Moving To Hawaii

3 Tips for Finding Your Place in Hawaii | Moving to Hawaii

Hawaii, You Made Me Love You

After living in Japan for a few year where I worked as a clinical social worker, I decided it was time to move back to the United States. Fortunately, an opportunity to work in Hawaii was shared by a close friend. My plan to move back to the East Coast would be delayed one year for my extended vacation on Oahu. My initial transition to Hawaii was discouraging. I landed on a rainy day and hit a number of stumbling blocks in the first few months that prevented me from getting settled. These nearly sent me straight back home! Rather than looking forward to a year of staying here, I was beginning to wonder if I could survive the first year.

Moving to Hawaii was a choice I had made, so I was determined to make it my best. My initial plan was to go directly home after work each day, save money, and mentally prepare to move within the next 11 months. But moving forward, I would not decline any invitations for a social outing or activity. I went to African dance classes on Saturdays at UH Manoa. Discovered venues to salsa dance, a hobby I picked up while in Japan. Joined a book club and met with fellow readers at a coffee shop in Kaimuki. Through a social app, I went to bilingual meet-ups, comedy shows, and cultural festivals all around Waikiki. Initially I was forcing myself to be active. Then I began to feel excitement for the next hike, new restaurant, or random invitation I was offered.


Hawaii turned out to be more than an extended vacation. A year was not enough time, and I decided to stay to make Oahu my home. I found a sense of community and culture that isn’t advertised to the rest of the world. The love and support that I feel from Sweet Adeline’s Na Leo Lani Chapter as we sing together each week.

The African dance community, Sewa Fare’, has fulfilled a sense of unity and culture. I’ve shared meals and conversed with fascinating people from all over the world. I am no longer eager to leave Hawaii because of what I risked leaving behind. Hawaii has been a welcome change to my life’s plan, and I love it! It has also allowed me to pursue my own passion for real estate.

3 Tips for Newcomers Looking to Find Their Place in Hawaii:

  1. Indulge in your passion here. If you loved it somewhere else, likely Hawaii has it or a cool version of it.
  2. Immerse yourself in the local culture. The diversity and experiences here are endless, but if you only stick to what you know, you may miss out.
  3. Find your community, or as my good friend would say, your tribe. These are the people that pour good energy into your life, enhance your experiences, and create a sense of belonging.
Comments (1) Show CommentsHide Comments (Remember)

Cool. Add your comment...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave your opinion here. Please be nice. Your Email address will be kept private, this form is secure and we never spam you.

betsy staller

April 28, 2019

my mobile vet Dr Jill dances with your African dance troop!!!
xox! ALOHA
Betsy Na Leo Lani

More Articles from Hawaii Life