Reader Question Answered

Aloha!
Since Mike had his knee replacement I have been behind on answering letters. Could be because I am bringing him ice, making him food, giving him shots and working through the exercises with him…anyway, his rehabilitation is going much more slowly than either of us anticipated.

A reader named Susan wrote:

Hi Jamaica,
Your blog is very informative. My daughter lives on Maui and has for the past 6 years. She loves it. I’m 61, single, a retired teacher and am seriously considering moving to Maui. I have visited the islands many many times and know I will have to work but don’t want to teach again..so I’m thinking I can make my way in the tourist industry with skills aquired in teaching. It will be a forever move..I am planning on selling everything and moving..I also think buying a condo in Lahaina vs renting may be more practical for me..My concern is getting to know people who are around my age..How easy is it to socialize? I’m not a drinker, I don’t frequent bars…and it seems like the island is full of young people. ..so what can u suggest to get settled and make some friends.
Susan

Dear Susan,
I take it that your daughter lives in Lahaina and that’s why you want to live there. We found that the Westside was full of young people, and also there’s a whole lot of drinking that goes on there. There’s a bumper sticker that says “Lahaina: a drinking town with a fishing problem.”

So that’s the basic reason we moved Upcountry. But there was more to it. We were looking for a community feel, less touristy and more local. Everyone seems to start out on the Westside… they think they want to live near the beach. But then they discover that living among the condos and hotels and tourists can get very annoying after a while. For that reason, I would suggest that you rent at first to get a feel for it and not buy right away.

Volunteering is probably your best in-road to meeting people. There’s the Lahaina Historical Society, and the library. If you’re willing to drive, many people volunteer at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center (known as the MACC) and you’d get to see free shows, to boot. The Humane Society near Kihei is also always looking for volunteers.

You can find a cause and join, such as the Sierra Club, or fighting the GMO’s, or do beach – clean up, or join a hiking group. There are Maui Meet-up groups for things like boardgames, hiking, etc. (google Maui Meet-up). Many times, getting involved in these groups is what will lead to a job.

Otherwise, people can find it a tough go… They have skills from the mainland, but find that it’s mostly the hotels where those skills can be used, and there are many, many people in line in front of them for those jobs. Sometimes, a nonprofit is a better bet for your type of skills. For instance, recently there was a job opening with Canines for Independence in the front office… Low pay, but probably very rewarding. It just takes lots of time and patience to find a job sometimes. That’s why I always advise people to move to Hawaii with a fully padded bank account.

Susan, I wish you the very best as you plan your move to Maui!
Mahalo for reading along…

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

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Rich

Aloha!

Bette Midler is from Hawaii, and recently said: “I grew up in Hawaii, and even though people were poor, when you walked out of your crappy house you were rich, because the sky was crystal-clear and the waters were full of jumping fish and everyone had gardens. People worked hard to make the land extraordinarily beautiful.”

So in that, I feel rich every day!

It’s banana harvest season at our house. These are apple bananas–they’re small, sweet, and taste slightly like pears to me:

Apple Bananas growing on Maui

Apple Bananas growing on Maui

We make smoothies galore, bananas foster, banana cake…and give them to everyone we know.

Whale season is winding down here a bit, and Mike will be glad to have a chance to catch his breath from working three and four charters on The Scotch Mist in Lahaina every day.

Hope you had a great weekend. Mahalo for reading along! If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Best Commute on the Planet

Aloha!

Here on KGMB channel 9, weatherman Guy Hagi often signs off the evening weathercast with, “Best weather on the planet!”

This morning a couple came to visit us with their new baby. They live in Lahaina on the westside, and the wife really wants to move Upcountry… But they are concerned about the commute. I told her for the entire 12 years that I had to commute to Kaanapali, every morning I thought, “How can I possibly complain? This is the best commute on the planet!”

Morning commute on the Pali

Morning commute on the Pali

(I have to say though, when we did our friend Olivier’s commute with him from Cannes, France to Monaco, along the water, it was definitely number two!)

So how would you fill in the blank for Maui?
Best _________ on the planet.

How would you fill in the blank for Hawaii as a whole?
Best _________ on the planet.

Send in your answers! I’m still collecting your “Top 10 things I love about Maui.”

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

Aloha, Jamaica

What Are You Dreaming Of?

Aloha!
Do you have a dream? Maybe something small that you harbor in your heart, sure you will find a way to do it one day? Or do you try to remember what it even felt like to dream…as you put one foot in front of the other in your daily grind?

