I know it is a cliché, but at times I feel like Alice when she fell down into the rabbit hole. Or maybe it is more like "Encino Man" in reverse. Anyway, back in May I got a phone call that changed just about everything for me and my family. I was offered a job in Hawaii. After some negotiations, ruminations, and celebrations, we finally made it to Hawaii in late June.
This blog is about all of the fun, problems, and humorous situations I and my family have had and will yet have getting used to a new culture and new place. I also hope to offer potential visitors to Hawaii from the Augusta area some tips on how to make their visit more enjoyable and how to avoid some common pitfalls.
If you need a mental image, close your eyes and try to imagine one of the members of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour trying to fit-in in Hawaii and you will have some idea what it has been like for me. Not one of the dirty ones, one of the other two, you know, the mostly family-friendly ones. Anyway, I eventually got tired of trying to hide my accent and just decided to have fun with it. Now I say “Aloha Y'all” to everyone and they seem to enjoy it though my kids roll their eyes and say "Dad, please, you are EMBARRASSING us," and of course, being the sensitive and loving father that I am, I just keep doing it anyway and that is also why I named this blog “Aloha Y’all”. Ok, kids, there’s your cue. All together now, start the eye roll.
I will begin with a short glossary of terms and some lists that you might find useful if you are considering a visit or move to Hawaii.
- Aloha – uh-LOW-hah - Hello, goodbye, love, and more. It is the Swiss army knife of Hawaiian words. When in doubt, just say aloha, unless it is a Tahitian mahu smiling at you. More on that later.
- Mahalo – muh-HAH-low - Thank You
- Mahalo nui loa – muh-HAH-low NEW-ee LOW-uh - Thank you very much
- Wahine – wah-HEE-nayh - Female, woman, girl, broad, dame, you get the picture
- Kane – KAH-nayh - Male, man, boy, oaf, idiot (the same as everywhere)
- O’hana – oh-HAH-nuh - Family
- Hale – HAH-layh - House, building
- Haoli – HOW-lee – Stranger, non-Hawaiian, non-islander, not a native, white, black, Latino, anybody who likes grits and sausage for breakfast instead of rice and Spam. It is like a Monty Python skit over here at breakfast with the ubiquitous Spam.
Now for the bad news…
The top 10 reasons NOT to move to Hawaii
10. Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, fires, tornados, floods and hurricanes… “Nuff said”.
9. The roads/traffic: Low speed limits, bad or non-existent signs, crater sized potholes, uneven pavement, congestion and drivers that can make you nostalgic about Atlanta traffic.
8. Food and Drink: No Krispy Kreme, Sweet tea, good barbecue, Chick-Fil-A, or Zaxby’s. You can find some of these or a semblance of them… for a price and if you know where to look. I will tell you later.
7. College Football: Instead of Dawgs, Yellow Jackets, Gamecocks, and Tigers, you see Trojans, Rainbow Warriors (Stop snickering), Ducks, and other non-SEC, non-ACC, non-good teams. I also have a workaround for this I will share later.
6. The six hour time difference: College football at 6 AM, Calls from friends at 4 AM that inevitably end with “I am so sorry. I forgot about the time difference.”
5. The laws: If a bad guy breaks in, give him everything and do whatever he asks because if you defend yourself and the poor little burglar gets hurt YOU will be prosecuted.
4. Drugs: While you enjoy the beautiful scenery at a park, go ahead and call the police because your windows will be smashed by addicts looking for something to sell quickly.
3. Parking: Parking spaces are TINY here and there are not enough of them, so either get a small car, lose weight, make sure you have a sunroof or carry a can opener and/or petroleum jelly.
2. Housing costs: 700 square foot shacks cost $400,000, something like you are probably used to? More like a cool million plus.
1. The culture differences: For good or for bad; this ain’t The South, Bubba. Get with the program or forever be the hated haoli.
Some of the experiences that led to me adding things to this list are enough for an entire short story and I will elaborate on some of these in future blog entries.
If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments and I will try to either answer them there or in a future blog entry if I think they will be useful for other people.
If you want to come and stay for free, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that there are a whole lot of homeless people living in tents in the parks and you are welcome to join them if you like. The bad news is that you can’t stay with me. Even if I wanted to invite you it seems I am already running a bed & breakfast for family and old friends from back home and there are no vacancies for the foreseeable future. So, once my fourth cousin, twice removed, and his family of 5 plus the dog go home, give us a call and see how we feel about some more house guests... Hmmm, maybe I should add that to the list.
Next time, I will share the top 10 reasons you SHOULD move to Hawaii or at least visit.
Mahalo and Aloha Ya’ll!