Saturday, January 21, 2012

Off to Hawaii we go

Wow, what a roller coaster it has been. I can finally in hindsight write about the craziness of the last few months with clear vision of the blessings, challenges, and more blessings that have come out of this. Let's start from the beginning...
Ryan and I had been playing with the idea of finding a job internationally for a few months. You see, I have a hard time settling down and I could feel Orange County working it's magic on me, even tempting me to buy a house, heaven forbid:) I guess you could say I get ancy and need a change of scenery. I'm not sure if this is from growing up as a kid in a new place every few years, which I loved, or maybe some sentimental bug is absent from my dna. Who knows. So anyways we were talking about possible places to move, just for a few years, then we'd return to our beloved south oc neighborhood. One morning back in October, I was at the ymca working it out and felt this impression that Ryan should call this company in Hawaii.

As a side note: Ryan met this company back in Hawaii when he went there for a construction competition while he was a senior at BYU. His group did amazingly well and anyways he ended up making a connection with this company Pankow. Ryan asked them if they were hiring, they basically said if the economy was any different at the time (everything was crashing) they would hire him. He told them thanks anyways, and they said to keep in contact. So over the past 3 years Ryan has kept on their radar every so often by shooting them an email and just talking about recently completed projects. Fast forward 3 years

I left the Y and told called Ryan to tell him I thought he should contact Pankow. He said he would. A few hours later, I got an email from Ryan that said "Whaaaaaaaaat!" Attached was Ryan's email basically asking how the company was doing, if they had any projects going on, and if they needed to bring anybody on...along with the response from Pankow's associate, that yes they were doing very well and had many projects going on and yes he thought that they had a position for Ryan. Somebody would contact him shortly. This was definitely a "whaaaaaaaat" moment. Since I married this man, he talked about Hawaii like it was his second home. When he tells people that he could live there for the rest of his life, they just nod, they don't get it. I know different. Ryan means business about Hawaii. We had warned family and friends for years that eventually we would make the move to Hawaii. Ok so we were excited, to say the least. I'll call this the honeymoon stage.

As Ryan made calls, received calls, and started the interview process it started to feel a little more real. Things were looking promising. Hawaii was sending two guys out from their office there for business in Pasadena (where their headquarters are) and they called Ryan and told him to meet them for dinner. I think this was a few weeks before Thanksgiving. By this time we told a very few people, including our parents, about the prospect. So Ryan met for dinner and it went well. He said he got a great feeling for the company and they had some really important, high profile projects coming up that would be great for him professionally. He also liked that they had mentioned Hawaii business moved a bit slower, and wasn't as cut throat as here. (Ryan didn't know it ever was cut throat but that's because he's a sweetheart). He did like the sound of Hawaii in all aspects. I remember I was in a Relief Society meeting waiting for Ryan's call as he drove home from LA. I ran out of the meeting when my phone rang and immediately heard his excitement. He said that they would write up his offer and he should get it by Christmas. This was my first moment when I realized that yes, this is really happening, if we want it.

So time passed, very slowly. If anyone has ever waited on a job offer, time creeps on and anticipation builds. We had sort of set this number up in our head that would be the number to make Hawaii work. We knew that we would most likely sell all of our stuff and not spend the $3000 plus that it would take to ship it, mostly because everything we owned I got off cragislist for a sweet deal and I wasn't sure it was even worth that much. Plus getting rid of your stuff is pretty liberating. We knew they would fly us over and pay to ship a car. That was pretty much it. So finally the call came we were waiting for and they had basically met all our terms but the salary they gave us was just not going to work. It was a huge disappointment. So we came up with a counter offer and gave that to them. They came back with a better offer, still not what we had anticipated, but good enough and the best they could do. I will say that this period in our Hawaii saga taught me a lot about gratitude. I had to remind myself what was fair and reasonable and that I couldn't expect it all, especially given this crazy economic time. And really what it came down to for us was that our answer didn't come down to money, it came down to prayer and what the Lord wanted for us. Ryan and I both felt from the beginning that Hawaii was something the Lord wanted us to do, for reasons unknown to us. Sure, you can chalk it up to the fact that this is Hawaii, land of perfect weather and waves, but really that was part of the honeymoon phase of excitement and we were way past that. It was about so much more than that. We need to take care of this family and the Lord knows best how we can do that. So in the end, we felt like we got a solid offer, the Lord blessed us by making it happen and we were moving forward.

