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Aloha from Redmond, WA!

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  • Aloha from Redmond, WA!

    First thing - thanks for all the wonderful threads, stories, and help that has been offered on this site. I look forward to all advice and comments coming my way, and I do apologize up front - I tend to be quite open with my life, and I guess it can be tedious to read!

    To properly introduce myself, I'm a 30 year old filmmaker/wedding videographer, and I'm planning to visit Maui sometime in early December 2007, for a preliminary visit, but we're 95% certain that we're moving there within a couple months after that, if not in December itself. We consists of my wife, who has had 20 years of apparel experience, and my two kids, who will be 3 and 4 this year. My mother will be coming in December, though she is undecided if she's going to move herself. We're pushing her to do so, when she retires next May, but it's all up in the air for her.

    We've done a bunch of reading online, avoiding a lot of tourist-related info and getting the lowdown from other hopefuls and some residents, and we're somewhat versed on the usual scary stuff like cost of living, education system, island fever, and slower pace of life. The latter of which is the most attractive attribute to us. We are still worried about making a living to sustain a modest, humble livelihood, but we're trying to save as much as we can. We're not well-off, and I mean that in the most literal sense. Paycheck by paycheck, but now we have real motivation to scrape and save to help with the relocation.

    Our top reasons to go to Maui? Not as busy as Oahu, but still a good transition for a mainlander to get adapted to. My wife and I are feeling that life shouldn't be about how much stuff we acquire, and how big of a house we can get to put all that stuff in. We don't like being honked at in traffic, and we think sitting in traffic seems like something we weren't put on this earth to do. I fear for my kids often, between the random violence and the saturation of media that threatens to permeate my kids' minds to grow up faster and sell out their beliefs for 15 minutes of fame. We know that Hawaii isn't going to be a solution to a inevitable trend in our country, but man I'd like to delay it and isolate it as much as possible. We don't expect to be sitting on the beach all day or sightseeing - but we crave the laid-backness that is so touted by the forums, we want nicer weather, and we want a community that thinks family is important, and not status or wealth. We'll work to preserve that way of life, because we don't think life should be about maintaining appearances, but instead celebrating who we are, and how we relate to the world.

    I have a lot of questions, some procedural (2 cars or 1? Good schools for my kids?) and some hypothetical (will cockroaches decide to sleep in my bed?), but I'll leave them for later.

    We've never been to Hawaii, but you know what inspired us? I did a Hawaiian/Filipino wedding and to see the family and friends' kids do a song/dance, and then to see the sense of community within the family was one thing, but the song during the first dance did it. It was "Ku'u Aloha" by Fiji. I threw the question out, and my wife said the one thing wives shouldn't say if they're not serious - why not?

    Thanks in advance, everyone.
    Last edited by hawaiihopeful; January 11, 2007, 10:11 PM. Reason: scourge is a whip! So I used "scrap and save". Spelling thing.

  • #2
    Re: Aloha from Redmond, WA!

    Welcome, HawaiiHopeful. Mahalo for the introduction, and sharing so much in your first post here at HawaiiThreads. I'm glad you've spent some time reading through our vast collection of similar "Hawaii Hopeful" discussions... so I'm certain you know that you might not get the unilaterally positive, "go for broke!" encouragement that you might find in other places. That said, most of us object primarily to a lack of planning and a blind obsession with a false reality (though some will object to any relocation plans, sight unseen!)... so researching, asking questions, and spending time interacting and listening make for some very good first steps.

    The first couple of things that come to mind, based on a quick read, are one, the "wedding videographer"/"wedding photographer"/"wedding anythingopher" is a very saturated space in Hawaii (apparel, though, may have possibilities, as high-end, handmade boutique type stuff seems to be doing well), and two, there is a lot of traffic on Maui. It might not be L.A., or the H-1 in Honolulu, but there's certainly a lot of misery to be had behind the wheel of a car. The Kona side on the Big Island is similarly afflicted... due of course to rampant development without long-term planning or investment in infrastructure.

    I will agree that, if you're concerned about the Mainland-to-Hawaii transition, Maui may work well for you... though perhaps not for the reason you think. Even though O'ahu is the most urban and the most populated, IMHO (and I'll probably get lynched by Maui lovers), Maui is moving the fastest toward becoming another suburb of Seattle. I think the percentage of transplants to born-and-raised locals is the highest there, and every time I visit, I just see Waikiki as it was thirty years ago.

    Lots of people looking to move to Hawaii, basically, have similarly ruled out O'ahu, and are happily claiming Maui as their own. Much to the chagrin of the lifelong residents there, who can't afford to stay in the neighborhood they grew up in. Hard to compete with retirees and other people who don't have to work for a living!

