Sunday, December 27, 2009

I like to boogie boogie

Kauai has been awesome. It's been nice not worrying about being a local. Much colder here than Maui, though. Brrr!

Boogie boarding may be one of the most joyful activities on earth. Such a simple, uncomplicated thing produces such a huge amount of fun. Still managed to get pummeled into the floor of the ocean by a few waves, but that's ok. Sandburn wounds were relatively minimal.

My freckles are coming back. I haven't seen them in years. I love freckles.

Going on a kayaking/hiking trip tomorrow. 5 miles of paddling, 2 of hiking. Should be a nice easy day.

Pictures next week? Cross your fingers for the iMac to be at our doorstep (and all in one piece) when we return.

Also, the whales are showing up in the waters of Maui! Hoping to see some when we get there. 


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mele Kalikimaka!

FYI: "Mele Kalikimaka" = "Merry Christmas"... though I'm sure you could figure that out.

The term amuses me somewhat, because prior to white missionaries, there was no Christmas on the islands. The people believed in many gods and goddesses.

So, I'm just curious about how they came about making up their own words for "merry" and "Christmas." Maybe it really means something else and most of us will never know any better.

My Christmas has been a little disorganized and early, but still fun. Pictures will come soon since we've finally started to take some with our handy dandy new waterproof camera. Unfortunately, we found out that our computer is somewhere on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and won't be around for several more weeks. But! I still promise pictures.

Finally got in the water for some swimming and a little snorkeling! Isaac got video of a sea turtle that swam right up next to him.

Spent the night before my birthday at an amazing restaurant, compliments of my generous and deeply-missed Chinle friends.

Spent half of my birthday being sick, but the origins of the sickness are unknown. Isaac and I ate much from one another's plates and shared dessert and he wasn't sick, so I'm wondering if it wasn't a parasite from some wild fruit I picked off a tree. (The fruit here is really good though, so don't go thinking that will stop me from doing it again!)

Our house is completely painted, colorful, and lovely. Starting to feel more like a home! Will eventually get around to collecting art and framing photos after the New Year.

For Christmas, Isaac is working in Kauai, but was generous enough to put me on a plane to be with him for the week. More island adventures! Decided that I'm not going to worry so much about "seeming local" and am going to enjoy the week "away from home" as a tourist, taking in all the sights, swimming and surfing. Hopefully my first few days on a surfboard don't result in bodily harm.

My Christmas gift this year was given by Isaac---who apparently knows me too well! I've been spending the last several years self-teaching myself many cooking techniques. Based on many successes, I've been getting pretty good! (I still have failures, but keep telling myself it's part of the learning process).

I watched the movie Julie&Julia with Isaac, and that---along with watching and envying my future father-in-law's talents in the kitchen---really made me want to take on some more French techniques. So Isaac bought me a hard-bound copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking along with the promise that I could choose one recipe in it and that he will buy the ingredients for it, no questions asked. (Given the price of some French ingredients, based on what I read in the first 40 pages of the book's foreword, that's a very generous gift).

Needless to say, I'll probably be on the phone with Mr. Schaefer soon with my inquisitive mind a-buzzing.

Anyway, that's enough writing for now. Perhaps more pictures, fewer words in the future, once I get better at this whole blogging thing.


P.S. If you're a friend of mine who'd like to receive an awesome postcard from Hawai'i, hit me up with your address!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Colors are Good

I decided---and got Isaac's approval---to paint our house in bright colors. I like bright colors, they're happy, energizing and empowering. So far, so good. I started by painting the bathroom a fairly loud shade of orange called "Mango Madness." It just sounds fun, doesn't it?

The spare room/guest room/office is two shades of blue divided by white trim. I would have preferred turquoise, but it's still nice.

Next up: going to have a "Lemongrass" colored bedroom, and a "Spiced butternut" colored hallway, living room, and kitchen.

It's going to be awesome. I picked the right/worst time to do all the painting too. It's been cloudy, windy, rainy and cold (you know, high 60's-low 70's) so I don't feel like I'm being punished by staying inside. On the other hand, the rain makes the air extra moist, which makes the paint take a verrrry long time to dry between coats.

It's making me fret just a little bit because my intention is to have the entire house fully painted and perfectly cleaned before Isaac gets home from Kauai. Kind of as a surprise, kind of to make sure he has a really nice place to come home to, but mostly so he and I don't end up using up his days off finishing the job together. The weather should be good by the time he gets home, and I'd like to get in the water with him.

Don't tell him. He doesn't read my blog, so I'm pretty confident he won't have a clue unless someone reading this tells him.

Wish me luck! Hoping to get it all done soon. Maybe the air will dry out a little today...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bruised Bottom

It's been a busy first week in Hawai'i!

Hoping our computer makes it here in one piece. There won't be any posting of pictures until that happens. Sorry!

The first week has been mostly filled with....(wait for it)...errands! Whoo! Lots of Craigslisting. Trying to get furnished on a dime. Still holding out for a few things, but we're getting there!

