The Pros And Cons Of Being Stationed In Hawaii
Since Chad and I have been in Hawaii for a year now I thought it would be nice to help fellow military families decide on whether Hawaii is a good duty station for them or not by creating a post on the Pros And Cons Of Being Stationed In Hawaii!
While I personally feel that I am not immersed in the military life as much as other spouses, I feel that overtime I will have some knowledge to share with others to help them in this crazy ride we’re all in! So, I welcome you to my first “Military Life” post, I hope you enjoy!
Read below for the Pros And Cons Of Being Stationed In Hawaii:
HOW KIND THE LOCALS ARE – THE “ALOHA SPIRIT”
Ah the Aloha spirit . . . where emails start with “Aloha” and end with “Mahalo.” The aloha spirit is a real thing and I love it. I was constantly told that the locals don’t like the military people but that has been anything but true for me. I have been accepted with nothing but open arms by the locals here. Some of the kindest people I know I have met here. Of course there are some people who don’t like the “haole’s” (white people/person in Hawaiian) but I haven’t come across any. I personally have not been victimized of any racism. I actually love Hawaii because they’re not politically correct here, it’s awesome. I have been called Haole but it was NOT in a rude, derogatory or mean way. Everyone is seriously just so kind and friendly here!
HAWAIIAN LUNCH PLATES – THE FOOD
I am going to be completely honest here. I 100% gained weight when I moved here and I think it is because of these lunch plates. So local lunch plates – or Hawaiian Lunch Plates – usually consist of teriyaki chicken or beef, white rice, and AMAZING macaroni salad that I promise you is different than mainland mac salad. You can find lunch plates all over the place in different forms, and trust me, they are amazing. The portions are big so beware! When we moved here I was eating all of it, which is not a good thing for a tiny girl like me . . . Let’s just say that food intake caught up quick with me. Not only are the lunch plates amazing but there are so many different cultures here which means a ton of different options to choose from! I always try to eat at local restaurants that the mainland doesn’t have because there are just so many amazing places to eat here!
I absolutely love the Hawaiian culture. I think it is so beautiful and I love the language! I personally think it is relatively easy to speak compared to my husband who absolutely butchers the language haha. Not only is there so much to learn about the Hawaiian culture, but I have also learned so much more about the Samoan, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Portuguese cultures. Also, if you have kids, they will learn about the Hawaiian culture in school which I personally think is good!
ALL OF THE MILITARY BRANCHES
There is every single Military branch on this island and that’s including the Coast Guard, Reserves and the National Guard! I’m telling you, literally every point on this island there is some military base or military affiliation. When I say military affiliation I’m mostly referring to the hikes here – half of the hikes on this island are because of the military! Another reason I like having all of the military branches on this island is because you get to learn so much about all of the different branches! Not only that, but I feel so patriotic living here as odd as that sounds. I haven’t looked to any of the statistics but I truly believe that military personnel make up a majority of this island. You’ll be driving down the highway and there will a line of conveys doing their thing, you could be floating in the pool and watch jets, Blackhawks, Chinooks, Dolphin’s, and all the other air force, marines, coast guard, and army aircraft there is. I seriously love it. Especially when the jets go by, those are my favorite!
The. Weather. I have never been able to wear shorts, tshirts and dresses in the middle of winter and man is it nice. The water is absolutely freezing during the winter but it’s still warm enough to lounge by the pool or the beach. It has been an absolutely wonderful experience to say the least. It rains everyday somewhere on the island and sometimes when it rains it comes down for literally a second or less and then it’s gone. The rain doesn’t stop people here from doing anything unless it’s serious like a tropical storm or a hurricane. We have only experienced one tropical storm since living here and where we live wasn’t even affected as bad as other parts of the island. There were a few days in November I believe (the rainy season here is November – March) where it rained all day but since then the rain hasn’t been that bad. And I can’t forget about the rainbows here . . . The rainbows here are like rainbows I have never seen before in my life. They are absolutely breathtaking and you’ll see the best ones right after a good rain. These are just some of the rainbows I have seen so far:
These next three rainbows are from the same car ride after a monster storm. At first this was a half rainbow that turned into a full rainbow the closer we got. It then turned into a double rainbow and by the end of this ride I think we saw four rainbows all from one storm.
