Each of our ‘Last week in ___” posts have been about a combination of final moving preparations, as well as a few adventures for some final happy memories in that place. In that regard this post is no different, but because of the current global situation, we’ve had a few more logistics and obstacles in our way. Since we have to rely on the Navy for so many details, it was out of our control when we would leave the island. We weren’t sure when our official ‘last week’ would start, so I guess you could say we were living the entirety of July as though it were our ‘last week’ on Oahu.
We had originally planned to leave in the second week of July and, due to COVID-19, our first step was to acquire a travel waiver — basically permission from the military to travel during the pandemic. Curtis applied for a waiver at the end of June, hoping that 2+ weeks was enough time. Turns out, it wasn’t — our planned departure date came and went and we still had no waiver. It finally arrived 5 days later, on July 17. We didn’t know it at that time, but that was when our ‘last week in Hawaii’ officially began.
Curtis went to work on that Friday morning and found out that our waiver had arrived. He called me and told me the good news, then submitted his travel request so that the military would buy us plane tickets. We requested the following Wednesday because they required 3 business days between the request and our travel date. We knew we would have to be a little flexible, but hoped for the best as we planned out our weekend.
On Saturday, July 18, we drove up to the North shore to hike Kaena Point one last time. We started our hike at 8am, and it was already rather hot with the sun rising higher in the sky. We drank plenty of water and I tried my best to walk in front of Curtis so I could be in the shade of his shadow. 😉 We made it to the point and took our time walking around the tide pools. Sadly we didn’t see any seals on our last hike here, but we did see albatross ‘chicks’ which were quite large. They just sat there and let us take all the pictures we wanted. Someday they’ll join the majestic adult albatross and soar around the Northwestern Hawaiian islands with their huge wingspan…but for now, they look like oversized fluffy chickens that just woke up.
While walking back from the point, we met up with some friends that used to work with Curtis on his boat and hung out with them for a while. We ate, drank, and Curtis went cliff diving and snorkeling in the cove (I didn’t come prepared for that…and hanging out and chatting with the other wives was more appealing to me!) We ended up getting our last Hawaiian sunburn as well.
On Sunday, we walked into town and got a few favorite treats — Chocolate Haupia pie from Ted’s Bakery (sold at Foodland in Kailua) and Koloa Rum punch. That evening we got Bob’s Pizza and had Curtis’ best friend over to hang out.
Curtis also listed our car on Craigslist over the weekend. We loved our car, a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid that we bought off Craigslist here. It had great gas mileage and all sorts of nice features, but most importantly, it never randomly shut off or stalled while we were driving like both our previous vehicles have. However, we didn’t want to deal with shipping a car after our last experience. We also knew we’d need something that would do well in the winter, and wanted something a little bigger for the future road trips we hoped to take. We listed it hoping we could work something out where we could hold onto it until the day we left…whatever day that would be. The mistake we made here was pricing low AND mentioning that we were selling because we were leaving the island soon. We got so many low-ball offers from people assuming we were desperate. Thankfully there was one that was actually reasonable, as well as a couple ‘backups.’
On Monday, Curtis went in to work to check on our flight status, and found out they were reserving our tickets that day! However, once we were given our first choice of Wednesday, we called to reserve a spot for Charlotte and learned that the soonest she could fly was Friday. We had friends on island offer to keep her and then drop her off at the airport, but there was no way we’d leave without her, so we switched our flights to 2 days later. Finally, we had a set date when the 3 of us could leave the island together! After waiting so long for this time to come, it didn’t feel real. But it was, and we still had a lot to do to get ready!
On Tuesday, Charlotte had her vet appointment, and passed her health screening to fly. She’s still very healthy so I wasn’t concerned about her not passing, but the biggest part of all this that stresses me out is centered around getting her off the island with us. Every little step we took to get closer to that helps me feel better. Because of COVID-19, we weren’t allowed in the vet’s office with her, but the vet told us she was “very talkative” about how she felt about being there, and had very strong opinions against getting her nails clipped.
That evening, we hiked to Makapu’u Lighthouse for the last time, and had poke from Foodland for dinner. We had never had poke before coming to Hawaii, and since we’ve only had it here I don’t know if we can ever enjoy it anywhere else.
On Wednesday morning, we rose early and went to Kailua and Lanikai Beaches to watch the sunrise. We determined that we didn’t do this nearly enough to make up for the cost of living here.
Earlier that week, there had been reports of a hurricane (Douglas) in the Pacific that was headed our way, but all the early reports said it would turn into a tropical storm before it reached the islands. However, around Wednesday or Thursday it was still a category 3 hurricane, and as it grew closer it was clear that it was headed directly for the islands, expected to make landfall on Sunday. Of course we now knew we wouldn’t be there so we weren’t concerned for our safety, but we still owned our house and were concerned about having to deal with any sort of damage from the mainland.
Thursday was Curtis’ last day going to his boat. He had already turned over his job titles and said his goodbyes, so this was mostly just checking out and officially going on leave. That evening, we walked the Kawainui Marsh trail for the last time and watched our last Hawaiian sunset.
It’s no secret that we were ready to leave, but that doesn’t mean that leaving was easy. And after waiting for this day to come for so long, all of a sudden it felt like it had snuck up on us. It’s not easy leaving behind a place that’s so familiar, leaving places like the marsh and our first house which hold so many memories. This was the longest we’d lived anywhere since getting married — almost 3 years. We were looking forward to our move and to calling a new place home, but for that night, we were sad.
I don’t know how I can come up with anything better to say about this week and how we were feeling, much less summarize the past 3 years in Hawaii. We’re thankful for our time on Oahu, for the opportunity to live on the island and get to know it so well. We’re thankful for all the lessons we learned, for all the people God put in our lives, for the ways we’ve grown during this time. We’re thrilled to have Curtis’ JO tour on a submarine behind us — after a complicated start and a challenging first half, things vastly improved for him and now we’re leaving behind a wonderful boat family with positive feelings towards this experience. This wasn’t what we wanted, but it was what God knew we needed, and we trust that His plan for us is always better than our own.