What I Love, Hate, Appreciate, and Despise About Living on the Big Island of Hawaii

My family and I moved to Hawaii in February 2008. We gravitated to the Puna side of the Big Island, after realizing Oahu was the Hawaii version of a city. We wanted to spend less money and enjoy the bountiful land of the Big Island of Hawaii. I love waking up in the morning to the singing birds, clucking chickens wandering around our yard and warm embracing sun. The potent scent of exotic flowers in the air is what dazzles my senses. The various species of ginger all around the island give off such an intoxicating smell, its nature’s perfume. It takes me on a natural high. Hiding in areas all over the island amongst the scattered charcoal black pieces of healing volcanic rocks and soil are Helconias, Gingers, Anthuriums, and Hawaiian Orchids,and decorative foliage. The beauty is indescribable. The vivid colors range from vibrant reds, pinks, yellows, golden oranges, and whites.

I hate the treacherous, multi-legged Hawaiian centipedes in our yard and the small millipedes dashing in an out like house roaches. When you step on them the disgusting crunch sound and their little guts on the back of my shoe is simply gross. My children aren’t too fond of the long tailed mongoose, but to me it is like the mainland’s squirrel. This animal was brought to Hawaii in the late 1800’s to keep down snake populations. This reminds me, there are no snakes in Hawaii. There are the occasional ones they find because some mainlander has snuck it here, but other than that. No snakes. I despise snakes.

I appreciate the best Kona coffees that come in flavors like Toasted Coconut and Chocolate Macadamia two of my favorite flavors. Then there are the rich macadamia nut chocolates, and local sweet honey varieties that are very cheap here on the island. The plump year round sweet and juicy papayas found only here in Hawaii everyone craves and loves .

We live on the Puna side where it rains a lot. Some people don’t care for this. I love the rain here. It mostly rains early in the morning or late at night. The oddest this is that it doesn’t thunder nor do you ever see lightening. I appreciate that, since we moved from Florida, the lightening strike capital of the world, especially southwest Florida where people were struck down to their deaths in broad daylight, minus the rain simply playing golf while lightening was in the area. The rain doesn’t stop parties or postpone barbeques, nor any other outside event here on the Big Island. You may have a floppy bad hair day, but it is all good.

My Families Source of Water

I hate monitoring the water catchmet. The catchmet is a system set up in which you catch rain water, and it is pumped into your home to flush toilets, wash dishes, clothes, and your body of course. If there is no rain, you get no water. You have to pay a company to come and put water into your catchmet or hope the drought spell passes. I mean you could always go outside and do a jolly rain dance. Most catchmets are simply a swimming pool covered up. You don’t swim in it though. I despise the thought of coqui frogs (small but obnoxiously loud frogs that keep a lot of people up at night) jumping in the pool or imagining all the mosquitoes that probably get in there and breed. Mosquitoes are the most out of control blood sucking pest on this island. They don’t bother the locals, just new fresh mainland meat. This is why my arms and legs stayed covered in welted, itchy, mosquito bumps. You need a ultra-violet filter, to clean the water before you drink it. Most people buy drinking water though. You are taking a risk drinking the catchmet water. On the other hand in a lot of cities the county water isn’t up to par and you can smell the chlorine and chemicals a mile away.

I have grown to appreciate the catchmet. You learn to conserve water. My family takes less showers and more sink baths, bucket type baths. Yeah, I said bucket baths. You get your nice bucket of warm water, get in the actual tub, or shower pour half on your body to soap up, the other half to rinse off. You get just as clean, without wasting so much water.There are 7 people who have to use this pool of water to do everything. Since I don’t want to pay to get water put into the catchmet system, I leap for joy when it rains heavy and fills the water back up to the top. My husband and kids hate it when I am on water patrol. Water patrol is when is I hear the water pump go off, and I yell,” Hey, slow down on the water.” I go in each room trying to locate the water bandit, who may be washing dishes leaving the water to linger for too long, or flushing the toilet one too many times. My husband loves to sneak and take these long, hot showers. Conserving water is a must when using this system it is not an option. I hate the annoying sound of the pump going off, and despise the high electric bill from the pump running and lights being wasted. I love the fact that you do not have to pay a water bill on the catchmet system. I wish I could say the same about the electricity.

Electricity

Electricity bills on the Big Island are ridiculous. The average bill is $350.00, this is without air conditioning. Most people in Hawaii use the good old fashioned window to catch the trade wind breezes. A lot of homes are built without air conditioning. I love the cool breezes, on really hot days. Some people have air conditioning and places like the mall have it. I heard of someone having a $750.00 dollar electric bill in an average house because her boyfriend likes the air conditioning up. Sometimes we go to the mall to stay cool during the summer.

Shopping on the Big Island

As far as buying clothing there is one small mall. There is one Ross, and one Wal-mart. I hate that it is so hard to purchase clothing and specialty items you need and have to try and get it shipped here and vendors charge an arm and a leg to either send it or you do not get it at all. Clothes are a little old fashioned in Macy’s and Sears especially if you are a plus sized woman. Get a muu- muu and call it a day. I appreciate the fact people are simplistic, and you are not judged by your appearance or the clothing you wear. Furniture stores are another problem. I hate the fact there is no Pier 1 imports, nor a Rooms To Go, both are my favorite furniture stores. You can count the furniture stores on one hand, and more than likely it won’t be your personal style.

Plentiful Produce

The pleasant most exciting element about living on the Big Island of Hawaii that I truly appreciate is the plentiful produce like the buttery manoa lettuce, vibrant purple potatoes, neon green and hot pink dragon fruit. The trees you find when driving around the huge jungle like island are juicy mangos, healing noni, apple bananas, guava, etc. My neighbors bring over huge green avocados, we love to use for fresh guacamole. They have brought us bags of papayas, delicious white flesh pineapples, grapefruits larger than an adults head and so sweet right from their garden. I truly love the neighborly waves and smiles.

Hospitality a.k.a Aloha

Hospitality or the spirit of Aloha is so real and genuine. The people of Hawaii don’t care what color you are, or what religion you practice. Many don’t even know what racism is. I love this. There are no honking horns in traffic. It is an unspoken rule, and rude to honk at people. Pedestrians can cross with ease. People let you over in traffic with a smile.

Mainland versus Hawaii

I wasn’t always shown much love on the mainland. I despise the loneliness here in this quiet peaceful place. I miss mainland friends and hate those mainland blues. I will always appreciate Hawaii’s embrace and feel tickled with joy inhaling this island’s peace, unity, and “one love” spirit.

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