SURROUNDED BY HISTORY
Like I mentioned earlier, there’s every single military branch here, which means there is a TON of history on this island. There is the Pearl Harbor Memorial where you can visit the USS Arizona, USS Missouri and the Air Museum where you can look at the old helicopters, jets and planes. In fact, all of the military bases on the island were affected by the attacks on Pearl Harbor (something I learned when visiting the memorial). A lot of the military buildings have some sort of history and value to it, and many with old and (some) beautiful historic buildings. For instance, Amelia Earhart flew out of Wheeler Air Field (where my husband is stationed) and half of the hikes on this island are old pillboxes where the military use to lookout during World War II. On another note, some don’t know this but Obama lived in Oahu for some time and you can visit the preschool he attended. A little more history . . . before Hawaii became a state, it was once its own kingdom. In Honolulu you can visit the Iolani Palace which is the ONLY Royal Palace on US soil. As you can see, there is a TON of history on this island. Imagine how much more there is to learn about the other islands – a lot. The answer is that there is a lot to learn about the other islands and Hawaii itself 😉
While we are in the middle of the pacific ocean, there are thousands of islands around us. Not only that, but New Zealand is only a 9 hour fight (if you fly direct) from Hawaii, Australia is North West of New Zealand, Alaska is (way) above us, and there are space-a flights to Travis AFB, CA like every day! Not only that, but the Air Force flies to Japan, Korea, Guam, New Zealand, and Australia plus other parts of the US and other countries like every week. Put in some leave and fly to where your heart desires! Not only can you take a space-a to all of those places, but you can also visit the other Hawaiian Islands! It takes about 50 minutes to get to the Big Island and that’s the longest flight when it comes to visiting the other islands. If you don’t want to fly to the other islands at all different times, you can take a seven day cruise and knock them all out in a week!
ABUNDANCE OF ACTIVITIES
Year-round you can go surfing, snorkeling, diving, hiking, swimming (although the water is freezing during the winter) and so much more. You can go lounge by the beach, go swimming with dolphins, explore this beautiful island. It’s seriously awesome having it sunny year round. It makes you want to go out and enjoy the island.
Now, on to the cons of being stationed in Hawaii . . .
Side note: all of these cons intertwine pretty much but that’s okay.
BEING SO FAR FROM FAMILY
So I don’t know about you, but I love spending time with my family (and friends) and living in the middle of the pacific ocean kind of makes that hard. We have had family come to visit us already which I am so thankful for but Chad and I have both missed a lot since being in Hawaii. The flights are just so expensive to fly to and from the mainland so it’s not like we can just up and go to see our family.
Yes, yes, I know. This is also on the Pros list. That’s because I have a love-hate relationship with the weather here. While it has been absolutely AMAZING to spend the winter at the beach, wearing dresses, shorts and tank tops . . . I also love my fall and winter clothes, the snow, and skiing. Before deciding that Hawaii is right for you, I highly recommend asking yourself if it fits with your personality type. My husband personally hates lounging by the beach, it’s incredibly boring to him so you can see how being stuck on an island isn’t exactly ideal for him haha. He is more of a snowboarder and misses the snow greatly.
BEING STUCK ON AN ISLAND
While everyone is jealous that I live in Hawaii, I am sometimes jealous of them. Island fever is absolutely a real thing and it’s hard to cure. I recommend not spending days on end in your house or not exploring the island. I know MANY military families who absolutely hate it here (fortunately, I am not one of them) because they are tired of being on the island. They feel like there is nothing to do or see because they have done it all.
So this sort of goes off of “being so far from family.” While yes, the location of being in the middle of the pacific makes it difficult to see our family, it also makes it a little more difficult to travel. It’s not like we can pack up the car and drive to the next state over. Currently, there is no ferry system to the other islands and traveling to the other islands is still pretty expensive.
TRAFFIC IS TERRIBLE
I am from Northern VA which is right outside of DC so I am use to terrible traffic. When I first moved here I thought it was nothing like where I am from. That was until I spent a summer in the traffic here. I seriously can’t believe the traffic here during rush hour. And if there is an accident or construction (which there will be, because construction is booming and people suck at driving here), forget about it. I swear there is an accident everyday somewhere on this island. And be careful if you or your spouse ride motorcycles because there have been MANY accidents involving motorcycles since I have lived here and some of the riders have died.
IT IS SO EXPENSIVE
Of course we get COLA and BAH to balance it out but it is still so expensive. It’s a little more expensive than where I am from and I can tell. When my husband and I go out just the two of us, it costs so much more than before, I seriously can’t imagine having a family here and going out to eat with my children too. Gas, food, entertainment, cost of living, everything . . . But hey, that’s the price to live in paradise I guess.
So, there you have it. My pros and cons of being stationed in Hawaii. While a lot of the list may contradict each other and intertwine, they are none-the-less my pros and cons of being stationed in Hawaii . . . my daily struggles and love for this island life. Again, I hope this post on the pros and cons of being stationed in Hawaii helps you and your family decide on whether or not this is a good duty station for you all! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me here!
Are you currently stationed in Hawaii? What are some of your pros and cons of being stationed in Hawaii? Is there something you think needs to be added to the list? Share it with me below, I would love to know what you think!