Kauai Reader Weighs In

Aloha!

You, dear readers, have given wonderful feedback on the last blog entry. I appreciate all of you! The following letter puts one reader’s move to Kauai in perspective. (Mahalo for sharing, Laura.)

Submitted on 2015/03/08:
“I’m going on my fifth year living in Kauai. Prior to living here, my husband and I visited the island either 1x or 2x/year for about five years. We decided one year to look at real estate and ended up buying a home and renting it for close to 3 years with our goal moving part time to Kauai. To make a long story short, we got tired of the cold weather and decided to move here. So here’s my take on it:

First know what you’re getting into. Living on an island isn’t for everyone. It takes planning. You don’t need a lot. If you are considering moving here, don’t bring much. It will be a waste. People are always moving and you can find anything you need on craig’s list or garage sales. The pros living here : amazing scenery, the ocean, perfect weather, being able to be outdoors 365 days a year, rainbows, monk seals, turtles, whales, snorkeling. If you like outdoor activities, this is the place for you. The cons: night life is boring, not enough restaurants/cafes and the restaurants that do exist are too expensive and not worth what you get for it, limited shopping except for art galleries/gift shops, and my biggest complaint no matter where you live or how expensive your home is, there’s still that neighbor who never throws anything out and makes his yard into the car dump. What’s up with that???? Would I do it again knowing what I know, I don’t know. It’s different working and living here than visiting on vacation. It’s funny that my vacation time is going back east. Don’t get me wrong, I do like living here. I don’t miss snow or bitter cold weather but I do miss going out to restaurants, good food, shopping malls and seeing well kept properties.”

Very well put, Laura. You have summed it up nicely, especially the things you miss (Maui has more than Kauai, and I still wish there were more decent cafe-type places),the exorbitant restaurant prices, and we DO have that neighbor four houses down who has fifteen cars buried in his yard (yes, I counted.) I really miss neighborhoods where people take pride in their properties.

As for why? Mike grew up in Hawaii, and all the guys he knows are hoarders of misc. junk. The reason they give is growing up in the islands, you never knew when the boat might not come in, and every single thing they bought was so expensive that they refused to throw anything away. They all have barns, sheds, warehouses full! It’s our big struggle as a couple. He hangs on to everything!

Laura, you didn’t share where you moved from, or what type of jobs you and you husband found. Please share if you would like. I’m sure readers would like to have the full picture. Again, thanks so much for writing!

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

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

Everybody Wants a Do-Over

Aloha!
You may have noticed I've been absent. That's because everyone in my household has been sick with the coughing crud that's going around. I sound like a cross between a squeaking door that needs oiling and a bullfrog that got slammed in that door. (And yes, Virginia, they do get sick in Paradise.)

It's that time of year when people think about new beginnings. On a recent episode of "The Mentalist," characters Patrick Jane and Teresa Lisbon were discussing their future and how maybe they needed a change.
Lisbon said: One of us could get run over by a bus tomorrow.
Jane said: Not if we were on a beach in Polynesia. Buses can't go in sand." (Note how "starting over" seems to always involve Hawaii, Polynesia, or any place with white sandy beaches.)
Lisbon: But we could get eaten by a shark.
Jane: Not if we don't go in the water.
Lisbon: That sounds pretty boring, don't you think?
Jane: They have palm trees and hammocks and cocktails and pineapples…
Lisbon: And endless boredom, sunburn, and bugs the size of helicopters… Hey, I've been on vacation!
Jane: Then we could buy a boat and sail around the world.
Lisbon: Fine. Other than pirates and storms and scurvy. Besides, I get seasick….

Talked herself right out of a new life, didn't she?

So many people write to me every week saying they want to live on Maui or are makings plans to move. So tell me, what is the one thing that makes you feel you would want to live in Hawaii? (The weather doesn't count, perfect weather is a no-brainer.) Or you can share more than one, of course…

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! (Happy New Year!) Pronounced Hau’oli — “how-oh-lee” Makahiki — “mah-kah-hee-kee” Hou — “ho”

A hui hou, and 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

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

That’s Just the Way it is, Baby

Aloha!
Wow, readers really responded to “The Five Stages of Maui.” So I will share some friend’s comments about their recent move to Maui:

“We just can’t find the simple stuff… Hangers, for instance.” (I agree, what’s up with those black flocked hangers at Walmart?)

