Re: From a Newcomer in Hawaii to Other Newcomers
Gigi Gillespie

    06-19-06Hello, My name is Gigi and I am finishing my last year of grad
    school with Ole Miss in Mississippi. I have a perfect husband that
    is getting me through it and two great kids. My goal in life has
    been to live in Hawaii and teach. I have had to wait for many
    years to do this because my kids needed a full time parent and my
    husband and I have shared that responsibility back and forth. I am
    36 yrs. old and am finally getting to persue this dream. I don't
    really have much time for friends in my life with the situation
    but have a few people, especially family, trying to tell me it
    cost to much to live there and I can't make it. I want to prove
    them wrong and all the research I have done has helped me to feel
    confident. I read your entry and wanted to talk to you about the
    salary and availibility of positions there. Also, I want to get my
    masters and will have one more year to finish when I arrive. Is
    the college situation there good and is there better pay with the
    masters? I have seen several ads in the Hawaii papers about lowest
    job pay in the teaching field there and am becomming spooked. My
    reason is I plan to give my husband the opprotunity to go back to
    school and support the family myself. Please help! I want my dream
    to come true for me and my family.

    > 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?