Saturday, December 5, 2009




IMAGINE THIS… you are a young man in the 1970s,working on the sun-baked beaches of Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast… but you live in one of the impoverished Iron Curtain countries riddled by hyperinflation and political tension. You have an opportunity to flee even though you know it means leaving your family and homeland behind. This is the story of Gary Hatch. Almost 40 years ago, he escaped communist Bulgaria and fled to Istanbul to seek political asylum at the American Embassy. It was 1975 and after a brief stay there and in Italy, he landed in New York, without knowing anyone or any English!

After a time, with hard work and determination, he found a job, saved a little money, and decided he wanted to live where it was warm. Although he considered Florida, he decided to head to California instead. When he got settled, he had a few jobs working for others but knew he had the drive and work ethic to work for himself. He was in America! Anything was possible! He understood the gift he was handed when he came to this country: he had the freedom to choose his own path in life. So with focused resolve, he spent the next four years building a lunch truck and vending machine business in Southern California.

In 1979, he splurged on his first vacation, a place he dreamed about on the Black Sea in Bulgaria: HAWAII. It cost him a whopping $269.00 through Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays for airfare, hotel, and a few activities, and he even got to see the Don Ho Show! He was hooked. (Who wouldn’t be at that price?!)

Back in California, he started buying real estate and eventually got his license. One of his clients encouraged him to become a mortgage broker, which he did and opened his own firm in Burbank where two of his children from his first marriage now help him run the business. Asked how he has weathered the recent problems with mortgages, he just shrugs and says: “it’s true, we are working twice as hard, but I’m just a simple guy, keep working through all the hoops; it’s not a perfect world and even though there are things that are out of my control, I’m grateful for what we have.”

Since his first trip, Gary and Tina came many times to Maui and always stayed at the Mana Kai. Then this year, they took a look at KIHEI SURFSIDE

recognized the view was much more tranquil...and the sun on the lanai was much LESS intense than at Mana Kai, now they can sit on their lanai all morning!

As the new owners of their oceanfront condo on Maui they can fully realize they are a long way from fleeing a communist country and coming to America with just hopes and dreams. Gary and Tina met in the ’80s when he had his lunch truck business. She had come to California from Matzatlan the same year Gary came from Europe — they take that as a sign they were supposed to be together!

To see their new condo (and check availability and stay there!) click here: DREAMS DO COME TRUE

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