Monday, May 6, 2013

That time we almost moved to Las Vegas

Last week, Justin and I sat down and pretty much made the biggest adult decision we've had to make thus far (if you don't count moving to Maui...haha.)

In January, I applied to the Clark County School District in Las Vegas.  I had JUST gotten my second grade teaching job at Pa'ia, but was trying to find the quickest way off this island.  I'm not sure what had gotten into me, but I was done here.  Ready to move back to the continental U.S.  So I filled out the application, got the reference forms in order, and did a phone interview in late February.  Then they told me I would have to wait until hiring, which takes places in April/May.

Now we're in early May.  I got a phone call from a principal in North Las Vegas (within a mile of Fremont Street), calling to see if I was still interested in a job.  Was I?  I said yes, mostly because I was curious what he had to offer.  By the time we stopped playing phone tag because of the time difference, he said he had already set up a couple of interviews with other people, and that if those fell through he would call me back.  He did mention that I had a VERY high interview score and that even if he didn't have a space for me, he would refer me to other principals who had openings.  Alright, sounds good.

The next morning I get a facebook message from my mentor teacher back in Seattle telling me to call her ASAP.  I guess the principal's curiosity got the best of him, and he decided to check out one of my references despite not having space for me.  Awesome!  An hour and a half later, there was a voicemail from him saying to call HIM ASAP.  Interesting....  :)

I called him before my staff meeting and he told me that after talking to my references, he didn't feel like he even needed to interview me, but knew he needed me on his staff.  Needless to say, I was completely blown away by this....haha.  We chatted for about a half hour about his school, and any questions that I had.  He told me at the end of the call to talk to my husband, and call him back in the next day or two letting him know whether or not I wanted the job.  And the kicker?  He had 3rd grade and Kindergarten open, so I could pick which grade I wanted!

Guys, this was pretty much the hardest decision I think I've ever had to make.  I would toss it back and forth in my head over and over, think I had come to a conclusion, and then make a 180.  I was excited, but I was also making myself nauseated trying to make a logical, thoughtful decision.

I tried to make a pros and cons list, but it didn't help much.  I essentially just started putting goofy stuff on it because by that point I was in a panic. 
"CON: Korey will move to Vegas and become an alcoholic."
Basically, housing is cheaper and WAY more pet friendly in Las Vegas.  Electricity is nearly a third of the cost.  Buttt.....

Maui has beaches, we both have jobs here, and Chris just moved here (he should feel special his name made the list.)  Butttt....

Having kids on Maui would be harder, mostly because any apartment bigger than we're in right now (more than 500 square feet), is going to cost at least another 300-500 dollars a month.  And you would not believe how unfriendly people are to kids (I just thought they were a stickler on pets!).  And our families are SO FAR AWAY from their future grandchildren.  If we lived in Las Vegas, I could fly home for around a hundred dollars.  Buttt....

The teacher's union FINALLY settled a contract with the state, and I'm looking a $5,000 raise in my salary for next year.  AND they whittled down health costs a bit too.   Moving to Vegas and taking a teaching job there would mean a $10,000 pay cut.  OYE!  But everything is cheaper....

As you can see, I could go round and round and round again.  Both places have their pros and cons.  But ultimately...
We decided to stay for one more year.

I underlined the word one because that's it.  One more year in paradise, and then we'll move some place where it will be a little bit easier to settle in.  Honestly, we could never afford a home here.  Median housing costs rest around $550,000.  I don't want to live in a condo....ughhh.  And those are still in the 2-3 hundred thousand range.  I want a big, family house with a yard for my husband to mow and my kids and dogs to play in.  That was initially why Las Vegas was SO appealing to us.  You can purchase beautiful, huge homes with yards and pools for under 200,000 dollars.  The teacher pay isn't great, but at least from what I can see in their contract, they have salary steps.  (Hawaii bargained away their salary steps in the late 80's and never got them back...oye!)  It doesn't have beaches, but Lake Mead is about an hour away, the Grand Canyon is 4.5, and California beaches are within reach as well.  

