You Know You Live in Hawaii When….

Aloha!

You know you live in Hawaii when….

The wedding reception you attend for your coworker likely takes place in a backyard, and involves a goat on a spit and a karaoke machine. Saying no to singing is not an option.

No matter how old the workers in your office are, they call their supervisors Auntie or Uncle.

You never leave home without a cooler in your trunk in case you decide to stop at the store. It’s so hot, the food is history otherwise.

You know they burn sugarcane February through December and that’s been the schedule for well over 130 years.

You hear word of a dock strike and immediately head to Costco to stock up on toilet paper and rice.

You give directions by saying “mauka” (mountain) or “makai” (water).

You serve both potatoes and rice at a dinner party because someone might get offended if there’s no rice.

When you’re invited to someone’s home you take food, and lots of it, even if they tell you not to.

You wouldn’t dream of entering someone’s home with your shoes on.

You know what an opihi picker does, and why it’s dangerous.

You’ve seen a Moonbow and can explain what it is.

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Aloha, Jamaica

Family is so Important

Aloha!

If you think you might like to live in Hawaii, consider this: will extended family follow suit? Will they even visit? And then there are the aging parents and grandparents.

I got to California from the Midwest because almost the whole fam-damnly moved there, as my mother would say. (She loved her cliches and malapropisms).

I kind of hoped/assumed the same thing would happen when I moved to Hawaii, but it never did. Heck, I could barely get anyone to visit… not at all what I pictured… but airfare isn’t cheap. (Either direction.)

Also, my father and stepfather both hated Hawaii. “What’s the big deal. I don’t get it!” (Dad).
“It’s hot and humid, full of creepy bugs, you can’t get anything… you can’t go anywhere. And it’s horribly overpriced! What’s the point?” (Stepdad…he was much more verbose.) Over the years, the few times he would come here the trip would end with him saying, “You’re off your nut.”

Then the VOG (volcanic organic gas) set in when a new vent opened in the volcano in 2008, and I started going to stay with my parents every winter because I couldn’t breathe here. Then my parents both got sick and I was HERE and they were THERE, which required me leaving home for almost 2 years to go care for them. I was Trustee of the estate when they died, so then I needed to be there to sell the house, etc. (Much more time-consuming and stressful than anyone realizes who hasn’t done it.)

Two weeks after my mom died, I was in line at the post office and the girl behind the counter said, “Well, hold onto your hat. My parents died two years ago and things still aren’t settled. You’re in for a long haul.” I remember thinking, “Well, you don’t know how efficient I can be,” and boy-howdy did I look back on that and laugh at myself. I thought because I wanted to get done in California and get home to Maui that my “drive” would magically make everything go smoothly. Not even close!

Since my parents were healthy and quite active when I moved to Maui, I saw none of it coming.

On the other hand, if you are one of those who would gladly live at least 3,000 miles away from your dysfunctional family, Hawaii might be just the place….

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Aloha, Jamaica

Lucky You Live Hawaii

Aloha!
In case you’re unaware, the people who live in Hawaii are traditionally non-complainers. The person you complain about will shore ’nuff turn out to be cousin Bully’s girlfriend. Or her Auntie. So Hawaiians just let things be.
That said, I am loathe to complain about our new postal carrier. (The guy who used to do our route had the nerve to retire after thirty years. He was German. Precise. Sigh…) So we have this new, Local, female carrier.
Suddenly, days are going by where we are getting no mail, which is the first tip-off that something is hinky. Especially since I’d ordered four books for a course I am taking. Where are they?
Then out of the blue, we get mail for three different families in our box. Not just one. Three. Excuse me, but isn’t that a violation of some type of right-to-your-own-mail statute?
So I chase the mail truck down the street.
I puff up to the truck and tell her, “Here. This mail goes to three different houses. It’s not ours.”
She shrugs. In Pidgin: “Ho! I’m new, you know.”
Me: “But also, our Netflix DVD didn’t arrive for four days. You must have delivered it to the wrong address, because some kind soul put in our mailbox on a SUNDAY morning.”
More shrugs and a laugh. “I’m new.”
I press: “But we PAY for Netflix. When it sits at someone else’s house for four days, we are paying for that time.”
She ha-haha-ed again and drove off.
Rule #1 in Hawaii: If someone doesn’t understand you because of a language barrier (or just doesn’t feel like helping you) they will nod, and say “Yes, yes” like they know exactly what you’ve said, and that they intend to do it. Then they will go on about their business and you will get no help.
Rule #2: If there’s trouble or a situation is tense, they just laugh. And it’s perfectly acceptable. (Sigh.)

Round one: Mail Lady, one . Me: zero.

This week, I realized that a book I ordered on January 3 still hadn’t arrived. Hmmmm… Then I’m at my friend’s house and she comments that she has a new mail lady. MY mail lady. As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that workin’ out for you?”
My friend frowns: “Strangest thing – we don’t seem to be getting any mail.”
Uh-huh.
I’ve heard stories about whole attics full of mail being discovered because a postal worker was too lazy to deliver it. My scalp prickles.

Here’s an oddity about Maui… I’ve lived lots of places, but have never seen anything like it: the postal workers don’t get out of their trucks and walk deliveries to your door. They sit in their trucks and HONK. You’re expected to trot outside and fetch your own package.

Invariably, I am in my nightie, or in the middle of a workout, sweating… or just pulling a cake out of the oven – but still, I trot outside. (In fact, I don’t think there has ever been a time that I was fully dressed and sitting around drinking a cup of tea of something, when I needed to do this trotting.) If you don’t appear, they will actually get out of the truck, but they’re not a bit happy about it, because now they’re doing YOUR job!

