Monday, March 18, 2013

10 things I don't love about Hawaii

Well we're headed back to Utah in a mere 7 days!! (What?!) and I think I'm finally qualified to make this post.

It's been about 10 months since I moved to Hawaii and don't get me wrong, it's really beautiful place. In fact there are lots of things I like about it, you can read about them here. However, if I have learned anything in these past 10 months, it's that Hawaii IS a great place, but I wouldn't want to live here (permanently at least).

So here's my list, in no particular order, of 10 of the things that make Hawaii a place I don't want to live:

1. Trash day
 There is a law here that says one day a month a truck comes by to pick up all your crap that you don't feel like hauling to the dump.

 Well what's wrong with that? You may ask. That sounds convenient. And I will say it is kinda nice to drive around and find one person's trash that could become your treasure.
HOWEVER, the rule is that people are supposed to put their junk out the evening before the truck comes.
 But people tend to put their junk out...whenever. And the truck often doesn't come on the day it's supposed to. So we are left with junk in front of people's houses ALL-THE-TIME! It's ugly and gross and quite frankly, it's just trashy.

2. ONE ROAD= epic traffic

Oahu is not that big and there are a lot of people on it (which I will later discuss) and there is only one major road that goes all the way around the island. Sure there are different freeways in parts of the island, but regardless, traffic usually (more often than not) looks like the picture above. It makes going anywhere frustrating, stressful, and extremely time consuming.

3. Road "workers"

So the roads are really, really bad. Crazy bumpy with potholes and such. They're just awful...all of them. And yet, it seems as though they are always under construction. And even when the construction has been completed, the roads still suck! Often times for this 'construction' to take place, road crews will take a three or four lane road and put it down to one lane.

And when you make it down to the road crews to see what they're actually doing, there may be one guy doing something that looks productive and 8 or 9 guys watching or sitting in the shade of a tree on the side of the road or, get this, I've actually seen this one THEY'RE ALL LAYING THERE, SLEEPING!!!! No wonder the roads suck.

Who can spot the road sign? Can you read it? Me either.
**Sidenote** On top of all this road crappiness, the road signs are tiny and often hidden in bushes, on the wrong side of the road, or not there at all. If you don't know the area, you're sort of screwed. (Doubly so if you're using Apple's map app.) In addition to that, the road names are Hawaiian names and a little hard to pronounce. So you could look at your map and see that you need to turn on Hawaii Kai Dr., but the next road you come to is Kawaiihae Dr. and you momentarily get confused.

Even worse are the road names you can't pronounce like Kalanianaole or Kalakaua or Kapiolani. For being such a tourist place it's not especially visitor friendly.

4. Pidgin- not just for the birds
I have never been one of those people that corrects every person's random grammar mistakes and tell you when to use "whom" instead of "who". I am the type of person who will quickly tell you that you should have said "didn't" instead of "don't" even though you probably realized your mistake as you said it.

I wouldn't recommend doing that in Hawaii, because people don't actually realize that they should have used "didn't". They have the worst grammar ever!!! But get a few Hawaiians together and listen to them have a conversation and you most likely won't understand anything they're saying besides the occasional "brah". It's not like they're speaking Hawaiian, it's just slang and it's awful. It just sounds so dreadfully uneducated.

This is taken from Wikipedia:

Da book stay on top da table.
The book is on the table.
Da water stay cold.
The water is cold.
God goin do plenny good kine stuff fo him. (DJB, Mark 11:9)
God is going to do a lot of good things for him.
I tryin fo tink. (or) I try fo tink.
I'm trying to think.

5. A lack of seasons
Yeah these pictures were taken in December
For some people, this is the reason they want to live in Hawaii. For me, it just feels like I'm sort of frozen in time. Again, these are my humble opinions, but for me it's not just Halloween, but it feels like Halloween because the air is crisper and the leaves are falling off the trees and it feels like Fall.