Now we are in the we have to sell all our stuff, say goodbye to our families, leave our friends and our ward, afford to live in Hawaii, find a good school for the kids, leave behind my business, and make a new life in a far away place. This is pre-nervous breakdown phase (for me). I was actually doing fine but that's just the way I deal with stress. It builds inside me without me addressing it until it just erupts. So we told our family and a few friends that this was likely happening. Then we were thrown a curve ball by Ryan's current employer that they didn't want to lose him and might offer him more to stick around. Gosh. So then we started thinking, if they payed him much more it would be silly not to take that offer. We could save up for a house and just be so much more financially set. I had pretty much decided that if his company was throwing out a number we'd take it. Ryan and I were on total different pages during this phase. I could tell that Ryan had gotten his answer about Hawaii and he was confused at why this was happening. It was a total inner struggle. We have both never been more stressed out than during this time. Ryan even gave himself an ulcer, poor guy. Then the call came from his company with their sweet offer they were going to keep Ryan with...only to say that they couldn't afford to do anything to keep him here. We were so shocked. I mean everyone was so shocked. My dad said, this must be divine intervention because I thought they were for sure going to offer you something. I was in total disbelief because you have to understand at this point I had sort of decided we were staying. When this curve ball came though, it became clear that this move is what the Lord wanted us to do, and he was going to make the stars align to make it happen.

This is when it got really real. We prayed and fasted and knew that this move was the right move. It seriously hit me like a ton of bricks that indeed this was happening and we'd be saying goodbye to all of this. I seriously called my mom crying so hard I couldn't breath and really convinced myself I was having a nervous breakdown. I was worried about leaving my parents, leaving all our family and taking the kids away from it all. We had this amazing, wonderful life, and we were just going to throw it away. I mean that's super dramatic, but that's how it felt at the time. I was seriously not well at this point. I felt bad because I just wanted to be excited, and not take that away from Ryan. But I had to process so much. It took me a few days and lots of prayers to feel like I was in a place to move forward.

And move forward is what I did. We had a big garage sell that went really well (blessings) and sold lots of stuff on craigslist (more blessings) and packed a few boxes each day of things staying at parents houses or going across the Pacific with various Hawaiian travelers. See, we had Austin (Ryan's brother), Austin's fiance Ellen, and Skee (Ryan's cousin) all flying to Hawaii after the holidays. I realized that shipping a 50 pound suitcase for $35 would be a heck of a lot cheaper than shipping stuff so that's what we did. As we speak, we've got two Tupperware boxes, three suitcases and two surfboards there, already awaiting our arrival. At my parents house we have 8 more suitcases and a surf bag...and that's our life folks.

It was weird realizing what 6 years of marriage got us. I learned that we are not people that acquire lots of things. I also learned that I am the sort of person that loves getting rid of things. It's nice to be forced to keep what you can't live without. Life is really very simple. All I needed to bring to Hawaii was this man next to me, and these two little people who fill my life. Another huge blessing was the fact that our landlord was understanding about our move and if we would find renters we wouldn't be penalized on our deposit (we were breaking our lease 3 months early, therefore per our contract we would lose our deposit). Ok this was stressful. I kept thinking what if we can't find anyone and I have to stay behind with the kids for months while I look for a renter.

Until one day we found the perfect renters and things were moving right along. It was such a huge relief. On the day the were supposed to sign the lease, they pulled out. Ugh, I was so worried. But we continued moving out and cleaning up and moving forward, hoping and praying that someone would come along. A week before we were set to move, a very nice couple came through and I just prayed in my heart, let this work out! And work out it did. They literally signed the papers they day we moved out. Heavenly Father takes care of us. So we moved out of our sweet little rental on New Years Eve, with the help of our amazing neighbors.

I burst into tears saying goodbye to that house and all the memories it holds. I think when you've got kids, things just get more emotional. Even now I'm remembering that we drew both their heights with pencil on the wall and that was probably painted over. I was meaning to get a piece of paper out and copy it on, oh well. It was really the first house that Ryan and I were grown ups in. Ryan had a real job, we had two kids, clearly a real life family. And this place just felt like a home. I made it a home for my little family. It will be missed but now I get to look forward to finding a new home to make our own in Hawaii. House hunting is one of my very favorite things to do:)

So we've been at my parents house for the past three weeks, Ryan hasn't had work for the last week which has been amazing, and I've been able to hang out with my mom and dad. They are by far the hardest part of leaving. My mom and I still can't talk about it without crying. We are hanging out now at Ryan's parents house and soaking in some time with Nana and Papa before our cruise tomorrow (booked 6 months ago, before news of Hawaii. We fly out the day we get back, yikes).

One of the things I am most excited for in Hawaii is the visitors that will come (please come!). I can't wait to settle in to our new home and be the hostess with the mostess to our visitors. And I can't wait for the kids faces to light up when their families come and see them. I am so thankful for the tender mercies that have come along the way and the testament that faith is one of the most important things in this life that sustains us. Ryan and I have never had a more stressful time and I can honestly say we felt really disconnected at times. We were not ourselves and I did not like it. But through it, we have grown so much closer to each other and I am absolutely sure that we are just where we need to be, and being with him and putting the Lord first, always remembering our blessings along the way, will always land us in the right.

So off to Hawaii we go, in a week...wish us luck and we'll expect you soon:)