Thursday, November 21, 2013

10 Things I've Learned Moving from the Mainland to Maui

Moving is not glamorous.  
Organizing, selling, donating, packing, loading, unpacking?   Saying goodbye?
NOT GLAMOROUS.   Not one bit.    
In the past 13 years, I've made the following moves:  Illinois to Yellowstone to Tahoe to Indianapolis to Denver.
But this move?   Denver to Maui?   That's the biggest move of my life.  And it's not just the 3300 miles from here to there.  A lot of different, challenging moving pieces.   More than just driving from point A to B with a moving truck in tow.
All I can say is that I've learned A LOT as a part of my recent move to Maui.  And I'm going to share it with you.   Even if you aren't planning to move to paradise.   Yet.
Paradise, is that you calling?
10 Things I've Learned Moving from the Mainland to Maui
1.   Know that it's going to take a while for your household belongings to get to the islands.   The farther away you live from the shipping ports (primarily in Southern California) the longer it will take.    My stuff was packed up by the movers on October 29 and it's scheduled to arrive on December 2.   If you're going to need it within the first 30 days, you're probably going to want to put it in your luggage.   Moving to Hawaii was considered "international" by my relocation company and they needed me to complete an inventory of my household goods and their value to be replaced at my new destination.   If your company is paying for your move, they are probably going to limit the number of pounds of goods you can bring (maybe 2000 - 5000lbs).   If you are paying for your move, you're going to want to be frugal as well.   If you don't love it, leave it.    
2.  Shipping your car?   It's probably going to have to be empty and clean.   The shipping companies are not interested in you packing your car like it's an extra piece of luggage.   It's not.   Also, the gas tank has to be pretty empty.    Get a copy of the walk-around inspection so that you can audit your car for damage when it arrives.
3.  Let your car insurance company know that you are moving to Hawaii.   Find out if they will cover you there.   You will have to have Hawaii coverage in order to register your vehicle.   You'll also have to have an original copy of your Hawaii insurance with a seal/impression for the safety check.
4.   Looking for a house, condo, apartment or ohana to rent?   Many landlords will not talk to you or rent you a place without you being on island first.    The long-term rental market can be challenging.   If you see something that you like, you'd better get on it.  (What is an ohana?  It's a cottage/rental either attached or unattached to a home for rental purposes.   Ohana is the Hawaiian word for family.)
5.  Get on it means get on the phone.   You'll learn more faster.   When it comes to rentals, not everyone emails or texts.
6.   Craigslist is your friend.   There are no "apartment guide" magazines here at the checkout at the grocery store like you might find in a major metro area.  If you see something on Craigslist that you want, refer to #4 and #5.   Get on it. 
7.  Word of mouth.  Ask friends or co-workers if they know of a place to rent.  And know.  Get on it.
8.  The health/dental insurance companies, for the most part, are different than what's on the mainland.  If you are transferring with your company, your HR department should be able to give you information about your new coverage.
9.  At least here on Maui, I've found that the banks are Hawaii / Pacific specific.   Before I left Colorado I checked to see if any of the big banks (US Bank, Wells Fargo, etc) were on  Maui.   They are not.   I haven't yet opened an account at a local bank, but I probably will for the ease of rent payments and ATM convenience.  
10.  There is a word for "locals discount."   As my co-workers teased me, you can't ask for it if you can't pronounce it.  And you'll probably need to have a Hawaii ID to back it up. 
I'm pretty sure my learning is in no way done.   There may be another list in my future.
Any other advice for those moving to Maui (or Hawaii in general) from the mainland?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November: 30 Days of Gratitude

I've been seeing friends posting daily about what they are thankful for.   It's a good exercise.   Some days your cup is over-flowing and it's easy.  Other days when your cup is at that half-empty day old coffee stage, it really is an exercise in thinking long and hard about what's good and what you have.

I will endeavor to keep my list updated here over the course of November.    Feel free to share something you're thankful for in the comments or over on the Traveler for Good facebook page.

November 29
Black Friday has never been my thing.   I'm already frustrated with it creeping into Thursday.   Working the hospitality industry, I've worked my fair share of holidays, and I know how it feels to be at work when everyone else is celebrating.   Today I kept it chill and went shopping locally for some Hawaiian gifts for my family.   No lines.   No drama.

November 28
Holidays when you move someplace new can be lonely.   So happy to be adopted for Thanksgiving for a big dinner with others whose families are far away.   Delicious food and awesome people.   And just when it couldn't get any better - we had hours of karaoke afterwards!

November 27
Service to others!  I'm glad my parents led by example when it came to volunteering.   We served Thanksgiving dinner to families in need on Wednesday.   And made turkey hats with the keiki (children).

November 26
I'm learning a lot at work from others - I'm thankful that I also have knowledge that I can contribute to develop others.

November 25
My car!   It was picked up on 10/29 in Denver, CO and today I got to pick it up at the port in Kahului.   I am back to being mobile whenever, wherever.   And I can't be too made at gas being $4.15/gallon when I live on a small island.   Where can I run up the mileage?

November 24
Beachside worship in the morning and mimosas in the afternoon.   Check out the most awesome baby shower game prize EVER!

Ever.  Right?

November 23
Woo!  My sister got through her surgery and that pesky GB (aka gall bladder) is gone.

November 22
Just like watching football with friends makes life seem more normal, recent invites to things like baby showers and cookie exchanges makes a difference.   But still sad to miss Friendsgiving in Denver tomorrow. 

November 21
Approved and signed my lease!  Grateful for a place to live nearby - 10 minute commute, here I come!

November 20
I'm thankful for technology that allows me to continue to check out e-books from my library in Colorado from 3300 miles away.   That luggage space had to be saved for shoes, you know. 

November 19
Being in good health to work out....even if I don't want to.   And the gym has a view of the ocean.

November 18
Trying more delicious menu items at Japengo.

November 17
Watching the Broncos win with a  view of the ocean!

November 16
Meeting a nice family that may be my future landlords - and walking along the boardwalk - and stopping at a pie shop.   Yes.   I am thankful for pie shops.   And for drinks with some visitors from Denver (who both used to live in Hawaii so know all about the things that I'm just discovering). 

November 15
Going out for coffee with a co-worker - that's how I know I've settled in a little bit. 

November 14
Thankful for a (short term) lack of responsibilities that allow me to go to bed early...but I feel better knowing the rest of Maui does it too.

(side note - I have gotten behind!)

November 13
So grateful to work someplace that fosters and encourages creativity.  

November 12
Sitting out on a patio, enjoying a little happy hour, and having the musician segue from Bob Marley to Katy Perry...complete with falsetto.

November 11
Thankful for all who have served our country and those who continue to do so.   My dad is my favorite veteran!

November 10
Holiday decorations that look a little different.
November 9
Thankful for finding a lead on a possible place to live - the housing market here is definitely a challenge.  Hiding from the rain at the Bad Ass Coffee Company.  I also got a Safeway card - someday I'll have an apartment and a kitchen and can buy groceries again.
November 8
Sushi chefs who feed you based on what you like.   And who let you try clam foot, just because.    And for a complete stranger sitting next to me who wanted someone to join her in a sake shot with a quail egg and I was the lucky recipient.  
November 7
Spending three days training with fun people.   Going out for pizza and drinks with friends/colleagues is fun - wherever in the world it is.   (though large pizzas are significantly more expensive here in Maui)

November 6
Spending the day with the specific goal of "awesomizing" something.  Ahi poke tacos.

November 5
Tiny smore's.  And attending training in a room that has a view of the ocean.

November 4
Maui Gold Pineapple - so delicious
Also, a "first day of work" lei given to me by my co-workers!

November 3
I haven't even set foot out of my hotel room yet, but already I'm thankful that my new boss stayed up late to pick me up at the airport and make me feel welcome.   

November 2
I spent more time than I cared to in the Phoenix airport.   Friends sympathized and offered suggestions of what to do.   Courtesy of Facebook, I found out that friends from church were also at  the airport, so there was time for a fly-by hugging.    In a shallower sense,  a lot of people on the rest of my flight were bummed because they lost out on a day of their Hawaiian vacation.   Since my adventure has no set end-time.   It was easier for me to be relaxed and nice to the airline staff (I think they got chewed out by LOTS of people...some using choice words that shouldn't be used).  The ability to travel at all is at the top of my gratitude list.   Every day of my  life.

November 1 
I am so thankful for the community of friends that I had in Denver for the past 8 years.   Even though I felt like I  spent a lot of time crying and saying good-bye, a friend reminded me that it was a good sign.   If saying goodbye and moving isn't hard, then something is wrong.    I got to spend time with my friends in HR goofing off at the History Colorado Center and then at Punch Bowl Social.   A drive by  hugging by my friend Becky, who just arrived in Colorado for some of her missionary training was an added bonus and could have been a Hallmark commercial for the way we were crying, hugging and carrying on. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Tales of Dering-do at Sky Harbor Airport

If you would have asked me 8 hours ago about my adventures in the Phoenix airport, I would have asked "is eating a chorizo and egg breakfast burrito an adventure?"  And you would scoff, "Weak.  Chorizo isn't an adventure, it's just delicious."
I should be landing in Maui right about now.  Instead I'm eating pepperoni pizza Combos (an airport snack if there ever  was) while alternating sitting on a chair and sitting on the airplane patterned carpet and pondering which lucky airport F&B outlet should be the recipient of my $10 dinner voucher. 
I've known all along (at least for the past 4 weeks since I knew that I got my job offer) that moving to Hawaii was going to be an adventure.  I assumed that my actual arrival there today was a given and then the adventure would start.  
After an hour+ of sitting on the plane (one row behind first class - what kind of sick joke is that), they let us know that there was a concern with a piece of equipment that we probably wouldn't need, but that must be operational for flights over the ocean.    Hooray for safety awareness!
But the safety hooray starts to fade after 6 hours of delays.
Trying to fix the part and then possibly replacing it and then the air crews shift timing out have all played together to create a community of tired and antsy travelers who were all expecting to be drinking mai tais on the beach tonight rather than diet coke in the airport. 
{and there are Trader Joe's in Phoenix!   I could be eating cookie butter out of the jar right now if only I could escape.   And if only all my luggage wasn't at maximum capacity.   And under the plane}
I'm thinking enviously of my chatty seat partner on the flight from Denver to Phoenix this morning.   After non-stop conversation  for the entire flight where I heard about her husbands, children, grand children, her Sky Mall purchases and the time that her current husband got amnesia, she is probably comfortably relaxed in her Hawaiian party pants in Kauai at this point.   I am in my traveling pants. Alone. Without a sisterhood.  Not the same level as party pants.   Not in the slightest.
Again I am reminded of the immortal words of a previous co-worker, "Blessed are the flexible, for they will never get bent out of shape."
What was your last airport adventure?



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