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Moving to Oahu

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  • Moving to Oahu

    I was thinking of moving to this area, after reading a book that inspired me (about Oahu in general). What can someone expect when moving there?
    Weather wise?
    Accessibility (to local merchants and attractions)?
    Beaches, practical means of getting to the North and South Shores? Time frame?
    Warms days in a year?
    How big is Honolulu, can it be compared (size wise) with any continental US cities?

    Thanks so much for any information anyone can provide.

    Edit: I had already posted this in the BBS#1. Since then, I came up with some more questions.

    1.) Renting? I am looking to rent, don't much care as to how quality the apartments are when I first move, I can always find something better. Who are the big rental management companies out there? Who or where should I ask or look for good deals?

    2.) I noticed about nine parks in the immediate area. Does this area have hiking and/or bike trails available?

    Thanks so much for anyone that can find the time to help me answer these questions.

  • #2
    Re: Moving to Oahu

    Aloha, Christopher!

    There's a lot of things that could help in moving to Hawaii in general. Culture shock, cost of living, education system, government and politics... but starting small, we can focus on Mililani.

    Mililani is Hawaii's largest "planned community," with a strong (and enforced) community association. So, relatively well planned layout (though the Mauka half is a bit congested and cramped), well maintained, lots of parks and recreational facilities, but restrictions on what you can do to and on your property. Fair trade offs, I imagine, like any other such neighborhood on the Mainland. It's located in Central O`ahu, and at one point was considered "way out there" for urban residents... but these days, people commute daily from much further. Just watch out for rushhour (7 a.m., 5 p.m.), which is killer into and out of town.

    Weather wise? It's Hawaii! Technically, sub tropical, so maybe more rain in the winter than the movies would have you believe. But, Mililani is high up, and cool. While I'd consider a 58 degree evening freezing, it might just be brisk to you. The best part is, it doesn't get as hot or as humid as some other parts of the island. Warm days a year? Plenty. Maybe 275 days a year, this is the actual weather report you get: "Highs in the mid 80s, lows in the upper 60s, mostly cloudy, some windward and mauka rains..."

    Accessiblity? Mililani is designed to have all you need. One big and several smaller shopping centers. Supermarkets, restaurants, small shops right up to WalMart (until later this year, the only one on the island). Attractions, though? Depends on what you mean. Mililani is a "bedroom community" compared to town with its bars and nightclubs. It's nowhere near a beach. But everything is 20-30 minutes away, tops, barring rush hour. In fact, its ideally positioned to get to the North Shore (more than halfway from downtown, which is how most folks would measure the distance). In any case, I wouldn't sweat it.

    How big is Honolulu? I think it's in the top 50 nationwide... 400,000 residents or so? But we live in pockets rather than all bunched together. Maybe a bit smaller than Portland, OR? That's the comparison I hear most often.

    As to your new questions...

    Rentals are big in Honolulu, in part because few people can afford to own houses (the headlines recently proclaimed that our median home price was about 400k). Mililani has a decent and active rental market given its proximity to military bases, but it's no Makiki or Salt Lake. I don't know if I'd say any one or two companies dominate, though. Just hit Rentals Illustrated and that's a decent overview of the neighborhoods and prices. Just be forewarned, what we in Honolulu might call a "roomy one bedroom" you might call a tiny studio with a dividing door.

    As for parks, Mililani is overflowing with them. Recently on a drive from my mom's place by the High School to Rec IV, we passed six actual parks and many, many more open greenspaces suitable for picnics. And hiking? We have some of the best trails this side of the Rockies. (Just be careful, we also lose quite a few hikers every year.) Bike trails? Not so much. I'm a former bicyclist and I can say that two-wheeled transports get the short end of the stick. There are some "paths" in Mililani, and some official paths around the island, but it could be a lot better considering we're such a beautiful, healthy place to live.


    • #3
      Re: Moving to Oahu

      I lived in Portland, OR for 15 years prior to moving to NC this last year so the analogy draws a good picture. The information is very good, I'm glad I came here.

      My initial draw to Oahu was this book I read about Eddie Aikau, I'm sure you folks get a few people every year that were inspired to movie to the islands after hearing about the culture.

      That's one of my other questions. One of the reasons the book drew the island as appealing was the culture, and the essence of aloha. While still uneducated on the topic's finer points, I was curious if I moved would I encounter a friendly, native atmosphere? Naivity aside, I was looking for a place where positivity was important in day to day living, kind of a different form of Texan hospitality. The NW cities (Portland, Seattle) seemed to bicker a lot and everyone was concerned with their own agenda, I want a place where community is strong and the people are better for it.

      Again you have my gratitude for spending so much time educating me on your neighborhood.


      • #4
        Re: Moving to Oahu

        Christopher, what book is that? Sad to say, but even as a born-and-raised islander, I don't keep up with what is written about and from within our islands. I'd be interested to see what was so compelling!

        If you're willing to read in preparation for your move, however, you probably want to check out Toni Polancy's "So You Want to Live in Hawaii." It gets a bad rap for being somewhat pessimistic, I think, but in my opinion, you want to know more about the possible bad side than the possible good side (which is all gravy). There are lots of other books (see Amazon's list of "other stuff people bought"), but a number of them focus on the Big Island, a more rural destination. That said, the more information you can digest, the better!

        I was curious if I moved would I encounter a friendly, native atmosphere?
        You're going to get a lot of different answers to this question. My personal feeling is, you get from Hawaii what you put into it, and more importantly, if you come with a chip on your shoulder, Hawaii will do nothing but prove every bad thing you expected when you arrived. But if you have a truly open mind, and you're willing to take a few lumps with the inevitable changes you'll have to cope with (from the different cultures and race relations to the prices), you'll come to love a Hawaii that loves life better than almost any other place.

        My wife's from Florida, and has made several good friends here who also relocated from the Mainland. But from one person to the next, you can find people who love it here, and those who can't wait to buy their plane ticket back to Alabama. I'm biased, of course, but I think Hawaii is everything my wife says it is... in fact, I never really got to loving it until I saw it through her eyes. Sure, she gets "forked" now and then (Chinese restaurants giving haole customers forks instead of chopsticks without even asking), and the occasional stink eye... but Hawaii's still an awesome place, to be in love, to raise a family.

        That's not to say we haven't problems. But as you mentioned, nothing you haven't seen in any other American city. Insider politics is worse here than in most places, but that's politics. Our public schools have problems, but whose don't?

        As for "positivity"?

        You'll read a lot about the "Aloha Spirit," and locals will tell you, there's the true, maoli (genuine) nature, and there's the "Aloha Spirit" that's packaged and sold along with blue Hawaii cocktails and Don Ho. You can enjoy the latter, to be sure - I love cheese as much as the next guy. But the true spirit is at once both less evident, and much more beautiful. Which is to say, beyond the glossy brochures and tiki-torch marketing, there is something special here. We've got Texas beat, that's for sure!

        Funny you should mention the Pacific Northwest, though. My wife and I list those places as our most likely destinations if we ever find it too hard to stay here. (Which, for many, it can be.) Either Portland or Toronto.

        Have you targeted Mililani as your most likely place of residence?


        • #5
          Re: Moving to Oahu

          This thread started in Mililani Talk, but I'm going to simultaneously list it in the Hui Aloha forum to invite more general Hawaii input.


          • #6
            Re: Moving to Oahu

            Hey-good info!

            Can you recommend any realtors in Mililani? Thanks!