Aloha and Happy New Year! It’s been a while since you’ve received a letter like this from us, and for that, we apologize. It’s not that we’ve left you out—we’ve just been busy working on growing our State Farm agency. This year, we are opting to save a tree and go paperless with a blog post instead. Without further adieu, here goes…
2018 was a whirlwind year for the Ahlo ohana! I started off the year by pulling out my ’64 VW Bug out hibernation and towed it to a car show at Ala Moana Park. All the old timers (my age) freaked out—this car was in the exact condition that it was when I covered it 20+ years ago in my garage where it remained untouched. A true time capsule! Anyway, that oped a pandoras box of mini-restoration projects in an attempt to get it running, which I did. I have some work to do de-converting it from a drag car to a street cruiser, but I’ll get there!
This year, we watch some of our favorite restaurants shut their doors, and Ryans was no exception. We were fortunate enough to have been able to get our favorite table on the closing night. So many memories at this establishment, it was quite a sad moment. Alas, time marches on. I still think that I should have bid on that paddle that was on the back wall, would have looked great in our office.
So as you all probably know, we are travel freaks. We skip town on work or pleasure every chance we get! 2018 was no exception, and in fact, was pretty insane. To start our adventures, we packed up and headed out on a trip to California to relax at Indian Wells in Palm Springs. We arrived and it was amazing! So beautiful and the room was wonderful. So what does Nahoku do? She says, “I feel guilty that we’re in Cali and we didn’t visit the kids,” to which I replied, “Hah?!” I told her that we deserved some time alone to relax and of course, Nahoku being Nahoku, started moping around. So to make a long story short, we ended up driving to San Diego to pick up Paige, then up to Azuza to meet up with KJ, who was staying with a friend, for dinner, then headed back to Palm Springs. Half a day of driving. Umm, that’s the exact OPPOSITE of relaxing, but hey, she was right—it was great to see the kids again. Before we parted ways, we decided to tear it up in some ATVs in a sand track! So fun!
It worked out well that we took Paige back with us, as we had her drive our rental car back to San Diego while Nahoku and I jumped on a short flight to Denver to meet up with a State Farm agent. Although we put in a day of work there, we also took some time to visit the Coors brewery, which was pretty cool. Hey, free samples!
After the kids came back for spring break, we shot back up to Irvine, CA for a State Farm event. This was pretty fun and we met a lot of top-producing agents from the Western Region. Then we shot over to San Francisco to watch KJ play in his first alumni game. It’s been a long, hard road for him, but he fought through the challenges played soccer for 3 of the 4 years he was in college. He red-shirted his sophomore year with an ACL tear, so after surgery, all he could do was rehab and watch games from the sideline. I give that kid credit, he’s a tough one (like his mada :).
We headed back home, as there was work to be done. Our office has been growing and Nahoku is a great agent. I mean, she’s freakin’ awesome. I think her only downfall is that she is too hard on herself; but I think that’s what makes her so successful. Not to mention she refuses to lose at anything. And I mean ANYTHING. Don’t go to D&B and expect to leave until she beats you at everything. I just let her win now. Nah!
Time flew by and before we knew it, school was wrapping up an we had to head back to San Francisco for KJ’s graduation! Man, time flies. Seems like yesterday when Nahoku signed me up as an AYSO U6 soccer coach without telling me. Knowing nothing about soccer, I committed to my kids and coached both KJ and Paige for many years. What a blessing to have had all that time to spend with them! Pot lucks, games, and traveling for soccer tournaments—I’d do it all over again given the chance (grandkids maybe?) Sorry, I digress. So KJ graduated with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology as an Athletic Scholar and with honors. Amazing.
Back to work again, but not for long. In fact, we kept our luggage out in the spare room most of the year, ready to go! This time, it was to Vancouver, BC. That place is simply beautiful. We really enjoyed the weather, and there were so many places to visit on foot.
After we finished up in Vancouver, we decided to drive to Whistler for a few days. The drive was simply gorgeous—if you haven’t done the Sea to Sky Highway drive, it’s a bucket list item that you must do at least once in your lifetime (bring your drone). So as we’re heading there, Nahoku takes a detour and I ask her, “Hey, where are you going?” She said, “This is the way I saw on the map,” and I believed her. Thirty minutes later, we pull up to a shop called Scenic Rush. Paige and Nahoku turn to me and shout, “Surprise!!!” I was floored. Parked outside were 5 exotic cars: a Porsche GT4, a Ferrari, a Lamborghini, an Audi and a Corvette. I had no idea that they planned this surprise for my birthday! I was about to drive 4 of the 5 exotic cars and was quite simply, one of the “funnest” things I’ve every had the pleasure of experiencing. Had I know that it would have been that exciting; it too would have been on my bucket list. So I added it and crossed it off on the same day! BTW, don’t tell anyone, but I hit 270 kph in the green Lambo. Do the math 😉
We later arrived at Whistler, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t giddy as a kid in a candy store. My adrenaline was still pumping and I was on top of the world! I told Paige, “Let’s do something exciting!” still on my high from driving the exotic cars. So Paige points to the gondola and says, “Let’s go zip-lining!” Zip-lining it is. I’ve never been zip-lining before, and what better time to start than now. I was, after all, a born-again racecar driver and was more than up to the challenge. Turned out to be everything it was cracked up to be.
