You say slippers, not flip-flops.

You’re cold when the weather drops below 70 degrees…

But even when it gets cold, you still wear shorts and slippers – you just add a sweatshirt.

You think a 20-minute drive is a long drive.

You’ll sometimes let someone into your lane when they signal.

When a hurricane is supposed to hit, you don’t really worry (unless you live in Hilo)…

But you’ll still head to Costco and stock up on water, ramen, and toilet paper.

You speak – or at least understand – Pidgin.

You refer to the continental United States as “the mainland.”

You call everyone older than you “aunty” or “uncle.”

You never give directions using street names.


Spam Musubi


You know what manapuas and musubis are.

You call it shoyu, not soy sauce.

You have multiple friends who are each a mix of half a dozen different ethnicities.

You don’t understand daylight savings time (and don’t need to).

When you make a shaka, your palm is facing yourself.

When you say “Hawaiʻi,” you pause in the middle for the apostrophe.

When you meet someone new, the first question you ask is, “What school you went?”

When you get asked “What school you went?” you know they are asking about high school, not college.

You say shave ice, not shaved ice.


Lanikai Beach


You can go to the beach and not get burned without using a rash guard.

You never approach wildlife – you understand they need their space and respect.

You understand what kapu means and you respect it.

You add li hing mui powder to half of the fruit that you eat.

When you get invited to a potluck, you know there will be Zippy’s chili.

You instinctually take off your shoes when you go into someone’s house.

You know that there are eight Hawaiian Islands and you know how to properly pronounce the names of all eight of them.

When you’re supposed to dress up, you wear an aloha shirt, not a suit.




You learned to play the ukulele in elementary school.

You had a huge pile of leis around your neck on your graduation day.

You NEVER honk your horn.

You know all of the words to “Hawaiʻi Ponoʻi.”

Every single person your parents knew was present at your first birthday party.

You’re not grossed out by Spam. You might even eat it every day!

You’re used to the chickens running around the Costco parking lot.

You let the usual gecko hang out around the house.

You use a slipper to kill those huge centipedes before they bite you.

You know that Hawaii traffic happens on both sides of the road, because everyone on the clear side of the road is trying to see what happened on the other side of the road.


Poke Nachos


You know that mainland poke cannot even compare to local poke.

You know that cilantro and Chinese parsley are the same thing.

When you go to Maui, your first stop is Krispy Kreme.

Your Instagram feed is filled with beaches, waterfalls, and sunsets.

You know that being “local” is very different from being “Hawaiian.”

You avoid Waikiki at all costs.

Rice is a staple in almost every meal.

You have no idea what the mainland lyrics of “The 12 days of Christmas” are, because you know the local ones instead.

You know about all of the places that’ll give you a kamaʻaina discount.

You know at least five people with a Toyota Tacoma.

You know the power of the ocean and you respect it.


–   –   –


Are you from Hawai’i too? Do you have anything you’d add to the list?

Written By:

Current Rock of Residence:

Oahu, Hawaii

Island Girl Since:


Originally Hails From:

Oahu, Hawaii

Sarah is an island girl, through and through. With the exception of college, she has lived on the island of Oahu, Hawaii for her entire life! She is so used to seeing Hawaii’s breathtaking nature and ocean scenes. As a matter of fact, on one trip to Colorado as a young teenager, when she and her family reached the top of Pike’s Peak, Sarah was convinced that she could see the Pacific Ocean. Sarah is currently an aspiring travel writer. If you’re interested in following her adventures, both in Hawaii and in countries across the globe, follow her on her journey through her blog, Borders & Bucket Lists.

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