Please tell me about HI - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 03-25-2009, 11:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DH and I are considering moving to Hawaii. I have never been there before so I am full of questions.

*What are the pros and cons of living in Hawaii?
*How are the school systems?
*What is the cost of living? DH is a registered nurse (mental health) and I am a school teacher (special education). We are looking to rent at first.
*Can you recommend an area that is safe and family-friendly?

Thanks so much.

Mama to DS 7/23/08.
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#2 of 14 Old 04-13-2009, 03:01 PM
 
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My DH and I are considering the same thing.

For us, I'd like more info on homebirthing/VBAC friendliness, vax exemption, homeschooling, best location of IT jobs for DH! We're still in the early stages of researching
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#3 of 14 Old 04-13-2009, 05:13 PM
 
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Well, I don't have much time now, but for now I will share this:
People's opinion of Hawai'i differs greatly.
One thing is for sure is that it is overpopulated, too many people move here. I'm only 31 and i have seen so much destroyed for more costco's and tragets etc. not to mention new housing developments.

As places that are safe for the family, there is not much difference in areas except in the quality of people. Safety for your kids will be more in the environment such as too close to main roads, or areas where people just drive recklessly (there is horrible drivers here) Town would not be a good place to live with kids. Its dirty even if you have a nice building, kids need to go out and play and there is too much traffic etc.
What I was saying about quality of the people, well how do I explain that? there is areas where kids as young as 8 will be playing outside using swear words and calling each other names, and you will hear a lot of domestics (yelling hitting walls, etc) but this is more areas within areas. You can pick anywhere and find a decent place with nice neighbors.
Education sucks in my opinion. this is mostly from lack of parent involvement. So if you are going to be participating with your kids, get them into extracuricular activities follow up with teachers you should be fine.
Non vax pediatricians, none I have found. I just switched my daughter to one that does delayed, but haven't gone to first appt yet so can't tell you much about that.
Breastfeeding laws here are great, anywhere anyway. as much exposed as needed. sadly there is still too many babies being formula fed.

Hawaii is expensive. Rent is high. look at the classifieds in rentals illustraded or Honolulu Advertiser for ideas. A lot of the cheaper places are tiny and in undesirable areas, you can tell from the pictures though :-)
Craigs list can be useful to find a cheaper place, but wait until you are here for that and you can meet them in person, too many scams on there.
The farther away from town the cheaper it gets, except for like the north shore, because it's all pretty much beach front it will be pricy.

I don't know how they are about vaccines at school, my daughter is 2 still her half sisters all had regular vaccines. I know MMR is one they ask for, but not sure if elementary, or high school...
I had a midwife and gave birth at hospital, I can't tell you about homebirths, I don't know much
Homeschooling, for what I have heard is the best way to go. There is lots of extra activities through boys and girls club, YMCA's sports etc to encourage socialization.

Living here will differ in the things you choose to do, and the people you surround yourself with.
The best experience you will have is if you are open to everyone since we have so many different cultures and ways of living.
Oh, and the whole locals don't like mainland people, if you are nice and don't have a stuck up attitude (which I am sure you don't ) you'll be fine. I'm sure you understand that with so many people moving here it makes it harder to live here, and it is already so crowded so people of course get a little ticked. But that's just initially and not personal.
Traffic sucks, did I mention that?
We do have a great bus system, even though it might take long at times, it's the best I have seen so far. Just sometimes there is stinky people on the bus.
Sorry if I was all over, I have my hyper daughter climbing on me, and her best friend (also 2) following suit.
I am sure others will have different opinions and suggestions, as I said life here can differ greatly from one person to another.
Also, neighbor islands differ from one another. I live on Oahu at the moment.
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#4 of 14 Old 04-17-2009, 06:51 AM
 
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Island Mama has it right.

I'd be concerned with Nurse/SE Teacher since our hospitals are cutting jobs (including nursing even though there is more need) and our DOE is talking about closing schools early (won't happen but it's an example) due to the budget crisis. Our Governer recently cut almost all of the mental health services for the state so we are in crisis but SW and RNs I know in the Mental Health field are being laid off left and right all while patients are killing people because there is nowhere to manage their meds, etc. for the on a day-to-day basis.

People who are from here get REALLY sick of people moving to an already overpopulated and overburdened island environment without familial connection. It is why there can be local/military tension as well - it's just a reality of all living in a really tight space. To avoid that - move to Kauai or the Big Island instead of Oahu or Maui.