    But, this is no doubt a challenge for any old neighborhood, and I'm certain you've read a million other opinions on the matter. I just pause to say these things because of some of the key words in your introduction immediately prompt me to say, "We may seem laid-back, living in paradise, but most of us are no less stressed and stretched thin as anyone else trying to make a living."

    We also have crime, some violent, and kids who try to grow up too fast. Sure, family is important, but Hawaii doesn't have a lock on that particular value.

    Being willing to live with less, to trade a standard of living for quality of life, is a very good thing. There will be a lot of trade-offs living here, many of which being things people don't realize they expect until they've had to compromise. But it sounds like you'll appreciate that the things you get in return, however intangible, is worth it, and is worth it for many of us, whether we grew up here or followed a dream, just like you want to.

    Anyway, just some off-the-cuff late-night thoughts. If you stick around, ask more questions, you'll get much more interesting answers than mine! But again, welcome to HawaiiThreads, and whatever you do, I hope youden up happy!


    • #3
      Re: Aloha from Redmond, WA!

      4 cars. why not. go fer broke.
      No good schools here. give up all hope.
      Cockaroaches are your friend. and bedmates. get used to it.

      But enuff about what you think and want.
      how about what Hawaii and Hawaiians want?
      aaah... ok.

      no, but seriously, folks. take my wife. please!

      Maui is a good choice. It has been all but abandoned by locals:
      "Maui is fulla El lay ponytailed, earringed, pushy, loud arrogant mainlanders and i don't go there anymore!"

      sure, you may have an aloha filled reverse response or pov to this. But if ya want sugarcoated crap....

      This is the way it is for many here.
      "I don't like Maui. taken over by fob haoles"
      sorry, eh. that's what we hear and are hearing for long time arready.
      in otherwords. go fer broke!
      Last edited by kimo55; January 11, 2007, 10:47 PM.


      • #4
        Re: Aloha from Redmond, WA!

        Originally posted by kimo55
        But enuff about what you think and want. how about what Hawaii and Hawaiians want? No?! aaah... ok.
        Oh, yeah, meet Kimo. He also found his way here from elsewhere, but has emphatically decided there's nothing left for anyone else. He defends Hawaii and Hawaiians more passionately than most "actual Hawaiians" I know. (In quotes, because the phrase alone is worth a few dozen pages of circular debate.)

        Seriously, though, read his past posts for what is certainly an important perspective and point of view that you'll also encounter.

        His first reply to any "I want to move to Hawaii" post is a kind of rite of passage, but it'll become quite familiar and, even, comforting over time.


        • #5
          pzarq, ya gotta go out and meet more Hawaiians.

          Originally posted by pzarquon View Post
          Kimo. He also found his way here from elsewhere,
          no, i did not. I hadn't the choice nor conciousness. t'was a mere keiki, knee high to a grasshopper.


          • #6
            Re: Aloha from Redmond, WA!

            Originally posted by kimo55 View Post
            pzarq, ya gotta go out and meet more Hawaiians.
            Right. Because if a person with Hawaiian ancestry doesn't feel, act, or do as is expected of them, they're not really Hawaiians. My more moderate friends with day jobs and mortgages and (gasp!) happy to get a unit in one of those new condos are outliers, aberrations, part of the problem, even. The real Hawaiians are the ones fighting the man, never resting until the evil imperialist occupational force yada yada yada whatever.

            I get that a lot. Haunani Kay Trask, whom I greatly love and respect, once told me that I only felt the way I did about "the" sovereignty movement because I was misguided and ignorant of the truth. (I told her part of me took it as a compliment.) Far be it for a part-Hawaiian to have a different view of anything.

            Anyway. What constitutes Hawaiian, and who can speak for Hawaiians and what "they" want, is a endless debate for another day. Hawaiihopeful, if you've got more questions, fire away.

            And I'd also encourage you to join some of our other conversations... as not all of them spiral quite like this one inevitably will.


            • #7
              Re: Aloha from Redmond, WA!

              Originally posted by pzarquon View Post
              ....fighting the man, never resting until the evil imperialist occupational force yada yada yada whatever. I get that a lot.
              uh. ok, then, ya gotta get out and meet MORE Hawaiians, I suppose that's what I may mean. or not.
              hell, i dunno, i'm just tryin ta offer a perspective of some local haole kid who grew up with yadayadyayada, and got schooled with whatever hadayada, and took classes with whataddawhatadda... and I thought i got an interesting, slightly more "wholeistic" perspective through my damn near 5 decades here. all the while being open to learning from many kupuna.... inSTEAD of arguing "hey. ya lost the goddamned war. get used to progress, ya damn ungrateful whelp native, ya!"
              maybe not. s#eeyit. whadda i know. nahteen. fine. fuggedit.


              • #8
                Re: Aloha from Redmond, WA!

