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  • New to Hawaii

    Each year thousands of visitors leave the islands with just one thought: Wouldn't it be nice to live in paradise? Many start planning―even before the seat belt sign clicks off in the departing flight―on uprooting their lives and shipping everything across the Pacific on a barge.

    The islands are enchanting. The sunshine, the lush greenery, the volcanic mountain landscape, the water, the sheer beauty, the leisurely pace of life―all these elements soak into your skin and stay with you long after you leave. Many people go back for vacations each year. Some buy time-shares or second homes to keep Hawaii close, while others make the leap and move completely.

    Relocating to Hawaii is not an easy thing to do. Good jobs are limited; if you come here without employment, make sure you have enough money to move back to the mainland if you can't find a job. Also, the islands are in the middle of the ocean, far from anything―especially other family members. Plus, there is not a great deal of space, traffic is bad, and many become claustrophobic (in some sense) at the thought of spending life on a speck of land―and succumbing to "island fever."

    Acclimating to Aloha

    If you were brave enough to transplant or just got orders from the military to base out of Hawaii, welcome and aloha.

    Literally, the most important errand you will need to make is registering your car. You also have the option of getting a temporary permit to extend the registration.

    The driver's license switch is not as important, considering Hawaii is the only state that does not require that you change over your license in order to live in the state. What a Hawaii driver's license will get you, though, is kama'aina (local) discounts. This is important if you are on a budget. Receive a discount for hotels, theme parks, inter-island airfare, and other activities. However, you may also show proof of residency in the form of utility bills, rental agreements, and the like instead. Simply take the proof with you when you visit an attraction. Most attractions also offer the same local discount to military members, too.

    It may take you a while to lose the malahini (newcomer) tag and join the ranks of true kama'aina (locals), even after acquiring a state driver's license or ID card and the prerequisite beach tan. That is just the nature of the islands. With so many tourists and part-timers, it is sometimes hard for the locals to adjust to just who is coming and going at any given time.

    But you will find the locals friendly and extremely welcoming. After all, the spirit of aloha is a way of life on the islands. And if you are seeking diversity, there are few places around that are as diverse as Hawaii.

    Languages of all sorts are spoken, and although you may never truly learn the 12-letter language of Hawaiian, you will need to understand how the letters are pronounced just to read street signs. Then there is always pidgin. This local dialect can throw tourists and malahini off guard with its wild flow and odd pronunciation.

    Generally, those that have the most difficulty adjusting tend to be military personnel who didn't know Hawaii would be such a culture shock. Some people think it is the closet thing to living in a foreign county without leaving the United States.

    Motor Vehicle Registration Links

    Important Malihini Links

    State Facts

    • The state of Hawaii is made up of eight main islands: Hawaii (the Big Island), Lanai, Niihau (private), Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, and Kahoolawe (uninhabited).
    • Hawaii is the only state that grows coffee.
    • Hawaii became a state on Aug. 20, 1959, and was the last admitted to the union.
    • The islands are so far removed from any continent that they are in their own time zone: Hawaii Standard Time (HST).
    • Iolani Palace is the only symbol of monarchy in any U.S. state.
    • Hawaii has the longest state fish name; try saying it while you are learning Hawaiian words: humuhumunukunukuapua'a.
    • The Big Island of Hawaii is home to the world's tallest mountain. Mt. Everest has nothing on Mauna Kea, which stretches an estimated 33,000 feet from the sea floor (13,796 of those feet are above sea level).
    • Snow skiing in Hawaii? Yes, it's possible. The snows of Mauna Kea do not last long (November to March, usually), and the "pineapple powder" is always in spring condition. But there is some 100 square miles of pure skiing fun, including the famous Poi Bowl. After a few runs, you can hit the waves and surf!