An Entirely Different Point of View

Aloha!

A reader sent the following letter in regard to this blog. Could be they didn’t read past the Homepage, because in many of my posts I do talk about the hardships on Maui, and the downsides. This reader feels I make it sound like all rainbows to live here…and yet another reader wrote to say I talk too much about the negatives. I do work hard to present a balanced opinion. Here’s the letter:

“You seem to have left a lot out. I lived there for 4 years. It was great, but you sound like a concierge selling the island as usual. You didn’t mention hardly any of the hardships that most everyday people and locals experience… almost everyday. …Yes, Maui is amazing, but you have illustrated an almost whimsical reality. I’ve traveled quite a bit, especially in the states, and everywhere has it’s ups and downs. What you speak of sounds like the ultimate paradise, as if all dreams, goals, and aspirations will occur simply because you moved there. I’m a realist. I have lived there. I love it. I have some great friends, but the reality is, that not everyone’s experience has been so great. Many a local are not simply comforted by having sunshine everyday, or the ocean. In fact, many feel plagued by it at times, as if there was no escape. Many people can’t find the time in between work and family to start the business of their dreams. Many people don’t have union jobs that, let’s face it, are very hard to get released from. Many people look for love on Maui all day long and never find it. Many people work 2-3 jobs, can’t find descent (sic) housing, and get ripped off by the slumlords. Overworked, underpayed, overwhelmed, and overpopulated is just a little something that my local friends want to add into your blog, especially for the newbies. Aloha:)

So, let me know what you think…particularly if you have lived on the island and left. (Some people move here, then leave…then move back again. Sometimes multiple times.) I spoke with my niece’s teacher on the mainland who said, “I used to live in Hawaii. I was so over it by the time I left. Six years was plenty!”

Looking forward to your letters.

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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All Beds Are Full

Aloha!

A flu epidemic has hit Hawaii and a week ago we were told that all the hospital beds on Oahu are full. They are turning away ambulances, which are not allowed to stop.

And now comes the news that the beds are also all full at Maui Memorial Hospital. People are being told to just go see their primary physician instead. Which would be okay…except that Kaiser is on strike. And if people are dehydrated, they’re gonna need an IV.

I’ve got the flu. That’s why you haven’t heard from me. Everyone says this one lingers.

On a recent business call a woman on the East coast said, “You mean they get sick in the islands?!”

See you later!

Aloha, Jamaica

You Know You Live in Hawaii When…

September is the hottest month!

Aloha!

I don’t know what it’s like where you live in September, but people should know that September is the hottest month in Hawaii, particularly if they’re planning a trip here. (My sister just wrote to say it’s supposed to be down in the 30’s tonight just outside Chicago, where she lives.)

It’s currently 86° inside our house with 71% humidity. It’s a steambath, and I wear a sheen of sweat like a second skin. All I want to do is go to a pool or run the air-conditioner, but I settle for three showers a day.

Normally I’m a “get it done” kind of person, and how slowly things move in Maui can make me crazy at times.

But every year, September wins.

I am a slug.

You know how France just shuts down for the whole month of August? That should be September in Hawaii. People should either be in a pool, in the ocean, at the movies, or in air-conditioning.

Hollywood says that the weeks after Labor Day are the slowest time at the movies. I’m willing to bet that’s not true in Hawaii…FREE air-conditioning!

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

Mainland Observations

Aloha!
We are on the mainland while Mike recovers from knee surgery, staying in a 3- bedroom, one-bath home that is 60 years old, near San Francisco. This house is worth a million dollars, and many people would just tear it down. Here are some observations, many of them from my daily walk:

The sugarbowl stands open–no bugs! Potato chips and crackers aren’t limp from humidity.
The world here is grayed out instead of technicolor.
Time to go play, no constantly cleaning red dirt.
The weekend really does feel like a weekend. Maui is a 24/7 society.
Road trip! Vast and limitless, plus you can take along anything you want to in the car.
People say hello and hold the door open for you.
Choices! Should we go to Target, Marshalls, Nordstom Rack or Kohl’s to find that item?
The ocean isn’t turquoise here.
Full shelves, well-stocked.
Not watching out of the corner of the eye for cockroaches, centipedes and cane spiders in the house.
Trader Joe’s….wallet-friendly heaven.
Manners matter more here.
Not waking to a raucous but beautiful chorus of birds. Where are they?
Confusing highways and traffic that moves at 75 mph.
Better radio reception with great stations (hello, KFOG).
Toys: surround sound in living rooms comes from having a Best Buy to buy these things.
Vanity plates.
Huge crows caw from streetlights, like an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
Teslas! And they’re gorgeous.

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Pride of ownership. Landscaped yards, fresh paint jobs, brick
sidewalks:

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(in Maui, people are at the beach…not painting the trim).

And of course….Insane home prices, even worse than Maui.

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

Aloh! Jamaica

Last Ride

Aloha!

When I was still thinking about moving to Hawaii, I was curious to know everything about the lives of people who lived here. What did the inside of their homes look like? What was Christmas like? Other life events?

One life event that has happened much too often for us lately is a funeral, both here and on the mainland. The mainland funerals (for young and old alike) are somber affairs, held in churches or mortuaries, and everyone dresses up in their best black.

On Maui, we’ve been to two funerals in two years. One was a rodeo. (Upcountry, of course.) They strapped the cremated remains to a bull, slapped it on the rump, and off it went, bucking… “Bully’s last ride.”

This week, another. He died while enjoying an extreme sport. These adrenaline-junkie guys (and Mike is one of them), would rather go out doing what they love, than any other way. The service was held outside on a dreary, crisp day at an Upcountry property, with a number of white tents set up. The attendees, most between the ages of 25 and 35, also extreme-sport addicts, talked of their own near-misses. A funeral is sobering that way.

