The Lure of the Islands

Aloha!
“She had loved islands from the time she spent her first summer on one. She was eight at the time. Thirty-four now, she still felt the island aura – – an isolation that made worries seem distant, a separation from the real world that lent itself to dreams.”
From “Sweet Salt Air” by Barbara Delinsky

And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
When I was a sophomore in high school, my family had the good fortune to spend Christmas break on one of the Florida Keys. Having left snow, sleet, and icy roads behind in the Midwest, I was immediately hooked. Why doesn’t everybody live here? I wondered. And when I first came to Maui, I wondered the same thing. But being so far from the mainland isn’t for everyone. Or how slow the pace of life is. Or how hard it is to get things. Or, and this is a biggee…the high cost of everything, particularly real estate.

So what draws those who live on islands to be there? With the pace of life today, I offer another quote, this one from Oliver Wendell Holmes: “I would not give a fig for the simplicity on this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.”

So maybe THAT’s what it’s all about. I get letters weekly from people who want to move to Maui and have many questions. Is everyone just really trying to get to the simplicity on the other side of the complexity that our world has become?

A hui hou! If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right, or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

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The Things You’ll Do to Live on Maui

Aloha!

The old song says, “The things you’ll do for lo-o-ve 🎶” and the same is true of Maui. It truly can be like falling down the rabbit hole. And just like Alice, the longer you live here, the more normal it becomes. Case in point: my hairdresser. Just finding someone to do passable blonde highlights on the island ( without having to sell your car to pay for them) is a small feat. Those hotel/spa/hairdresser prices don’t fly on a Mauian’s paycheck!

My hairdresser used to work at the fancy hotel. Then at the fancy salon. Now he works out of his home, which is a postage stamp-sized Ohana (cottage) behind someone else’s house in Kihei. He could no longer afford to rent a station at the high-priced places. There is no air conditioning, so the minute he slaps that plastic gown on me, I’m sweating like a sumo wrestler. Then there’s the lighting, or rather, lack of it. I peer toward the mirror and have to squint to see myself.

But the most interesting feature is the rinse bowl. It is out in his shed… the garden shed, like, from Sears. He leads me to it through the small yard, and it is dilapidated and falling down, and feels about 50° hotter than his already hot house.

I close my eyes as he rinses my hair, and go to my happy place. You know, the way they say when you’re stressed, you should picture yourself on a beach or a tropical island. Oh, wait–I’m already on that island. But this is one of the ways people afford to live here.

Like Wonderland, when you live on Maui, many things are upside down, inside-out and backwards of what you’d expect. But hey, I have some affordable blonde highlights.

A hui hou! If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

The Psychology of Place

Aloha!

Hold on – this isn’t as esoteric as you might think.

I was watching the writer’s commentary for the hit TV series “True Detective” (the show got nominated in every major Emmy category for which it qualified, 12 in all, including a best drama nomination for writer Nic Pizzolatto.) In the commentary, Pizzolatto mentioned the “psychology of place,” in this case, New Orleans, where the series was filmed.

Many writers talk about place as a character, and I most enjoy movies where the sense of place is very strong. So part of what has intrigued me is that 1) I’ve never been to New Orleans and 2) all I knew of it was Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street, mostly from movies.

Kind of like that’s the only way some people know Hawaii.

But this series showed the gripping underbelly of the Bayou – a whole different world… an insider’s world, as the writer is from there.

So I started thinking about the “psychology” of any place. A girl I know on Maui is from the upper Peninsula of Michigan, the “U-P” as it is known – -another place I’ve never been. Her assessment of her home: “Everyone drinks, and everyone hangs out in bars, because that’s all there is to do there.” It’s winter most of the time, and there’s nothing to do. To her, that’s the psychology of the place.

So what is the “psychology” of the place where you live? And what do you see (as a visitor or resident) as the psychology of Maui? Of Hawaii?

Please send me your thoughts. We’ll discuss this for the next couple of posts…

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage, or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Safe No More?

Aloha!

One of things I’ve always loved the absolute most about living in Maui is the feeling of safety. I feel no need to stride purposely through a parking lot, keys in hand, ready to jump in my car to avoid being raped, robbed, or murdered…as I always felt in California.

Maui has been different. It just hasn’t had the big-city problems. Until now. There are two women missing, both of them having disappeared in the last month. There are posters plastered everywhere that say “Have you seen Charlie Scott?” This woman, “Charlie” was five months pregnant. They have found her burned-out truck and her faithful dog, but no Charlie. She was last seen on the way to meet her ex-boyfriend, the father of her child. The ex-boyfriends of both missing women are “persons of interest.” (This makes me feel somewhat better, just so we don’t have to yet utter those dreaded two words–“serial killer.”)

