I've learned a lot in these few weeks since our arrival. And I've decided that from time-to-time, I'd like to share some of the lesser-known, eccentricities of Hawaiian life.
For instance, did you know that on Hawaii, chickens roam free? They are everywhere! I've seen them in the parking lot at the post office in Kaneohe. There was a flock roaming by our hotel in Kaneohe Bay. And the other day, I about jumped out of my skin when a rooster loudly crowed, quite unexpectedly, behind me in the Costco parking lot in Kapolei. It tickles me to no end to be driving and spy a handful of hens chasing a grasshopper alongside the highway.
Shoes are very much optional in Hawaii. Our first week in Hawaii, we observed surfers walking from their Waikiki apartments to the beach, barefoot, with nothing but a bathing suit on their bodies and a surfboard in their hands. Also, it is considered a grave insult to walk into someone's home wearing shoes. Now, I know many families on the mainland that don't wear shoes in the house. I even know a few that ask guests to kindly leave their shoes by the door. However, here, you don't need to ask. Repairman calling on your house remove their shoes on the porch. The men installing my cable slipped out of their shoes. Practically every home in my neighborhood has a rack by the door or a basket to drop your shoes in.
Because this custom is so prevalent (and the weather so cooperative), flip flops (or "slippas" if you are a local) are worn by everyone, almost all the time. To church. In fancy restaurants. Slippas everywhere, year round. Not the $3 flip flops from Old Navy, either. Yes, you'll see those on the beach or at the pool, but for around town, people drop serious bank on 'da slippas. Scott, OluKai, Haviainas, these local brands sell for a small fortune. Granted, my OluKai's won't 'blow out on a pop-top' like poor Jimmy Buffet's, but I haven't spent that much on a pair of flip flops EVER.
And lastly, a personal note about moving to Hawaii: it is important to understand that if you are relocating here, you are never allowed to complain about anything to your mainland friends and family again. Ever. No, seriously--I mean it. If you should dare to complain on Facebook about anything, the response will be guaranteed to involve the following phrase: "Yeah, but at least you are in Hawaii!" Or someone will drop some line about how your life must be "paradise" because you live on the islands. You complain about what is, quite literally, the worst traffic in the U.S.: "Well, at least you get to sit in traffic in Hawaii!" Your kids are driving you nuts and you're struggling with discipline? "Oh, just take them to the beach!" You could break a leg: "but at least you are on crutches in Hawaii!" According to everyone, all of life's problems can be solved simply be looking out your window at the palm trees and going to the beach. So, just get used to it. NO COMPLAINING! You are in "paradise" now!