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 prove you can never take the Hawaii out of the local, no matter how hard you try or how long ago you moved to the mainland from the islands.
1. You will always struggle deciding which beach to go to.
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.
2. You refuse to use your car horn.
It not only disturbs the peace, but it's just plain rude. Have some Aloha spirit, man.
3. You will always 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.
4. ...and malasadas over traditional doughnuts.
Is there really any competition? Malasadas – fluffy Portuguese doughnuts without a hole – are wildly popular throughout the Hawaiian Islands, and way better than doughnuts, at least if you ask a "normal" Hawaii local. A crispy golden brown exterior gives way to a soft and chewy inside in flavors like cinnamon sugar; some malasadas are even filled with custard, haupia, lilikoi, and guava.
5. You wear a sweater and jeans when the temperature drops below 70.
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.
6. You’ve been seen throwing shakas… all the time.
You’ve been seen throwing a shaka in traffic, while crossing the street, and in most of your hiking photographs. 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. You will always defend the miracle that is 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. Spam musubi, anyone?
8. You plan your entire day around "rush hour," if you live on Oahu that is.
Traffic in the Honolulu metropolitan area is the second worst in the country, second only to Los Angeles. It only makes sense that we plan our lives around not being stuck in traffic on H-1 East between the hours of 6 and 9 a.m., or going west between 3 and 7 p.m.
9. You experience sun guilt on occasion…
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.
10. ...as well as island fever.
Sometimes, when we spend too much time without leaving Hawaii, we get island fever – either the islands feel too small, or we just need to get away and be able to drive more than a few hours without hitting the ocean.
11. You will complain about tour guide duties, and then love every minute of it.
likes the idea of hiking Diamond Head, fighting for space at Hawaii’s most popular beaches, or waking up to watch the sunrise over Haleakala, but once you’re doing it, you are instantly reminded of how incredible Hawaii truly is.
12. You aren’t fond of using traditional cardinal directions.
Instead, we use mauka, meaning "towards the mountain" and makai, meaning "towards the sea." And honestly, our directions are much simpler. Who actually knows which direction east is without pausing a second to think about it anyways?
13. You hug everyone you 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.
14. You will always refer to flip-flops as slippers, or even better, slippahs.
We know best — since all we own are slippers (and maybe a pair of hiking boots).
15. You have more aunties, uncles, and cousins than you can possibly count.
In Hawaii, everyone is Ohana, even if you may not be related by blood.
To people from Hawaii, these things seem normal, but many outsiders struggle to make sense of the cultural differences when they visit here on vacation, or even when they move here. What other weird habits have you picked up while living in Hawaii?