After all that fun, it was time to get back to reality and head home. I will return to Whistler someday, guaranteed. After arriving back home, still on my adrenaline high, I have an epiphany—I should fly up to San Francisco to watch the World Cup with KJ! So a couple week laters, I did a U-Turn and got to continue a long-standing tradition of watching the world cup together with my son. Priceless!
Our next big trip was Reno, NV. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from this trip, but I came back with a list of new friends and a camera full of interesting photos! At first, I was bummed about the hazy cloud cover from the forest fires in the general area, but later came back with some interesting photos—reminded me of the way VOG affect sunsets back home. Crazy.
We also took a drive out to pay homage to location where KJ’s classmate, Mark Ma, sadly passed away while stand-up paddling on Lake Tahoe.
So back to Hawaii we go, and soon after we landed, our very one Paigey was inducted as a Wahiawa Lion! We’re so proud of this young lady. She, like KJ, is majoring in Kinesiology and plans to attend the John Burns School of Medicine in 2020. Paige is no longer cheering due to festering high school injuries. She recently had knee surgery to trim her meniscus and has been doing well. She has been maintaining a 4.0 GPA since her sophomore year and truly loves studying the human body. KJ played soccer and maintained a 3.6 GPA and loves studying the FEMALE human body. Kinda the same, but different 😉
Speaking of studying bodies, both kids have “other halves”. KJ met Melanie in Cali and they have been dating for some time now. Paige met Kevin back in intermediate when she was attending Sacred Hearts, but only started dating a couple years ago. Kevin was playing basketball for a college in the Philippines, and Melanie is in her last year of college in Los Angeles.
As you know, the Ahlos have an extremly rigorous “significant other” screening process. I’m happy to say that both Kevin and Melanie passed with flying colors!
Back home, we focused on hitting end of year goals. As the end of year approached, it became evident that KJ and Paige might not be able to get on a flight home to spend Thanksgiving with us. So of course, Nahoku says, “OK, let’s go to them!” So that’s what we did! We flew Paige up to San Francisco and we met up with KJ and Paige in SF. It was a very relaxing trip—in fact, we bought frozen food and had Thanksgiving in our hotel room! No stress, no drama, just fun. I enjoyed spending time together as a family, and this was a great way for us to just decompress. Much thanks for that.
At this point, you’re probably thinking that I’m going to wrap this up. Sorry to disappoint you….we’re heading to Vegas, baby! Got to cruise the strip, party like it’s 1999…no wait…2999, and were fortunate enough to attend a private concert with Kelly Clarkson! Man, that girl can wail. I’d see her again in a heartbeat given the chance. We even took in a magic show and this guy was amazing! In fact, KJ was called on stage to be a part of the act and it was mesmerizing! We all walked out with our jaws dropped. What a cool way to end this trip.
To cap off the year, we celebrated my Dad’s 80th birthday! I can’t believe he’s 80—he looks (and acts) like 60 and I’m so happy that he’s so healthy. All those years of him coaching and the ensuing potlucks has surrounded him with many good friends. We’d play our game, then the parents would party all night and us kids would gallivant and try (not) to get into trouble. I miss those days. Youth sports is more that kids playing a game—it’s building friendships and bonds that last a lifetime. I feel so blessed to have been a part of that.
We ended the year with a super-fun Christmas, both KJ and Paige were back home to celebrate with us. I always feel energized when they are both in town—it’s like they are a part of my DNA and I simply LOVE spending time with them. The vacation is winding down, and KJ will be heading back to San Fran to his fulltime job. Paige will stay a little longer, but I am starting to miss them both already. I’m so used to having them around, that it’s hard to be away from them for too long. I hope that someday we all live in the same state. But only if that’s what’s best for them. Sigh.
As for me, I’m still working with Nahoku and doing photography whenever I can. Our agency is pretty busy lately, especially after two of our employees moved to other parts of the country based on their husbands’ military orders. I did, however, manage to get to one of the weekend days at the Pipeline Masters. I love hanging out on the North Shore, photographing surfers and simply meeting others. Nahoku says I have to stop talking to strangers, but I think that’s the fun of it! Regarding genres, I have yet to identify my favorite type of photography, but I do enjoy getting out and looking around. It forces me to appreciate my surroundings.
Well, that’s about it for 2018. I know what you’re thinking, “Let Nahoku do the annual letter from now on, you talk too much!” Eh, you know what they say about Portagees, they get straight to the point…no matter how long it takes! With that said, I wish the best for you and your ohana in 2019. We are so blessed to have you in our lives.
A hui hou,