Thursday, September 10, 2015

Give Aloha, Live Aloha Part I

Keeping in true Cheryl fashion, it has been over a year since my last post.  What can I say?  Time flies when you're having fun.  There is a lot I want to share but I'm going to narrow it down to one thing.  My family is no longer living in Virginia. 

Yes, you read that correctly.  We have once again hit the road after living in VA for only 2 years.  We had a long flight, an even longer stay in 1 hotel room and have finally settled into our house.


We have been here since June 25th and it still feels like a dream.  Visiting Hawaii as a family of 5 would be unlikely.  We live on a budget and being able to finance a trip like that would probably NEVER happen until our kids were grown and able to financially contribute.  I just can't justify going thousands of dollars in debt, or dropping thousands or dollars, for a vacation.

Now, we don't have to.

We wake up every single day in paradise.

The transition here was tough and please don't come at me with, "But you're living in Hawaii!"  Say that to me and I swear I will bitch slap you through the computer.  Any family that has experienced a long move understands where I'm coming from.

(Waiting for the airport shuttle at 4am)

 (Checking all of that luggage.  Pay the $20 and let the guys take care of it)
 (Flight from Norfolk to Atlanta)
(Flight from Norfolk to Atlanta)
(Flight from Norfolk to Atlanta)
(Flight from Norfolk to Atlanta)


The flight from Norfolk to Atlanta was short and sweet.  The kids were awesome and I wasn't too concerned.  I was more worried about our flight from Atlanta to Honolulu.  That is one hell of a long flight for a 2 1/2 year old.  Lets face it.  Little tots do not like being confined to a space, let alone a single scrunched seat, for 8 hours.

We were lucky that 4 of our seats were located directly behind a partition.  That allowed for more leg room and enough space to lay our little one on the ground or for him to sit and play.  Our fifth seat was in the row directly behind.  Jacob and I tag teamed it.  I sat with the 3 kids for 5 hours and he sat with them for the remaining 3.  Bonus that Atticus, the 2 1/2 year old, slept for the first 4.5 hours which was during my watch.  Jacob had to handle him for the last 3.

(Plane from Atlanta to Honolulu)
(Atlanta to Honolulu)
(Atlanta to Honolulu.  Thank goodness for TV)
(Atlanta to Honolulu)
(Atlanta to Honolulu)
(Atlanta to Honolulu)
We finally arrived in Honolulu after 8 very long hours and were ready to check into the hotel.
(Honolulu airport)
The drive from Honolulu to Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe is breathtaking.  I was born and raised an east coast chick which translates into "flat land".  I'm not used to seeing mountains on a daily and I honestly think the view will never get old.
You'll have to excuse the quality of the pictures.  There was no point in taking pictures with my camera since I wouldn't have had a way to upload them until sometime in mid August when our house goods arrived.  My camera phone had to suffice until then.
 (View along the H3)
 (View along the H3)
Ok, let me explain how TLA works for the Marine Corps or at least how I understood it.  We were fortunate enough to rate two hotel rooms since we are a family of 5.  Temporary lodging assistance does not kick in right away.  We had to come out of pocket for a little over two weeks before being reimbursed.  $$$$$$ racks up real fast so I recommend stock piling at least $5,000 before a long distance move.

  (Kids room)
(Our room)
Now, the Marine Corps will give you two housing offers based on what your family rates.  Here in Hawaii, there are different housing areas across the island.  Your family might be offered a house away from you or your spouse's duty station.  To some it's not a big deal.  People complain about traffic here but until you've sat in rush hour traffic on 275 in Tampa, FL.......bitch please. A 20 minute commute could easily become 2 hours on 275.
We were fortunate enough to have both our housing offers here on MCBH.  Forest City is the privatized housing company for MCBH and I encourage you to read up on them:
I strongly advise you to do your own research to see if privatized housing on MCBH works best for your family.
Here is the kicker.  Forest City wants you to make a decision about your home without seeing the inside.  I have been in many rentals since the age of 18 and I was never told that I had to make a decision without a walk through.  So, I did what I felt was appropriate.  My husband and I drove by our first offer, saw that a maintenance crew was inside and asked for their permission to walk through the home.  They were more than happy to let us.  Our first offer was a 4 bedroom duplex in the Mololani neighborhood.  Don't be so fast to knock a duplex.  It was very spacious and all of our large furniture would have fit.  It was also apparent that there were a lot of kids in the area which is great since we have three.


Then we did a drive by of our second offer, a 4 bedroom single family, in the Mololani neighborhood.  The garage door was up and there was a purple charger in the driveway.  The current tenants still lived in the house.  My mind immediately started playing tug-of-war.

Should I do it? I don't know if I can.
Is it rude?  Who cares.
What would Jesus do?  I don't even think he knows.

I did it.  I walked up, knocked on the door, and asked the current tenant if I could make an appointment with her to walk through the home.  I explained how Forest City wanted an answer about our housing choice in 24 hours and that they weren't going to show us the inside.  She was so incredibly understanding and allowed my husband and I to walk through the home.  Tacky of me?  Maybe. I like to describe it as more resourceful.  After all, we will be paying Forest City around three thousand, seven hundred dollars a month.  Who in the hell would agree to pay that much money without even seeing what they're paying for?  Not this girl.

We went. We saw. We loved. We had a big decision to make.

Our first offer was available July 14th.  Our second offer, the one we wanted, was available August 6th.  TLA stops on the day that your first option is available.  If we chose to wait until August 6th, we would be paying out of pocket from the 14th until August 6th.  That is $150/night.  You do the math.

Oh decisions, decisions!





  1. Hi, I was googling PCS tips and I stumbled upon your blog. I just want to thank you SO much for this post! We are PCSing to Hawaii in early December with our daughters 2 and 1. This will be the longest flight they've been on and I am pretty anxious about it.

    1. Hi there! Thanks for reading my post! You guys are absolutely going to love it here. It is simply amazing. I completely understand the nervousness when flying with little ones. Just remember to roll with it and that the pain is temporary =) More than likely, your little ones will surprise you by traveling like champs. Make sure to check out the second part of this blog post as it contains pictures to what the inside of a MCBH house looks like. Forest City expects you to make housing decisions without seeing them and I couldn't find any interior pictures on the internet. Safe travels and well wishes on your upcoming adventure!



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