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.
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
The Ocean Can Wash Away More than Just the Heat
Learn Your Pronunciation
Poke is pronounced po-kay — not pokie or poke as in “poke the bear.”
We Have Some of the Most Amazing Cloud Formations
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
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
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.”