Holiday Letter 2003

Aloha from Hawaii?

Harrison & Sharene in SnowOK, so this isn’t the photo you expected to see from us, but it is the most recent photo, and if you look closely you can see the Hawaiian ‘shaka’ sign! But seriously, we haven’t moved from paradise, and although we are a bit chilly (we hit a low of 63 degrees this week in Hilo), this photo was taken when we visited Sharene’s family in Kansas City a few weeks ago. Sharene was thrilled that it snowed, having grown up in sunny California, but for Harrison it just reminded him once again how happy he is to be living in Hawaii, not Minnesota.

Yes, we still love living here but every now and then we do get a bit complacent and grumble about the upkeep. Then we have visitors and we’re reminded through their eyes how special this beautiful island is and how lucky we are to live here. We have been able to settle into a routine of yard work and house maintenance with help from others. However, we’re never even one step ahead of what needs to be done, although once in a while we feel we are at least keeping up.

Sharene in the PondWe continue to have friends visit us, and we had a few events that brought locals as well to Hale Kakahi. We started out the year with a wonderful New Year’s Eve afternoon party (in Hawaii, many parties are in the daytime to take advantage of the outdoors) featuring desserts and live piano jazz. It was a picture-perfect day and a great way to start the year, so we’ll repeat it again this year. In May, Sharene helped organize a ‘Parade of Ponds’ fundraiser for one of the cultural centers in Hilo. Similar to a Parade of Homes, the tour showed off homes with water gardens. Each home had a local artist who was painting, sculpting, or creating some sort of artwork. The tour was a good success so Sharene gets to set up a second one this coming summer.

And although this didn’t make national news, we had some exciting weather here last month — the surf reached heights of 40 feet in front of our house! Our house did not sustain any damage other than lots and lots of coconuts and lava debris washed up on the lawn, but there were several homes on our block that didn’t fare so well. It’s pretty awesome to see a huge wave coming right at you!

Harrison on the TowerHarrison has gone back to his broadcasting roots and has started doing some part-time engineering work for a local radio station group. There are few broadcast engineers on the Big Island so when they heard of his background they put him to work. This is not something he wants or has time to do full-time, but at least it’s nice to feel so needed.

We managed to build our vacation rental business so that it now includes vacation rentals here in East Hawaii as well as on Maui. That required a real estate license, so Harrison became a licensed real estate agent. When we aren’t feeling overwhelmed by all the things we need to do at the house, we really get freaked out when we look at our ‘to-do’ list for the hotel web sites and vacation rental business! Still, we’re happy to be building businesses instead of working for someone else.

Oh yes, besides our businesses, visitors, the upkeep of the house, the events, and the engineering work, we bought two ‘fixer-upper’ houses not far from where we live. We have already fixed up and sold one, and we are in the process of working on the other, which we will probably keep as a vacation rental.

That’s it from this side of the pond. We wish each of you a healthy 2004, knowing that as we get older we appreciate that aspect of life as much as we do our relationships and all the other daily wonders of the year.

Mele Kalikimaka and malama pono,
Sharene & Harrison