Moving to Hawaii
Hawaii is the world's longest chain of islands: 120 in all.
Hawaii is an island paradise with beautiful beaches, lush tropical forests, gorgeous flowers, a rich cultural heritage and glowing rivers of red-hot lava that pour into the sea. You'll find Hawaii 2,550 miles southwest of California and about 3,900 miles southeast of Tokyo. Hawaii was first settled by the Polynesian people.
Of the 120 islands, the six that are inhabited are: Hawaii (Big Island), Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai and Oahu. Today they are one of the most popular destinations in the world, and to quote Mark Twain, "the loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean." Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, is located on Oahu.
The climate on the Hawaiian Islands is a moderate tropical one with gentle trade winds from the northeast almost year-round, resulting in just two seasons: summer, which is called Kau in Hawaiian, lasts from May to October and winter, Ho'oilo, lasts from November to April. The average summer temperature during the day is 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius) and the average winter temperature during the day is 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius). At night, temperatures drop by approximately 10 degrees. Unless you don’t like warm weather, you will absolutely love this climate!
Living in the city
- Hawaii has a character all its own and there are many ways to connect with both contemporary and historical cultural activities throughout each island. Once you get settled in your new home, we think you're going to love it!
- These islands are well known for their relaxed pace. People here are very hospitable and move slower in comparison to other big cities, so if you are not in a hurry, you'll do just fine.
- When choosing an area to live, you might want to find a place close to work, to school, shops or medical facilities. Each Island offers a distinct personality, cost of living, and job market. In Oahu, housing is available near the downtown area, but if suburban living is more appealing consider Hawaii Kai in southeast Honolulu or Kailua or Kane'ohe on the cooler, windward side of the island.
- On Maui, a less populated and developed island, many people work in the adjoining cities of Kahului and Wailuku, or the resort area of Ka'anapali, and commute from outer areas such as Kihei. These areas offer good parks, schools and community networks, good housing, and nearby shopping and hospitals. Mililani was one of the nation's first planned communities when construction began in 1968.
- Molokai and Lanai are the smallest of the populated Hawaiian Islands. You won't find rush-hour traffic, crowds, or buildings taller than the swaying palm trees on either.
- You and your family will eventually make the miles of beautiful beaches a favourite hangout and the food will be interesting if nothing else. Roasted breadfruit is good.
- Banking is hassle-free and ATMs are available around the clock and throughout the islands. In Honolulu, there are many good hospitals, medical facilities and private practices available to you. The Hawaiian word for doctor is kahuna lapa'au.
- Most expats socialise with neighbours, colleagues, friends or family from home. Many find friends at the nearby sports or social clubs or places of worship. You could also volunteer some time to a charitable organisation.
First, the good news: you can't really get lost. Most Hawaiians would say having your own vehicle for everyday life is a necessity and leads to more good news; you'll probably be surprised by how polite other drivers are. You do not need to drive aggressively and if you drive as you would in Chicago or Tokyo, you are guaranteed an unpleasant experience.
There is a bus service available on most islands, but the mass transit system is not as well developed as that of more pedestrian American cities such as New York. The bus systems are made up of local, commuter and shuttle routes for which you can get weekly, monthly and yearly passes. Some of the smaller islands do not offer public transportation.
Get acquainted with local roads and freeways as well as local traffic rules and obey them. Instruct your teenagers to do the same; in Hawaii, teens are allowed to drive at age 16, which is earlier than in many other countries. Parents, bear in mind that this can give teenagers greater independence sooner than you expect.
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