Friday, January 16, 2009


It is easy to get discouraged reading the news these days. So we decided to recount the things we love about living in Hilo, Hawaii. We have been living in Hilo for 15 months now and there are some things about the town that we have come to truly cherish.

1) Laid-back Hilo mindset We have relaxed to the point now where we really enjoy the no-worry, no-hurry Hilo mindset. Here we slow down to let other cars maneuver the town’s roads and wait patiently in lines at festivals, performances, and in crowded stores. When the sun shines it just feels right to see the parks filled with people lying on the grass surrounded by family enjoying the gorgeous day and the beauty around them. Long hours of work and getting ahead just aren’t part of the Hilo mentality.

2) Time to Talk Story People in Hilo take time to share their story and listen to ours. We find that people here live in the present and are not preoccupied with the past or future. We have learned so much from people we have met sharing their experiences and taking time to give us advice and suggestions. Our social interactions always leave us feeling good inside and make us strive harder to create and maintain a peaceful existence.

3) Hilo Weather Hilo has a reputation for being very rainy, wet, and moldy. And it is. But somehow, the heavy rain doesn’t make us feel shortchanged on sunlight. There is enough sunshine, even during rainstorms, to warm us up and keep us happy. The rain keeps the weather cool year round so that air conditioning is not needed and the air always feels fresh and clean.

4) Fresh, Healthy Food We think few places in the world can compete with Hilo on the availability of fresh healthy food. Our farmer’s markets daily offer produce from fruit farms in Puna and vegetable farms in Hamakua. Hilo’s Suisan offers the daily fish catch in their retail store and Big Island grass fed beef and local products are available in our KTA grocery stores. We even have banana trees and an endlessly producing lemon tree in our yard.

5) Asian Culture We met in high school in Jakarta, Indonesia so we feel a special happiness being back in an Asian culture. Hilo offers us interactions and food and festivities that add substantially to our life.

6) Cost of Living We are pleased about how much cheaper we are able to live in Hilo as compared to California with a huge improvement in our living conditions. Our analysis of Hilo costs has led us to believe we could cut back even more on our monthly expenses, if and when we need or want to, without impacting our health or safety.

7) Japanese TV There are several channels that carry current Japanese shows with English subtitles allowing us to enjoy our favorite samurai and family shows and get an insight into what is going on in Japan. We also have Korean and Filipino channels with shows we like to watch.

8) Beauty of Hilo The views of the crystal blue bay below us and snow covered mountains above us are maximized by being on a steep volcano. Walking and driving around the picturesque town we daily get to enjoy flowering trees, huge green lawns, stately trees, and of course the beautiful Pacific ocean. It just feels great to be around beauty all the time.

9) Activities in Hilo We have been surprised by the amount of intellectual stimulation and cultural activities available to us in Hilo. In addition to an amazing collection of museums (Lyman, ‘Imiloa Astronomy, Tsunami, NOAA reef, to name a few) each with monthly lectures and programs, the concentration of observatories in Hilo has a stream of extremely interesting Astronomers willing to present their latest findings to the public. There are opportunities to study Hula, Music, Art, and learn Hawaiian from renown Kumus in the Hilo area. And the county of Hawaii has numerous facilities, activities, and classes. There are more things to do than we can possibility take advantage of.

10) University Town Having a University and Community College in our town offers facilities and learning opportunities that we appreciate. The college draws in young people from around the world which we think adds to Hilo town’s vibrancy.


Victoria Hokulani said...

Aloha Friends, I too love living in the Asian Culture. I know that I could never go back to living any other way. I went to Las Vegas about 6 years ago, and only felt comfortable in the Downtown old strip area where all the Hawaii people hang. When I saw my locals, I felt that I was okay. Wierd, I guess. Even, though I am pure caucasian with the blonde hair and blue/green eyes, I feel like some kind of inside out banana "White on the outside but yellow on the inside." That has been a lifelong feeling, too. I have no explanation for it either. You did mention the rain freshening and cooling the air, but did you know that the air quality for the entire planet is monitored near Cape Kumukahi? Yes, when the vog is going in the normal westerly direction East Hawaii does have the freshest air on the planet! If you live on catchment like we do, then you get fresh air with pure rainwater. (We use a one micron filter and have never chlorinated the water.) This is why I can feel so wealthy! Fresh air, clean water, tropical climate, the local grown protein and produce, Yes, WE ARE VERY RICH INDEED! Another great post, guys! Can hardly wait to meet you.

larry said...

agree with all of your items but #6, in our case hilo is more expensive than where we used to live in california (ridgecrest to be exact) ... housing is 3 times as expensive, groceries are twice as expensive and electricity was 3 times as expensive until we put in a solar water heater, now it's just twice as expensive ... that said it's worth every penny to live in paradise and to have the 9 other items on your list!

Anonymous said...

For most people the expense is to much to handle. You truly have to be a lover of the ocean, fruits and mountains to love it here. Not for everyone. Most people are not able to love the struggle of making ends meet just to be able to stay here. Don't even think of moving here if you are not willing to have just enough money to get by. And don't move here if you wear your job title as a badge of honor, cause you will find that people here don't care what you do for a living. Most people just don't like that. Here you have to be willing to have a 4 year degree and work at a grocery store while smiling, just cause you are in Hawaii. That is not what most of us want. Ego is a hard thing to leave behind. Ego is our favorite sin.

Keahi Pelayo said...

You are dead on about Hilo's asset. Being from the big city, I appreciate Hilo and how people seem to have more time for you.

Anonymous said...

You pretty much covered all the bases.

FLRick said...

Great blog.Not to nitpick but bananas aren`t trees they are plants.

Anonymous said...

Very Good post on Living.

karim - Positive thinking

Jody Fulford said...

One of my favorite things about living in Hilo is doing without a car. I just use my bicycle. I get wet sometimes but I can be happy in the rain.

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