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?
1. We eat a lot of 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.
2. We call the 48 contiguous states "the mainland."
It's just what we do, and yes, we're used to the weird looks we get from anyone who doesn't live in Hawaii...
3. Hawaii locals break out their sweaters as soon as the temperature drops below 75 degrees.
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... even if you once called the frozen tundra that is the American Midwest home.
4. Anyone who lives on Oahu, we 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?
5. We also talk about distance not in miles – but in the time it takes to get to our destination.
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.
6. We 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.
7. Call flip-flops slippahs.
We know best - since all we own are slippers (and maybe a pair of hiking boots).
8. Hug everyone they meet upon saying goodbye.
It might be the Aloha spirit, but hugging is common - even if you just met someone. Mainlanders get pretty freaked out about it, though.
9. Locals refuse to use their car horns.
It not only disturbs the peace, but it's just plain rude. Have some Aloha spirit, man.
10. Dessert is the most important meal… ever.
Hawaii locals certainly love our shave ice, malasadas, ice cream mochi and haupia pie.
11. Geckos make the best roommates.
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.
12. 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.
13. Referring to almost everyone you know as your aunties, uncles, and cousins.
In Hawaii, everyone is Ohana, even if you may not be related by blood.
14. Waking up before dawn to witness a quintessential Hawaiian sunrise.
You simply won't understand until you've welcomed the day on a deserted beach, or at the summit of your favorite local hike.