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Here is another installment of our series on what it’s like to relocate to Hawaii. I want to pass along five tips for you once you move here. This isn’t the exhaustive list, this isn’t the end-all be-all list, this is just really like five important things that I figured out after I moved here.
1. There are not a lot of options here. And what do I mean by that? Well, let’s just take appliances for instance. Dishwasher breaks, fridge goes out, whatever the case may be. You don’t have a ton of places that you can go shop. There’s not like 17 Appliance Factory Warehouses that you can go find the perfect fridge at a discounted price. That doesn’t happen. You’ve got Home Depot and you’ve got Lowe’s. And those are pretty much your only two choices. And understand that when you go to get your appliance, it’s not going to be in stock. You’re most likely going to have to order it and it will take six to eight weeks. It will come on a boat and most likely 90% of the time it will be denied. That’s what it is. You just kind of hope it’s dented in the right spot. (Of course, most of the refrigerators I got it back on the mainland came dented as well. So that’s not unique to the island.)
Along the same lines, there are not a lot of general shopping options. There’s a Walmart here on the Big Island. There’s a Target, there’s a Lowe’s, there’s a Ross. Some of the stores that you would recognize on the mainland. But for the most part we really utilize, utilize Amazon here. And the thing to know about buying from Amazon here is that there’s no such thing as two day shipping to Hawaii. It doesn’t exist. You can’t get that prime two day. So just know that it’s going to be 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 days for you to get something from Amazon. So plan ahead!
2. Make sure you line up your service providers. If you find a good service provider, be really nice to them because there’s just not a lot of them. And hold on to those service providers. Treat them well, keep them. You’ll be really, really grateful. So get a good plumber, get a good electrician, but most of all — get a good landscaper. Landscaping is a big deal in Hawaii. You’re constantly cutting, trimming and hauling. Cutting, trimming and hauling stuff grows here like crazy. So if you land a good landscaper, they are worth their weight in gold. Do not let that guy go, no matter how much he charges you.
3. Understand that things move at a slower pace here. That’s why you’re moving here, right? You’re changing your lifestyle. You want things to slow down a little bit. Well, congratulations — you got it! It moves much slower here. You know the saying in Spanish, “mañana”, which means tomorrow. Well, if somebody says “mañana” here, it doesn’t mean tomorrow here. “Mañana” means just not today, perhaps sometime in the future. That’s moving at the slower place, not going to happen today, but it’s going to happen sometime in the future. You’ve got to be okay with that.
4. Don’t honk if you’re at a traffic light! Somebody’s looking down on their phone, it turned green. They’re not moving. You don’t honk. You don’t honk in Hawaii. It’s just they think it’s rude. So whatever the case may be, you just sit there, wait patiently until they move their car, because things move at a slower pace here.
5. And then last but not least, do yourself a favor and learn the language and learn the culture. Learn how to say all those vowels together. It’ll help you a lot. You won’t sound like an imbecile when you’re on the phone talking to service providers. And then learn the culture because they’re proud of their culture. They love their culture. And you’re here, and you need to integrate and be a part of that.
If you’d like more of our tips about moving the the Big Island of Hawaii, be sure to check out our previous blog posts, or listen to our Podcast, or view our YouTube Channel.