Monday, December 12, 2011


I feel I posted the last article too soon, since I just found 2 more from National Geographic!

7 Volcanoes Erupting Right Now

Kilauea March 6 Eruption

I'm a science nerd...

I've been figuring out my schooling future. Right now, it involves getting to Hawaii, and enrolling at UH. I want to earn my B.S. in Geology. I eventually want to get my masters or a doctorate in it, but have yet to look into grad schools. I've fallen in love with UH's science programs, without having ever been to Hawaii. I swear, I'm destined for the islands. Even though I don't want to become a vulcanologist specifically, I do want to take advantage of the geography of Hawaii to further my education. So without further ado, I found this article fascinating.

Hawaiian volcano science: why Kilauea sits on Mauna Loa, but is a sister of Mauna Kea

Monday, December 5, 2011


I figured I'd share a link about the privately owned Hawaiian island of Niihua. Here's a tidbit...

If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, you know that there’s plenty of Hawaiian culture to be found in the museums and souvenir shops that serve the 6 million tourists who visit each year. But that’s about the only place you’ll find it. The 80,000 Hawaiians who claim full native-Hawaiian ancestry today make up less than 6% of the state’s total population. Fewer than 2,000 Hawaiians are native Hawaiian speakers, and half of those are over 70 years old.
There are no communities left on the Hawaiian Islands that speak Hawaiian as their first language. No communities, that is, except one: the 130 Hawaiians who live on Niihau. Their culture and privacy are still carefully guarded by the descendants of Eliza Sinclair. On every other island, the traditional Hawaiian way of life has all but disappeared.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Things we know & Things we need to know

Right now, it seems as though life wants to crap on us again. Hawaii keeps getting pushed further and further out of reach. The job situation is sketchy, due to contract obligations, we can't get into any details. Christmas isn't happening this year. Sorry if you expected a gift from us, it's not personal. But I figured I'd update some of our Hawaii notes.
I mostly research Hilo & Hawaii, but if we could pull off living on Oahu, I look that up too. And Kauai of course. I will end up retiring there..

Things we want to look into: (in absolutely no order)
  • tattoo shops (and traditional tribal tattoos), pool halls, bowling alleys
  • local holiday traditions
  • local cuisine (seafood, restaurants, fast food places), import cuisine (I know wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, olive oil, vinegar & maple syrup are imported)
    trade winds (seasonally), storms, hurricanes
  • local fauna- Are there boars, flamingos, goats, owls, bats, etc.? What kinds of whales frequent the islands- I know humpback whales do. Same w/seals (monk seals I know), BUGS ick. bees & apiaries
  • cheap hotels until we can find an apartment
  • dollar stores, libraries & book stores, community pools, laundromats
  • google street view- I did this with some parts of Hilo already
  • local lore, ghost stories, etc.
  • tourist activities, how that affects locals (cruise ship season, etc); one-way cruises or ships (plane alternatives) I've heard to avoid Walmart if a cruise ship is docked.
  • amusement parks, carnivals, zoos, playgrounds, circuses
  • medical insurance, hospitals- I've heard that if you have something major, go to Honolulu
  • public transportation- There's a bus on Hawaii that's like $2 a day?
  • invasive species- I heard about the deer and donkeys
  • local religion- Tiki Gods, totems, etc.
  • sports, arenas, venues
  • politics & law- found a cool site a while ago with different laws & ordinances, but I lost the link. weapons laws?
  • biker friendly?
  • local farms, can you have goats, chickens, etc?
  • local beers, good pizza shops
  • continental shelves, trenches, geography of ocean around the islands
  • nationalities of the population
  • deep sea fishing, [land] sledding (down a volcano), surfing, scuba, snorkeling
  • walking on coals
  • exports- sugar cane, coffee, macadamias, orchids, etc.
  • astronomy & telescopes on Hawaii
  • science courses at UH Hilo
  • military. There are 2 Forts on Oahu. My husband wants to re-enlist, do we have to live on Oahu?
  • radio stations
  • city & night life
  • gambling? I haven't heard of a casino in Hawaii...
  • police & fire, response times
  • child care, day cares, home schooling
  • prescription transfers- I assume if you go to like a big chain, it shouldn't be a problem
  • my sons receive different therapies, are those available?

