Surprising Things I Have Learned Since Moving to Hawai’i

Fifteen years ago when my family and I decided to move here, we knew that it would be a big life change. Moving from Maine, we knew some things were pretty evident such as not having to plan extra time to brush snow off of our cars in the winter, pay to heat our home, or and require a plane to go to another state. Being able to go to the beach and swim year-round was also a given.

What I wasn’t prepared for were the subtle changes that have taken place over time and the surprising things I’ve learned about island life. I thought it would be fun to share and see how many people can relate.

rainbow behind palm trees

Island Time is a Real Thing

For example, the other day I was waiting at a stoplight for my turn to cross a busy road. When the light changed, I paused to look both ways one more time as it is a busy intersection. The person behind me in line honked their horn at me. My first thought was, “someone I know is behind me and wants to get my attention to say aloha.” I drive a purple car so people honking at me for no reason just doesn’t happen. When I looked in my rearview mirror, I realized I didn’t know the person, nor did they know me. They were most likely in a rush and not familiar with the intersection. The reason that I bring this up is because I have lived here for 15 years now, and this is the first time that anyone has ever honked at me because I haven’t moved fast enough. The only time I ever use the horn in my car is to get a friend’s attention to say aloha or to someone or to warn someone who’s backing out into traffic. Island time really is a thing. The best thing to do is embrace it and breathe.

People Stop to Connect with Friends

People really do take the time to talk to each other. It’s not uncommon to pull up behind someone at an intersection who’s catching up with a friend who is coming from the other direction. You can also plan on an extra few minutes in line at the grocery store when you’re checking out. Sometimes it’s the only time people can connect with their friends who are cashiering.

Going Barefoot is Great But…

You will get blisters if you walk barefoot on asphalt in the middle of the day. Don’t ask…

People Do Stop to Appreciate a Spectacular Sunrise or Sunset

vivid orange and blue sunset in hawaii

The Ocean Can Wash Away More than Just the Heat

appreciate sunsets and sunrises in hawaii

Learn Your Pronunciation

Poke is pronounced po-kay — not pokie or poke as in “poke the bear.”

poke bowl with fish and avocado

We Have Some of the Most Amazing Cloud Formations

beautiful clouds in hawaii

Patience is a Necessity

Patience isn’t just a virtue; it’s a necessity. Recently, our stove started acting up so we decided that it might be time to start shopping for a new one. The stove I picked out is not available on island and will take between six to eight weeks to get here. Yes, you read that right, weeks not days…

Overnight mail from the mainland usually isn’t overnight.

Amazon doesn’t deliver the same day here. If you really need something, you will need to drive to the store to get it.

Critters Can Be Found Just About Anywhere You Look

cat lounging in a tree

Ohana is a Deeply Rooted Way of Life

When you start to make friends, it is more than just one person that you will have as a friend. You become part of their family. The word ‘Ohana might have gained some exposure from the Lilo and Stitch movie, but trust me when I say, it is a beautiful and deeply rooted way of life here.

It’s a Small World

I was always taught as a child, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Here that would be referred to as talking stink about someone. If you have a gripe with someone, it’s best to deal with them directly. Hawai’i Island might be called the Big Island, but when it comes to personal connections, everyone knows someone who knows someone… Super handy if you’re in a bind and you need help with something. Chances are, someone you know will know someone who knows someone. The same can be said about talking stink. Good chance that someone knows someone…

Seeing Beautiful Rainbows Never Gets Old

rainbow on the big island

We Still Have Seasons

Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall still happen here. It took me a few years to notice the subtle nuances of the seasons here. Especially moving from Maine where the four seasons are extreme.

Patience, Community, and Connection to Nature

In hindsight when I look back at the way that I perceived things when we first moved here compared to today, I am so grateful. Living here has taught me so many things. Patience, community, and a deeper understanding of the connection between the people and this amazing island. To this day, I still wake up every morning and think, “lucky we live Hawai’i.”

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Suzzette Schulte

July 9, 2021

Loved your article. Love the Big Island😍

Mike Kuczborski

July 9, 2021

This was a great enjoyable read.

Julie Keller

July 9, 2021

Tru dat sista – Lucky we Live Hawai’i🤙🏻🤙🏻
Fun read and love the pics !


July 10, 2021

Spot on!

Beth Thoma Robinson

July 10, 2021

So well written, Linda! Look forward to more of these.

Daniele Gold

July 11, 2021

Well said! Important insights for our new neighbors on Hawai’i Island. ☺️🤙

Vernon Lee

July 14, 2021

Aloha! Refreshing read and so are the trade winds!

Paul "PK"

July 16, 2021

You still sound like you’re from Maine.

Linda Hussey

July 20, 2021

> > Mahalo ! You know what they say… ” You can’t take the person out of Maine but not Maine out of the person”


July 20, 2021

You could have mentioned that mysterious phrase “Free Shipping”

Linda Hussey

July 20, 2021

> Free shipping to everywhere but Alaska and Hawai’i 🙂

Linda Hussey

July 20, 2021

> Mahalo ! You know what they say… ” You can’t take the person out of Maine but not Maine out of the person”


July 30, 2021

Everything you said is true. I miss living there. Wash your feet! My friends just don’t understand that.

Linda Hussey

July 31, 2021

> Kelly, I love it !

Linda Jones

July 31, 2021

100 % accurate!!

Christine Aker

October 15, 2021

What a lovely website from a lovely person, friend,professional and ohana

Linda Hussey

October 16, 2021

> Mahalo Chris !

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