Moving to Hawaii, some say, is moving to paradise. I shouldn’t complain, they say to me, since I’m going to be living in God’s own lagoon amongst the palm trees and hot surfers.
Those people have never had to plan an overseas move.
A Hawaiian move for civillians, for all intents and purposes, is all of the logistical challenge of a move overseas without the fun perks: no opportunity to shop at the exchange, no hope to trade up on the flailing dollar in a third-world economy, and all of the hassle of trying to get your car from Point A to Point B while getting ass-reamed by import/export sales tax. Milk costs something like $8 a gallon on Hawaii. Imagine paying that much for gas and you’ll appreciate the wonder of American agricultural subsidiaries.
Anyway, the car. Ohhh, the car. We have to arrange for it to be shipped from point A to point B, like I said. Point A, in this case, is Baltimore. Point B is Honolulu. Did I mention the office in charge of organizing said move, scheduled to happen before January 1, has NEVER HEARD OF US? That NO CARE WHATSOEVER has been taken with our move by the people in charge of coordinating the little details? You’ll excuse me while I take another drink.
It’s not that I am ungrateful to be moving to paradise, or for the opportunity to live in a world where few even get to visit. The real problem is that people whom I do not know, and who do not know me, are the ones in control of my car, my husband, and the rest of my life. Bureaucratic types are in charge of pulling the levers to get paperwork started; without said paperwork, we can’t even so much as FART in the direction of Hawaii, let alone ship a compact car. Forget about getting the oh-so-comfy couch that I’m currently splayed upon shipped; I’ll be relieved if Tom makes it there with a duffel full of basic clothing and toiletries. While I settle into my life in Portland, taking photography classes and tending to my brand-new nephew, I have no idea where my husband will live. If he’ll be happy. If he’ll have a car to get him to work. If he’ll have friends who can bring together a car pool to make his life easier. If he’ll get our shipment of furniture so he has a comfy chair to sit in when he writes to me. There are no answers to these “ifs.”
It fills me with awe and admiration that those in the Armed Services and the Foreign Service live EVERY DAY with this kind of uncertainty; they spend their days without even a hope of being able to answer the question “How is the government going to fuck up our plans today?” Because you know, I can’t answer that question. I have no idea what the next six months are going to bring to me and my little family of two.
All I know is where the final destination will take us: sometime in Spring 2008, we will be residents of the island of Oa’hu, Hawaii. Everything between then and now is anyone’s guess.