For the mainland kids moving to Hawaii, there are some things you’ll need to consider when meeting new people and discovering the islands.
1. You need a lot of bikinis and board shorts to have fun.
The primary activities in Hawaii are going to the beach and hiking, obviously. Because of this lifestyle, you need several bikinis to “survive” here. Students sometimes wear bikinis to school on Fridays because we all go to the beach afterwards to celebrate the weekend. Aloha Friday is a big deal here. The bikini fashion in Hawaii is similar to the sweater fashion on the mainland. Girls have a lot of sweaters on the mainland and girls have a lot of bikinis in Hawaii. It’s a total fashion statement. Unlike surfboards, you can’t be caught wearing the same bikini twice in a row. Beach gatherings are typically very social with several friends involved, so bikinis are a social status item.
2. Kids are really into their instagrams here.
Kids in Hawaii are really into taking nice Instagram pictures with good lighting and beautiful scenery. That’s why GoPros and high def expensive cameras are seen at beaches quite often. Girls are trying to get nice bikini pictures for Instagram and boys are trying to get footage of them surfing the barrel at Sandys. It’s worth it to take the risk of potentially scratching your lens because of sand at the beach. You’ll quickly learn how to take photographic pictures at the beach.
3. People notice when you don’t contribute.
Omiyagi is a local term pronounced “Ohm-ee-ya-gee” it’s a descriptive term for a gift, item, typically a food, that you bring to someone’s house as an offering. For example, Big Island Cookies are a popular form of omiyagi. So, when friends get together at the beach or someone’s house, it’s common to bring something to contribute. For high school kids, it’s usually chips or poke (a Hawaiian sushi). For elementary kids, parents are the deciding factor of what the omiyagi will be. In addition to contributing food at a gathering, kids here notice when you don’t offer to drive or organize an event. People notice when you’re not involved or contributing to the group.
4. You’re probably going to be the haole of the school at first.
If you’re apparently Caucasian, you’re probably going to be the haole of the school at first. If you’re the new kid from the mainland, you are now the new designated haole. You will have this title until the next haole comes along. It may be a while. Also, people are going to assume that your dad is in the military before talking to you. This is because there are several military families that move to Hawaii on military orders. So, until people talk to you, you’re going to be the haole military kid for a little while.
5. Take up surfing and you’ll make a lot of friends.
The surfing community is big in Hawaii. When you go surfing, you make friends at the beach and meet people you wouldn’t have met elsewhere, for example. It’s an easy way to meet people. It’s also a great way to work on your tan, and that’s what’ll really show that you’re adjusting to Hawaii. The way you transition from “the haole” to a local, is by working on your tan. This is an oversimplified version of it, but it’s an obvious visual appearance that people will notice. The salt water also has an effect on your skin and hair, and that will be a noticeable difference.