                Originally posted by kimo55 View Post
                hell, i dunno, i'm just tryin ta offer a perspective of some local haole kid who grew up with yadayadyayada, and got schooled with whatever hadayada, and took classes with whataddawhatadda...
                Which is all good and fine, Kimo, if that's what you actually did. But we've been on this merry-go-round before. It's one thing to say, "Here's my perspective..." It's another thing to be curt, snarky, full of disdain, and -- in particular -- throw "we" around as if the views of said "local haole kid" was equivalent to the whole of Hawaii or native Hawaiians... particularly in an "Introductions" thread where someone's just trying to dip their little toe in.

                If you can't resist asserting that "we" don't want high-density housing, or "we" don't want Target, or "we" don't want anymore people coming to Hawaii, I suppose my only request is that it be apart of the extensive political, economic, and other conversations we have here at HawaiiThreads, rather than right here in the foyer before we've even hung up a visitor's coat and hat (or whatever). You might enjoy scaring off new users, but I personally would like to get to know them better... before scaring them off.
                whadda i know. nahteen. fine. fuggedit.
                Forgotten. So, again, welcome HawaiiHopeful. Thanks again for the rich and personal introduction.


                • #9
                  Re: Aloha from Redmond, WA!

                  ya gotta know the implication of "we". of course i don't speak for Hawaiians. ok, no, wait. ya got me. yer right, I DID imply directly that my usage of "we" was equivalent to the whole of Hawaii and native Hawaiians. every single one of them from the first arrival to the present.

                  Here's the way t'is. for so very long "we" talk story re; the many concerns about the islands... and i basically convey the general consensus. of locals AND mainlanders alike. ya just don't know how many people think this place is shot ta hell by all we have gone over. and I an including haole too. So many mainlanders feel it's not Hawaii. Many NOT from here, also feel Hawaiians have been dealt with very poorly. run roughshod.
                  and at the very least, they see Hawaii as another ruined overdeveloped suburb of el lay.

                  ok. so big friggen deal; I happen to not have Hawaiian koko, physically.
                  as the old saw goes: "the truth is still the truth even spoken by the devil"
                  I am not a lone voice in the wilderness. Look up and you will see. and hear. many echo these sentiments.; "It has been screwed by so many uncaring fob outsiders tryng to take it over. "
                  and in many other words, not put so kindly.
                  Last edited by kimo55; January 11, 2007, 11:36 PM.


                  • #10
                    Re: Aloha from Redmond, WA!

                    Sigh, and it had been so ..... almost peaceful .... here for a few months.


                    • #11
                      Re: Aloha from Redmond, WA!

                      Originally posted by SouthKona View Post
                      Sigh, and it had been so ..... almost peaceful .... here for a few months.
                      SK, yer a big boy.
                      (or girl, i dunno)
                      you can activate the ignore button all by yerself with no guardian or supervision.
                      go ahead. if that's what you want.
                      unless ya wanna keep complaining.
                      if so, then join the fray. but we're bichin about sumpin else here. so stay on topic.


                      • #12
                        Re: Aloha from Redmond, WA!

                        Kimo, the "Introductions" forum is an inappropriate venue for your well-known, oft-repeated objections to everything. If you wish to continue to rail against injustices on behalf of Hawaii and Hawaiians or discuss politics, the economy, what have you, there are ample opportunities elsewhere. I've asked you nicely already, so this is a formal warning: stop seizing upon every newcomer to HawaiiThreads to give them the same hazing you give everyone else.

                        Having already brought myself a little bit of peace, I'm going to take a page out of the playbook of my good friend Blaine, and stop feeling so bad about taking action to maintain the kind of community I want HawaiiThreads to be this year. I'm as big a fan of a "free exchange of ideas" as any other wannabe journalist, but when it comes right down to it, this is a home you're welcomed into, not a sidewalk you're entitled to. If my model of an online 'ohana doesn't mesh with yours, no one is stopping you from finding one that does, or starting your own. In fact, I heartily encourage it.

                        The derail ends here. Further comments not related to Hawaiihopeful's introduction are welcomed via Private Message. And Hawaiihopeful, I apologize for the reception you've received so far. I hope we'll hear from you again.


                        • #13
                          Re: Aloha from Redmond, WA!

                          Hawaiihopeful, as you look around the various threads on HT, you will find many of us here on the continent who harbor hopes, dreams, plans of moving to Hawai`i someday, for reasons ranging from family ties to flimsy wishes.

                          IMO, the best thing you can do prior to any move is a LOT of research. Followed by more research. And visiting this place counts towards that research merit badge. Despite being stitched into the quilt that is the USA, and decades of tourism-commissioned images of paradise, Hawai`i is one of the most unique and distinct cultural places you're likely to see in the whole of the country.

