As the most isolated population center on the entire planet, the Hawaiian Islands are incredibly unique in everything from our scenery and land formations to our culture and common quirks. And while not everyone is the same, there are a few habits most Hawaii locals share that we will defend endlessly — because backing into your parking stall is just easier, okay? Without further ado, here are 19 things people from the Hawaiian Islands do that might make other states tilt their head and ask, “why?” You might be a Hawaii local if you…
1. Call flip flops slippers, or even better, slippahs.
We know best — since all we own are slippers (and maybe a pair of hiking boots).
2. Refer to almost anyone you know as an auntie, uncle, or cousin.
In Hawaii, everyone is Ohana, even if you may not be related by blood.
3. Use the terms mauka and makai instead of traditional cardinal directions.
Meaning "towards the mountain," and "towards the sea," respectively, our directions are easier than north, south, east, and west.
4. Break out your sweater when the temperature dips below 75.
When you're used to sunny skies and temperatures hovering around 85 degrees, anything colder makes you feel as though you're going to freeze.
5. Call the 48 contiguous American states "the mainland."
It's just what we do.
6. Throw shakas on a regular basis — and perhaps get weird looks when not in Hawaii.
Funny story: I once gave someone a shaka for letting me cross the road while visiting Minnesota. Their face was one of disbelief and concern that I was throwing a gang sign at them.
7. Have a fondness for Spam.
This quintessential canned ham product manufactured in Minnesota was introduced to the islands during the 1940s, and has become a wildly popular staple food across the islands.
8. Experience sun guilt.
Sometimes, you need to recharge by binge watching Netflix all day, but that can be hard when you feel guilty for not enjoying the weather and taking advantage of Hawaii’s beautiful landscape.
9. Choose shave ice over ice cream.
Ah, Shave Ice: the quintessential Hawaiian treat, the perfect snack for a quick sugar rush after a day spent in the ocean. Who in their right mind would chose boring ice cream over shave ice? Unless your shave ice is served on top of ice cream... which is delicious.
10. Accept geckos into your home with open arms.
Not only are geckos adorable, but they eat up all of those unwanted bugs that somehow make their way into your home — despite how often you clean your house.
11. Refuse to use your car horn.
It not only disturbs the peace, but it's just plain rude. Have some Aloha spirit, man.
12. Automatically start spelling out our street name whenever giving our address to someone over the phone.
It's a reflex, really, because we all know that if the person on the other end isn't from Hawaii, they won't understand otherwise.
13. Call it shoyu, not soy sauce.
Luckily, no one will look at you funny if you call it soy sauce.
14. Reverse into parking spots more often than not.
I'm not sure why, but it's just easier to back up into a parking spot.
15. Choose malasadas over doughnuts.
Is there really anything better than a light, fresh, and hot malasada from your favorite bakery?
16. Talk about distance in the time it takes to get somewhere, not miles.
When you factor in traffic, road construction, and slow speed limits, it doesn't make sense to talk about driving times in distance. My favorite beach on Oahu, for example, is only 30 miles from my house, but easily takes me an hour to get there.
17. Plan your life around rush hour if you live on Oahu.
We absolutely must plan all of our afternoon activities around rush hour so we won’t have to be on H-1 headed west between 3 and 7 p.m. Traffic in the Honolulu metropolitan area is the second worst in the country, second only to Los Angeles.... At least the views are pretty, right?
18. Think of rice as an important component of every meal.
All of our favorite meals include rice: loco mocos, plate lunches, sushi...
19. Struggle to decide what beach to go to on a regular basis.
We can’t simply just go to the closest beach, because we’re never very far from any particular beach. We will also spend a great deal of time checking current surf conditions at any beach we are actually considering.
What other odd quirks or habits do most Hawaii locals share? Did we miss anything obvious? Share your opinions in the comments below.