Small Bits of Life in Hawaii.
Living here for the past 60 years has been a blessing. For example, there’s the climate. Fifty weeks a year, the mid-afternoon temperature will be 85-87 degrees, northeast trade winds at 10-12 m.p.h. (The other two weeks, the wind switches around, comes out of the southwest and the humidity jumps up.)
Not everyone appreciates our consistently wonderful weather. Years ago, I worked with a fellow who had moved here from Minnesota. I ran into him in the coffee room one morning and greeted him.
I said, “Hi, Lou . . . how’r you doing?”
He glared at me. “Oh, all right, I guess . . . ” he snarled “. . . considering it’s another one of these god damn beautiful days!”
Lou and his wife were back in Minneapolis less than a year later.
We use the term “local” at lot . . . as in “a local family bought the house next door.” Essentially, it means Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian, Filipino, Tahitian, from Guam or Samoa or Tonga or anywhere across the South Pacific. You can also say “local Chinese” or “local Japanese” to make it clear the new family isn’t actually from Japan or Mainland China. Basically, it means “born here.”
Folks like me . . . white people … are referred to as haole (pronounced HOW-lee). If I had come from here from California, that would make me a “coast haole.” I’m originally from Connecticut which made me an “east coast haole.”
I’ve lived here for 60 years, but I’ll never be a “local haole.”
Local people have what I’ve always thought was a delightful, almost endearing, way of addressing some of us they don’t know very well, but with whom there’s some kind of informal unspoken relationship that says we belong.
Here’s a good example from the part-Hawaiian young man who delivers our mail every day. I happened to be out front by the mail box when he drove up yesterday. He smiled at me and said, “Good morning, Uncle.” See what I mean?
But, should you be here one day on a visit, best not to try any of this yourself. It’s tricky.