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Growing up in Hawaii: What is it Like?

Me, living on the Big Island, circa 1989
Me, living on the Big Island, circa 1989

I spent the first four years of my life living in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere, Alaska. (Actual location: Willow, Alaska, about 100 miles from Anchorage.) Long story short, my parents got cold. They also worried that I was turning into an antisocial recluse. (OK, that might be hyperbole … but they did take a pause one day when I lost my mind with excitement when I first saw a bus. I was around four a the time.) To beat those winter blues, they packed their bags and relocated to Kailua-Kona (on the Big Island of Hawaii).

My first memories were formed on the Big Island, and I look back on them fondly. I’m writing this post to document some of the unusual things about growing up in Hawaii.

Little Tamara at the Beach

Me, sporting some sweet shades

Most (if not all) events are celebrated at … The Beach

Family weekend bonding outing? Let’s go to the beach.

Family outing at the beach

Me and Dad, beachin’

Relatives or friends in town visiting, and looking to impress them with a spectacular outing? I’ve got it! We shall go to the beach!

Family outing at the beach

Me and Mom, beachin’

Children’s birthday party? Hmm, I’ve surveyed the options, and I’ve landed on: Perhaps we should have it at the beach.

Hawaii Children's Beach Birthday Party

My friend Amanda’s birthday party, held at (you guessed it) the beach

Hilariously, I was dragged to this de facto, go-to location so often that, if given the choice, I’d always turn down the beach. I preferred to stay in and play.

Tamara and Lincoln Logs

Indoor Lincoln Logs time: a welcome respite from the beach

Some things aren’t so easy to get living on the islands

Shipping goods from the mainland isn’t cheap. Consequently, some items prove difficult to obtain at reasonable prices. I have warm memories about our family getting … creative. Exhibit A: check out our homemade paper Christmas tree.

Hawaii Christmas Tree

Speaking of Christmas … the festivities may not look like what you’re used to.

Put away those ugly sweaters and hats; 80 degree year-round temperatures call for a different holiday fashion.

Hawaiian Preschool Christmas Celebration

Hawaiian Pre-school Christmas Celebration