Memories from November 2019
I read something online at the end of October that likened November to being the “Thursday of the year,” and that couldn’t have been more accurate for me this year. At the beginning of the month, it seemed like it was just one big last obstacle to get around before the end of this year and an “easier” December. Curtis was going to be gone for the majority of it, and I had no plans that month, nothing to look forward to besides his return. I dreaded waking up for 23 days straight without him, going to bed for 23 nights without being able to say goodnight, and worst of all trying to fill each of those days enough to make time go faster.
But now that it’s all over and done with, I’m thankful for such a laid-back month. I’m thankful to have had that time to reflect on what I’ve learned this year, and to pray about what’s to come in the next. I stayed close to home the entire time, and for the most part the month was easy on my stress level, easy on the budget, and by the end I had my husband home safe and sound — how could I ask for any more?
At the beginning of the month, Curtis’ departure date was delayed by 2 days, so we ended up having an unplanned extra weekend day to enjoy together. We wanted to go for a longer hike, but when we started getting ready Charlotte became excited. It had been too long since we’d taken her anywhere other than the park, so we altered our plans in order to bring her along. We ended up driving to Kawela Bay on the North shore, where we hiked the trails around Turtle Bay and found a secluded section of beach all to ourselves. We let Charlotte run around off leash and laughed as she chased after the small crabs and tried to figure out where they escaped to after each wave rolled up on the shore. Just watching her excitement was worth giving up our original plan.
The day after that, we said goodbye and Curtis left for what would be the longest we’ve been apart since OCS in 2015. 23 days isn’t long in comparison to typical deployments, but somehow it seemed so much longer than the almost 50 days he was gone from August-October. Not having my sister here or exciting trips to break up our time apart certainly didn’t help matters!
My time alone went by smoothly, for the most part. I made a goal to eat healthier while I was alone and succeeded at making healthy meals with veggies every day (snacks and desserts don’t count — they’re necessary for survival!) I also spent more time reading than watching things on Netflix — I read “Becoming” by Michelle Obama and really enjoyed it. I love reading biographies and autobiographies and learning from other people’s lives and perspectives and hers was very thoughtful and well-written. While reading about the complicated and hectic life of a politician’s wife, I kept thinking about how glad I was that Curtis is just in the military and that our lives are simpler and much more private than that. Then I read about her interactions with military wives and the work she and Jill Biden did to try to improve the job possibilities for military wives, and found it amusing when she wrote that she was grateful that her husband was in politics and that she thought military life would be much more challenging.
As for the small struggle I dealt with while alone, November is typically the month when the weather on the island changes from “sunny season” to “rainy season,” and with the rain comes more bugs inside the house. I hit my breaking point with that about 2 weeks in — I can’t confirm whether it’s worse than the last 2 years, but it IS worse when I don’t have my husband to kill the bugs for me! I sprung to action setting up baits and deep cleaning areas that I felt were more ‘at risk,’ which led to deep cleaning more parts of the house because I realized we’ve been here for 2 years now and it was time for a deep clean. (If you’re keeping track, 2 years is longer than we’ve ever lived in any one place, or even any one state!)
In more exciting news, one of our banana trees has begun to produce! It’s been a year and a half since we planted it, and after spending that time tripling in size and growing 1 new leaf every week, it finally grew a big purple blossom that has been rapidly changing and growing each week. All the bananas are still on the smaller side and still green, but there are at least 8 bunches producing about 10 bananas each — so someday soon we’re going to have a lot of bananas on our hands!
Curtis returned home at the end of the month, right on time for Thanksgiving. Just like last year, he had duty on Thanksgiving day, but I was able to go on the boat and have dinner with him. I suppose since we’ve done this 2 years in a row, that makes it our longest-running Thanksgiving tradition. In all seriousness, it was a good day: we enjoyed all the traditional Thanksgiving foods and I didn’t have to cook anything, then we played games and watched Detective Pikachu. But just the fact that we were able to be together made the day great!
We spent the rest of the weekend planning for a little December getaway, picking out some home improvement projects to do when Curtis has some time off, and saying goodbye to our dear friends who have left the island and moved on to the next thing. We’re sad to see them go, but I guess that’s the circle of Navy life — you meet the most wonderful people and know that you’ll eventually have to say goodbye. However, it’s also a reminder that this stage isn’t forever, our turn to leave will eventually come too. I don’t know if you can tell, but we are ready!
And here we are — we made it through this year’s “Thursday,” and December is flying by now that we’re together. We’re looking forward to having some down time at the end of the month, and starting to prepare for what’s to come in 2020. We’re also looking forward to the temperatures finally cooling off a bit because the whole “rainy season” has been such a tease…But I know better than to complain about Hawaii’s weather in December when I know most of my readers are from the Midwest, which started winter early this year. I suppose I’ll just go outside and enjoy what could potentially be my last warm winter … for a few years? Forever? I don’t know, next year as well as the rest of our lives feels kind of up in the air at this point. It’s stressful and thrilling all at the same time. I guess the best thing to do is just go sit in the shade, relax, and know that it will all play out exactly according to God’s will.
Happy December, friends!