Public School system has some gems but is overburdened and underfunded.
There are a *few* delay friendly peds but no vax is hard to find a Dr.
VBAC - there is only one Dr. on Oahu who will do them because to do it here you can't use the State Insurance for Dr.s so he pays 2x as much for out-of-state. That being said he's a really medical Dr. so don't expect midwife fun from an OB there. I do know of 2 women who have had VBAC homebirths though.

Also - living here you'll need a much larger emergency fund for things like having to travel to the mainland for family deaths, etc. Also - in case of Natural disasters you have to be self-sustaining a lot longer than the mainland. OH - and we have lots of SE Asian immigration/pass through so our threat of Pandemic Flu outbreak is much higher than the mainland US.

IT Jobs would be on Oahu or Maui - the places where housing is expensive and overfull. Also - every military member I've helped find a rental out "in town" is SHOCKED at the style of house that is traditional here. Paying $1000 per bedroom is average and houses have single wall construction, louvered windows and are small. I pay over $3000 per month for a 1200 sf house. You can find "cheap" new mainland-style houses out in Ewa Beach/Koolina area but you'll be stuck in traffic for 1-2 hours each way every day an be isolated from the rest of the community.

If you look back through old threads you'll see the info you need, the Hawaii Mamas have answered these questions more than a few times.

Your User Agreement here at MDC, read it and make it your friend and read the FAQ to answer all the questions of the (MDC) world.
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#5 of 14 Old 04-17-2009, 09:24 PM
 
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Ditto ditto ditto...we love HI but O'ahu is very overpopulated (use wiki to look up the popluation density, I think we are up there for one of the highest density in the US).

Big Island I'd almost think you'd run into more of the anti-mainland type feelings. At least on O'ahu you blend in more. Big Island is much cheaper but more isolated and pretty much 1 way round the island, so if you live in Hilo, and want to go to Costco and soon-to-be Target in Kona, it's quite a drive.

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#6 of 14 Old 04-20-2009, 11:20 PM
 
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*What are the pros and cons of living in Hawaii?
Pros - beautiful beaches and mountains, tropical weather year around, very clean air, clean water, relatively safe state compared to other states with the same population, not many violent crimes, long life span for older folks in Hawaii, lots and lots of ethnic diversity, very family oriented, mellow low key laid back culture, the best things about Hawaii are free.

Cons - Already been mentioned. Traffic jams on the freeways, cost of living, poor public education system, apathy among some residents, distance from the Mainland.

*How are the school systems?
The public education system could be better. I attended a private school and if I have my way DD will go to a private school. I wish I could homeschool her but that's not an option for us. There is an active homeschooling community here. My SIL homeschooled all three of her kids.
*What is the cost of living? DH is a registered nurse (mental health) and I am a school teacher (special education). We are looking to rent at first.
I wish you would come here only because I have a child on the spectrum and I'd love to pick your brain.
*Can you recommend an area that is safe and family-friendly? Kailua, Kaneohe, Aikahi, Lanikai, Manoa, Mililani.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Radish4ever View Post
My DH and I are considering the same thing.

For us, I'd like more info on homebirthing/VBAC friendliness, vax exemption, homeschooling, best location of IT jobs for DH! We're still in the early stages of researching
IT jobs are not easy to come by in Hawaii. My DH is in the IT field. He says the pay is about one third of what it is on the Mainland.

I've come across two doctors who don't push me about vaxing. If you do come here and you want to know who they are, send me a PM.

I know someone who did a homebirth. It's definitely not the norm here but not unheard of either. There are midwives here. My friend's mom is a midwife.

Normal is just a setting on your dryer.
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#7 of 14 Old 04-29-2009, 05:28 PM
 
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Aloha! We moved to the Big Island four years ago specifically because I wanted to start a family and we were poor. I chose this area because:

1. It is the cleanest, least-polluted area in the entire country
2. It has some of the lowest crime rates in the country (almost no violent crime at all)
3. It is extremely family-friendly
4. The cost of living in our area (Hilo/Puna side) is very low

*What are the pros and cons of living in Hawaii?
PROS:
-as I've stated above
-the people are just wonderful. Everyone here is family (with just a few not-so-friendly exceptions)
-no hot or cold weather
-can grow all the food you like and then some!
-more laid back
-extremely open to natural living types and alternative lifestyles
-DUDE! Living in Hawaii! No, really, this is the most wonderful, beautiful place I could possibly imagine and I'll never leave.
-Few tourists, not at all crowded or overpopulated here

