Aloha! Well, we've arrived in our new home on the island of Oahu and are finally beginning to settle in. It's been nearly two weeks of continually running the various errands that are required when you move to a new place and have nothing but the two bags you checked and the two you carried with you on the airplane (and, thankfully, your two dogs...who were so enormous and heavy that they were required to be "air cargo" - making them the most expensive part of your move - and that, to your dismay, have already have caught Hawaiian fleas even though you treated them for Oregon fleas just 10 days ago as part of the quarantine requirements for your new home state - arg!).
We've figured out how to get to the grocery store and the beach (the two most important places of course), gotten ourselves a contingent of simple food to get us through the first few weeks, learned to make our way to the big city of Honolulu (about 25 minutes away, when there is no traffic), bought ourselves a car, opened new bank accounts (who knew there were no "mainland" banks on the Islands?), met our lovely neighbors and learned to pronounce the name of the street we live on and a few of the highways (for instance, the Likelike Highway is not pronounced "like - like," but "lee-kay-lee-kay," unless of course you want to be immediately identified as a haole ("how-lee"), the not so endearing term for one who lives here but is not from here. But then again, one shouldn't worry too much about mispronouncing something, if one has pasty-white Eugene, Oregon winter skin that going to give you away anyway!).
Over-all, the move went very smoothly and we are now in the process of trying to find some sort of a semi-normal routine. The dogs and all of the items we shipped arrived safely and unharmed (including my KitchenAid mixer and my computer - one reason why it took me two weeks to begin blogging again). LB began his job on Monday and he thinks he's really going to love it, and I've decided to take the month off and prepare for the freshman biology course I'll be teaching at a small private university here beginning in the middle of May (and indulge in the time off to get organized and blog and...whatever else my heart desires). The house is great and our landlord is great, and just to give you a teaser, this is where we can eat breakfast or dinner now (although don't be too jealous - wait until I tell you how much breakfast and dinner groceries cost!):
Ah yes, the groceries. My worst nightmare - groceries are ridiculously expensive. I knew they would be more expensive than Eugene, I just didn't know by how much. On our first trip to the Safeway chain store that is a few blocks away, we discovered that a dozen eggs cost nearly $7, milk was $4.99+ for a half-gallon (and that's with the "Safeway club card" savings), a jar of peanut butter was $8, and a small bottle of lotion was nearly $10...and that's not the foofy organic stuff we're used to eating, either (ha ha, not including the lotion). We have since run the gamut of grocery stores here and found a local, vegetarian, natural foods store called Down to Earth (and they even carry some organic and local produce and products!), which is fairly close and surprisingly, has far better prices than Safeway (and the sale prices are even better!). The farmer's markets (yes, I've already sought all of them out on the entire island) have pretty good prices and produce that is far more enticing than any of the grocery stores (most of them have very sad looking produce - poor lettuce, I want to cry for them too), and Costco is a lifesaver, where prices for 6 cans of beans in bulk nearly equals the sale price of 2 at any of the grocery stores (we signed up, and stocked up, this last weekend).
I called my mom and told her to "send lotion, send food!" and while LB was aghast when I unpacked the spices I had brought and the jar of Dagoba cocoa powder that I'd sneaked into the boxes, I'm certainly happy I have them now and don't have to pay to replace them (damn, why didn't I bring the bay leaves? And about 50 cans of beans??!)! It's definitely going to change the way I cook, because there will be no more looking for inspiration and going to get the groceries I want... something more along the lines of finding a sale and going forward from there: 3 day old bread loaf for $0.99? When a loaf of flimsy, sliced bread is normally $5.50? It's hard as a rock, but once the knives get here I could cut the crusts off...grab some free basil from the yard and tomatoes at the farmer's market for almost half-price? Panzanella! We'll just have to live without the parmesan on it until that goes on sale too. Maybe we could call it poor man's panzanella - panzanella missing all the ingredients that cost too much that week? ;)
Truly, it's beautiful here and there are many things to love (the beach is nice - and we're going snorkeling on Thursday). The weather has been rainy, actually - almost like home in Eugene. Especially this week, but apparently, we are on the rainy side of the island and it's a warm rain, which is a welcome respite from the chilly rain of Oregon (which is something I don't miss). I miss my friends, I miss the places I knew I would, but I know that this will begin to feel more and more like home as time goes on. Now, on to unpack those kitchen boxes...it's time to get cooking!