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Whats life like in Hawaii?

by tom44 on September 18, 2012

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Question by Mr. Z: Whats life like in Hawaii?
Thinking of moving to Hawaii… My girlfriend and I have talked about moving away when I am done with school. I have always thought of Hawaii as the perfect place because I went when I was 18 and I loved everything about it.

What is it like to actually live in Hawaii? My girlfriend is an RN and I will be a Firemedic, how is the job market in the medical field in Hawaii? My girlfriend is worried we won’t fit into the local culture (were from Minneapolis). What are the locals like? Is it always tourist season?

Best answer:

Answer by ranger_co_1_75
The first year you move to Hawaii, you learn to surf, snorkel, and visit all the islands.
The second year you visit the tourist sites when friends from the mainland come to visit.
The third year you sit at home
The fourth year you realize you are trapped on a large rock in the middle of the ocean and then you move back to the main land.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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6 thoughts on “Whats life like in Hawaii?

  1. Andrea says:

    I feel terrible just asking this but what ethnicity are you? Hawai’i is a majority-minority state, to say in the least, with a strong Polynesian and Asian(especially Filipino and Japanese) culture. Most people will be very kind but there are also those who want foreigners off their land. The only truly tangible racism is racism against white people(often called haoles). I have known many friends of the white male persuasion who have moved there and went straight back to the mainland, saying they were miserable and didn’t feel welcome. The hostility can also vary depending on where you are(i.e. you’re safe in commercialized Waikiki, but stay far away from Waianae).

    Also, what island do you want to move to and where? There are big differences between each one. Hawai’i is a wonderful place but I would discourage you from moving there. Aside from the occasional hostility it is incredibly expensive as most things are imported to the islands. It is the most remote chain of islands in the world so unless you’re rich, you won’t see your family for very very long stretches of time. There are many other tropical island nations very welcoming to newcomers, but Hawai’i is not exactly one of them.

    I’m not sure how RNs will fare though. I knew a girl who moved to Honolulu from Iowa and she loved it. She had to move away, though – couldn’t handle what I mentioned above and then some. Tourists come there like locusts, it’s annoying to put it nicely but I was never rude to any. You will fit into the local culture if you let go of your own. You will sort of have to unless you want to live in a bubble or on a military base; just keeping it real buddy.

    Research Haunani K. Trask, the Hawaiian overthrow, pidgin, etc. If you have any more questions feel free to ask. 🙂

  2. Yeti says:

    It would help to know a little more of your backgrounds, ages, etc.

    There’s generally need for medical positions, especially on the outer islands (i.e., off Oahu). It’s not unusual for those in the field to be frustrated with the relatively low pay and difficult (rural, sometimes almost third-world) working conditions, however. I’m not sure what you’d have to do to work as a fire medic, but generally understand the fire department in Hawaii as highly, highly competitive and difficult to enter — it’s a very in-demand position with limited application opportunities, and when you think of the unusual rescues and dynamics in Hawaii, you can perhaps understand why their standards are so relatively high. It’s also one of the rare, stable jobs in the islands. Anyway, you probably wouldn’t be able to immediately enter, but you’d have to contact them directly. If you have to go from scratch with them, good luck, especially as someone brand new to the islands.

    Yes, especially coming from Minneapolis you’re almost certain to have difficulties fitting into the culture. It’s a small place, and many newcomers try to impose mainland culture and attitudes rather than humbly assimilate, and they can also throw off job and housing markets due to training and financial opportunities they’ve had on the mainland. And unlike the mainland, if people “bottom out” in Hawaii because they can’t keep up economically, they can’t readily pick up and move elsewhere. It can be fairly difficult for you to fit in when you’re often dealing with people who’ve been on the islands for generations, and it’s a really small place where everybody knows everybody else already — you can feel *very* out of place when it comes to knowing the languages, the culture, the nuanced history of the islands, the ways of doing things… even the people who speak pidgin as an evolved manner of identifying themselves as local and obscuring the communication from “outsiders.” It might sound “stupid” to those from the mainland, but it’s not (that’s part of what keeps it “private”), and you’re not going to learn it. You’re just going to stick out.

    Also, experiencing Hawaii as a tourist for a week or two at 18 is radically different from making a living. You get “the best” when you play tourist and have your air-conditioned hotel room and restaurants by breezy shores, etc. You also have no bills to pay. When you’re trying to scrape by financially in a tight job market where everything is more expensive and you have to go without quite a bit… it can get tough. Many college graduates are grateful to bus tables. You’re likely to have to go without air conditioning in a tropical climate… you’ll encounter insects…develop bizarre skin things (fungus, whatever)… be much more exposed to drug users, poverty, homeless, etc… generally drop a couple notches in standard of living from what you’re used to and would otherwise obtain on the mainland. Everything is imported. Upwards of 85% of the food is imported. The islands do not have a sustainable economy. It’s a big problem.

    You probably shouldn’t come in without work lined up in advance. You’re also going to need to do some serious budgeting — when you start calculating relocation expenses (usually on your dime), expense to go back home to visit family/friends, etc., it can get really expensive real fast. Do also be braced to be one of those people who miss those family/friends, having things to do, etc., after a year or two and who heads back to the mainland — only now you’re out of the loop and broke. Do also be prepared for things to put a strain on the relation with the girlfriend — it’s not good at all to come in unmarried and uncommitted to do whatever it takes together. And if she has any worry or resistance entering, well, Hawaii is likely to just magnify that as things play out.

