stationed there. Thank you for sharing bits of your life with the world.

Jenny said...

I just wanted to thank you all who left such sweet comments. It is most cheering to me after a strange and frustrating and sweet day like that to put it out there and have others respond to it!

Bethany Torode said...

Who the hell tells someone they have ugly babies??!? That person was on crack, with a demon whispering in their ear.