                          You probably already know all the basics - once an independent kingdom, a mixed-plate (not a melting pot) of dozens of cultures, a place long facing the challenges of balancing outsider influences with long-lived native ways. Spend as much time as you can find going deeper and deeper, as it will serve you well whether you end up moving to Hawai`i or not.

                          You've already read the Kimo Test. He's motivated to the depths of his soul to keep what he considers destructive influences away, because he truly loves the place and the people. So do most of those who post here - everyone will show that love in different ways. But they can be equally welcoming to those who do their homework and show a willingness to learn and to accept when we have misconceptions.

                          Keep asking questions - you will have plenty opportunities to learn from folks here; I say that as a non-Islander (not far from you, in Seattle) who has benefited greatly from the people who are part of HT. In addition, you can contact me by "private message," and I can connect you up with many Hawaiian resources here in the Puget Sound area.



                          • #14
                            Re: Aloha from Redmond, WA!

                            Thank you everyone from your input, and I think even Kimo55 and pzarquon's debate is a very good thing for me. One thing that I didn't note in my introduction is that the whole foreigner thing isn't new to me - I'm actually an immigrant from Singapore, and I'm Chinese. My wife is Cauasian, and my kids are mixed. So I have done the whole "go back to where you came from" thing, and it probably won't bother me as much. As for the kids, they'll start school with other kids, so I'm guessing they'll be okay too. I'm mostly worried about my wife, who has never been a minority. But I'd like to think we are both relatively respectful of the environment we are in. We don't want to be the arrogant, disrespectful mainlanders who want Hawaiians to be more like us, not at all.

                            As for the information about Maui, that's certainly great information. I want to learn more about the islands because one can only get so much from wikipedia and the internet, and this forum is a great resource, and I thank everyone for their input so far.

                            And for the videography thing, I'm not married to that idea, and actually would like to veer away from that anyhow, because I'm a bit of a procrastinator. I don't mind working at retail or the tourism business. We know we're giving up a lot for a little, but we're primed our minds to accept that.

                            And about the crime, media influence... we know we can't completely escape that, as long as we have a TV or internet - but if there is a distraction outside, like good weather (it rains all the time here!), they might enjoy being kids. Like back in the day!

                            Thanks everyone.


                            • #15
                              Re: Aloha from Redmond, WA!

                              Having been raised on Maui and now living in North Seattle, I can tell you, HawaiiHopeful, that Maui will NOT be what you expect. It is fast becoming a mini-Honolulu. You know the traffic jams you experience now on 520 and 405? Well, during rush hour, it can be almost that bad, particularly on the stretch between Central Maui and the West End (Lahaina).

                              Kimo is right: Maui is becoming an island of malihini; it's becoming too expensive for people who were born on that island to live there. Many of the locals have to work 2 jobs apiece to afford to live there. Milk will cost you close to $5 a gallon (as opposed to the $1.98 at QFC), bread over $3/loaf, local eggs over $3/doz, gas is always about 20 cents more per gallon than Seattle. The cost of housing is ridiculous (driven up by people moving from the Mainland).

                              As PZ noted, the wedding industry on Maui is pretty well saturated because Maui has become known as a wedding mecca; it might be difficult to break in to the market locally unless you're willing to invest some bucks in advertising up here. There are lots of opportunities in the hospitality industry, though, on Maui (in Wailea and Ka'anapali in particular). Base pay is pretty dismal: I think what the workers count on are the generous tips left by well-to-do tourists. But the reality is that most folks who work in the hospitality industry also have second jobs to supplement their income.

                              As for shipping one or two cars over there, I would say ship only one and buy a used car when you get there. There are way too many cars already on that island to be supported by an infrastructure that was planned for in the 1970s.

                              Yes, Maui does have very pretty beaches, but they are getting overcrowded because of the tourists, and some beaches, even though State-owned, have had their access blocked by wealthy homeowners who put up gates.

                              Comparing the kind of life you would have living on Maui (unless you moved to Hana, which would really slow your life down), I would say it would be very close to what you have in "downtown" Redmond (where my favorite Indian restaurant, Kanishka, is!), especially in Lahaina and Kihei, except it would be about 15% more expensive.

                              One fairly objective way to gauge Maui life is to read what's going on in the Maui News (, the local newspaper there. Maui has the same sorts of problems any other place would have. Read especially the Letters to the Editor; at least once a week or so will be posted a letter from a visitor who has visited Maui for a long time who laments what's happening there, to the point where they say they plan to stop visiting.


                              P.S. Take a look at the Big Island (Hilo) if you want a slower lifestyle. It's a great little town, as PZ can attest.
                              "Americans believe in three freedoms. Freedom of speech; freedom of religion; and the freedom to deny the other two to folks they don`t like.” --Mark Twain