You know you are settling into Hawaii when......

Living in Hawaii is amazing.  Breathtaking views, perfect weather, and amazing beaches are just a few of the thing we love so much about being here.  Life here is laid back and downright perfect, well not completely but close enough.  It is also really unique!

Koko crater
Here are the ways I have noticed we are acclimating fully to life here:

You buy groceries, toiletries, and surf and fish supplies at the same store

The local Target, Walmart, Kmart, pretty much every store here carries surf supplies, Hawaiian slings, and spear guns.  At first we thought it was odd but at this point we have bought Hawaiian slings as well as surf board leashes while shopping for toys, TP, and groceries!  Gotta love that one stop shopping! 

Kama'aina is something you desperately want to have
Kama'aina is the local word for resident. If you have proof of said residency you are given discounts all over the place, including parking areas, tourist attractions, restaurants, etc.  This comes in super handy on a day to day basis as well as annually when big attractions set special pricing for locals.

You HATE the H1

Exactly what you think of for Hawaii?  No??
Hating the H1 does not take long at all.  For those of you who don't know it is the main highway here that runs along the southern side of the island.  It runs through all the major towns and cities and although it is 12 lanes wide in some spots the traffic is horrendous nearly every day.  Sure you enjoy an awesome day at the beach but then you have the H1 to deal with.  Not exactly what we expected to find in Hawaii and 10 years ago when I was here it was not near this bad!  We hated it within a week!

FYI: Honolulu has the second worst traffic in the country, just behind LA! 

When someone lets you cut in front of them in traffic you shaka instead of wave thanks

Every country seems to have their own way to say thanks.  In Costa Rica people throw out the peace sign, a simple wave is practiced throughout the world, but here in Hawaii the "shaka" (or hang loose) is what you see most.  Flashing out of a car, flashed in photos, it sums up the Aloha spirit and is used often.  So often that once you are here a while you start to use it yourself and not just as a pose in a tourist picture.  Bonus points if you use Brah or Howz it?!

FYI: According to wiki, the meaning it conveys is one of friendship, understanding, compassion, and solidarity among the various cultures that reside in Hawaii.
Rainbows and sea turtles are no longer impressive

Early on excitement!
I know it seems hard to believe but when you see rainbows daily and swim with turtles as often as you do here it becomes so commonplace that it fails to impress.  Well for my little guys anyway.  Locals seemed completely unimpressed when turtles are around but I fail a bit here as I am still excited about them both.  I have to admit that gliding through the water with a couple of huge sea turtles, almost feeling as one for a little while, is really a great highlight of any beach day in my book!

There is mud and/or sand in your car at all times

Our typical post hike look.
We are loving the freedom in having a car again.  But along with that freedom comes a whole lot of mess.  We are constantly at the beach where we somehow manage to track in buckets of sand, even though most beaches have showers and we rinse off.  If we are not at the beach you can usually find us on a hike and since waterfall hikes are our favorite (and typically insanely muddy) it is not uncommon for there to be mud caked shoes, and boys for that matter, in the car leaving a mess behind.

We try to keep up but within a matter of days its a mess again.  I pity the person who needs to detail this car before we give it back. 

As well as boogie boards, bottles of water for rinsing, snorkel supplies, reef shoes, etc, etc, etc
Along with the mud and sand the car is also always full of the necessities of "just in case" moments!  Living in a new area among some beautiful lookouts, tempting beach after beach, and hiking opportunities around every corner a girl just has to have a few items in the car just in case.  In fact, there is so much in the trunk I often times have to use the back seat instead for groceries because there is just no room.

Currently we have 2 beach chairs, 2 boogie boards, sand toys, shovels, a brush for getting sand off feet (read above, it does help but clearly not enough) , numerous bottles full of water for the beaches with no showers, hiking shoes, a couple towels, snorkel gear, an extra surf leash, and reef shoes.  It may seem excessive but we use all that stuff at least 3 times a week!

You eat shave ice NOT snow cones 

In Hawaii there is no such thing as a snow cone and you know what?  Thank goodness!  Shave ice is infinitely better.  It is a finer shave almost to the consistency of the lightest snow you've ever touched.  As if that is not good enough they never, and I mean not once ever, in over 10 different places we've tried, skimp on the sugary sweet syrup.

