First impressions during the first week in Hawaii

I’ve been a little behind on blogging these last few weeks, because I’ve been ill most of the time. 😦

These were my first impressions of Oahu while I still exhausted from jetlag. I was completely overwhelmed, because we had no permanent place to live and no jobs past a certain date. (For those new to this blog, we were temporarily staying with friends and still employed until my husband’s official retirement date.)

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1. Naturally, the airport was the first thing I saw when we landed. The view of the sunset past the runway from the plane’s window was gorgeous. I was surprised, however, that Honolulu International Airport was so outdated. Everything seemed to be from the 70s or 80s and very dull.

2. Since we arrived in Honolulu right at sunset, it was dark by the time we got off the plane. I didn’t get to see the island until the following day. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that we learned we had been staying on the dry part of the island. Everything was brown. It was a shock, considering when most people think of Hawaii, they think of lush green grass and tropical flowers everywhere. I thought it resembled more of the desert in the Southwest than the beauty I was hoping to see. This was my first view of daylight on Oahu.

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3. I did manage to witness blooming white plumeria flowers, which was a first for me. Their scent was fantastic, but I think possibly a little too much for my allergies. What a shame! Also I noticed many blooming hibiscus flowers, one of the many plants I was unsuccessfully able to grow in my home state (see below).

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4. Traffic is a huge issue in Hawaii, especially in the Ewa Beach or Kapolei area. It takes forever to get anywhere, but on the positive note, people drive “aloha style”. Unlike the drivers in Florida, everyone lets everyone in and there is no road rage. There weren’t horns honking or people screaming at each other. It was a strange, quiet hum and politeness that held a different vibe than what us mainlanders are used to.

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5. We’d been house hunting for several months prior to our arrival. This is not an exaggeration – but out of about 50 phone calls inquiring about renting, we had about five calls returned. It was quite frustrating to wait around and not hear a thing, especially when we really liked a place.

For the next two days, we drove around Ewa Beach and Kapolei looking for places to rent. Everything looked the same to me and felt crowded. Anything that wasn’t a complete dump was $2000 a month minimum and relatively small. Most places had limited parking for renters and guests, and very few places were pet friendly. This posed a huge problem for us, because there was no way in hell we were going to get rid of our furry family members.

By this time, I knew my immune system was taking a tumble. I was tired of driving in circles and looking at places I wouldn’t want to live. The spicy green curry I had for lunch wasn’t settling nicely, so our renting hunt was over for the next few days. It turned out I had a stomach flu that was comparable to food poisoning, but the sensitive stomach effects lasted for a few weeks. I later determined that so far, I wasn’t “stomaching” this place. Yet.

Moving to Hawaii – a dream come true

I guess you could say that the last year of my life has been one huge transition – and it hasn’t ended yet. Last year my husband decided that he wanted to retire this year – in Hawaii. When he asked what I thought about it, I said, “In your dreams.”

But he was serious. He’d lived in Hawaii as a child, and it was his dream to retire there. It sounded like a dream to me, too, because it was a place I’d always wanted to visit.

Me being the sensible one, I asked my husband how could we possibly make this happen? We’d have to sell our home in Florida during such a bad market and come out with money to move – not just to another state – but to the other side of the world! He said we could put the house on the market and see what happens. We put our good thoughts into everything and little by little, things slowly fell into place. We sold the house, vehicles, and had two garage sales. Nine months later, our plan was in motion.

Getting to Hawaii wasn’t quite as easy as that, however. We had pets, and each had to be microchipped and tested for the rabies FAVN virus, which took 120 days prior to arriving on the island without them having to be quarantined. Their records had to be impeccable, so finding a veterinarian that knew what she was doing was a big plus. Airfare isn’t cheap for pets, and neither are the airline-approved crates. There are many other factors involved in shipping your pets to Hawaii, but I will go into that on another day.

We kept one car that had to be shipped, so we were left without transportation for a period of time. We needed to pack everything we would need for at least a month, because our household goods wouldn’t arrive for up to 8 weeks.

Luckily for us, we already knew people on the island. Our friends had a spare bedroom and allowed us to stay with them as long as we needed until we found our own place. This was extremely helpful, as hotels in Hawaii are not for the budget-minded or pet lovers.

Everything was set to go. Our dreams were coming true.

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Landing in Honolulu at sunset