Things we've noticed: (in no order) Keep in mind, research is done for living on [the big island of] Hawaii unless otherwise stated
  • There's cockroaches everywhere, we'll have to get an exterminator anywhere we move in. Is this just Oahu? or everywhere? There's 6" centipedes (I'm getting a chicken, they eat them!), anoles, random scorpions, coqui frogs are super loud
  • It's likely we can find a decent place under $800 a month. Stay away from realtors & property managers, rent from owners, at least at first. Realtors have like a year long wait list.
  • There's not many yard sales or garage sales, but we did find Goodwill & Salvation Army
  • temps are 65-85 degrees year long, and we'll see lots of floral prints
  • sea turtles & millions of stars
  • the ocean changes every 20 minutes, so you have to keep an eye on the beaches all the time. places will be calm one day, rough currents another.
  • my husband's happy there's no snakes. I'm not happy about this cane spider business
  • We found Steelers bars!
  • They ditched the ferry between islands, but if you book ahead of time, you can grab flights from Hilo to Honolulu for $19. Round trip for a family of 4 could be as low as $160.
  • gas prices (as of past summer) were only 35 cents a gallon higher
  • no daylight savings time
  • get a Hawaii state id for $15, we can keep our PA licenses
  • some places don't have curb side garbage pick up. You have to sign up with an independent operator or take it to the dump yourself. composting & recycling available (you drop off), 5 cent reimbursement on recycling. Home Depot lets you recycle batteries
  • First Hawaiian Bank has free checking, CostULess has no membership fee, Longs Drug has cheap alcohol!
  • sewage is ~$27/month, water ~$25/month with $50 deposit to sign up. a lot of places have catchments (rain barrels) but there are periods of drought, and sometimes you wait weeks for water trucks. I just read there's now more emergency water spouts. electric ~$350/month. cut back on water tanks, turn off any light bulbs when not in use, etc. You need to conserve! But I love the idea of it.
  • Our malls are similar, except there's no Sanrio in Pittsburgh, but there's one in Hilo AND Honolulu! Bebe, Dior, Betsey Johnson, Lego... all in Hawaii & not here. But there's no Kohls, Half Price Books, Toys R Us, Gabriel Brothers or the company I work for.
  • they're working on their schools and restructuring building codes for the better. (I'm subscribed to Hilo news.) all government programs are the same as here. Broadband internet is expanding. Saddle Rd. is being repaired... haha I'm taking serious notes now!
  • farmers markets are big! and I've noticed a lot of the beef is grass fed.
  • living on a volcano is a reality, slight earthquakes happen. get the hell out of dodge if you smell rotten eggs (sulfur). I want to look into a Hepa air filter for the vog (fog-like volcanic emissions). Also have emergency supplies on hand in case of an eruption, like tents, bottled water, etc.
  • Haole is the same as whitey... I want to learn more Hawaiian. and hula too. each move has a meaning
  • registering a car is $45 (random)
  • Pittsburgh has a 7.5% sales tax, but not on clothes, shoes, diapers, [unprepared] food, or anything deemed "necessary." Hawaii has a 4% sales tax on everything. I think that means it's evened out?
  • Hawaii has black, white and green sand beaches!!
Things we're going to need once we're there: (the stuff we're leaving behind, since shipping it and buying it all new is the same cost) Luckily, I've noticed a lot of apartments are furnished
  • furniture, lamps
  • tv, dvd player, movies
  • pots & pans
  • small kitchen appliances
  • washer & dryer
  • plates, silverware, cups, etc
  • bath towels
  • curtains
  • clothes, shoes, hangers
  • food
  • cell phones & plans
  • car
  • office supplies
  • kids toys
  • toiletries, sunscreen
  • cleaning supplies, vacuum
  • books
Stuff we're taking with us:
  • computers, xbox
  • clothes
  • glasses, contacts, prescriptions
  • photos & files
  • toiletries
  • eventually want to ship our collectables (Steelers gear, heirloom Halloween decorations, etc)
So that was about 15 pages in a notebook. Please leave us some comments, advice, anything! Or you can email me

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tsunami debris visiting Hawaii + a tiki Halloween

I found this article very interesting. It's about the Japan tsunami debris. Yes, there's still stuff floating around since March. It's crazy to think how much garbage is in the ocean. If you think about how much people litter, plus how much trash randomly ends up in the ocean, plus flooding debris, etc. and it's all in the home of tons of wildlife. It's kinda like this dead bird I saw randomly on a site that had like 20 bottle caps in it's belly. Anyways, it's pretty cool that someone tracked the tsunami debris based on currents.