I don't think anything will ever be as great as the time we will have spent here.  Living across the street from the beach is amazing, and I rarely miss wears jeans and shoes.  :)  But the next place we move will be great for a whole other set of reasons--for example, the place we started having kids or the place Justin got a job making beer.  :)

I really think teaching at Pa'ia shifted my need to move.  Don't get my wrong, its been a TOUGH half a year.  Coming in half way through the year after the teacher was hardly there is hell.  My kids are whackadoos and I think I cried everyday after school the week leading up to Spring break.  But its my FIRST year teaching.  It sucks no matter where you are.   And now that the school year is coming to a close, I had the opportunity to spend my funding on stuff for my classroom for next year.  MY CLASSROOM--not some other guy's mess that he left behind when he fled the island.  I'll have new kids, a room I designed, and a management and procedures that I get to start the kids off with.  All of that got me super excited for next school year, and I temporarily misplaced my strong desire to move off island.  When the Vegas principal called, all the reasons I wanted to move to Vegas came back, but the itching desire to leave Maui didn't.  

I think that's why the decision was so hard.  My Mom told me that if the decision was too hard to make than just stay.  Vegas will always be there.  And she was right.  Reading that text made it easier.  :)  

So for now, we're planning on heading out in a year.  Knowing for sure that we will be leaving will make the decision this time next year that much easier.  I feel confident that I will be able to secure a job in Las Vegas (or anywhere else I decide to apply) next year.  AND, the principal I talked with was super bummed that I didn't accept the position, but told me that when we were ready to make the move, to please call him back, and he would find me a position.  He said he was putting his school at a disservice by not trying to get me working there.  Talk about pumping up my ego!  Haha.  :)  

So, I have a year to do and see all the things I want to experience here on Maui.  And believe, there is still quite a list.  :)  And if we do move to Las Vegas, I won't even have to change the name of our blog, since most of Las Vegas is actually part of Paradise, Nevada.  :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Random pictures that apparently didn't post months ago. :)

Banyon Tree Park- Lahainia, HI

Lower Puohokamoa Falls

Hana Highway

Some skinny dipping in a waterfall up Hunter's Road

Nahiku Cove

Chris and Justin swimming in the Fresh Water caves

Black Sand beach!



Wise words.

Drinking on the cruise!

Marty Dread rocking.


One of my favorite pictures from their

Beautiful boat on a beach in Ka'anapali

Sister, Sister.

Happy and tan.

Keeping me from falling off the Hana Highway.

Taking a dip in Ching's Pond--freshwater and coldddd!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Venus Pool

The Venus Pool is another stop on the Hana Highway that Justin and I skipped on our first trip around the island. The stop is past Hana Town but before the 7 Sacred Pools. I'm SO glad we made the time to stop this time. It was amazing!

 The Venus Pool, or Waioka Pond, is a beautiful pool that is partially blocked off from the ocean surf. When the tides are high enough, the water from the ocean pounds over the wall and brings ocean water in and out of the pond. The rocks surrounding the pool make for excellent cliff jumping, which both Justin and Chris got to experience first hand. I, on the other hand, had to work myself up by screaming out loud in order to jump off of a 6 foot

*Picture credits go to Chris/Chris's camera.  :)*

Climbing down to the lower ledges

Contemplating how to ease into the water...haha.

Justin wasted no time getting in!

Chris contemplating the jump....

And jump!!


Korey thinks this is a better jumping platform.  :)

Even this lower one for me was too

But I jumped anyways!

This girl was visiting from Canada...Justin took approximately 16 pictures of her...putz!

Nice view of the pond...and the Canadian tourist...bahahaha

Jump #2

The view from behind us...water run from upcountry and feeds the pool

Another ridiculous jump by Chris

An ancient Portuguese Bread Oven at the top of the trail head

Chris told me to get inside the oven with my husband...  :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Haleakala Sunrise!

My sister Korey and friend Chris visited us last week. So I got to play tourist the whole week! :)

Their first full day here, we woke up at 3:30 AM to head up to the summit of Haleakala to watch the sunrise. Justin and I haven't had the opportunity to get up there yet, mostly because we didn't want to get up that

We left Kihei by 4 AM--it took nearly an hour and a half to get to the top. It was FREEZING...haha. 46 degrees to be exact. Definitely the coldest I've been in awhile. :)

The sunrise was at 6:11 AM, and was worth ever bit of no sleep that I got. :) And without further ado, here are the pictures. They don't need words. :)

My FAVORITE picture.  :)