These bronzed, gorgeous Adonis’s and goddesses, every one of them with ripped, perfectly toned bodies– milled about, including two lactating mothers, who kept pulling out the feeding stations (with no coverage.) The women all had that just-rolled-out-of-bed- but-still-looks-perfect long hair. Their clothing was hippie-chic, and many were barefoot, even in the chill. Those who weren’t, tended toward the kind of hand-tooled leather boots one could find only in Italy. The guys wore tone-on-tone Tommy Bahama silk shirts. (The Hawaiian floral shirt is so over.)

Many in the young crowd looked as though they might have Trust funds and subsist on seaweed and fresh Alaskan salmon; the ultimate picture of health, except for the copious amounts of alcohol being consumed.

The pastor arrived two hours late–on Maui time. (Plenty of time to drink before the food could be blessed.) People stood around as Pastor blew the conch shell, gave a short talk, and then played the ukulele, as a few sang “Hawaii Aloha.” It was a perfect example of old-timers versus newcomers. Only the people who had grown up in Hawaii, like Mike, and had learned this song in school, knew the words. The rest of us stood silent. No, “Please get out your hymnal and turn to page 131” here.

A makeshift altar held the box with the ashes, draped with fragrant leis:

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The buffet table offered lomi-lomi salmon, sashimi, fish, and pulled pork for lettuce cups. And all that alcohol.

The day grew colder and the clouds enveloped us. It’s an eerie feeling to stand inside the clouds Upcountry. Gray, moist, and heavy, they fall over you like a blanket.

It was time to head back down the mountain. To sunshine and warmth and home.

Together.

A hui hou. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button 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:

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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

Smokin’ New Year on Maui!

Aloha!
If you’ve ever been to Maui for New Year’s Eve, you know that the celebratory fireworks are even bigger than Fourth of July here. I’m talking legal at-home fireworks. The air in our neighborhood was so thick that we couldn’t see, as a neighbor and his buddies set off firecrackers, etc. for four hours (I’m pretty sure that copious amounts of alcohol were involved) and we stayed inside with all the windows closed and the air conditioner on (I have asthma and am no fun when I can’t breathe). Since we don’t have a fireplace, of course, we made a picnic supper on the coffee table and lit candles and told New Year’s Eve stories. Then we started a new tradition: we lit a pillar candle, our “New Year’s Eve Candle” and everybody made a wish, and we all blew it out at the same time.

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2013 was the Year of the Shark on Maui. And Same-Sex Marriage, and a new group called SHAKA (opposing Monsanto GMO’s) and…Shopping!

There were numerous sharks sightings on Maui but in August, visitor Jana Lutteropp, 20, from Germany, was bitten in south Maui waters and died a week later. It was the first shark bite fatality in about a decade. Then in December, kayaker Patrick A. Briney died after a shark bit the foot he had dangling in the water while fishing with a friend.

Environmentalists think the exhaustion of the food supply due to overfishing has caused the predators to move into shallower waters, while the followers of the “old knowledge” say the sharks, a potent Hawaiian aumakau (family god), are a symbol or omen that call attention to desecration of Hawaii’s land and ocean resources.

The attack on Briney came three days after an unidentified woman was attacked (but survived) at Keawakapu Beach about five miles to the north. This presents a worrisome trend: There have been at least eight shark attacks around Maui in 2013, with 13 shark attacks overall reported around the state, according to state data and recent reports.
Attacks in Hawaii have risen sharply over the last two years compared with the last decade, when Hawaii saw only one fatality, in 2004.

In 2013, Maui victims have been attacked while swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and now kayaking. “We are not sure why these bites are occurring more frequently than normal, especially around Maui,” Hawaii Land and Natural Resources Director William Aila Jr. told the Associated Press. “That’s why we are conducting a two-year study of shark behavior around Maui that may give us better insights.” http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-maui-shark-attack-20131203,0,457677.story#ixzz2onWTovvb.

As for Same-Sex Marriage in Hawaii, in November, the House passed SB1, the Same-Sex Marriage Law, and the Senate followed, to the chagrin of some and celebration of others…but not without a whole lot of shoutin’ and fightin’ going on all along the way.

The SHAKA group: Monsanto was in the news frequently, in regard to what the heck they are growing on Maui and what anyone can do about it. An article in the Maui Weekly said it best: “Who could have guessed that a generation that ingested practically every known chemical substance in their youth would, as they aged, suddenly converge on food safety as a major threat to public health? But that indeed was the big story of the year.

The GMO (genetically modified organism) protests drew the largest crowds seen on Maui in recent years, and larger, louder gatherings throughout the state. The show of force gave credibility to the existence of a broad base of support.

On Maui alone, there were three different mass marches, with a very large and vocal contingent of “Mother Power.” The moms and their kids in strollers, wagons and on foot were highly visible at all the local events.

There were marches through the spring and summer, and by year’s end, a new group called the SHAKA Movement (Sustainable Hawaiian Agriculture for the Keiki and the ‘Aina) announced that they would put a GMO moratorium on the Maui General Election ballot in 2014.”

And finally, Shopping: a new outlet mall in Lahaina! Mauians will now have more choices and may even save a few pennies. The Mall is located behind Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Lahaina, where the Front Street Cinema used to be (it’s now a Gap.)

If you seriously want to know everything that went on on Maui this past year, you can see more at: http://mauiweekly.com/page/content.detail/id/532057/Year-End-Wrap–GMOs–Boldface-Names—Shark-Bites.html?nav=13#sthash.cJCCC9kM.dpuf

And also: mauitime.com

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

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! (Happy New Year!)
Aloha, Jamaica

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