Editor’s Note: This post is 10 years old.

I get asked the million dollar question frequently ” So what’s it like to live in Hawaii”? “Ahh how do I answer that?” is what I ponder in my head awkwardly as I debate whether or not to give them the vacation version or the real deal.  My persona of being “Army Wife 101” makes it hard for me to tell PCSing spouses moving here, that my personal opinion of Hawaii is that it sucks living here for an extended period of time.  I do not want to ruin the thoughts of what their home will be like , so I usually give them what I like to call a “PR” answer. This is one of those cliche answers that doesn’t really answer the question , but tries to package nicely.

Well I think it’s about time I share my thoughts, seeing as to how I am constantly asked (which by the way I don’t mind) . I must warn you though some of my thoughts are not pretty, and that everyone’s opinion is different. Just because I hate it here does not mean you won’t love it.

With that I bring you Hawaii…One Army Wife’s Thoughts:

The Arrival

I arrived here in March of 2009 (insert the Hawaiian music here) and as I stepped off the plane and entered into the breezeway in Honolulu International Airport, I took in the scent of the Hawaiian air. Being that I was afraid of flying, it was a miracle that anyone got  me to fly over a body of water for over 8 hrs. We proceeded to the military liaison desk got signed in and hopped in the government shuttle which was to transport us here to Schofield Inn on Schofield Barracks. It was 10:30PM at night when we arrived and I was so exhausted I couldn’t focus or see well enough to see what it looked like outside the shuttle windows. We arrived here on Schofield checked into lodging and the adventure began.

Like any newbies to Hawaii, the next day we awakened, picked up our rental car and set out to explore the island. I had heard prior to arriving here that we shouldn’t try to visit all the attractions at once because you will run out of things to do , let’s just say that is true to a certain extent (more on that later). In any event I was actually happy here at the beginning. My list of reasons why I was happy are below:

* My kids were getting the experience of a lifetime. They were going to explore different cultures, different foods, beautiful scenery, beaches and historical attractions such as Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona.

* I did not grow up in a area near many beaches, so the thought of having a few dozen surrounding me seemed pretty nice.

* The weather is always beautiful and consistent, so clothes shopping for the family was easier. Flip flops in every color sounds great to me.

*The biggest reason was that it gave members of our families a chance to come to Hawaii, when they normally wouldn’t have come here.

So there you have it, my very few reasons why I liked it it here. So I guess by now your probably saying well after all of that “What the hell is there not to like”?

The Fantasy

Well you see I believe people get to engulfed in these fantasies of paradise. They think Hawaii and they automatically envision palm trees lining every street, a beach in your backyard and mai tai’s everywhere. Little do they know that when they arrive here at Schofield they are in for rude awakening. Schofield is in a small little dumpy town 20 minutes from the North Shore called Wahiawa. Wahiawa is ghetto. I am from NY and let’s just say I would rather walk threw any of those streets then Wahiawa even in the day time. Wahiawa consist of some fast food joints, a few hole in the wall sit down joints, some rundown strip clubs , convenience stores and a General Hospital that looks like someone swallowed the 70’s and threw it back up. Rundown apartments surround the base as well. When I want to get fast food I head in the opposite direction to a town called Mililani. If you choose to live offpost and want to live close, Mililani should be your first option as well.

The Schools

The schools here are HORRIBLE!!!!! I had always assumed that if a school was onpost then it automatically was a DOD school. This not the case at all. I’ll be honest and say that I’ve lucked up and my kids have had good teachers, but damn these kids are off so much it makes you wonder how much are they really learning. Last year we went through furlough Fridays due to budget cuts, and basically every Friday the children were off. Lest not forget that every Wednesday the kids have half a day . The school day is over at 2:05pm. This is the shortest school day I have ever seen. My kid has PE once a month and my daughter has 2 recesses a day ( she is in the 6th grade). Visit here to read reviews on the schools .

Why It Get’s Old Being Here Really Fast?

1.For starters you can drive around the entire island of  Oahu in four to six  hours depending on traffic. ( I honestly think it’s less time then that , but i’ll be generous.)

