Random Musings...

It isn’t called the Rainbow State for nothing... On the beach this morning to photograph the sunrise for the Sunrise Project, I turned away from the barely risen sun over the Koolau mountain range to find this intense spot of color to the west. Along with the two green sea turtles I saw bobbing around near shore in the choppy waters, this seemed an auspicious start for the day despite the rain. (Happy Birthday, Mom!)

And the winner is...

Laurie in Anchorage, Alaska! No one guessed the city exactly, but Laurie’s guess came closest to our new destination. So the above goodies are on their way to Anchorage. Thanks to everyone who visited and who played along! And thanks to GL at
Maine Musing!, who shares her adventures living in Maine on her site, for adding to the fun by throwing in extra prizes if any of her readers were the winner here!

And speaking of Alaska, look who’s back from his Alaskan summer vacation? Our part-year neighbor, this golden plover, or kolea, returned to our backyard on Thursday! He left in April and we weren’t sure we would be here to see his return this fall. In April we took his photo just before he began his long flight north, knowing he would be leaving soon. The tell-tale sign is that his breast feathers become black (see photo) — then we know he will soon be on his way.

What do you need?

This week 98% of our household goods were packed and whisked away and we will not see them again until early October. For our last 2 weeks here and the next 6 on the other end, we will only have what will fit in 4 suitcases and about a dozen boxes we send via post. We will be staying in short-term rentals during this time, until we find something more permanent.

So the question is: if you have to live for 2 months with only what you will carry with you, what do you bring to see your family through such a transition? What traditions or routines would be important to maintain? Assume you do not have family or other support on the other end, and you are limited to what you will bring with you.

I was talking about this with a friend who lives in the U.K., and as I listed some of the things I had put aside, she listened quietly until I mentioned the rice cooker. “Of course,” she said, a smile in her voice “the rice cooker.” “Yes, of course. Can’t live without a rice cooker... but this is our transitional rice cooker, it only makes 3 cups of rice at a time. Our REAL rice cooker makes 10.” Peals of laughter over the phone. (Hi, Sophie!)

Other must-brings include an electric water kettle (a habit I picked up in the U.K.), metal teapot and cups, coffee-drip filter and travel mugs, melamine (unbreakable) ramen bowls and plates, kitchen tongs, large skillet, 2-quart saucepan, small cast iron pan, wooden spoons (
Kochloeffeln), knives and sharpener, kitchen shears, can opener, corkscrew (actually, we just realized we did forget to pack this!), pillow, Dr. Bach’s Rescue Remedy, large quantities of dark chocolate.

I know many of you are or have been expats (living outside your country of birth) or spend a lot of time in other countries, so I’m wondering what things were important to you to remind you of home, or to help you make the transition?