So last week, I don’t trot quite fast enough. I skid to the front door in time to see her hopping back into the truck. I stare blankly. She sees me and yells out, “I wen’ slid it under da garage door!” ( Because obviously, it was way too much effort to walk the 15 extra steps to the front door.) I go into the garage and retrieve the package.

Now…a new week. Hope springs eternal. The carrier honks, and I trot outside (at least I’m getting my exercise.) She has my book, but now I notice that she has abandoned the regulation uniform and is wearing a pink tank top. A large dragon tattoo trails from her neck down her entire arm. Hmmm. Surely she’s supposed to wear a uniform?

I shudder to think of the myriad of ways this renegade postal employee can run amok.
But will I complain? Of course not.
As they say in Pidgin, “Lucky you live Hawaii!”

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

Aloha, Jamaica

Where is the Cabana Boy?

Aloha!

When you live on Maui, an odd thing happens: you never go on vacation. Having grown up in Hawaii, Mike just has a really, really hard time spending money for a hotel, when we already live in “Paradise.” And we are probably just like you, in that if we stay home, all we do is work! I am currently on a writing deadline, so I thought I’d share with you the thing I wish I could say right now:

image

But obviously, I can’t complain! It’s warm, the sun is out, and even though I am chained to my desk right now, I am well aware, every single day, of where I live. So here’s what I really need to say:

image

I hope you have found your Paradise, too.

“It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which give happiness.”
– Thomas Jefferson

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 of the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

Aloha from the Isle of Traffic

Aloha!
Did you know that the island of Oahu has the worst traffic in America? Seriously. Google it. It’s held that distinction for a number of years.

Maui is known as the Valley Isle, and Kauai is known as the Garden Isle. Oahu is known as The Gathering Place, which is pretty evident, as the most populous island. But having been here for a week, I think they should change the name to the Traffic Isle.

I LOVE Honolulu…it is probably the cleanest big city I’ve ever been to, and it has everything that Maui doesn’t, like a brand new two-story Nordstom Rack. And dozens of restaurants that we only wish we had on Maui (read: affordable), such as California Pizza Kitchen…which is the first place we head for.

But I honestly don’t know how these people do this day after day. We were on the freeway heading out of Honolulu by 3:30 in the afternoon, and it was bumper to bumper.

Sitting in traffic, spotted a popular new bumper sticker here, which I haven’t seen on Maui yet (thankfully): “Defend Hawaii”….(a picture of an Uzi) and then “Don’t mistake Aloha for weakness.”

Guess it’s on a par with that old stand-by: “Welcome to Hawaii. Now go home.” And: “If you don’t like Hawaiians, why did you move here?”

Yep, lots of reading material while sitting in traffic. I’d like to propose a new bumper sticker: “Peace, Love, and Aloha.”

That is what I’m sending you.

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

Aloha, Jamaica

Positive Outlook?

Aloha!
Tourism is still the driving factor in Maui County’s economy, according to economists at First Hawaiian Bank’s 39th annual Maui Business Outlook Forum. But if you’re thinking of moving to Maui and finding a job, or starting a business, read on.

At its lowest point in the recent deep recession in 2010, the county lost nearly 9,000 jobs. About 5,000 of those jobs have returned, mostly in tourism and other service-related fields, and the unemployment rate is still well above the 3% rate before the recession. In my personal experience, I was working a part-time job on Maui when I was laid off. I found out firsthand that these jobs numbers are not totally accurate: I would never show up as a statistic, because I could not collect unemployment as a part-time employee. So it was as if my job never existed. And I could not collect unemployment, even though I’d been paying into it for years!

In it’s third-quarter “Outlook for the Economy” published last month, the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism projected state unemployment rates to be 4.8% in 2013 and 4.5% in 2014.

As for construction, activity has been on a slow but steady climb since 2011 and has made about a 25% recovery after plummeting to its low point in 2010. However, the economists noted, the opportunities are coming from infastructure and commercial construction, and less from residential and timeshares. So if you’re a guy planning to swing a hammer, be aware of that.

The retail sector also is expected to grow. The Maui Mall will add a T.J. Maxx store, scheduled to open in summer 2015.(Yay.) And the Queen Kaahumanu Center is planning to add new “name brand” shops. (That will be nice, especially after we lost both JCPenney and the Gap. Because of that, I tend to shop for basics on the mainland.)

As far as real estate, based on January – through – July numbers this year, sales for both single – family and condo units were well on their way to numbers not seen since their peak in 2007: 1,000 single family units and 1,300 condos sold. “The market is getting back to where it was,” said the President of Realtors Association of Maui, P. Denise LaCosta.”When inventory is low like this, it means prices will rise, and inventory will continue to shrink.” Maui’s real estate inventory has declined 11-14% over the last 12 months.

Make of these numbers what you will…A number of readers wrote to tell me they were planning to move to Maui. If you are one of those people, please write and tell me if you found jobs. Shauna?

Other than that, we have drought conditions here on Maui, because it’s been hot, hot,hot with NO rain. I got my haircut today and was talking with my hairstylist, who lives in Haiku. She said that Haiku (rainy, eastern-Maui, jungle) used to only get in the high 70s, and it has consistently been 85 to 87 this past week. She said she is “over summer” and “so tired of being hot!” I concur. As I wrote in a past blog post, statistics now show that Maui is 10° hotter than it was 10 years ago…

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

How for speak Pidgin

Aloha!

As I get settled back into the way of life on Maui after being gone for so long, I thought I would share with you one of the major differences between the mainland and here. It’s a funny and very true depiction of speaking pidgin.

If you’re trying to keep up while watching it, think, that’s how it would be if you lived in Hawaii!

Enjoy!
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GLmfQSR3EI0&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DGLmfQSR3EI0

Aloha, Jamaica