Stocking the kitchen with real food has been one of the biggest hurdles. I can't stop thinking about how much I paid for milk this week (About $7 for half a gallon that was on sale). Fortunately, I'm already learning about the best places to shop and CSAs and roadside produce stands. The produce out here is really wonderful. Things I've never heard about before required one taste to get me hooked. Tasted an unripe Guava yesterday...the ripe ones are good, but I really like the tartness of an underripe one, too.

The cost of living is constantly shocking me. We run into and hear about so many people who live here without jobs and just surf. I don't know how they do it without starving to death. Trust funds, perhaps? I dunno. I'm on the hunt for a job this week. Every little bit will help.

Did a hike yesterday and hurt myself. They call the hike "The Commando" because, as the locals who showed it to us said, you have to be a commando to do it. You first walk up a slippery stream (I seemed to be the only one on the hike who had a hard time not slipping all over the place), then free climb up two waterfalls. After climbing those falls, there's no turning back because it's not safe to climb down or jump. After that, we climbed through a pitch-black lava tube filled with pool after pool of cold water. Then, we broke out of the tube into the sunlight, and made a quick hike to the first of three waterfalls that we had to jump off of. The first was about 15 ft. No prob. The second, 50 ft.

The 50-footer is where I hurt myself. I was told to jump, get my balance with my arms, then go in straight like a pencil, arms at my side. 50 feet is totally enough time to do that, right? Right...unless you're Natalie and time seems to go faster for you than for others. I went in, all bent and clumsy, and landed right on my butt. It hurt. There were physical repurcussions that might make your stomach queasy, but I guarantee you that I have never had such an enormous, dark bruise on my body as I have today. Laughing, sneezing, leaning forward, sitting, and um....going potty, all hurt.

The third waterfall we had to jump off was 35 feet, and you had to jump several feet out to avoid turning into red sauce all over the lava rocks beneath. After being in pain and a little shock, I couldn't muster the confidence to jump that far out. Everyone else jumped, I climbed down the roots of a tropical tree into the water. The bonus: fell upon a patch of wild ginger that would have been otherwise undiscovered!

Despite my bruised bottom and whiplash, I have to say: amazing hike. Really wish we had a waterproof camera that I could have taken along. Some of the other guys did. If I could find a way to get in touch with them and get copies of their photos, I may end up posting some from it, after all.

So, that was my first big adventure in Maui! There has been a little bit of beach time. The only swimming I did was through the streams and waterfall pools on that hike. Next week I'm hopefully going to start learning to surf. Looking forward to that! Hopefully I will be able to keep up with Isaac.

This week: job hunting, resume perfecting, and non-stop painting! My goal is to have this place painted to perfection before Isaac gets home from Kauai on Tuesday so he feels really comfortable and at-home when he returns. Lots of manual labor, but maybe it will give me some nice arm muscles to start paddling a surf board with. :-)

Thursday, December 10, 2009


We made it! It's gorgeous. 10,000 ft mountains on one side of our house, an ocean view on the other. Wow. Just, wow.

Living out of boxes. No hangers, no dressers, no furniture, so nowhere to put anything. Not that it matters. Why spend any time indoors when I can be out in the sun?

Some time this week, though, I'll be confined to the indoors. Much to do! Must organize, paint, get furniture and arrange it, do some cleaning, stock the kitchen... it's going to be great when it's done. I may hate packing, and not be the biggest cleanign enthusiast in the world, but I actually do love homemaking. And I will make this place home if it takes all week!

Going to Oahu today for Isaac's company Christmas party in Honolulu. Should be fun!

Pictures to come...eventually. Hopefully sooner than later.

P.S. I didn't realize how great it would be here. I don't think I'm really going to miss Chinle as much as I thought I would...

Friday, December 4, 2009

So close!

We are almost done!

Boxes shipped to parents' homes for winter storage? Check.
Large quantities of boxes and bags fllled for donations to the local church thrift store? Check.
All of our boxes for the plane packed? Check!

Now, to just wrap up a few minor details and clean. Then we'll be free birds. Whew!

I should mention, that my fiance planned a magnificent surprise birthday party for me that happened last night at a friend's house. Some of our Chinle friends were there. It was really, REALLY nice of them to take the time to do that, plus put in the effort of preparing drinks and snacks. They all pitched in and got me a gift certificate to the Maui Fish House. Yum! What a nice way  to say goodbye and go. Now my only regret is that we aren't staying long enough for me to do something nice in return. :-)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

300 Pounds

300 pounds of "stuff" is what my and Isaac's life is boiling down to. We have been purging just about everything: furniture, winter clothing, ski gear, snowboard gear, winter boots, winter shoes, rugs, dishes, linens, picture frames, wall art, you name it. If we can't justify bringing it to Hawaii, we aren't.

As of right now, our lives fit into 6 rubbermaid containers, that are each under 50 lbs, and two suitcases that are small enough for the overhead bins of any airplane, large or small.

It kind of makes me wonder...what was I doing with all of that stuff in the first place?

Moving to Hawaii is starting to feel very clean and Zen. Goodbye, clutter! Hello open seas, open hearts, and sunshine!