Holiday Letter 2009

Aloha dear friends!

We're Done HereAfter 10 magical years we have sold our beloved Hale Kakahi. It was a difficult and emotional sale, and though we sold it for less than we hoped, we do have enough to start our next adventure… when we figure out what that is! It will involve selling our business, moving, and traveling, not necessarily in that order. We expect to maintain a presence in Hawaii, and with any luck we will find a new home with guest quarters for our friends and family, although we can tell you we won’t have three acres of oceanfront paradise like Hale Kakahi! It will be smaller but we will still welcome each and every one of you with lots of aloha.

Although 2009 was a tough year for many, including some very close to us, we two have much to be grateful for in addition to the sale of Hale Kakahi. Despite the terrible Hawaii economy and the slowdown in our business, we were named one of Hawaii’s 50 Fastest Growing Businesses for the second year in a row. Su and Tara, our superb staff, are still with us and Steve has been a wonderful business partner. We’re healthy, and besides working we took some good trips including a truly magical visit with friends in Switzerland.

Ultralight Flight

H and flight instructor Denise over Oahu north shore

In May, we celebrated Harrison’s big 6-0 (and we don’t mean his height) in Honolulu. Sharene got him a fantastic flight in an ultralight on a picture-perfect day over the North Shore.

Girls in Vancouver

Kate, Cathy, S, Ann

June was the month Sharene took her annual girls trip. This year it was beautiful Vancouver — what a great city!!! They rode bikes all over the city and through Stanley Park, and walked and walked all day. Then it was back to the apartment with views of Coal Harbor, where they drank lots of cheap wine and had some truly exciting cribbage games!

With Amelia in the Tessin

Amelia, H, S

You might recall that Amelia, our dear friend Sarah’s daughter (whom Harrison has known since birth) came to visit us last year with her boyfriend, Phil, at the start of an almost year-long ’round-the-world trek from their home in Switzerland. We hadn’t seen Amelia for a number of years and, as her mother has done on so many occasions, she immediately swept us off our feet. So after 23 years together, we decided to adopt her! After being shocked, shocked to discover that was impossible, we did the next best thing… we flew off to Europe in September to see her again.

Janice, Walter, Sarah

Janice, Walter, Sarah

We started our trip with just the two of us discovering Amsterdam for a few days. (Thank you Frank for a great house trade!!! We loved it and we will be back!) We took the train from Amsterdam, and when we arrived in Switzerland we were welcomed with open arms and felt very much a part of an extended family — Sarah, Amelia, Phil (now Amelia’s husband), Janice, Maxine (think Julia Child… this woman cooked up a storm for us!), Izzy & Hallie (Sarah’s twins, all grown up now), and Patrick & Chantal (still madly in love with each other after all these years). We will cherish every moment spent with each and every one of them.

With Chantal and Patrick

Chantal, H, S, Patrick

Sarah and Maxine

Sarah, Maxine
and dinner

Sarah was an exceptional hostess and tour guide, and her generosity was overwhelming — we can never thank her enough for sharing her unique style and outlook on life. Every day seemed the high point of the trip, until the next day and a new high point! Our final days with Amelia in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland (Tessin in German), were definitely over the top.


Flying with Jon

Jon, S, H

The Ticino part of the trip started with a stunning sightseeing flight over the Alps that Amelia had arranged with a family friend and private pilot. We then drove to the gorgeous lakefront town of Ascona.

HK PianoTessinWhen we arrived at our hotel, we heard wonderful piano music outside being played by a street musician. Before we knew it, he had insisted (in Italian) that Harrison sit down and play, so there was Harrison on this lakeside promenade making his European debut! Amelia was a fantastic tour guide — our meal at an authentic Italian grotto is a side story in itself. But the true joy was simply spending time in Amelia’s easy company, laughing and talking about life.

If nothing else, 2009 was a reminder to us to be grateful for our family, our friends, our health and each other. We are humbled by the challenges that those close to us are going through and we send our heartfelt aloha and positive thoughts your way. We love getting your Christmas letters and hearing from each of you, and we hope you’ll forgive us for our lateness this year — we wanted to wait until we had something definite to tell you about the Hale Kakahi sale.

Until next year, we wish you a belated Mele Kalikimaka and especially good thoughts for a Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou!