What I Never Expected to Miss about Hawaii

It’s been five months since we left paradise.

Just typing that makes me sad. Granted Hawaii and I had our ups and downs (remember that time I wrote about the pros and cons of living there?) but time spent away has made me realize just how big a piece of my heart, the island occupies.

I do plan on publishing an updated pros and cons list of living on Oahu for all the military spouses who’d like a better idea of what to expect, but today I just want to walk down memory lane a bit and tell you guys everything I never expected to miss about our Hawaiian home.

>>The Diversity

Oahu is truly a melting pot. Between the large military presence on the island and the number of tourists who call Oahu their favorite vacation spot, there’s a good chance you’ll see people from everywhere imaginable. Walking down the sidewalk at Waikiki Beach alone, you’d hear at least four different accents and three groups speaking a completely different language. As much as I used to complain that the island was overrun by tourists, it was fun being surrounded by people of all walks of life.

>>The Atmosphere

Even in the heart of Honolulu, you always have the feeling everyone is operating on island time. The hustle and bustle you expect from a big city is there but much more relaxed. And, bonus point, swimwear is perfectly acceptable daytime attire!


I was flipping through the photos on my phone the other day and so many of my photos from Hawaii include big beautiful rainbows. Before Hawaii, I had never seen a full rainbow before but on the island it’s an almost daily occurrence.

>>The Sense of Community

Hawaiians call it “ohana” which means family and boy, is it special. People care about other people there,–even if they don’t know them or even like them, there’s still a sense that everyone is connected.

>>The Language

While the Hawaiian language is not usually spoken on the island,  a  mix of Hawaiian and English (called “pidgin”) abounds. It’s completely normal to hear words like Aloha (hello), Keiki (child), E Komo Mai (welcome), Honu (turtle), Mahalo (Thank You), Ohana (family), Ono (delicious), just to name a few, in everyday speech among locals. And you’ll hear an abundance of brahor bruddahs and howzit too. Also the shaka is quite addicting.

>>Life Happening all Year Round

The great thing about a tropical climate is, well, it’s tropical. It’s always summer and you can run around in shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of December. Life never stops because of the weather. After all, if it’s raining on one side of the island, there’s a pretty good chance it’s sunny on the other side.

>>The Adventures

Different parts of the island will give you different adventures. You can hike, dive, swim, snorkel, spearfish, surf, or just enjoy the rays. Granted, everything is pretty outdoorsy in Hawaii (which to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of) but there’s something to be said about being able to do all those things in one place. And, no matter what you’re doing, the view is probably take-your-breath-away gorgeous.

>>The Ocean

Last but certainly not least, the water. I’m not much of a swimmer but I l.o.v.e Hawaii’s water–it’s warm for one which is always nice when you decide to dip a toe in it, and so incredibly blue. The ocean is the island’s life blood and it becomes your life blood too when you live there. Taking in a sunset on the beach with the breeze blowing through your hair and the waves singing you a lullaby is one of the most magical experiences I’ve ever had.

Aaaaaand I have to stop now or I’ll burst into sobs.

If you ever get the chance to visit (or if you’re lucky, live in) Hawaii, take it! It sounds cliche–but it truly is paradise.

How about you!

Have you ever visited Hawaii? What’s one place on your bucket list?

Up Next:

“Chopped” Date


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  • Yes to all of this! We were only gone 6 months before the military decided we needed to go back to Hawaii, but I realized how much Hawaii had become such a huge part of me. I love the weather, and most of all the sense of community and the aloha spirit.

  • I would love to visit Hawaii. I wrote a similar post when we moved to TX during the summer. I had lived in UT for 8 years…college, marriage, career, having Rhys and getting pregnant with Evelyn

    • You definitely should if you get the chance Tayler–it’s a beautiful place. I’ve only been through Salt Lake once but it looks so gorgeous there. I can see why you miss it.

  • Same here–the people make you feel so at home in Hawaii. It’s really something special.

  • We miss it SO much. This post actually made my heart so sad. We miss the ability to do so many different things on a day off and 98% of them be free outdoor adventures. Needless to say, we’d go back in a heartbeat!

  • Stephanie Whitener

    We are thinking about Hawaii being our honeymoon destination. There are parts of me that are sad that Tom wasn’t stationed there to see/feel all of this. I am glad that you grew fond of it!

    • DO IT!!!! You and Tom would love it there–it’s the perfect place for a honeymoon no matter which island you visit. Let me know if I can be of any help if that’s where you decide to go!