Things that surprise me…

….about living in Hawaii….

1. There are no shells. The reefs offshore breakup any seashells that might make it to shore. So, we have never found any but very tiny (less than 1/2″) shells.

2. They really do speak pidgin. It is spoken by all locals (those who grew up here), by all all races and nationalities. It definitely takes some ear-training to understand it at times.

3. It gets cold in winter. Well, not midwestern or Idaho cold…..but cold enough to pull out the sweats and warm socks when the rainy-season dampness sets in and the temperature drops to…..55.

4. Lei-making and giving is not just a schlocky tourist gimmick. It is an ancient and artful way of speaking, greeting, gifting and congratulating.

5. The “politeness” is endemic to the society. People truly smile and greet you on the streets, in the stores, at the bank…..Drivers stop to let other cars in, or to make left turns. Locals stop you on the beach to greet you and ask you to “talk story.” Salespeople are actually happy to help…..

6. BUT THEY DRIVE ME CRAZY in the grocery or Wallyworld because everyone-EVERYONE-just parks their cart in the middle of the aisle, then stands next to it (along with Uncle, Tutu and keike) and blocks it for anyone else to get by……