I know I haven't posted in a bit. Life's been happening, of course. But we still dream of Hawaii. The big job hasn't happened yet. So right now, we've just been trying to survive. I tried to stop making big purchases, but we ended up with a car and a tv, which we won't be able to take with us in the move. Seriously, just need to hit the lottery for like $50,000, and we could do it tomorrow. I took my time enjoying autumn this year, because there's no season changes in Hawaii. I'm getting excited for one of my last snowy winters, especially since I think this year is going to be bad. Speaking of autumn, I tried my hand at a tiki jack o'lantern for Halloween. His face should have been a little more smushed I think.
I have this notebook full of Hawaii notes. I need to post them here. If you've ever visited or lived in Hawaii, or live there now, please share your stories!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

reasons NOT to leave Pittsburgh

It sounds funny. We're leaving this beautiful, historic city. But we will miss it. Here's some of our favorite things...

The Steelers
We're going to miss all of the games, pep rallies, the electricity when we win Super Bowls... Luckily, there's Steelers bars in Hawaii, including the big island. You can check out all of them: Steelers bars. That photo was taken 11-21-10 when we beat the Raiders 35-3. Best. Seats. Ever.

The history, views, landmarks
It's just breath-taking. We have a great downtown. But there's no night life down there. That all winds up on the South Side. It's fun to go to bars down there, but it's even funner on the rare occasion that we actually have a sitter and vehicle/designated driver to enjoy it. So we won't miss it too bad, since we already do now. The zoo and museums are awesome. I still have to check out what's in Hawaii. The history of Pittsburgh is something all it's own. We have a history museum filled with pictures and recordings from the last 250+ years. Hawaii only became a state in 1959 (tomorrow is it's birthday!). There's some history there too, but I don't know how much is recorded in museums. Pittsburghers love our history. George Washington slept here. But we don't have tiki totems here.

We get like 30" of rain a year supposedly. I think it's a lot higher than that. And did they factor in snow? Seriously? Hilo supposedly gets like 130" of rain a year. But it's like 65-85 degrees year round. It gets anywhere from like 100 to -20 here. And I can say goodbye to events like Snowpocalypse. I think Hawaii gets snow, but nothing like the crippling 3 feet in like 12 hours. Sure, that only happens once every 10 years, but I'm leaving it behind. But I'm leaving behind the endless clouds and haze for a night sky full of stars. And Hawaii has telescopes. We have one, and it's always cloudy...

There's like $2 buses in Hawaii, but don't run so much. Buses here are $3.25 one way. And now-a-days, don't run so much. Port Authority sucks. Ok so that's not really a reason to leave, but it does factor in somewhere.

For the most part, the scariest things around here are the occasional bear, deer in mating season (when you're driving), and well, wolf and brown recluse spiders. Hawaii has sharks, but not more than the average beach. And ginormous orb spiders. And something called a cane spider. Dear God, it's a wolf spider on steroids. I can deal with an orb spider, it's just a WAAAY bigger version of a garden spider. Non-agressive, makes a pretty web. Stays outside. I don't know the deal with this cane spider. Frankly, I'm terrified just looking at pictures and never stayed long enough to read an article. Stay outside, don't come near me, we'll be ok. Hawaii has no snakes. My husband loves that. But mention spider to me or one of the twins, and we're in the other room before you finish the sentence. Centipedes too. I heard chickens LOVE to eat them. So I'll probably have a pet chicken out there. And apparently there's cockroaches everywhere. As long as it has less than 8 legs, I'm ok. We're clean people, so we probably won't have to worry too much about those.

So Pittsburgh doesn't have them, obviously. And no earthquakes either. But Hawaii has Vog, volcanic emissions in the air. Pittsburgh is forever overcast and hazy. I think I could deal. Then sun will probably burn my eyes like I just crawled out of a cave after being in there all my life. But there's a nifty little invention called sunglasses. Something that just never took off in Pittsburgh.

