This week has been a rough one for our family. On Sunday night, Chinami had a runny nose and I had a slightly red right eye before going to bed. Monday morning, I woke up and my eye was bright red and swollen half-shut. I went to Long's and bought some hand sanitizer and some eye patches before going to work. That night, Chinami had a high fever and a nasty cough. Tuesday, we took her to the doctor and she had a cold and ear infection. Wednesday, Yasushi had a fever, headache, and sore throat, and I was starting to have the same symptoms as well by the afternoon, and so he got me some medicine too when he went to the doctor. Thursday, I finally went to the doctor, and he told me my eye (which wasn't red anymore but still swollen half-shut) was not pinkeye, but likely connected to the other symptoms.
After the doctor's appointment, we all went to Shirokiya for a very important event--
the signing of our escrow and loan agreements. It was over an hour of signing things about flood zones, termites, loan rules, paying the loan directly out of the bank account, etc. Since our lender, real estate agent, and the escrow office representative/notary public were all Japanese ladies, the signing was conducted almost entirely in Japanese. (side note:I remember trying to get any kind of Japanese related service in Pennsylvania, what a joke that was! Just one of the many reasons I feel blessed to be able to live in Hawaii.) Chinami was so tired she fell asleep during the meeting. But we plowed through it all, and at the end, handed over a check for almost 125,000, or pretty much our entire life savings, sending our account into a dangerous state until the next paycheck. And from October, we start mortgage payments. But we will have our own home.
If I had to try by myself to purchase my own home in Hawaii, I wouldn't qualify for any kind of loan until at least 2016, and even then, I probably wouldn't be able to qualify for a big enough loan to actually buy anything, not even the 1 bedroom part of this shack we live in now. I have two people to thank for our dream finally coming true.
The first person to thank is Yasushi. In addition to working his fingers to the bone 15+ years to perfect his skill as a Japanese chef, he spent the last 2 years in a truly horrible work environment, and even though I told him to quit several times for the sake of his health, he refuses each time, insisting he would hang on so we could buy a home. I
The other person to thank is my grandfather, Max Kaplan, or "Poppy." He scrimped and saved and stayed frugal his whole life, at times wearing clothes or shoes with holes in them or living on cheap food to accumulate a savings that the unselfishly left behind so "his children and grandchildren could have a good life". When we first saw the condo, we fell in love with it. However, the price was 348,000 and the most we could offer was 320,000. Our offer was, of course, rejected, and I counter-offered with 335,000, adding an extra 15,000 to our downpayment that came from the account my grandfather had made for me. If it weren't for him, we wouldn't have been able to make the counter-offer that got us our home. I like to think that this is what he had imagined when he set aside that money...using the money for my education, a permanent home for our family and his only great-grandchild. It's his birthday today, so Happy Birthday, Poppy, and thank you!
The condo itself is a 2 bedroom, in the same neighborhood we live in now, close enough to Waikiki for the 4am bike commute and Yasushi's work as well, a 5 minute walk from Chinami's preschool with elementary, middle, and high schools in close walking distance, it's not a "nice" neighborhood like Manoa or Makiki, but not seedy Waikiki or Ala Moana area either. The condo is 12 floors high and ours is on the 8th floor. We don't have our own washing machine, which was a minus for me until we went to the laundry room on the top floor, you can see the ocean and Diamond Head. There's a park and a pool on the grounds, which is pretty nice since we don't have to clean it ourselves and can use it all year round, and Chinami loves the water.
Since it is a 2 bedroom, renting out 1 bedroom is something we will probably have to do for a while. Since we are in such a good location, close to UH and Waikiki and bus lines, it should be easy to find someone to rent a room to.
More to come!