Meredith Novack, 37, just completed her dream of breaking the world record by swimming the Auau Channel between Lanai and Maui, twice. It took her 11 hours, 1 minute to swim the 20 miles, and broke the previous record by 44 minutes. A former US Masters national champion in the open water 3K, Novacks trained for 10 months to prepare.

She said she did it because “Number one, no woman had ever done it, and number two, because I felt I could break the men’s record.” She said she made sure to follow strict rules for the world record attempt: “You can’t grab onto a kayak. You can’t use anything for support and people can’t touch you.”

Novacks wore an electronic device called a shark shield that kept her safe from a 15 ft. Tigershark that her escort team did not tell her about, till after she finished. They did not want to let her know that the Tigershark had shown up with less than two hours to go, for fear she would not finish.

There is resistance in the water with each stroke. Steven Pressfield, author of “The War of Art” met with Oprah Winfrey at her beautiful Maui home for their interview on “Super Soul Sunday.” He says there is always resistance with a goal, no matter how worthy. The form the resistance takes is the thoughts in our heads: “I’m not worthy.” or, “It’s been done 100 times before, what am I going to say that they haven’t heard?”

Pressfield says we have to “Face the Dragon.” And then we will ask why we didn’t do this months ago…

Meredith Novacks faced her dragon and set a new world record.

“Tell me, what is it YOU plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver

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

Aloha, Jamaica

Other Side of the Coin

Other Side of the Coin

Aloha!
Without asking, I got to hear the other side of the story from the medical community. I’ve been seeing a physical therapist for my tennis elbow, and we had a chat on Saturday. She told me she’d never worked anywhere else where patients were so uncooperative as they are on Maui. Why do you think that is? I asked. She said as far she was concerned we needed to look at the type of person who typically moves to Maui to begin with… Rebels, those who can’t fit in anywhere else, and misfits (her words). She said she could tell the minute she met me that I would do the exercises she prescribed, however, most people gave her backtalk and told her reasons why other things would work better! And then didn’t do the exercises.

Another piece of this story is that I had gotten physical therapy 10 years ago at the same place but it was owned by different people, a couple from New Zealand. I really liked them, but they’re gone now… This is the cycle on Maui. No matter what or whom you love: a restaurant, a hairdresser, a doctor, a tradesperson… They leave. They open a business, find out how hard it is on Maui with such a small population, and poof! they’re gone.

On another note, this physical therapist told me how hard it is for her to get a date on Maui. She’s cute, funny, intelligent, and holds multiple degrees… But she’s over 40. You wouldn’t know that to look at her, she surfs every day, but she said the guys just don’t ask her out. Again I asked, why do you think that is? She said because she reads at the beach the guys say she’s too smart, and it’s off-putting. They also want someone in their 20s. She’s resigned herself to being alone. Isn’t that sad?

A hui hou! Mahalo for stopping by. If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the homepage.
Aloha, Jamaica

Living on this Island

Living on this Island

Aloha!

People are certain a move to Maui will strengthen a marriage; eliminate job stress, and take them away from the grime and crime of their area. People dream about moving to Maui, however, few take the leap due to fear of the unknown and losing touch…

Would you be able to live on an island? I really don’t think about being surrounded by water here, but there are people whom it really bothers. I knew a woman named Linda who lived Upcountry and had this view:

West Maui Mountains

I thought the view was spectacular, but it drove her crazy. She said that because she could see the island end to end, she knew all the time that she was surrounded by water. Her husband was an engineer who had come to Maui to oversee the cleanup of Kahoolawe, so they were only going to be here for a few years… But she left after two years, she couldn’t take it.
Interestingly, people say the cut-off is two years for how long newcomers last in Maui. The novelty wears off of going to the beach every single day. People drive around and around the island and realize they’ve seen everything. What’s next? But that’s it, we’re on an island.

Or they see that their favorite band is going to play on the mainland, and they start realizing all they’re missing. Or they start thinking that the family that drove them crazy back home wasn’t so bad after all. And they think that their friends on the mainland will come visit more often than they do… But airline travel is very expensive and annoying now. And they find out that when the sugarcane is burnt they get headaches and their lungs feel heavy…or if they have asthma, they simply can’t breathe when the Vog (volcanic organic gas) from the Big Island rolls in.