This stuff just doesn’t happen here. But now, everyone is beginning to wonder. My niece, Alyssa, who has been living with us for a few months, is suddenly on high alert as she walks home from the bus stop after work. She scoffs now at me telling her how safe Maui was when she moved here. She doesn’t think it’s so safe. There are two missing women.

One thing about an island this size– it’s very hard to run or hide. All they have to do is close the airport, or check the docks. Our friend Mike, who is a heavy equipment operator and owns a lot of big machinery, had his backhoe stolen from a job site at one point. First of all, how is someone going to get a backhoe off the island without arousing suspicion? So, Mike figured it had to still be on the island. He chartered a helicopter, flew over the island, and Bingo! there it was sitting in someone’s yard.

But they have done the whole search by air/search by land grid-pattern for these two women, and have turned up nothing. To me, there’s a very good possible explanation they are overlooking in this story.

We are surrounded by a vast ocean. All it takes is a good chunk of concrete, and anybody would be gone.

I pray for the families of these two women. I also pray that the halcyon days of safety in Maui are not over forever.

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button in the bottom right corner of the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

You Know You Live in Hawaii When…

Aloha!

You know you live in Hawaii when…

It’s warm enough to swim in the ocean every single day. (But beware: by the third year your blood has thinned and you don’t think that anymore…in the same way you look for a jacket if it dips below 70 degrees).

You know what Saimin, Shoyu and go-aheads are (noodle dish, soy sauce and rubbah slippahs).

You have never seen so many feral cats in your life.

It seems that every single dog up for adoption at the Humane Society is a Pitbull.

About the time you get really attached to a new restaurant, it’s already out of business.

Chickens live at the beach.

It’s too hot to turn the oven on to make a turkey on Thanksgiving, so you dig an imu pit in the backyard.

There’s a cockroach floating in the chicken soup you’re making…and you only turned your back for a second!

You know what apple bananas are. And now you won’t eat the other kind.

Your turn…what says “Hawaii” to you? Please share!

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button in the bottom right corner of the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

Michelle Obama Visits Oprah on Maui

Aloha!
Just in case you haven’t heard –because you haven’t dug out from under that snowdrift yet– Michelle Obama is visiting Oprah Winfrey on Maui.

I love how the news sources get it wrong. Breitbart.com said that Mrs. Obama was partying at “Oprah’s Maui Beach House.” And yet Oprah’s house is nowhere near the beach. It is a ranch. A ranch on the side of Haleakala Mountain. Oprah can see the water, yes, but she is not at the beach. (See this blog’s Post “Where Does Oprah Live on Maui?” Nov.25, 2012.)

The news first hit here on Maui because a man trying to take his normal bike route near Oprah’s house was blocked by Secret Service agents and alerted The Maui News. (http://www.mauinews.com)

White House reports indicate the First Lady stayed behind this week in Hawaii to chill out with friends before her 50th birthday. Sources with direct knowledge tell TheDC that the First Lady is relaxing in Maui at Oprah’s estate with CBS’ Gayle King, Valerie Jarrett and Sharon Malone, who is Attorney General Eric Holder’s wife.

“Yesterday, we saw bomb-sniffing dogs and Maui police in the bushes,” Heather Long, the manager of nearby Grandma’s Coffeehouse, told The Dailey Caller. “We’re very close to Oprah’s property. They’ll probably walk up and down the road.”

Winfrey stops by the coffee shop regularly, but employees “try to not to make it a big deal,” Long said.

http://www.Oprah.com says this of the Hawaii home:

Once an ordinary little gray ranch that Oprah saw “for less than 10 minutes” and considered a tear-down, Oprah’s Hawaiian home has been transformed into the perfect 21st-century farmhouse, with great pieces of folk art, beautifully embroidered curtains, comfortable furniture, and inviting colors:

image

Michelle Obama’s extended stay is reportedly part of a birthday gift from the President. The Obama daughters headed home to Washington. A birthday weekend without the children…sounds like Mrs. Obama needed some R&R.

And what better place to get it than here on Maui, land of plumeria breezes and sunsets that make you feel like you’re at the center of the earth?

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button in the bottom right corner on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

The Real Reason I Live on Maui

Aloha!
So here it is, the REAL reason, above all others, that I live on Maui. My sister, who still lives where I grew up in Indiana (and teaches at our same junior high), sent this to me this morning. My teeth chatter just thinking about it:

image

To all of you in the Midwest and on the East Coast battling this type of weather, please stay warm, and stay safe on the roads out there.

Have a cup of hot chocolate and think of me…I will soon be deluged with letters from people asking me questions on “How to Move to Maui.” (See FAQ’s on Moving to Maui).

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica