Living in Hawai‘i

If you are thinking about working for Adventist Health Castle (AHCS), but you currently live outside of Hawai‘i, then you should know that Hawai‘i is a place like no other. Here are some things you might want to consider about living here:

Perfect Climate

Hawai‘i—and Kailua in particular—has a climate that for many people is as close to perfect as anywhere on Earth. In September, which is the warmest month of the year, Kailua has an average high of 85°F., and in January, the coldest month of the year, its average high is 77°F. The temperature rarely reaches 90°F.; indeed, the warmest temperature ever recorded in Kailua is only 94°F. But when it does get a bit hot, all of O‘ahu, and especially the Windward side, is blessed with gentle trade winds.

A Crowded Island, but with Empty Space

The state of Hawai‘i has a population of about 1.3 million, about 70% of which lives on the island of O‘ahu. This means that O‘ahu, with an area of only 600 square miles, is quite crowded. But if you are used to land use patterns typical to metropolitan areas on the Mainland, O‘ahu might surprise you. Much of the island is preservation land, permanently off-limits to any kind of building or development. This means that you can actually live in a high-rise apartment in Honolulu and yet be just a five-minute drive from taking a hike on a mountain through a dense grove of bamboo.

Wherever you are on the island, you can look up at green mountains. When you stand on the Windward side and look up at what is known as the Ko‘olau Range, you are actually viewing the inside rim of an enormous ancient caldera that has been eroded into spectacular corrugated cliffs.

Everywhere in the state outside of military bases, the beach is public property and, by law, is free for everyone to enjoy.

A Rainbow of People

In Hawai‘i, no ethnic group forms a majority. People may have European, Japanese, Hawaiian, Filipino, Chinese, and Sāmoan ancestry, to name just a few groups. What makes Hawai‘i even more distinctive is that you can find people living here whose ancestry combines all of the above. It is not strange in Hawai‘i to meet someone with a Polish surname who speaks Japanese, or a Hawaiian attending a synagogue.

The city of Honolulu has a constant schedule of festivals, parades, and performances devoted to the cultures of its residents. If you eat nothing but steak and potatoes, you can still live here just fine; but if you have a more adventurous palate, you will delight in the array of cuisines to be found here.

It’s a Healthy Place to Live

Out of the fifty states in the nation, Hawai‘i ranks number one for life expectancy. Factors that may contribute to this pleasant statistic are the marvelously clean air, the healthier diets influenced by the large population of Asian ancestry, and the endless opportunities for outdoor recreation.

When you look outside your window and it’s 80° with blue skies, and you can choose between heading for the mountains or the beach, how can you not get out and enjoy yourself?

Vibrant Arts Community

With a population of less than a million, Honolulu can never be a New York City, of course, but you may be surprised at how much goes on here. Any weekend will have far more concerts, plays, films, dance performances, and art exhibits on the schedule than you could ever hope to partake of. The city is home to the Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra, the Hawai‘i Opera Theatre, and three fine art museums: the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Hawai‘i State Art Museum, and The Contemporary Museum. Each fall, the city hosts one of the biggest film festivals in the country, with a special focus on Asian cinema. There are several top-notch repertory theater companies in the city, with full production seasons.

None of this, though, makes mention of the fact that there is no place in the United States where you can better experience the arts and culture of the Hawaiian people than Hawai‘i. The last forty years has seen a renaissance in interest in Hawaiian language, music, dance, literature, and sports. International hula competitions attract hula hālau (troupes) from all over the state, the Mainland, Japan, and Europe.

Better than just being a witness, though, join a hula hālau yourself, take a course in the Hawaiian language, take up outrigger canoeing, and learn to play—or even make—a ‘ukulele.

So Hawai‘i Is Paradise, Right?

Well, there is a downside. Precisely because Hawai‘i is such a desirable place to live, it is an expensive place to live. Unless you are from San Francisco or Manhattan, you will find houses expensive here. If you are from a city with modestly priced homes, such as Cleveland or Houston, expect a house here to be four or more times as expensive as it would be back home.

Rents are quite high, too. Food items can cost 50% more than on the Mainland, especially if you shop in the supermarkets. And gasoline is often the costliest in the nation.

On the other hand, you’ll spend zero on heating your house, absolutely nothing for overcoats, and if you’re akamai (savvy), you’ll get good bargains on locally grown produce at farmers’ markets and in Honolulu’s Chinatown.