Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i
Thank the heavens for modern technology and my mother-in-law's e-aptitude. Though the silence here at home is still unsettling, I've found great comfort in frequent e-mail updates from Jen and the occasional day-in-the-life digicam picture from 'Nana.'
Despite still being on a scattered, jet-lag sleeping schedule (complicated in part by a newly discovered fear of complete darkness), Katie is having a blast in Florida. She's tearing around their big (at least by Hawai`i standards) house, shrieking and laughing, coloring like a madman, singing, and splashing about in the little wading pool set up especially for her visit.
She's just tickled to be hanging out with (and being spoiled by) Nana again, and is slowly but surely warming up to Papa whom she hasn't seen for ages, and probably only barely remembers.
And in a thrilling development, today she's managed to request and use the potty three times. That success rate is only a third of what it'll need to be before she can graduate to cute little panty-type-things, but it's a great start. Methinks those overpriced training pants will soon be a part of her life... and hopefully not for long.
Because her body clock is severely out of whack, she (and therefore Jen as well) woke up at 3 a.m. Florida time, which on the plus side allowed them to call during way off-peak hours. Sure, e-mail is free, but really, fifteen seconds of hearing Katie giggle and say 'Hi dad!' is worth a million kbytes of text.
I miss them, but these little things keep me smiling.
Jen, the eternal optimist, continues to scan Travelocity for cheap fares in the hopes I might join them for a few days, but that's just not going to happen. She and Katie need this quality time with her family, for one, and second... they're in Florida.
Florida. Capitol of the absurd. It's a nice place to visit... if you're a little touched in the head.
(On the other hand, maybe that makes it a better match for me than I think.)
I forgot to mention how things turned out with my final.
I decided, after all, not to wait until the night before it was due to write my fifteen-page paper on the evils of the haole and Colonialist America.
I ended up doing it the next morning.
Yep. Seventeen pages hammered out in four hours, at my desk at work, fueled only by Coke and a slightly slimy spam musubi.
I drove to campus and dropped it in Professor Trask's department mailbox nearly 90 minutes before the 2 p.m. cutoff.
It's no masterpiece. It's actually a little embarrassing. But it's a decent effort, and paired with the stunning perfect grade I got for the midterm, I'm fairly confident I passed the course.
That leaves three credits, one class Journalism 445: Advanced Reporting between me and a silly tasseled hat.
Unless I missed an obscure American History course somewhere along the line...
Things at work are... different.
I'm still trying to get a sense of what life will be like after The Big Meeting.
While things slowed down for some of us, others just kept rolling into other big projects. Conferences, of course, one in D.C. and the other in Brunei Darussalam. So our top boss and his right-hand man have been traveling a lot, out of town more than in the office. We haven't really had a chance to sit down and get our bearings, figure out our overall direction for the next few months.
And in the midst of all this, we lost David my supervisor and friend, the guy who found and hired me and kept me out of trouble to school on the Mainland. To me he was an invaluable asset to our office, and of course the colleague I worked with most. I miss his guidance, and his obsessive, office-sustaining quirks, and I'm not sure if I'm yet qualified to inherit some of the responsibilities I've inherited by neccessity.
On the other hand, I get the feeling interesting times lay ahead.
Summer means losing our current slate of incredible interns, sure, but it also means getting another fresh and (usually) incredible crew. Sylvia, David's replacement, is a new face to get to know. Long-term plans being developed for our office are ambitious. And of course there's our Mid-term Meeting in November in Brunei (or maybe Singapore), and the much-anticipated International General Meeting next April in Tokyo.
Also, recently in the news, the likelihood that the Asian Development Bank will hold its major annual meeting in Honolulu next May. The ADB is a government-aligned international agency (versus our private-sector core), and with multiple heads of state (including Clinton, hopefully for real this time) expected to attend, it'll make our headline-monopolizing meeting look like an accountants' convention.
We're not involved, at least not yet, but most folks already acknowledged that our holding our event in Hawai`i played a large part in proving to the world that this state can host serious meetings. ADB heads and our top corporate figures run in the same circles, so there's a good chance things will be busy for us even if we're just on board as observers.
Finally, with little fanfare, I was told last week that I could finally vacate the front desk where I've reluctantly worked since September and occupy one of the offices in the now practically unused extension to our suite (that I designed, thank you very much).
It's the smallest of the three offices on that side, of course, and the only one without a window. But it's a space. It has a door I can close. And finally I won't have to drop everything every time someone needs their parking validated or can't find the key to the restroom.