It didn't feel like Christmas this year because I didn't wear sweaters or boots or even pants for that matter. The air wasn't cool and fresh. These things for me mark the changing of time and without it I feel a little lost. And as much as I do like warm weather and Summer, it's hard to appreciate it when it's always Summer. I can't be excited for the warm weather because I haven't been experiencing any cool weather.

6. Haole prejudice
Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii goes from Pre-K to 12th grade. It's very hard to get it in, it's very expensive and there is an extensive application process. But there is one thing you MUST have or you won't get in at all. You have to be Hawaiian. (Um, what?!). Can you imagine what would happen if somewhere in the United States a school decided to be only white? Just take some time and travel back to the Civil Rights movement and learn how that pans out. How can this even be allowed?!

I totally get that the idea is to keep native Hawaiian traditions and customs alive but how can they keep enrollment limited to a certain race?

I personally have not had experience with someone showing direct prejudice towards me for being haole (pronounced howlee), which literally means foreigner but it is usually just used to refer to white people, but I've heard horror stories of people who have felt that prejudice.

7. I'm not a millionaire
It is so expensive to live here. Everything is expensive: rent, groceries, gas, restaurants, movies, activities, etc. No one can own a house here because even the crappiest one bedroom house is like $500K.
Let's take the house I'm living in for example. It's marketed as two bedroom, two bathroom, 1300 sq. ft. On top of that, there are parts of the weird Hawaiian construction where I can see through the walls to the light from outside. No dishwasher, just a washing machine, no dryer. (Kind of a crap-ish house).

Go ahead and guess what it is listed at on Zillow. Did you guess $1.2 million? Then you'd be right! Check out the link yourself for more pictures of the surrounding area houses and prices here.

8. We're packed in like sardines

Along those same lines, why would you pay a million or so dollars for a house when your backyard is more houses UNLESS you bought it for investment purposes?! (Also if you bought it for investment to rent where are you living affordably?) It's all house upon house upon apartment upon town home all squeezed in together. I don't know about you but I would like some kind of lot to live on. Land means something to me. 

This house in the picture in across the street from us. They don't even have a yard! And my guess is that most of the houses in this picture are not single family homes. No thank you! We share our driveway with another home which is behind our neighbor's house. Confused? Me too.

9. It's a little too 'chill'

I think a lot of people like the idea of Hawaii because they hear how 'chill' everyone is. It's the Hawaiian way. At first, it might sound super relaxing and low key to live a life like that but for me personally, I can't handle it. I like things done quickly and efficiently.

I have not yet come across a speed limit higher than 55mph. Yes, even on the freeway. I get a little (a lot) annoyed when the person at the register stops to 'talk story' to their coworker on their way to get my milkshake. I'm not a fan of this whole nowhere-to-be, nothing-to-do mentality. It drives me crazy!

10. Day to day stress doesn't disappear when you live by the beach

Hawaii is so beautiful! We pass beautiful beaches everyday. But guess still have to work, and go grocery shopping, and do laundry, and clean your house, and drive in awful traffic, and do homework if you're a student, and cook, and do every other mundane task you have to do anywhere else in the world. Yeah, it's nice that the weather is mostly fantastic and you're not in danger of seasonal depression. But life can still get rough, people still make you made and you still have to do stuff that isn't fun.

My guess is that a lot of people who are living seemingly happily lives in big beautiful houses spend most of their time working to afford their beautiful houses and when they're not at work they're working on their yard (perpetually green means constantly needs to be mowed) and their home keeping it beautiful and spending less time enjoying the beach. Just a guess.

So yeah, Hawaii is great. I have really enjoyed our time here. I've loved getting to know the area, finding it's quirks and the things I hate and the things I love. But this phase of my life is over and I don't ever plan on living here again. I would absolutely visit. There are great things to do here and the water is so blue and gorgeous I can' even handle it. But I don't want to live here. 

I also learned in these past 10 months that I don't really love the beach. Close your mouth and let me explain. I like to swim which is really hard to do in salt water where you mostly float. I don't love the waves pushing me around. You can't just walk into the water here because there is coral and sharp reef that you don't want to walk on. And sand is icky.

To sum it up: Visit- yes, Live- no.

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