I was born and raised in Hawaii. I was born on Kauai and then moved to the Big Island shortly after. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I moved away when I went to college and got married, so I guess I’m stuck in the mainland now. It’s a completely different way of life. Hawaii is part of the United States, but it was quite an adjustment moving away.
Treat Everyone as Family
One of the things I love about Hawaii is that you treat everyone as family. You greet everyone with a hug or a kiss on the cheek, even if you’ve just met them. As a sign of respect, you call all elders Aunty or Uncle. You pick up hitchhikers. Not many people lock their doors when they leave their house. Most importantly, if you need help, people are there. And by people I mean your close friends and family, but also the Aunties and Uncles that you just met.
While I was creating the guest list for my daughter’s first birthday party, I realized just how different Hawaii is from the Mainland. In Hawaii you would invite everyone you know to your child’s first birthday party. And I mean everyone. It’s not uncommon to have a hundred people at the party.
Hawaii Life is Slower
I am still getting used to this difference, and I moved away from Hawaii in 2008. Life is just slower in Hawaii. It’s more relaxed and people don’t take things as seriously. When they say an event starts at 5 o’clock, they don’t expect people to be there until 5:30. And they don’t mind that you’re late either. People aren’t going crazy rushing from one activity, to the next, to the next.
I didn’t grow up playing video games or catching pokemon.
My backyard was an old lava field, and I would explore lava tubes and caves when I was younger. For fun we jump off waterfalls and swim with turtles. I have been close enough to flowing lava to poke it with a stick and feel the hair on my arms burn. Before school we go surfing (and by we I mean other people) or sit on the beach and watch the sunrise. I have eaten fresh fruit we’ve picked off of trees including cracking and eating coconuts.
One of my fondest memories is camping on the beach. If you haven’t gone to sleep or awoken to the sound of the waves, then you are missing out on life. When we used to camp, I would spend most of the day snorkeling with the dolphins and turtles. When my family finally got me out of the water, we would barbecue on the dirty grills there at the beach, and usually share with the family next to us.
Possessions Don’t Matter
My husband used to be a youth pastor, so we have worked with kids a lot. I know all about their need to have Ugg boots and Northface jackets. Growing up in Hawaii, there was never any pressure to have certain brands of clothes. Maybe it’s because we walked around in swimsuits and slippers (flip flops) most of the time. I was never embarrassed by the house we lived in or by the car I drove.
Growing up as a white child in Hawaii, I do remember getting teased a little because I was Haole (white). However, once I got older, it was never an issue. I grew up with friends that were Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Samoan, African American, Hispanic, White, and even more cultures — But I didn’t see color. A friend was a friend, regardless of their race.
The Best Food
Arguably one of the best reasons why I was grateful to grow up in Hawaii, is the food. Having so many different cultures means having all of their food too! Not only was the food good, but there was a potluck for every occasion. I even remember having a potluck lunch every Sunday after church.
Thanks for letting me day dream a little! We just booked our tickets out to Hawaii this spring and I couldn’t be more excited. It will be the first visit for my daughter!
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