You know you’re on holiday when asked what day of the week it is and the answer couldn’t come even for large sums of money. Today is Friday. I know this because I asked Dell, the local surf instructor. “Relaxing, huh Jennifer?” he replied. It took even him a few beats to get to Friday. Island life.
We’re in Kauai. Coming from LA it is very rare to not have visited the Hawaiian islands before. Only five hours away, this Pacific paradise is almost obscenely gorgeous. We are renting a house on the north shore that I could easily live in for the rest of my life. I have never spent time in a home that was more us – the spacial layout, the flow, the energy. My favourite moment of the trip was pulling up in the driveway and the excitement in realizing that this house was ours.
Second favourite moment is waking up. Planning where to have my morning coffee – on the lawn, on the beach, sitting under the huge mango tree? Truly the toughest decision of the day, love that. I sit silently outside while most of my boys still slumber. The lack of chaos and noise and phone calls/emails makes so much space for, nothingness. The art of nothing: thinking of nothing, doing nothing, saying nothing; it’s a state of mind to attempt to achieve for sure. This island is graceful in its beauty and serenity as it washes over you slowly and purposefully, with a balmy embracing breeze. Ahhhh is all I can say.
We rented paddle boards and by day two, the boys are having proper paddle board wars on the water. Everything in their lives ends up becoming elements of a game and there’s usually a battle of some kind to win. Here, it’s who can knock the others off the board first, which later turns into racing to the end of the reef on your knees; paddling backwards to the rock and back; flipping over these 11′ boards and seeing if you can flip it back without drowning! Lucky I can report all survived.
Everyone I meet who lives here seems to have the same story. “When did you move here?” I ask. “Well, I came here for six months and that was 22 years ago – or I came here for three months 10 years ago…” They have qualified and exemplified the idea behind It’s Only For A Year. Plans are made, and then re-made. Life is steady, and then turns sharply. I’m not so alone in this. I found my people, in Kauai!!
I managed to read two whole books in one week which makes me feel part of the adult race again. Pure pleasure, this trip is. We ended with two nights in what is called a fabulous family resort. For myself and Husband, this translated to Paradise Found for the kids, and Paradise Lost for us. We were surrounded by hundreds of people on their family holiday shouting to little Jonny to put more sunscreen on and that lunch is ready. I was so bothered by one woman in particular who was on her mobile phone bitching about the rest of her family whilst screaming at her kids to have fun, that I spent at least an hour plotting what I was going to do to her. But then, must admit, I yelled for my kids continuously – if I could find them – and immersed myself into resort living, charging everything to the room.
My little one came back from the pool with a new ball. I asked him where he got it and he said he went into the shop and said, “Hamm” and that apparently gets you anything you want!! We did avoid the pricey drinks, however, because we had bought (from the Costco on the island, of all places) our own alcohol. Not wanting to waste it, G-d forbid, we took it to the hotel and I have to admit, as I clanked my way down to my lounge chair by the sea, I did think about how this may look. No addiction here, I swear.
Home now and packing once again. England tomorrow. Trying to figure out suitcases as boys play the funniest game with Scarlet the dog. Hide and Seek. The boys all hide upstairs and then scream, “Ready!” I open the locked door to the outside and Scarlet races in to find them. First one found loses the game and they start all over. This game has been going on for close to an hour. Each time she races in, she goes to the same spots downstairs and then jumps the steps two at a time to find them upstairs. Hilarious!! She literally goes room by room.
Slightly feeling panicky. Knowing that this time home to England will represent a year. I miss my incredible and forgiving friends – they don’t allow the distance to be anything other than that. It defines so much of me – girlfriends can do that. My father-in-law isn’t well again and this trip is great timing to be supportive to him. Never sorry for being there, of service in a way. It’ll be interesting to see if the boys’ accents will shift again and be more English and if their personalities become something else there. Eldest one has definitely clocked that the girls here find the accent very cool and little one ends up sounding South African like his best mate there. The middle two go in and out and me, well, pronounce those ‘t’s’ and it represents the 17 years of my life where I became part-English.
Raising four boys in two countries. These moments are the test, and hopefully testament, of how well it works.