    If you try to make a living in Hawaii, you’ll likely have little to no time to do or see what brought you to Hawaii in the first place. Maybe once a month you’ll get out to a beach where you’ll pass out from sleep deprivation in the most sleep-deprived state. Alternatively, you could stay on the mainland, save up your money, and once or twice a year take a nice, relaxing “perfect” vacation to Hawaii and enjoy yourself. It will add up to essentially the same number of days “seeing” Hawaii, but you’ll get higher quality out of the days you’re present.

    If you do try relocation, you need to be very sober and realistic, and braced for your life realities to be radically different from what happens when you play tourist. Right now your reasons for relocating don’t sound thought out or sufficient, and just the common “paradise” fantasy more-or-less that many mainlanders learn about the hard way. Don’t underestimate Hawaii’s “real world” difficulty.

  3. LS says:

    Life in Hawaii is wonderful if it is home. The phenomenally high cost of living is offset by the great weather, air, beaches, people, etc.

    I’ve known people who moved to Hawaii and fit right in, and I’ve known people who moved to Hawaii and left because they couldn’t fit in at all. It can pretty much be summed up as ethnocentrism. If you are moving to Hawaii with the opinion that that place you are from is better than Hawaii, then you won’t fit in.

    The nursing job market is DISMAL. I know nurses are having trouble finding work. It depends on how much experience your gf has, too. Many of the RNs I know (thru a work program) had to move away to get a job so they could gain experience. One was advised by an interviewer to NOT come home until the economy improved here, and that she would also gain experience.

    There is no general assessment of how “locals” are. There’s not even consensus on what that means. You get all types, just like in any community.

    And yes, it is always tourist season.

  4. PA4545 says:

    Hawaii is a great place to visit but living there is difficult due to the cost, the culture and the job market.

    As a FF/Paramedic, you will have a very, very difficult time getting on with a FD since many of the locals will also be applying and the FDs get hundreds of outside applications from dreamers from the mainland who can’t really make the transition.

    The RN market is equally tough with core staff jobs going to those who already are from Hawaii and additional help from traveling agency RNs who take short contracts.

    My advice would be to get your girlfriend to take a travel assignment there for 6 – 13 weeks and you tag along if your girlfriend can or wants to support both of you.

  5. saraimay75 says:

    This is my standard answer that I give. There are good things about living in Hawaii and there are some not so good thing about living in in Hawaii. Living here is not a 24/7 vacation there are no grass shacks on the beach. I say this because people come here expecting it. And when they find out the truth they go back to the mainland disappointed and complaining about Hawaii.

    Don’t come here to be homeless. it is illegal and annoying.Have money saved.

    Oahu is the most populated. There are areas where it really crowded. And other areas where it less crowded.

    The weather great it does not get bellow 60 degrees. Hawaii does have it share of natural disasters.

    Hawaii is expensive. Ninety percent of everything is shipped in this is the main reason it cost more. Gas prices are in the four dollar range. Visiting Hawaii is different then living here when you visit you don’t pay rent or utilities.

    Right now our unemployment rate is quite high . If you want to work in tourism it good to know another language. With out an college education you will need to work more than one minimum wage job to survive.Another think about jobs. If you are only going to be here for a short time jobs will go to Locals first.

    Our Public Educational system is lacking. It goes way beyond the Furlough Fridays.

    Hawaii is just as safe as anywhere else maybe safer. That is not to say Hawaii does not have crime. One of out biggest problems is with illegal drugs .We have everything the mainland has except for a few restaurants and stores. The water that surrounds us does not make much of a difference.

    No Daylight Savings Time we never move out clock forward or back.

    We have an excellent bus system on Oahu. If you are willing to take the time then it will cut down on gas costs. You can have car but you might want to take the bus most of the time and use a car only when really needed. Right now gas is in the mid to high three dollar range. I have seen gas at $ 3.49.

    Hawaii is one of most culturally diverse place in America. We have several cultures here. Hawaiians being the most obvious. We also have a diverse Asian population; Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Thai, Vietnamese (sp?). All these culture differ. And it is best if you learn the differences.

    If you love food Hawaii is one of the best places to be. Due to our many cultures we have many different kinds of food. Try them all.

    Since we have many different cultures in Hawaii there are many set of “rules” all of them slightly different. Make an effort to learn. When you make an effort to learn the the differences then you will be accepted.

    There is racism in Hawaii, racism is everywhere. Some of the racism is aimed at Whites. Racism at White is not all that common so you will get Whites saying that all Locals and or Hawaiian are racist. That is not true. The Locals and Hawaiians who are racist toward Whites tend to be racist against other cultures. Racism is not right. But it does exist.

    Not everybody who lives in Hawaii is Hawaiian. To be Hawaiian to must have Hawaiian blood. Or be of Hawaiian ancestry. If you are like me and have lived in Hawaii all their life but have no Hawaiian blood you are considered a Local. Do not call anyone in Hawaii “natives” if you have to say Native Hawaiian.

    We also have a dialect of Pidgin Creole English. Or it is called Pidgin for short. This language was created during the plantation days. We had workers from all over Asia and the Pacific they all spoke different languages and the needed a way to communicate. So a new language grew and was created.There a some who hear Pidgin an the equate it with lack of intelligence. Do not do this!

    Then there is what can be called “Rock Fever” some people tend to feel trapped because they can’t drive anywhere else but Hawaii. There is no way you can drive into another state.

    If you need to fly home to the Mainland then 1) take more time because you have to fly over an ocean first. 2) Will cost more because you have fly home.

  6. boomer gal says:

    The current job market for RNs is not great. My daughter should be graduating in Dec. from an ADN program & is afraid she will need to move to the mainland to find work. There are some jobs available, but they tend to be in specialty areas like ICU or OR.

    And although it is always tourist season, when you live here it is quite different from being a tourist.

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