Undoubtedly, a tour of duty in paradise is one of the most coveted assignments for all branches of the armed forces. A recreational heaven, Hawaii has something for everyone to enjoy: beautiful year-round climate, warm ocean, sandy beaches, mountains, forests, parks and other facilities.
Keep in mind that anytime you move to a new place there are new acceptable behaviors to learn and each community’s way of doing things. Throughout the following sections, you and your family will find helpful information to make your new home a comfortable one.Honolulu International Airport
Honolulu International Airport, a joint military-civilian airport sharing facilities with Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, is the primary hub for international, domestic and inter-island flights. Three miles from downtown Honolulu and 7 miles from Waikiki, Honolulu International Airport is one of three state airports that accommodate international flights. Twenty-five major airlines have service to the airport, including direct service domestic airlines and international airlines.
It’s important to note that Honolulu International Airport also features a highly modern and convenient inter-island terminal with convenient, regularly scheduled arrivals and departures between the islands.
Hawaiian airports include:
Your sponsor should meet you at the airport, provide transportation from the airport, check you in to your new command and provide general information about the community prior to your move. Make sure you are in contact with your sponsor as soon as possible before leaving for Hawaii. Your sponsor will be important to you, especially immediately upon arrival. If you are not met by anyone at the airport and require lodging, contact your respective command duty officer or go to the USO at the airport. The USO, at Honolulu International Airport, is available for use by all military personnel and their family members, reservists on active duty, retirees and Department of Defense civilians on orders. Call the USO at 808-836-3351.Plants
All plants and propagative plant parts require inspection before they are allowed entry into the state of Hawaii. All plants should be free from insects, diseases and sand, soil or earth. The parcels should be clearly labeled “LIVE PLANTS” so the transportation agency can refer them to a plant quarantine inspector for examination if necessary. It is recommended that you time the shipment to arrive during the early part of the week. Applications for permits or certificates may be acquired by writing U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, International Arrivals Building, Honolulu International Airport, Honolulu, HI 96820.Becoming Kama’aina
Upon arrival, you will be considered “malihini,” which is Hawaiian for “visitor” and is applied to newcomers and tourists. Longtime residents and those born in Hawaii are called “kama’aina,” which means “child of the land.”
It is not an insult to be called malihini, but it is a distinction that allows locals to help newcomers and visitors become familiar with the lifestyle and culture of Hawaii. So, how do you become a kama’aina? Some people say it is when you get your first Hawaii driver’s license; eat kimchee with chopsticks; collect aloha shirts and wear ties and formal wear only when required by duty; understand the directions “mauka” (toward the mountain), “makai” (toward the ocean), “Diamond Head” and “Ewa” (toward the beach); say “shave ice” instead of snow cone; understand basic Hawaiian pidgin such as puka, talk story and da kine; know how to make the “shaka” hand sign; or order saimin with Spam instead of chicken noodle soup.
Nobody knows for sure when you become a kama’aina. It just happens after a while. You’ll know when because you’ll feel right at home. Kama’aina status also qualifies you for special discounts, or “kama’aina rates,” in Hawaii with airlines, rental car agencies and getaway weekends at neighbor island resorts. All you have to do is prove you live here. A Hawaii driver’s license, or any identification with your new home address, will do fine.
If you choose to retain your home state driver’s license, you may still qualify for many of these kama’aina rates with a state ID card. You will find that the vast majority of the people of Hawaii are warm and appreciative toward their friends and neighbors in the military. All you have to do is live with the aloha spirit. That means caring for others around you and respecting the precious island environment. That’s the responsibility of all kama’ainas. Enjoy Hawaii! There is plenty to see and do, so use your free time to “play tourist” and enjoy paradise.Ethnic Diversity
Hawaii is more than a surf-and-sand paradise, as it is rich in U.S. history, provides excellent opportunities to study the environment, and is the bridge that connects the U.S. with Asia-Pacific partners. There are a plethora of ethnicities represented, from Japanese, Chinese and Filipino to Hawaiian, Portuguese and Korean.
Here are hints to get acclimated fast and relatively painlessly:
The previous section mentioned some of the differences that you may experience with a tour in Hawaii. Culture shock is a term used to describe the anxiety commonly experienced when people move to a different cultural environment as they try to go about their daily affairs without the familiar patterns of communication and social interaction.
For most newcomers, Hawaii is a long way from home and a feeling of isolation is to be expected. Additionally, for some people, the absence of familiar food can be sufficient to make a person feel disoriented in the new culture. When you realize that you are a visitor spending probably a short time of your life in Hawaii, you will be coming to the end of your culture shock. Mainland visitors experience culture shock in varying degrees; some hardly notice it at all.
Common symptoms of culture shock include:
The following suggestions may be helpful: