Believe it or not, we've actually lived in Hawaii for 7 months now! I thought it might be a good exercise for me and maybe interesting for you as well to summarize my personal pros and cons so far being an islander.
Things I love about living in Hawaii:
Culture - even though Hawaii is part of the USA, it still feels like a foreign country in many respects. In our short time here so far, we have really only just scratched the surface of learning the deep culture that surrounds us. It has been really fun to hear the legends, taste new foods, and even learn a little of the language and lingo. Don't get me wrong, though, we are "Haole" to the core!
Natural Beauty - I had never lived in a place (or visited, for that matter) where I was so in awe of the beauty of God's creation on a daily basis. And we haven't even visited any other islands yet! The ocean, the mountains, the beaches, the rainbows, the waterfalls, the flowers - all of it is breathtaking. This state is a masterpiece of God! This is the view from our lanai - never gets old.
Weather - High in the low eighties, partly cloudy, breezy, occasional rain shower - this is our forecast almost every day. No wonder they call it Paradise.
Contentment - For whatever reason, since living in Hawaii, I feel less pressure to "keep up with the Jones's." I have much less of a compulsion to shop and I feel more compelled to share what we have with others.
Aloha living - Flip flops (or "slippahs" as they call them here) can complete almost any outfit year round. Wearing a swimsuit under your clothes or by itself is acceptable attire almost anywhere. You always have the "aloha time" pass for being late to any event. It's just truly a more casual lifestyle,
and I love it!
Friends - It is scary moving to a new place. God has been faithful at every destination he leads us to surround us with amazing friends to love us and support us. He certainly did not disappoint in Hawaii. I have felt welcome and loved since the moment we landed in Honolulu. It's been wonderful to see how God has allowed not only Scott and I to have new friends, but Keaton as well. Church, playgroup, story time, the pool - there have been endless opportunities for Keaton and I both to meet new friends.
Minimalism- Because it is so expensive to live here, people get used to living with less. Less square footage = less furniture and toys. Less closet space = less clothes. Less pantry space = less food you can have on hand at a time. One parking spot = learning to live with one car. I can't say that it has been easy for me to adjust to less. I miss my two story house in Nashville with my stocked pantry, extra fridge, and the furniture and dishes we had to leave behind. But, it is a liberating experience when you are forced to "purge." It makes you realize how much you have and how little you really TRULY need.
I only have a few gripes of living in Hawaii, but here goes:
Expense - Ugh! Food, gas, rent, EVERYTHING is so ridiculously expensive here!!
Distance - this is probably the hardest one. In 7 years of marriage, we've never lived further than a day's drive away from either of our families. There is something so depressing and lonely knowing that a trip home will require at least $400 a person at least 10 hours in transit.
Familiarity - Hawaii is just so different, and I'm still getting used to it. Everything has been an adjustment. It really is like living in a new country. I still sorta feel like I'm on vacation here, and I get homesick often for the familiarity of the mainland.
No seasons - Not complaining about the weather - don't get me wrong. But it's so strange being stuck in a perpetual summer while I watch the temps drop on the mainland. It's hard to get excited about baking pumpkin bread or making a big crockpot full of chili when I'm still wearing tank tops and going to the beach. I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune when its 10 below on the mainland, and we still have our windows open!
Overall, living in Hawaii has been a very cool experience. I still have not tried SPAM (nor will I) nor or have I surfed, but it's feeling more like home the longer we are here. We really have no idea how long God plans on keeping us here, but we are doing our best to soak in every minute of this experience while it lasts.
Now come visit us!