“Bookshelves. Who would’ve thought it would be so hard to find bookshelves?”

“Don’t like that we have to keep everything in the refrigerator. Otherwise, it molds. I don’t like cold bread!”

We wandered around saying, “Where are your mattresses?”

“Can’t believe there is no Mac store here!” (And no, the Macnet store is NOT a Mac store.)

“Where we came from (New York City) there was a stigma about cockroaches. But the other evening we were standing outside and saw a bush completely covered from top to bottom with cockroaches…” (The other evening I poured a glass of tomato juice, and in the time it took me to get from the kitchen into the living room, there was a cockroach floating in it. And it’s disgusting, because they disintegrate in liquid…so it isn’t like you have but a second to fish them out!)

There is always another cockroach...

There is always another cockroach…

“Went to Safeway for asparagus. No asparagus! Yet it was asparagus season… I guess you learn to substitute.” (Yes, sometimes daily.)

“You have to go to, like, seven different places to find anything here.” (It never ceases to amaze me. Recently I needed an “eggcrate” for our mattress. Went to Walmart, had gone to Kmart. Something told me to go back to Kmart the very next morning…and there was an egg crate. Had someone returned it overnight? The point is, you will run around a lot. If something is good, it gets snapped up off the shelves immediately. On that note, if you didn’t bring Christmas decorations with you, be sure to buy them the second you see them or they will be gone. The same with a Christmas tree!)

“The ant problem.” (They are always here, no matter what… But we have been blessed with an abundance of them after our termite tenting. Turns out, the ants love to eat the dead termite carcasses. The ants are all over my kitchen countertops, and I just can’t keep up with them. Also, they circle the cat food bowl constantly. I created my own ant moat, because they will not cross water:

Cat bowl inside another bowl with water in it....a homemade ant moat.

Cat bowl inside another bowl with water in it….a homemade ant moat.

Our friends say that Macy’s sells a fancy commercial version of this, but ours works fine. I also make sure to run the cat bowls through dishwasher twice a week.)

Jamaica here…

One thing is for sure, if you are moving from somewhere where you’ve had a lot to choose from (and great quality), you are in for shock. Our Macy’s, for instance, is the size of a postage stamp compared to New York City, or Chicago. But compared to the old Macy’s (previously Liberty House), this one is a palace!

And, the old-timers think the newcomers are crazy, because they REALLY had nothing! Anyone have anything to add?

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

Aloha, Jamaica

The Five Stages of Maui

Aloha!

A girl in her 20s is starting a business on Maui, so she decides she needs a home-office. A trip to OfficeMax (at least we have one!) just bums her out… “Little glass – top nothing desks”. She’s been on Maui three years (most people don’t last two) and this is her Witching Hour; realizing that if she is really going to stay here, she is going to have to make peace with knowing she’s never going to find what she really wants. And don’t even think “at an affordable price.”

I watch people go through this over and over. When they first move here they think, “It’s warm here. I have the beach. What else could I possibly need?”

Turns out, quite a lot.

I think people who move to Maui go through five stages, like the five stages of grief. But this is more like, “Oh, good GRIEF!!”

So here was the 20-something’s journey, as she told it to me:

Stage One, Denial: “Of course that item has to be here. I just haven’t stumbled upon it yet.”

Stage Two: Anger: “What do you MEAN, I can’t get IKEA here?” (Or Best Buy…or Bed, Bath and Beyond…fill in the blank with your favorite whatever.)

Stage Three, Bargaining: “If I get my dad to pay the hellacious shipping costs, I can have that IKEA desk ensemble I’m lusting after.” (Ah, yes… the magic “Dad” card. Trust me, when you get a teensy bit older, Dad stops doing that.)

Stage Four, Depression: “This is just one item… And the whole thing will start over again next time I really need something!”

Stage Five, Acceptance: “Um, hasn’t happened yet…”

So, does anyone ever really accept it? It’s really more a constant lowering of expectations… Until you find yourself desiring….nothing.

Whoa! You’ve embraced Zen Buddhism just because you live on Maui, without even intending to.

Words of wisdom for the day: if you’re moving here (Hi, Shauna) bring everything you love or use constantly. Chances of finding it on Maui are next to nil. Plus you’re paying to ship something you’ve ALREADY paid for, instead of getting here and having to buy it all over again, plus pay the high, high shipping costs.

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

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