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Re: From a Newcomer in Hawaii to Other Newcomers
nicole

    Andy you have it right. Homes may cost more to buy, but
    everything else is about the same, and the people are
    wonderful. I spent my adolescent years living in Hawaii and
    am hoping to move back soon. All that stuff about locals
    hating all haoles and it being impossible to get by is just
    not true. My best friends to this day are from Hawaii. It is
    the nicest, friendliest place I know. The only adjustment a
    mainlander needs to make is to get used to Hawaii time and
    waiting patiently in lines. The best part of Hawaii is that
    people are not in a rush.
    On 5/27/06, Joan wrote:
    > On 5/12/06, Andy wrote:
    >> To Whom It May Concern,
    >>
    >> I've recently moved to Hawaii with my family from Taiwan,
    >> where I lived for more than a decade. In the year prior
    >> to our move, I often logged on to the Hawaii chatboard in
    >> order to get some practical advice as well as general
    >> impressions of the area of the U.S. I was planning to move
    >> back to. As it seems that people interested in moving to
    >> Hawaii and teaching there frequently access this website,
    >> I am writing to try to satisfy their curiosity on certain
    >> points and to give them a newcomer's set of impressions on
    >> what it's actually like here.
    >>
    >> First, I'd like to comment on the cost of living here,
    >> about which you read a lot of negative commentary. My
    >> impression at this point is that the proverbial high cost
    >> of living in the islands is exaggerated. True, I lived
    >> outside the U.S. for many years and am just now trying to
    >> get a sense of what day-to-day costs are like in my home
    >> country after being away for so long. But I have taken
    >> frequent vacations throughout the years to visit my family
    >> in Pennsylvania, and my sense is that, apart from the
    >> costs of housing, the day-to-day costs of getting by in
    >> Hawaii are about the same as on the mainland - IF, that
    >> is, you shop where the locals do and avoid paying the
    >> greedy middlemen who run things in areas where (often
    >> extremely wealthy) tourists hang out. I've read horror
    >> stories of people having to pay $6 for a gallon of milk or
    >> a box of cereal, but where we shop we don't pay more than
    >> $3.50 or so for either. Gas is 10&37; more expensive, but
    > of
    >> course you don't really feel it in most situations as
    >> you're living on an island where everything is in close
    >> location to everything else and the farthest distance you
    >> can actually drive from one place to another is about 44
    >> miles.
    >>
    >> The biggest difference, as might be expected, is with
    >> respect to home costs. Of course, things have gotten just
    >> as expensive in many areas of the U.S. mainland (and
    >> probably more expensive in fact in a lot of places such as
    >> California). The key thing is that you have to get used
    >> to living in smaller spaces. This is relatively easy for
    >> me, as I've spent the last decade living in the second
    >> most densely populated country on Earth, where you don't
    >> get much for your money when it comes to space. In fact,
    >> I've gotten so used to it that I've come to like living in
    >> modest spaces as you have that much less work to do
    >> keeping everything in good condition. My impression is
    >> that most people in Hawaii simply don't feel the need for
    >> the grandiose spaces that people in general enjoy on the
    >> U.S. mainland. The majority of people here either have
    >> either immigrated from or descend from people who
    >> immigrated from heavily populated East Asian countries
    >> where people simply don't have so much space as we have in
    >> America or in Western Europe. The other thing is that, in
    >> an area of the world where the weather is so perfect, you
    >> don't feel the need to have such commodious indoor spaces
    >> simply because you don't feel the need to spend so much
    >> time indoors. I suspect that many people from the
    >> mainland who relocate to the islands, particularly those
    >> raising families, (understandably) can't get used to
    >> dealing with the smaller spaces associated with living on
    >> a space-hungry island. If, however, you're in a position
    >> such as myself, coming from a part of the world where
    >> people live in similarly crowded circumstances, or if you
    >> are single or don't yet have children, you'll have a much
    >> easier time adjusting to the smaller spaces and will be
    >> able to accept not having so much space for the same
    >> amount of money.
    >>
    >> In short, I believe that the perception that Hawaii is so
    >> much more expensive than the mainland is only correct from
    >> the point of view of people who are not willing to
    >> sacrifice the great amount of space they enjoy on the
    >> mainland and force themselves to pay double or more when
    >> they get here than what they would have to pay if they
    >> were willing to make such a sacrifice.
    >>
    >> Second,to all the people, whether locals or mainlanders,
    >> many of them apparently mean-spirited, who are constantly
    >> griping about ethnic issues and racial slights on this
    >> chatboard, I will say this: lighten up a bit, and you're
    >> sure to a much nicer time of it. Doubtless there are a
    >> lot of people who go through life looking for trouble of
    >> this sort, and doubtless, in a frequently mean-spirited
    >> world, they're able to find it. My impression, however,
    >> is that there is FAR LESS of this sort of trouble in
    >> Hawaii than anywhere else in the U.S. My daughter,
    >> although she is half-Chinese, looks far "whiter" than any
    >> of the other kids in her class, in an elementary school
    >> where there are only a handful of white kids. She
    >> certainly doesn't notice that she looks any different from
    >> the rest of her classmates, comes home with a big smile on
    >> her face every day, and is overjoyed to be out of the
    >> crazy, high-pressure study environment of public school in
    >> Taiwan. She's already picked up the local accent and
    >> apparently fits right in. The other white kids I notice
    >> at her school all seem to be just as happy as everyone
    >> else. Doubtless in high schools you do encounter
    >> problems, some of them involving ethnic or racial slurs,
    >> but doesn't this happen everywhere in the American public
    >> school system? Adolescents can be nasty and groups of
    >> them will frequently treat poorly anyone who is perceived
    >> as non-conforming, including when it comes to appearance.
    >> This is a just an unfortunate part of American youth. My
    >> suspicion is that the sort of kids who encounter this sort
    >> of trouble in school here are the sort of kids who would
    >> encounter this sort of trouble anywhere (and possibly
    >> administer to this sort of trouble to other kids). And
    >> I'd like to add that, while I understand that I've only
    >> been here for a couple of months and likely haven't had
    >> much occasion to experience certain negative aspects of
    >> living here, so far I have found strangers and especially
    >> people doing any sort of public service (grocery clerks,
    >> bus drivers, etc.) to be far more relaxed and FAR
    >> FRIENDLIER than most of their counterparts in the frantic
    >> East Coast area where I grew up.
    >>
    >> To conclude, my experience so far as a newcomer has been
    >> entirely positive, and I would recommend it to other
    >> teachers or prospective teachers who are looking for a
    >> change of locale and who would like to make a contribution
    >> to a part of the U.S. which desperately needs more good
    >> teachers. The costs here really seem to be exaggerated,
    >> as do the reports of poor, mistreated haoles.
    >>
    >> If other newcomers or prospective newcomers would like to
    >> contact me for an exchange of info, I'd be happy to hear
    >> from them!
    >>
    >> Best wishes,
    >> Andy
    >>
    > AMEN!! This is my first day on this site. I came here
    > looking for teachers in Hawaii in which to share standards-
    > based lessons, successes, (and failures) in the classroom,
    > etc. WOW, except for 2 posts, the firstpage of topics have
    > to do with negativity and exaggerations.
    >
    > Can someone direct me to a productive message board?