I've heard if you have anything real serious, go to Oahu. The medical care in Hilo kinda sucks from what I've heard. There's a major hospital competition here. Tons of them, everywhere. That will be hard to get used to.

Nobody wears floral print here unless they just visited Hawaii or are over 60. Pittsburghers like our blacks and grays and drab fashion. We like basic, comfy, goes with anything. Just add accessories.
We also have these cool 3 rivers that fork right downtown. Our city was built where a fort was. If there was a zombie attack, Pittsburgh would have a 1 up in geography. Plus we spawned George Romero AND Tom Savini. But the islands are kinda cut off from the world. So 1 up too for Hawaii in case of a zombie apocalypse. I'm going to miss zombie walks and conventions. I don't know how many horror fans are out in Hawaii. I think it's a lot of sun worshipers. But we'll have the internet, so I'll be able to stay in touch.

So that wraps it up, I think. Pittsburgh is awesome. We'll be back to visit. But we're going to the beach a whole lot first. And you don't really want to snorkel here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


So I'm already used to having to budget things. My husband and I don't make a lot now, and we're supporting toddler twins. Luckily, they share toys, and since one is bigger than the other, I can technically do the hand-me-downs with clothes. I have to work part-time since the cost of childcare is outrageous, especially for 2. We make about 2k a month. Not a lot. Rent around here for a 2 bedroom can run you $600-1000. Not bad nationally. We've seen some nice places around Hilo for less. My husband is really close to getting this better job now working with the Marcellus Shale boom. He can't move any further up where he is now considering he's senior supervisor. Money's decent, it's a good job, but drilling pays double that. And gets us to Hawaii sooner!

So our pre-plan is, as follows:
- get a car so hubby can get back and forth to work while on the road
- get an apartment. our rental is in such bad shape, I don't think it will last another winter.
- pay off our debts
- the kids finish preschool, and we might move to WV for a year. The family wants to spend time with the kids and don't really want to go to Hawaii to see them.

Then our plan to get there is:
- get to L.A. via one-way rental car. My husband hates to fly, and we want to see the country. But we kinda want to go all over, which will take too long. Enterprise runs about $170 a day for a one-way. I'm considering a train at this point.
- L.A. to Honolulu via ?? I think I was looking at Carnival Cruises. $4500 for a 12 day. I don't think you can just get off and stay there though. The flight is $1,300 for 4 of us and only 5.5 hours. Another $100 at the skybar to get my husband comatose. Cheap and quick, my favorite.
- Honolulu for a week. Shopping, sightseeing, the works.
- Island hop for another week. I'm dying to see Kauai. I might sink my anchor and never leave.
- Then the big island, checking out Hilo, Kona and the volcanos. Making sure we like it. Finding a place, (used) car, all new (to us, probably mostly used) stuff, etc. I'm not afraid of second-hand, the idea of Goodwill in Hilo makes me smile.
Budget: $30,000.

Once my husband has this new job, we should have that saved in 2 years. So we're waiting for the call any day now.


Welcome to my blog! I'm Pami, 30, living in Pittsburgh with my husband and our twin boys. The boys turn 3 in less than a month. We have always wanted to live somewhere else. Pittsburgh is great! Don't get me wrong. I love it here. I've lived here most of my life. My husband's been here for a few years. His family is in WV. I don't have much family left here anymore. We've been teeter-tottering between where to live for a while now. Do we stay here where there's jobs? Do we move there where there's family? That's been the last 4 years.

So why Hilo? I've always been Hawaii obsessed all my life. I've never been there, but something about it feels like home. I believe it started on craigslist. I started looking at jobs out there. Then apartments. Then I came to realize that it's not much more than living here. Then we found a job for my husband when we get out there. Then I found out I'm in love with the science program at the University of Hawaii Hilo. So it's blown up from there. Now we're saving up, paying off our debts, selling off our stuff... We figured it's about $1800 to ship our stuff there. Or we could just buy all new. Our stuff is crappy anyways. We plan to start fresh.

This blog will be our notes, ideas, budgets, etc. We hope it helps anybody planning on living in Hawaii. We also hope to keep this going once we're there so anyone could track our progress and see if we catch the dream.
If you have any hints, questions, anything, please comment!