Ten Things I Miss the Most About Hawaii
Hawaii is such a majestic place, here are the Ten Things I Miss the Most About Hawaii. The thoughts of a Hawaii girl going on six years of living away from Hawaii.
These last few weeks have been an emotional struggle with the loss of a loved one back home (Hawaii). It’s made me think about all the things that I miss about Hawaii. If you have never been to Hawaii, along with its aesthetically superior landscapes, it contains a special mana (spirit). There’s a reason its a top tourist destination and loved by so many.
1. The Aloha Spirit
There really is a special feeling when you are in Hawaii. The atmosphere is relaxed and everyone runs on Hawaiian Time. Hawaiian Time is never placing a strong significance on punctuality, it’s about taking your time and not rushing to be somewhere. There really is a relaxing and friendly way of life in Hawaii.
I really miss the aloha spirit and courtesy, especially when driving in other places. You don’t use your horn unless you really need to. It’s rude to not wave a thank you and merge respectfully. In parking lots, people wait for you to move out of your stall and give you the space you need. In Australia, people will drive around me even when I am halfway out of the stall. There’s a certain amount of patience that is given on the roads in Hawaii. Don’t rush to get somewhere on time if you are going to put yourself or others at risk, it’s not worth it.
Growing up in Hawaii we were often taught many Hawaiian values including Kokua (help), Lokahi (unity), Aloha (love, compassion), Laulima (working together), Malama (caring), Pono (right, fair), and Kuleana (responsibility). These values and many others are what embodies the Aloha Spirit.
2. The Food
I think you could have guessed food would be on this list. With such a culturally diverse background, Hawaii has a bit of everything. And man is it good. Start with your Hawaiian favourites including poke, kalua pig, laulau, poi, lomi salmon, pipikalua, the list goes on.
Then there are some of your local foods that include loco moco, saimin, shoyu chicken, meat jun, mochi, manapua, malasada, acai bowl, shave ice and so much more! Also, there are so many amazing restaurants ranging from Japanese, Thai, Korean, Mexican, Italian, to American steak houses. I’m getting fat just thinking about all the ono (delicious) food options.
3. The Beaches
Hawaii is home to some of the most beautiful and well-known beaches in the world. Crystal clear waters with beautiful coral reefs. Waters that are so inviting that you can’t stop yourself from jumping in. My all-time favourite weekend would include laying on the sand under the shade of a coconut tree, reading a book and diving into the water when I needed to cool down. Hands down the best way to spend your weekend.
4. The Ocean Temperature
When I was growing up in Hawaii, I never once considered how lucky we were to have the perfect ocean temperature. That lovely refreshing feeling of diving into those clear waters. Hawaiian waters range between 76 to 81 degrees F (24 – 27 degrees C). Compare this to Australia water temperatures in Sydney average at 65 degrees F (18 degrees C). Talk about jumping into an ice pond. I absolutely love the ocean, but in Australia, it is honestly hard to talk yourself into braving those cold water temperatures.
5. The Hiking Trails
There are so many amazing trails throughout the islands. Breathtaking views including tropical forests, waterfalls, lava fields and coastal vistas. The Hawaiian Islands are home to 10 of the worlds 14 climate zones. This provides a wide variety of hiking trails and beautiful unique scenery to experience. Also, due to its isolation and distance to any main continents, Hawaii is home to a large number of endemic species. This means there are many plants and animals you can only find in the islands.
6. The Lei’s
Nothing signifies an important birthday, celebration or achievement better than a fresh flower lei. The smell of a fresh pikake, puakenikeni, tuberose or ginger (my favourites!) draped over your shoulders, makes you feel special in that moment. That sweet and soft scent that follows you around is just heavenly.
7. The Tropical Fruits and Flowers
I love the diversity of fresh fruit and flowers you can find in Hawaii. From delicious papaya to low acidic pineapple, there are so many different varieties to fulfil all your fruit desires.
Tropical flowers are grown on all islands and include a wide range of orchids, ginger, heliconia, anthurium, bird of paradise, hibiscus, plumeria (also known as frangipani in Australia) and more.
8. The Merry Monarch Festival
The Merry Monarch Festival is a hula festival held once a year in late April and completely takes over the islands. This hula competition began in 1971 (the festival itself was started in 1964 but was revamped to include hula in 1971). The Hula competition includes a Miss Aloha Hula, men’s and women’s Kahiko (traditional style) and ‘Auana (modern western style) categories. The competition is held over three days, but other festivities span out before and after the competition.
9. The Language and Culture
If you are from Hawaii, you will know there are parts of the language that you take with you wherever you go and unconsciously use them in everyday conversations. I’ve received some odd looks when I’ve said its pau hana. And only in the islands have I ever heard directions that include mauka, makai, windward and leeward terminology.
Have you ever watched Ronny Chieng International Student? In one of his episodes, he summed up the no shoes in the house rule perfectly, “Take off your shoes, you’re practically shitting in the house right now”. Taking off your shoes before you enter anyone’s house is not a common thing in many parts of the world. It is a common courtesy in Hawaii and extremely rude to leave shoes on unless you were specifically told to.
There are a lot of language and cultural differences you’ll realise you’ve never thought a lot about until you move away from Hawaii.
10. The Ohana (Family)
I truly miss all of my family and friends back home. When you live on a small island, family is very important and in close proximity. Even if you live on different islands, it is only at most an hour flight away. Your Ohana includes all of your immediate family as well as extended family, friends and calabash aunties, and uncles (non-blood relations).
If you have moved away from your home, what do you miss the most?