I know a girl who works for one of the moving companies, and she told me this story: a Woman moved here with her two children. She moved everything, and was still unloading the crate from the shipper when they burned the sugarcane. The woman was horrified, both her children had asthma, and she had no idea that they burned the sugarcane. She loaded the crate back up that minute, and left the island. They never even moved in. The girl at the moving company told me they all thought that was some kind of new record.

Moving to Maui is a big commitment. It isn’t like the mainland where you can just put stuff in a moving truck and drive across state line. It takes so much thought, preparation and money, that if you get here and decide it isn’t for you, you can’t just turn around and leave.

Do you think you could live on an island? Would it bother you to be surrounded by water? Could you leave your friends and family? Would you be willing to have your pay cut dramatically and yet have your housing costs practically double? Would your work skills even translate to Maui?

Moving to Maui, like marriage, should not be entered into lightly.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

Hawaii Dogs Just Wanna Drive

Hawaii Dogs Just Wanna Drive

Aloha!

Apparently, Hawaii dogs have been taking driving lessons while the rest of us sleep. I have heard of two instances now from friends in Hawaii where their dogs have tried to drive their cars.

My friend Shel does Alaskan Malamute rescue. (You have not seen a hot dog until you’ve seen an Alaskan Malamute in Hawaii.) Also, Malamutes “blow their coats” in colder climates, just big football-sized hunks of fur, but in Hawaii their systems are confused because it’s so hot, and so  just shed and shed slowwwwlly. Shel says the Malamutes are on Maui time, too! Shel is a model of patience with dogs, and also can’t say no to a stray or rescue, and is a foster Mom for Maui Humane Society puppies. Which leads us to her dog, Jesse. Jesse was a rescue found in a cave in Tennessee. He had been bit by what they assume was a copperhead, and it got infected and really mangled his jaw bone. When Jesse smiles his doggy smile, you can see daylight through the side of his jaw. But the good news is, Shel became his foster Mom, going to the mainland and flying Jesse all the way back to Maui; not an easy or in no way inexpensive, feat.

Shel and her husband Clay, who is a phenomenal wood sculpture artist: http://simpsonartworks.com/,  built their house in Kula on a hill. The driveway is at the top of the hill and you drive down the driveway to get to the house below. The whole place is fenced in, because of the dogs. Shel had just returned from taking her mom to the airport, and Jesse was in the truck, riding shotgun. Shel stopped the truck at the mouth of the driveway (top of the hill) so she could get out to open the gate. The truck has some transmission/gear issues, and you guessed it–Jesse knocked the truck into gear while on the hill.

Just as Shel got the big gate swung back, she saw the truck start to move, and could only chase behind as the truck rolled down the hill straight for the house, Jesse at the wheel. She noted that he appeared to be having an inordinately doggone good time. Shel could barely watch as the truck rolled smack into the front of her house. I groaned as she relayed this, then asked her who had  won… House or truck? She said since the house is built like a bunker (cement block with rebar inserted for hurricane protection) the house had won. The truck has a smashed-in front end and is currently non-drivable. “And,” she says firmly, “Jesse’s license has been suspended.”

The second instance of giddy Hawaii dog drivers was our friend Mike’s dog, Dawg. Mike owns a backhoe company and was parked on the shoulder of Hana highway, looking at a job. He’d left Dawg in the pickup truck while he checked out the job site. There were numerous barrels of diesel fuel in the back end of the pickup, kept there for the backhoe. While Mike was talking to the site owner, out of the corner of his eye he saw his pickup truck start rolling backwards downhill…and out onto the road. His dog had also knocked the truck out of gear. Mike could envision all manner of mayhem, including a 15-car pileup and mass destruction on the highway… But the truck suddenly switched direction, backed over an embankment, then flipped over and crashed. Endless seconds passed as he watched, waiting to see if the truck was going to explode. If this had been the movies, the special-effects guys would’ve had a riot. BUT…nothing!!

Mike held his breath as he ran for the truck. Score: Dawg fine, Mike furious.

Lest we think it’s only Hawaii dogs who enjoy these hijinks, there was also recently  a mainland couple who took their two small dogs with them on a ride to the dump. While they were unloading junk from the back, they heard the unmistakable THUNK sound of the cars doors being locked. The dogs had hit the lock button.(They probably wanted to go for a joyride and could only do so by locking the owners out.) Locksmith was called. Score: dogs one, owners zip.

What’s next–Dogs who throw their boat owners overboard and start sailing their boats?

A hui hou. If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the homepage. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica