Chapter 1: Living arrangements

This morning I am sitting on my lanai, laptop on my lap, cup of Volcano Coffee Company coffee by my side (thanks Hawaii Coffee Connection!). A little over 24 hours from now, ignoring the time difference, I could be sitting at Java on the Rocks, feet in the sand, sipping Three Stone coffee in Kona. Of course, I’ve just discovered the Kona marathon will be run tomorrow morning so I need to factor that in to my getting-around plans. Oh, and the “could be” refers to being at Java on the Rocks. I will be in Kona, ready to take the next step: finding a place to live.

I don’t know if this is true in all of Hawaii, but the rental agency I have contacted said that they do not do “sight-unseen” long-term rentals. That means you need to go in person to see the unit that you want to rent and hand over your $25 cash application fee. Another factor to consider is that once I am approved for the unit I applied for, I have to turn in my security deposit within 24 hours in cash, money order or cashier’s check. This presumes that I will be on-island to turn this stuff in (I’m going to utilize FedEx). I’ve heard that many people deal with this by moving to the island and into a local hotel/motel for several weeks, while they search out the perfect home and place applications. Considering that my physical move is planned for early October, which is directly before the Kona Ironman when hotels will be full and pricey, I think it’s a worthwhile investment to start looking now.

I’m lucky enough to know people who are in a position to help me find a great, safe place to live in a convenient location, and boy have they come through. It almost seemed too easy, which means I’m doing it right. I got the lead on a condo, in an area I’m familiar with, on June 9 and made a phone call. I received a call back the next day and started an exchange of emails that culminated in me buying a plane ticket that night. The unit I want is going to be available as of July 1, so I need to get out there before then to check it out and apply. Again, I’m lucky that I have a job that allows me to be flexible about taking vacation and a boss that I’ve kept informed about my plans. I was able to get a non-stop flight on Alaska Air at the painful hour of 7 a.m. tomorrow morning, coming home Tuesday evening. I have to admit, I called a girlfriend of mine in a panic that Tuesday night when I bought my ticket, and spilled all of my panicky excitement on her. “Oh my god, this is real! I’m actually doing this! What am I doing?!” She very calmly talked me down off the ledge and gave me some helpful suggestions regarding my current home (do I sell it? do I rent it out? that’s another post).

At this point, I’m mostly packed. It’s only 2.5 days so I’m taking just carry-on, and not even a very large carry-on at that. I still need to print my boarding pass but I’ve made the taxi reservation for o’dark:thirty in the morning. There are no guarantees, but I’m hoping that I’m approved for this condo, and I can take the next steps: getting a local bank account, finding a job, shipping my possessions and the rest. I’ve even started thinking that I could probably do at least one quick weekend trip when I check some bulging suitcases and overstuff my carry-on, just so I can get a start on moving stuff. I’m fairly sure that’s more expensive than just shipping it, but once I get a place, will I be able to wait 3 months before I start making it my own?

While in Kona the next couple of days, I’m going to have breakfast with the friend whose couch I’m crashing on, see “Waiting for Godot” at the Aloha Theater, have dinner with the Z family, probably visit Kona Henna to tell them the jelly fish I got last October worked in bringing me back to the island and request a new one, visit some hotels and resorts and ask for job applications, start getting a Bank of Hawai’i account set up, and watch the sunsets. Most important, I will slow down, relax, breathe and feel the Aloha welcome me to my new home.

ImagePhoto circa approximately 1978, visiting my grandparents, aunt and uncles in Kailua Oahu.

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