Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Mele Kalikimaka—none of these greetings seems quite right this year given what has happened to our world in the last few months. Yet it is in times like these that friends and family seem the most dear to us, and life in general so precious.
Over the last 10 years we have done a pretty good job of sending out our annual letter giving you the highlights of our year. We missed last year and we apologize to those who have not heard from us. As many of you know, we finally took the big leap of faith: we quit our jobs, sold our house in California, and last May we moved to Hale Kakahi, our home on the Big Island of Hawaii. Thank you to each and every person who made our departure so special; we were celebrating and saying goodbye for months.
After six months here we have started to feel settled, although it felt like home from the day we arrived. The wonder of this place still amazes us from the time we see the sunrise each dawn and watch each day take on a new personality. We are grateful for our life every single day and try never to take anything for granted. We never lose sight of the fact that we are blessed to live here, to control what we do each day, to have good health, and to have each other. As we spend time with our guests and meet new friends, we are always reminded how much each of you have helped us become the people we are and we thank you.
Many of you have associated the word “retired” with our names; let us assure you we have NOT RETIRED! We get up around 5 AM each morning and our day is as filled as it was in California. We continue to manage our Maui vacation rentals and to develop our web-based business ventures, we have a fair number of guests, and as romantic as a 3-acre oceanfront home sounds (and it is), it is a tremendous amount of work to maintain and improve. On top of that, as soon as we arrived we began a continuing series of projects which, although slow-going (this is Hawaii after all!), have started to show results. These include construction work, redecorating, art acquisition, and a large telecommunications wiring project.
We have tried to take advantage of our location in one of the world’s most interesting places by learning about our surroundings and the Hawaiian culture and by exploring some of the unique features of the Big Island. Shortly after we arrived, a new road opened not far from us that leads to where lava from the Kilauea volcano flows continuously into the ocean, accompanied by a tremendous water and light show. That spot had been accessible only by a three-hour drive followed by a four-hour walk across rugged lava fields. Now it’s a 30-minute drive and a comfortable walk to a sight that is truly unique in the world! We have gone several times and particularly enjoy taking guests.
Much has been said about September 11, and if we are to look beyond the tragedy to a larger purpose, we can see that it helped many of us appreciate our freedoms, our liberty, our way of life, and our families and friends a lot more than we did before that very sad day. It reminded us how unexpectedly life can be cut short. What a wonderful gift we could give our loved ones and ourselves if, when our time to leave this world arrives, we could look back and say, “I have no regrets about things I should have said to someone or things I should have done.”
With that, we want you to know we think of you often, and we offer a very sincere invitation for you to visit us at Hale Kakahi and allow us to share some of our aloha with those who mean the most to us. So this year, instead of wishing you Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, or Mele Kalikimaka, we simply wish for Maluhia—peace for you and for the world.
With all of our aloha,
Sharene & Harrison