It's official, moving a family of 5 across an ocean is a lot harder than moving a family of 2. Surprising, I know! We've been here a month now, and I think we are finally starting to create a new normal. The kids have handled the transition extremely well, and even Foster the Caveman is beginning to catch the Aloha spirit, mellowing out and learning how to play kindly with his friends in preschool.
If you follow us on any social media platform, you can see by our pictures that we are loving life here, and island life suits us very well. So what are the challenges?
We read before arriving here that friends are hard to come by. Most of the articles blame that on either snobbery or racism towards Howlies, (not to be confused with Hoolies!). While both of those exist, and we have definitely experienced the snobbery first-hand, I'd have to say that the biggest reason we struggle to meet people is our hair.
A pale family of 5 redheads...no matter how hard we try...looks like a family of tourists. No one thinks we live here, and therefore, why would they talk to us? When local people do talk to us, it's to ask us how we're enjoying our vacation, or where we're from. And it doesn't matter how hard we try to look the part, (oh yes, we've tried!), our flaming hair and freckled noses will probably always make us stand out.
And then there's the sunscreen. Not only have we spent a small fortune investing in this expensive necessity, but apparently redheads all over the world are killing the reefs in our attempts to avoid burning our flesh in the intense sun. And by the looks we get, our ginger minority is definitely seen as an enemy to the island. Luckily, there is reef-friendly sunscreen that we can buy for the reasonable price of $2,376 a bottle.
Lessons we've learned so far? Wear hats, apply sunscreen before leaving the house, never wear closed-toe shoes, give lots of shakas on the one-lane bridges, and ask every friend that comes to visit to bring a bottle of sunscreen to donate to our skin protection cause. Sure, it will cost more than your plane ticket...but I promise to make you haupia pie. A fair exchange if you ask me.
Thankfully, we work with amazing people who seem to like us, despite our lack of pigment! And the longer we're here, standing out as the family of redheads, the locals will eventually realize that we haven't left yet. Perhaps they will start to realize that we're here to stay!