Continued from Part 1: How To Plan Your Move To Hawaii – Tips To Get You Started.
So you’ve probably already figured I’m a planner, and I’m big on knowing what you’re getting into, especially with something so big as moving to Hawaii (or buying a home)! There are so many things to love about Hawaii, starting with: the weather, the people, the culture, the scenery, the weather, the diversity – and did I mention the weather? I love to send photos and comments back to family in SC in the winter that show the warm beaches and sunny skies when they’re suffering through days of cold, rain, and gray clouds at the time – so mean, I know, but I just can’t help it!
This is a cloudy day here in January. Weekday during the first part of rush hour, so I had the beach to myself. Around 80 degrees, no snow or sleet, and still warm enough to swim!
I‘m limiting myself to 2 topics today because I feel like they’re both important enough to need their own blog space: family and pets!
Now, unless you’re single, with no family or friends, and anti-social too, or you have your own private plane, a big consideration is your support network and contact with your family. While any move is disruptive to your family routines and contact, moving to Hawaii is often referred to as “like moving to another country.”
It’s true that, in this modern day, we have cell phones, email, instant chat apps, Skype, FaceTime, and other ways to keep in touch, but it’s just not the same as being able to visit loved ones for food, drinks, ball games, hugs, and those myriad of daily challenges, celebrations, and life events. Nevertheless, we make do with the electronic contacts as best we can.
One of the wonderful cultural trends here in Hawaii is that a lot of families and friends gather regularly at beach parks or people’s homes most weekends to enjoy good food and fellowship, so we have plenty of family-style social gatherings, but it sometimes takes a while to establish your new support network once you get here. In the meantime, start preparing yourself mentally for the reduction in actual physical contact and gatherings with your own family as homesickness is usually more about missing the people than the places.
Do You Have Children?
Not so surprisingly, young children often have the easiest time adjusting to these changes, although they’re also more likely to forget or at least become more detached from those left behind, so the electronic contact can help there too. Young children often see the move as a great adventure, like they see so many things in life! Teenagers are often more resistant to any change, of course, but are often charmed by the outdoor activity options, so it’s really important to get them on board with activities and opportunities to create their own new social networks.
If you do have children, or are planning to have them, you’ll want to know more about schools, sports, daycare, and family/children’s activities. For schools, I like the School Digger site, which shows the Hawaii Department of Education’s rankings by city, or you can search rankings for elementary, middle, or high schools. You can “dig” for more stats about teacher ratios, demographics, test scores, and more for specific schools. If you’re a numbers person, you’ll like this site.
Honolulu Magazine also usually does an article rating the public schools, and there’s other sites too. I was talking recently to a friend, and was surprised and disappointed to learn that some of the schools don’t include or have funding for some of the “elective” courses like Physical Education and Art, and that the students and parents have to do fundraising for those classes. When I was a kid, we did fundraising for school trips and extra curricular activities, PE was required, and Art was part of the regular curriculum!
As for activities and resources, some areas have more structured activities for the keiki (that’s our word for children), from soccer camps and teams to after school programs, Boys and Girls Clubs, and dance classes (your child can learn hula), there are lots of activities available. Learning more about local activities by area, that’s where your local contacts come in! Let us help you learn more about the community activities.
Bringing Pets to Hawaii
As for your furry, feathered, or scaled family members, you’ll definitely want to do your homework since we have strict restrictions and procedures for bringing animals to the islands. Because we’re in a closed ecosystem, it’s important that certain animals (and diseases) aren’t introduced as they could have disastrous results.
Every now and then someone sneaks a pet snake onto the island, and then when it outgrows their expectations, or they just get tired of it, they release it into the woods where it reaps havoc with the wildlife until it’s captured. Since you can’t have them here, there’s no support or options for safely getting rid of them. No snakes, hamsters, gerbils, or certain types of birds are allowed, among others.
Even the family dog has to complete a quarantine process. We don’t have rabies, so that’s one of the certifications required before bringing pets to the islands. If your family pet is like my dog, Sassy, and can’t stand to be away from the family for more than a couple of hours without having a panic attack or going on strike, you may want to expedite the five day or less quarantine process before you move, otherwise your furry friend will have to endure 4 months of quarantine (at your expense). By the way, this is Sassy, isn’t she adorable?
There are companies that will help you plan moving your pets, but I suggest getting your initial information from official sources. I did a quick Google search and found several sites that don’t seem up-to-date on the list of banned animals. You don’t want to find out as you’re getting on the plane that, oops, you can’t take your particular pet after all…talk about tearful airport goodbyes.