CONS:
-almost NO jobs at all for the rest of us, but if your DH is a nurse, then we desperately need him. You'll be able to live comfortably here on his salary if you play it right. (If he knows any doctors, please ask him to beg them to come help us! We don't have enough!)
-very very VERY bad school system.
-Very far from family and friends. We have been able to visit once in four years and it's a little heartbreaking, especially when grandparents can't see the kids.
-not a con for ME, but maybe for someone else. The style of living here isn't the same as on the mainland. People don't keep things neat and tidy and obsessively clean. Things fall into disarray. There is a general decay to things here, but it's not bad. It feels kind of laid back and nice, actually

*How are the school systems?
As I said, VERY bad. Very, very, very bad. Maybe you can help out with that! I didn't mind that the schools were so bad when we moved here, though. I had planned on homeschooling, anyway. If you ask a teacher, they seem to think the school system is great. If you ask the parents, though, they almost always will say that the schools here are horrendous. Everyone I've ever spoken to about it does. I know one teacher and she has a lot of trouble teaching because the school system makes her pay for all of her extracarricular materials. They don't reimburse her. It ends up taking a huge chunk out of her paycheck. She has to buy things like stickers, books (not textbooks), supplies, rewards, pencils, etc.

*What is the cost of living? DH is a registered nurse (mental health) and I am a school teacher (special education). We are looking to rent at first.
Depends on where you live. Here on the green side of the Big Island, the cost of living is very very low. We rent a studio for $500, but you can get a really nice place for $1000-$1200 a month and I'm talking a decent house, not an apartment. Check Craigslist for the Hilo area to get an idea. We spend about $120 a week on groceries for the two of us (and baby), but we dont' eat 100% organic. You can do great organically on about $200/week groceries here. Renting is absolutely the way to go. It's far cheaper than buying and you don't have to worry about upkeep to your property which is more often and more expensive than houses on the mainland because of our climate.

*Can you recommend an area that is safe and family-friendly?

We live in Hilo and I like it best here. We've been to Oahu and Maui and Kona and I really love the slowness of Hilo. There are oodles of family activities going on all the time. Small-town life is calm and there is almost no violent crime. There is a lot of petty thievery, though. Just lock your doors when you leave the house and you'll be fine. We have tons of free things to do here and nearly every type of climate (even snow! You can ski!) so this island affords the most things to do with family. A lot of free things are provided as well like a bus system (not very good, but it IS free) and a marine science center, beaches, parks, etc.

Mama to a bright 5 y/o girl dust.gif and a beautiful boy born 03/10/12 fly-by-nursing1.gif Loving unschooling, 2xuc.jpgfamilybed2.gif ecbaby2.gifand natural living in Hawaii.rainbow1284.gif
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#8 of 14 Old 04-29-2009, 05:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radish4ever View Post
My DH and I are considering the same thing.

For us, I'd like more info on homebirthing/VBAC friendliness, vax exemption, homeschooling, best location of IT jobs for DH! We're still in the early stages of researching
No IT jobs here in Hilo. My husband has one and it pays *okay* but it took him four years to find it.

Hilo is super open to home birth, though. I had an unassisted birth with two wonderful midwives who supported me 100% and did my prenatal care. There is a women's center in Waimea that does natural birth, sort of a birth center, and our pediatrician is far away, but he's not pro-vax at all and never suggested we vaccinate our baby. All of the other doctors seem to be obsessively pro-vax, though.

Aside from the IT job issue, I'd say it's a fabulous place for natural parenting. It's pretty big in our community. Your hubs would probably not find an IT job for many years, though.

Mama to a bright 5 y/o girl dust.gif and a beautiful boy born 03/10/12 fly-by-nursing1.gif Loving unschooling, 2xuc.jpgfamilybed2.gif ecbaby2.gifand natural living in Hawaii.rainbow1284.gif
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#9 of 14 Old 01-15-2010, 08:08 AM
 
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Wow, Island mama hit the nail right on the head. Ever consider going into the writing field? Your description of Hawaii was just amazingly real!

I only would add that home births are actually illegal here in Hawaii, but you can have a home birth nonetheless. Midwives just can't charge you for their services. I had a home birth with my second child with a very experienced midwife, who I gave a donation to afterwards to compensate her time and expertise.

If you do choose to live on Oahu, or any island for that matter, but especially Oahu, because it is so expensive, I would suggest finding your nearest CSA or local grower to get your fresh vegetables from. Also, neighbors often have trees overflowing with ripe fruit that they aren't interested in eating. So become neighborly and ask them for some. If they are the home-grown locals, they will usually be happy to give you some. Of course, if they aren't, they may be a bit more stingy and tell you to go away!

