Re: From a Newcomer in Hawaii to Other Newcomers

    On 5/31/06, nicole wrote:
    > 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?