So I’ve lived in Hawaii now for three weeks and here is what I’ve observed, learned, and experienced. I’ll probably come back and read this again after living here for a while longer and see if and how my mind changes. But for now, let’s start at the beginning. It’s a very good place to start, didn’t you know?
I won’t go into my feelings on the actual process of moving out here, other than to say quickly that it was the most stressful thing I’ve ever really done. Up until the actual week of moving, I was trying so very hard to be positive and optimistic. I had the worst night’s sleep pretty much every night for weeks and weeks leading up to it but I tried to curb my worry and my stress by forcing positive things out of my mouth. It didn’t work. But my Sir and I are out here on Oahu now and we’re sleeping like babies every night and that really does so much to help one’s mood and state of mind.
We were met at the airport by my brother-in-law and his beautiful family with yellow, purple, and green leis and there was a BREATHTAKING double rainbow over the airport. I felt for sure that it was a sign that everything was going to be OK and it sure was! There are rainbows here all the time, which is a good thing, because I just love seeing them and I hope I never tire of them. They’re a visible reminder of God’s goodness and grace and who doesn’t love something so beautiful?
So we’ve pretty much come out here with just the clothes on our backs. We did have ten suitcases though (and Aria the kitty, of course) and so we brought our bedding and a shower curtain. And knickknacks like my electric kettle (because coffee is a necessity!) and a small purse. But our household goods were boxed and crated up and are in the shipping process to us as we speak. As I say, we’ve been here for three weeks and I just cannot wait to get our stuff. It’s amazing how you take your belongings for granted! In particular, I’m dying to have my kitchen stuff so I can cook all the amazing things I want to eat. One benefit out here, available to the military out here on orders, is that we get stuff called “Aloha Furniture.” They understand that shipments of household goods can take four forevers to get out to the island, so they have a few pieces that they loan out for free. It’s sort of made out of rattan and bamboo, and the couch cushions look like they’re decorated out of the Tommy Bahama catalog, but they’re better than nothing! So we’re very thankful that the military was that thoughtful to set up this service for us. We were also able to get a few kitchen basics from base too, so we can cook simple things.
Also. Please note that we now eat the most incredible amount of pineapples. We can cut one up and finish it in the same day. It’s just so good. We’ve pretty much decided to always have one on hand.
In the time we’ve been here now, we’ve learned a lot about this island. The island was formed millions of years ago because of two volcanoes and lava flow, but currently those volcanoes are extinct and all that remains is the two mountain ranges and the valley in between them. What that means for me is that it’s created the most beautiful scenery. We live in a very peaceful neighbourhood but driving anywhere on the island means seeing beautiful cliffs and mountains either up close or off in the distance. If we drive about 40 minutes to the other side of the island, we go right through Ko’olau range and it’s just spectacular to see.
We’ve seen some of the brightest blue water you could ever see a few times now. There’s the Hālona Blowhole–when the tide is high, it sends water through a natural rock formation and it shoots out through a hole in a particular rock and looks like a geyser. We’ve been there twice now and I loved it. It’s a great place to see the beautiful Sandy Beach too. We visited a spectacular lookout point called Nu’uanu Pali. It was incredible to see the panoramic view of the windward side of the island. We went snorkeling out sort of near Hanauma Bay and saw a sea turtle just moseying on by right next to us. We rode on cool submarine scooters and had fish RIGHT UP next to us. And just today, we went to a pretty lagoon they made in the resort part and there were three wild sea turtles just swimming along right there with us! They’re endangered, so you’re not allowed to touch them. And we learned today that you can’t feed them seaweed either. SOOOO COOOL!!!!!
Also, the Hawaiian language is both fun and difficult to pronounce. For the most part, from what I can tell, the vowel sounds seem to be easy to work with. What I have trouble is putting the emphasis on the correct syllable. I won’t tell you how wrong I was with the name Kameameha, but I had the sounds correct but when I had the accent on the wrong part of it, it wound up sounding like a Dr. Seuss character. We live on a street called Kaimalie and we’ve got a regular way of pronouncing it now, but we’re still not sure if we’re correct and we usually just spell it out for everyone anyways.
OK. Now let’s talk about pot holes here. They’re INTENSE and for a place that doesn’t see snow, I am surprised to see them. Apparently, they were built with not enough of a thick layer of asphalt and all the water that gets trapped under them, even without freezing and thawing, still manages to create the holes due to the incredible amounts of traffic. I worry about the life of my tires.
And speaking of traffic, it’s horrendous here. I’ve lived in places with terrible traffic too–NYC and DC–but here, it seems to be just because people can’t merge. The SEVEN lanes of the main interstate highway here will back up for hours just because a few people want to get on or off an exit and can’t manage to without coming to a stop. Or, for example, there’s a stretch of road here leading up to the interstate where there is substantial construction going on. (They’re building a commuter rail system.) But the traffic that has accumulated there is not because of the construction. It is because they divert drivers from two lanes (going the same direction) around a concrete column and people lose their minds. There aren’t accidents or anything causing the backup, just a slightly different flow pattern and it’s the most aggravating thing ever to me. But if you just plan for the traffic, adding an hour of travel time, you can manage. I plan to invest in some audio books for my journeying I think.
And of course, I have to speak about my vehicle, since I’m talking about traffic. Meet Cuthbert, my beautiful 2008 Mini Cooper. Another military family was selling it because they are moving back to the mainland and I am just so stinkin’ thrilled to get to have this beauty. It’s the perfect island car!!!
In short, it’s been great living out here for our first three weeks. Yesterday was Thanksgiving and we spent it with our family and two dear friends who also moved here from Connecticut (by way of California though.) I get to spend the next three (or four) years here at the beach and in the mountains. I really am the luckiest girl alive, I just needed to get here to realise it. I will say, it’s difficult being so far away from my family. I’ve never lived in another time zone before (but I have lived almost a thousand miles away…) but I try to keep in contact as best I can. Facebook is very helpful that way!