Anyway, welcome to the islands! Did we really forget to do that?! Welcome! Welcome.
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#10 of 14 Old 01-15-2010, 03:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlemother View Post
Wow, Island mama hit the nail right on the head. Ever consider going into the writing field? Your description of Hawaii was just amazingly real!

I only would add that home births are actually illegal here in Hawaii, but you can have a home birth nonetheless. Midwives just can't charge you for their services. I had a home birth with my second child with a very experienced midwife, who I gave a donation to afterwards to compensate her time and expertise.

If you do choose to live on Oahu, or any island for that matter, but especially Oahu, because it is so expensive, I would suggest finding your nearest CSA or local grower to get your fresh vegetables from. Also, neighbors often have trees overflowing with ripe fruit that they aren't interested in eating. So become neighborly and ask them for some. If they are the home-grown locals, they will usually be happy to give you some. Of course, if they aren't, they may be a bit more stingy and tell you to go away!

Anyway, welcome to the islands! Did we really forget to do that?! Welcome! Welcome.
Is it possible that maybe home birth is only illegal in your area? I'm on the Big Island and home birth with a midwife is definitely not illegal. They are allowed to charge so long as they are certified. If you are a CNM with certification, you can charge. If you are a lay midwife, you cannot. That's the only part that is illegal.

I had two lay midwives for my prenatal care and they were not allowed to charge because they were not certified, but one of them was working on getting recertified so she could charge again. All of the other midwives I called charge and work in the state legally.

Mama to a bright 5 y/o girl dust.gif and a beautiful boy born 03/10/12 fly-by-nursing1.gif Loving unschooling, 2xuc.jpgfamilybed2.gif ecbaby2.gifand natural living in Hawaii.rainbow1284.gif
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#11 of 14 Old 01-16-2010, 01:12 AM
 
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Hawaii is great if you come expecting to downgrade on basic things (much smaller, less fancy house, worse schools, little childcare that is quality) and spend more (housing, food-especially organic, electricity, gas). A 3 bedroom home in a 'good' neighborhood like Manoa will be $1 million and it will need renovation. A 3 bedroom house in a 'not good' neighborhood (I know these are all relative because those are really mainland terms for describing it) like Kalihi that needs major rennovation is around $450K. That is not an exaggeration.

Homebirth is not illegal. Direct entry (non CNM, homebirth only) midwives are not illegal. They can charge whatever they want. None are licensed or certified by the state though so you have to pay out-of-pocket. There are no CNMs doing homebirth here :-( My husband is a lawyer and I am a CNM. We both make 1/2 of pay on the mainland and pay for 2 kids in private school and one in preschool. We could never afford to go on a family vacation. Not even to an outer island really since it would mean buying 5 plane tickets and they are about $120 each. My parents live on the Big Island and we go there once a year.

Homeschooling is big here. A lot of the families that do are military though because a majority of locals both parents have to work to make it here. Non vaxing can be worked out with some clever-ness :-) There are amazing people in the AP/natural parenting community on Oahu.

It is a fabulous place to raise kids of course.
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#12 of 14 Old 01-16-2010, 01:14 AM
 
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BTW there is very little violent crime here just a lot of theft, drugs, and traffic. Crystal meth is unfortunately a huge problem. Probably 8 out of 10 people I know have had their home burglarized or car stolen and I live in one of those 'safe neighborhoods' (Manoa)
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#13 of 14 Old 01-29-2010, 03:58 PM
 
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My DH and I moved to Maui 2 years ago. We had never been to HI. We knew no one. We brought 2 suitcases each and $8000 dollars. We took one week vacation on Oahu and one week on Maui. Then we got down to business. In one week we had jobs and a studio and no more money. In a month we both had better jobs. He is a bartender (at the most famous restaurant on the island and possibly the world) and I was a cashier in a health food store (now SAHM). We live hand to mouth and have not left unless someone else buys our tickets but it was the best decision we ever made. We are 5000 miles from home and feel everyone. Everything is different here and 99% of that is great.

So you want to live in HI is a great book. An easy cost of living formula is multiply your cost by 2.

and with anything in life, if you want it bad enough you will make it happen.
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#14 of 14 Old 02-01-2010, 05:38 AM
 
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Thanks for that momtofourinhawaii , I was a little bit in the dark about that. I just quoted from my doctor, who probably just didn't want to be sued or whatever for anything they said.

It DID sound a bit extreme

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