I've learned a lot about Hawaii since arriving here. So here are just a few of the things I've learned.
1. On an island of limited dimensions, when you get horribly lost (the way I did today) there's only so far you can drive in one direction before getting to the end. This is a plus. Why? Because invariably I will get to the end of find either the H1, the H2 or the H3 (the 3 main highways on the island).
2. Getting lost is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!!!!! Yes, it IS amazing and totally fun, because you find all sorts of little places that you never knew existed. Take today for example. I found a fairly decent sized grocery store that caters specifically to people from India!!! What a gold mine!!! I LOVE Indian food!!!! My husband not so much. Which means I'll be going to the India Grocery Store before he comes back from deployment and will be making lots of dishes with curry in them and other spices!! I might even get one of the India costumes for each of the girls!! I think they'd love it!!! I also found the most amazing fresh seafood market. Like, "almost right on the water, fresh from the trawler, can't get any fresher than this" type seafood market!!! A big cavernous open air (but covered over) seafood market!!! So now I know where to get my fresh fish!!!
3. I totally get why "tourists" annoy Hawaiians. They now annoy me to. Lesson learned, stay as far away from the tourist district as possible. They have a tendency to be drunk in the middle of the day and have no problem diving in front of vehicles mid day when they are A) not at a cross walk and B) traffic is driving past. And yes, I keep an eye out and tend to start slowing down a LONG way off for tourists and make sure I stop pretty far away from them. The windmill arms, cussing and yelling is a good clue that you don't want to get anywhere near them. The whole "I'm rich and bringing my money to Hawaii to spend so you should treat me like royalty" gets old pretty quick. Thankfully, I'm not a tourist, and the fact that I'm respectful of their culture and way of life means I get treated pretty well and get along with them. I may not be Hawaiian, but I'm a semi-permanent resident, I take my dogs to the vet, my kids to the Pediatrician and everything else that they do. I may not be native Hawaiian, but I'm most definitely not a tourist. FYI - if you're coming to Hawaii? Do yourself a favor. Be polite. Don't get drunk mid day, don't do anything stupid and even if you are rich and well off and want to be treated like royalty.......be polite. It's not going to kill you to say please and thank you. And do ME a favor? If you see kids around? Please do your best not to use foul language. I don't care what language you use in front of your own kids, but I have a right to raise my kids MY way and that means I don't want my kids learning that kind of language. And yes, I WILL ask you not to use that language in front of my children and explain to my children (in front of you) that the kind of language you used is bad, and unacceptable to use in public. Even if that means making you look like a bad guy. That's your problem. If you want to use it, keep it in adult company.
I'm off my soapbox now.
4. They DO have a monsoon season. For those of you who thought that was just in Asia, Africa and Australia? Nope, Hawaii has one to. That means for weeks at a time (since almost everyone has solar panels on their roof to use sunlight for electricity) you will go without hot water. And I'm not talking you might have just warm water. I'm talking cold showers for weeks at a time. If you're lucky the 3 hours in the early morning (before the sun comes up) and the 3 hours in the evening (after the sun goes down) when your actual electric kicks in to heat your hot water, will heat your water from cold to tepid or semi warm. What does this mean? It means whatever you do, don't do laundry on hot/warm (you'll use up what little tepid/warm water you have). First thing in the morning when you have tepid water, stick your kids in the bath or shower (together). You don't have enough tepid water for 2 - 3 baths/showers. At night when the electric has had a couple hours to warm the tank, take a "quick" shower (the tepid/warm water doesn't last long). Turn your dishwasher on (since you can't select a temperature) at night AFTER you've showered. That way you've already used up the tepid/warm water and there's only cold water left. You don't want it draining what little warm water you may have. And when you get that one clear day after about 2 weeks of rain? Use it to your advantage. Take a nice hot shower half way through the day (it'll take that long for the hot water heater to actually catch up now that you have sunlight). Do laundry that you actually need hot water for, and do a "cleaning" cycle on the dishwasher since you have hot water. If you're lucky you'll get about 1 sunny day in between 2 weeks of rain (on average), but no guarantees. You could go up to a month without seeing the sun.
5. I will NEVER complain about missing the sound of rain on my room again during the hot/sunny season during the spring/summer/fall. I'm going to remember that I'm going to get PLENTY of rain from December through March. I'm going to enjoy the sunlight and the warm weather and the fact that I have free electric from my solar panels that will heat my hot water heater much hotter than I ever need. And the fact that I can do hot laundry without worrying about running out of hot water.