5 Reasons Why I Absolutely Loved Growing Up in Hawaii

February 20, 2015
5 Reasons Why I Loved Growing Up in Hawaii

It was recently that I learned to fully appreciate my Hawaiian culture. Only when I moved away, did I realize what exactly the rest of the world is missing. Growing up in Hawaii is unlike any other experience. Spending time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house every weekend, having lots of real and hanai cousins, playing outside, having the same friends from elementary school until high school, etc. It is quite special and something I’ll always appreciate.

Among the many things I loved about growing up on my little island in the Pacific, here are a few things I learned to appreciate most about life in Hawaii.

5 Reasons Why I Absolutely Loved Growing Up in Hawaii

5 Reasons Why I Absolutely Loved Growing Up in Hawaii.

1. ‘Ohana (family)

Everyone is treated with much aloha (affection). Instead of referring to our elders as “Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so,” we call them “Aunty” and “Uncle” from the start. We hug and kiss upon greeting, instead of shaking hands. Also, family is forever. We don’t kick our keiki out when they turn 18; they have a home as long as they need it and are free to return whenever they please (sometimes both a good and a bad thing).

If you meet someone who knows someone from said town, you will discuss all the people you both could possibly know. It’s not that Hawaii is that small, it’s the fact that people create so many relationships with others by sharing their aloha, leading to friendships, and then to extended families.

2. Hawaiian Culture

The culture in Hawaii embraces and celebrates the many cultures that have come together on the islands. Korean, Japanese, Samoan, Hawaiian, Filipino, and Caucasian people and their descendants live here together, bringing their multiple traditions and cultural differences. We celebrate holidays from most of these cultures: pounding mochi on New Year’s, and celebrating the Chinese New Year, and May Day with lots of leis, Boys’ and Girls’ Day with koi fish and more mochi. Hawaii is truly a melting pot.

Pidgin also goes along with the Hawaiian culture, and it is another thing I learned to appreciate after moving away. I used to hate speaking Pidgin while growing up because I was kind of a snob and tried to sound educated, but now I love it and find it hilarious! I speak it nonstop whenever I’m home and always have a hard time adjusting when I’m back in the “mainland.” Pidgin is a broken language that emulates English, but the words are pronounced differently and it includes words from other Asian cultures.

5 Reasons Why I Loved Growing Up in Hawaii

3. Hawaiian Food

With culture, comes food! And oh, the food in Hawaii is the best. People who aren’t from Hawaii always ask me, “How do you guys stay so skinny living in Hawai’i?”

1) I have no idea and 2) We’re not all that skinny.

Some of my favorite foods include kalbi (Korean short ribs), hamburger steak, loco moco (hamburger steak topped with an over-easy egg and covered in gravy), shoyu chicken, and adobo fried rice. And we can’t forget the sweets: malasada, shave ice, guri guri, and poi mochi. My absolute favorites will always be cooked by Mom, and I swear it’s not just because she’s my mom.

Another great thing about Hawai’i’s food is eating out. The cost of living in Hawai’i is through the roof, but you always get more for your buck when it comes to food. Plate lunches are usually around $8.00 and most times you will have leftovers, and you’ll always leave satisfied.

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5 Reasons Why I Absolutely Loved Growing Up in Hawaii.

4. Beauty

We learn to appreciate natural beauty from the mountains to the sea. Hawaii offers beauty from all angles. I can’t believe I had to move away to understand this. Living in the midwest, I sometimes freak out when I notice there are no mountains or huge bodies of water around me.

5. Sun

We stand in the sun, literally and metaphorically. Hawaii is known for its perfect weather: even when it’s raining, it’s still warm out, and most often the showers are just passing by. Growing up in Hawaii has also given me a more positive outlook on life and I doubt this is an individual thing.

The people there just emit more sunshine, whether it’s your server at a restaurant, TSA at the airport, people you see in passing, or fellow drivers. People in Hawaii are less grouchy, more friendly, and are always willing to smile at you and start a conversation.

5 Reasons Why I Loved Growing Up in Hawaii


5 Reasons Why I Loved Growing Up in Hawaii

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Have you traveled to Hawaii? How was your trip? Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

5 Reasons Why I Loved Growing Up in Hawaii photo credits: Caitlin B and Unsplash.com.

About Caitlin Basilio

Caitlin Basilio is Pink Pangea’s Italy Corespondent. She is a writer by trade, traveler at heart, eater of all foods and avid wine-drinker by choice. She is a Seattle-based creative slowly making her way around the world.

2 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why I Absolutely Loved Growing Up in Hawaii

  1. Sophia Chiang
    July 18, 2015

    Wow, you’re so lucky to have grown up in Hawaii. Moving away from home in a few months and although I didn’t grow up in Hawaii, I’m definitely already starting to feel nostalgic for the things I take for granted now!

  2. Liberty
    February 21, 2015

    Nostalgic article with good intentions. Just want to point out “Hawaiian culture/food” and “local culture/food” seem to be conflated in the article. I think of things associated with the culture of native Hawaiians, like hula, kakau (tattooing), and Hawaiian language as elements that make up actual Hawaiian culture. But I get what you were saying – the local culture was something I grew up with too.

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