Holiday Letter 2010

We sold the house, we sold the business, we’re packing up and we’re heading out!

Even though there was a rumor going around that we moved to Hawaii in 2001 to retire, that could not have been further from the truth! After 10 years of working long hours on our house and our business, we can safely say, NOW, we are semi (but mostly) retired! And so far, it’s great.

We're Done HereWe sold our beautiful Hale Kakahi last February—it was time to pass it on to new owners. We took with us lots of wonderful memories of the hundreds of friends and family who came to visit us in that special home. (The first year we had 32 sets of guests!) We always said Hale Kakahi was like a gorgeous supermodel—wonderful to look at and be with, but very high maintenance! But, no regrets—it was a fantastic experience.

In the fall, we sold Hawaii Holiday Vacation Rentals to a local real estate company. We have known the owners for many years and we both like and respect them. They are smart and energetic, they kept our wonderful staff, and they seem to be doing very well without us. Although we’re officially consultants for the next four years, we’re pretty much old news at this point, and that’s just fine!

So yes, we’re packing up and leaving our rented house—putting a lot in storage, selling some things and giving a lot away—so we can travel in 2011 and be homeless for the first time in our lives. First stop: Seattle. Harrison thought Sharene should see the REAL Seattle so we’re going during the gray, rainy winter months of February and March. Coming from Hilo where it rains 100 inches a year, the rain in Seattle will seem like a drizzle, but at this point anything less than 72 degrees is cold for us! In April, we hope to drive across the country. (If you are in the northern half of the US, please get your guest room ready!) We’ll land in Boston for a bit, then off to Amsterdam for the summer and fall. We may twist and turn along the way, but we’ll have fun figuring it out!

KoloSharene’s biggest challenge was finding a loving home for our beloved 13-year-old cat, Kolo. She’ll be going to live with a wonderful friend in the neighborhood and we’re hoping for the best as our friend already has a cat and Kolo has been very spoiled over the years.

Harrison’s projects have been more complex and high-volume but not as emotional. He’s been electronically transferring his hundreds of CDs, LPs, and even 45s in every genre for the last couple of months. He’s also had to figure out how to manage our life without mail or an address for the next year; we will truly be a “paperless” couple.

Fritz and HarrisonSome people are lucky and don’t know it. We like to think we are in the category of knowing how extremely fortunate we are to be healthy and retired, to be able to travel, to have such great friends, and to have each other. We are grateful every day. A few weeks ago, we lost Harrison’s great friend of over 43 years, Fritz Stawitcke, at age 61. At the service (which over 300 people attended) the pastor said Fritz died with no regrets, nothing was left unsaid, all who knew him knew he loved them, and he was present in his everyday life and the causes he worked for because of the way he lived his life. That was a wonderful reminder to live our lives as fully as we can and to remind those we care about how much they mean to us. Aloha, Fritz.

Harrison & ShareneWe’ll keep you posted on our whereabouts, but emails will reach us from your device of choice and, if that fails, you can always call us on our iPhones, which should reach us wherever we may be! We sincerely wish each and every one of you a heartfelt aloha, and since our holidays have mainly consisted of packing and some of you may receive this after Christmas, we’ll close and say Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year).

A hui hou (until we meet again),
Sharene & Harrison