Sunday, December 25 — A very pleasant, un-Christmas-y Christmas Day spent in airports and airplanes, as we took off from Eppley in Omaha, flew to Denver, then to San Francisco, and eventually to Kona International on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Although it was only a little before 8 pm that we arrived on Hawai’i after the the 5 1/2 hour flight, it was of course pitch dark (sunset is currently shortly before 6 pm) but WARM–70 at least. We got our rental car without a hitch, and drove the 20 or so minutes South to the complex, Sea Village, with the vacation rental that we rented from our friend Mark (Dahmke). It’s a spacious one-bedroom on the third floor, among hundreds of others, but the complex is pleasantly set up and when he bought this unit a few years ago, he chose well–the balcony overlooks the ocean, which is probably about 50 feet away on the other side of a seawall made out of the ubiquitous volcanic rocks. We couldn’t see much of it, of course (a few spotlights illuminated the nearby area) but we could hear the waves crashing against the rocks–a wonderful sound. That’s when we decided we wouldn’t use the bedroom, which sits at the back end of the complex toward the stairs, and has only very small, high windows, but instead use the pull-out couch in the living room, to sleep with the door open and the sound lulling us to sleep. Worked like a charm! We both slept really well, and the jet-lag worthy time difference of 4 hours from Nebraska time hasn’t bothered us so far.