I left Hawaii on July 26, 1985, and finally returned in November 2003. I had a week to explore old haunts, see friends again, and remember that the state hates me. Not the government - just the state. First it conspired with Minnesota to give me an ear infection on the flight there, meaning I had to avoid putting my head underwater. No problem - who wants to bother with the beaches when you're in Hawaii? Then our car got towed at the surfing competition, leading to a 2-hour search through ... um, interesting neighborhoods and several Hauli*-unfriendly people. On the plus side, I visited the library of the Mid-Pacific Institute and remembered a musty basement smell I strongly associate with books. Rereading that sentence, it might sound like I'm being sarcastic, but it was a truly wonderful experience.
#5: Stayed In Place
It's the first decade I stayed in one city (yes, I'm counting Pflugerville as staying in Austin). Relationships are stronger, and I had to pack far less times than in the 90s. The 80s only had one move, but it was across half an ocean and half a continent. From this steady base of operations, I did visit several places for the first time: Seattle, Tulsa, Indianapolis, Vancouver, Gainesville, Banff, Disneyworld. (I went near San Francisco for work, but I don't think I can claim it until I visit the Golden Gate bridge.)
#4: Real Estate
I bought a townhouse in 2003, when everyone said to invest in real estate because it "only goes up." That hasn't held true so much, but in fairness, the condo did appreciate 24% in 4 years before we bought the house. Owning a house has frequently made me appreciate renting, but I do enjoy having a place that is mine (and/or Laura's).
TOMORROW: School or work? I reject the tyranny of the or!
*Native Hawaiian slang for Caucasians.