You can get any number of flavors or choose just one and there are more flavors to choose from than you have time to sort through.  We have heard that Matsumoto's on the North Shore is the best but honestly we have not even tried it yet as the lines are too darn long.  The North shore places are better than Waikiki so we just figure the smaller lined places are still amazing so why bother with the lines.  I may get the guys to wait one time before we leave.

Either way these things are not snow cones, and have I mentioned that they are HUGE?  No need to get the large unless you plan on sharing with 2-3 others.  Smalls are typically around $4 and plenty for 1 or even 2 people.

You always remove your shoes when entering a home
As in Asia, wearing shoes inside is a no no in Hawaii.  We were already pretty used to that since we spent the last 18 months in Asia.  I really prefer it and figure no matter where we live we'll make that a priority in our home, although I suppose it may seem rude to ask guests to do it or to remove our shoes at someone else's door.  And what about winter?  Not that I plan on ever living in that again but it may not work well in that climate.  Oh well that does it, I'll just stay in Hawaii where the shoe etiquette is to my liking!

You know who Duke is, what Lei Day is, and how to pronounce Kamehameha! 

The legendary "Duke"
These are all actually quite common things but the point is we have started to get used to the off holidays, the local legends, and the pronunciation of the words here.  I mean how the heck do you pronounce a word that consists solely of 4 vowels??  It is rough and we sound ridiculous on a regular basis but I think, and I may be totally wrong, that we are getting better.

You know and love Malasadas
If you have had these then read no further because you understand what I mean.  Luckily for us we live near a food truck that sells Leonard's malasadas so we don't have to trek to town (Honolulu/Waikiki) and wait in line to get them.  They are basically a type of sweet pastry that I swear is downright dangerous for its addictive properties.  You have been warned, your waistline may never recover!

When it hits 70, you are in a sweater
To be fair since we left our CT home 7 years ago we have been chasing summer and aside from a winter stint up in Pai,Thailand, we have not even used a sweatshirt or long pants.  So this is really not new to us here in Hawaii.

One of the things we love so much about life here is the near perfect weather.  It rarely dips below 75 and never goes above 90.  No need for heat or AC and no need to bother with sweats...of course that is, unless it reaches the ghastly and rare 70 degrees, then by all means we bust out the parkas because we are literally freezing!

You wouldn't dream of honking your car horn
I am not even really sure of the reason behind it but I suspect it is just part of the Aloha nature.  People do NOT honk their horns.  I have sat in some of the worst traffic in my life here (see above, I hate the H1) and no one honks.  People seem to grasp the concept of zippering in to traffic, people are kind in letting you in, and everyone seems to be fairly patient.  It just goes along with the laid back attitude I suppose.  I may have considered it in the beginning but once you are here a while you realize that you would never want to be that impatient sole that honks at others!  Now if we could get New Yorkers on this...

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  1. Get to the Big Island, there are no crazy traffic jams here and you will really feel like Kama'aina real fast

    1. I really am looking forward to it. As much as we love it here I think we'll love it even more there. Plus by moving islands I feel like I am traveling again. Just makes me nuts to stay in the same place for too long:)

  2. Not sure you'll ever be able to leave!

    1. Well we're leaving in 2 weeks but we'll see if we end up back:) Dylan is a bit bummed but at least it will still be Hawaii...I think as long as we can dive and surf he will be fine!

  3. Mary, I forgot to also invite you to post this on Travel Photo Mondays, it's my Monday carnival link up on my blog, please join!

  4. Love it! Sounds like a beautiful place to live.

    1. It really is Erin! I think it is our spot to put down roots and travel from here. We should have no trouble subletting our home. Hey maybe we could do a house swap next year. I am dying to get back to Oz:)

  5. Well I remember the first time that I bought groceries before I settled in.

  6. I forgot to also invite you to post this on Travel Photo Mondays, it's my Monday carnival link up on my blog, please join!

  7. Sounds like a great place to visit.Thanks for the review.

  8. When I went to Tonga the local general store sold machetes, that was how I knew I was in Tonga. Also, there was essentially no airport security so machetes could come as hand luggage, heheh.

    1. Love that! Costa Rica was really machete heavy as well:) We hung out with some locals that saw my husband on the computer a lot and they commented that, "the computer is your machete". I loved that analogy! So true for us!

  9. After reading this I also felt to visit Hawaii in this year end vacation