2.Unless you love going to the beach every weekend, are a water nut, or are passionate about the outdoors (hiking mountain climbing) , you will quickly run out of things to do. We have a sea life park comparable to Sea World minus several attractions , space and rides. There is also WetnWild water park again water which is okay but ummm…how many times are you really going to go there? Pearl Harbor is a must see and I was honored to have the privilege to visit but naturally it’s not some place you would to go weekly. The Nex is nice to walk around but after you walk around what are you going to do ? Pearl Ridge Mall was ok until my friend got her pocketbook grabbed by a meth addict during a day time visit, so that pretty much prevented me from wanting to go there by myself. Ala Moana Mall in Honolulu is awesome but just not my frugal everyday place of shopping. It’s nice once in a while. The Swap meet is hot and nothing but rows and rows of people selling the same 5 for $20 teeshirts . It was nice when we arrived and wanted to send souvenirs back home, or when family visits and you want to take them somewhere where they can get cheap souvenirs too.

In reference to the size of the island you really can drive around the island in four hours. The island goes in one big circle. There are no bridges connecting Oahu to neighboring islands, and due to some environmental mess the ferry no longer is in operation. You can count on buying tickets for every member of your family to fly to another island if that is your thing. Speaking of other islands everyone screams about flying to them, but if your tired of being on an island…are you really going to fly to another one?  Unless you can get some great ticket prices to wherever your from( and sometimes you can get great prices) , count on using that nice hunk of deployment savings you stored. Space A is wonderful, but don’t be fooled it’s free for a reason and that reason usually consists of being trapped in a hotel or terminal of sorts at a airforce base for a few days.

Lastly I had the joyous pleasure of being caught in a Tsunami scare this past February. Imagine your husband is deployed , you wake up in the middle of the night to take a piss and you hear the disheveled looking newscaster on the local news at 1am saying expected time of impact is 11:19AM and sirens will sound at 5:30AM. Ummm excuse me my first thought is the local news is not supposed to be live at 1am and 2nd of all “impact” doesn’t sound so good. Being that my husband was deployed and I slept with my laptop my friend Stephanie buzzed me on Yahoo and informed me of how she was so scared that she was going to get a flight out of here. I took one look at my bank account and pretty assumed that my kids and I would meet our maker here on this side of the mountain in Wahiawa.

There are two more parts of living here that I have yet to discuss which is the FOOD & BUGS! That is a whole post in itself and I would rather discuss it separately. With that said stay tuned for Part 2 of “Hawaii…One Army Wife’s Thoughts on Why She Hates Living Here”.

Read Part 2



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Krystel is the mom of two and an Army Wife. In addition to Army Wife 101 she is the Co-Founder of SoFluential.com a digital media agency that connects brands with the military market. She has appeared on MSNBC ,FOX LA and formerly was a weekly contributor to HLN's "Raising America". She has written for various outlets including Sheknows and Lifetime and is a big fan of cupcakes and french fries.

148 Comments on Hawaii…One Army Wife’s Thoughts on Why She Hates Living Here!

  1. Helli I have a question is I don’t what to go with my husbands can he go by himself and will he have to stay the 3 years thank you for your help

  2. I live in wahiwa and I’m kinda offended because she says it’s so ghetto and shit it’s not the most nicest part of Oahu but honestly all the towns I’ve Seen in the mainland are 10x ghetto, yes there’s ONE strip bar and a couple hole in the wall places but that dosnt mean its ghetto there’s no gangs mugging everyone like in Compton or something if you want ghetto go wainaie

  3. Why don’t you just admit that all duty stations are going to be horrible. In my opinion, being an Army wife SUCKS. The Army will always be first, and the family will ALWAYS be last. Plus the Army will treat the family like crap every chance they get.

  4. OMG! This is exactly how I feel about Guam. I made the best of it, I really really tried to like it, but I can’t. I just hate it here. Now we’re moving to Hawaii in a few months. But, I am actually really excited. I feel like I went through hell on Guam and I am ready to be on a bigger island, closer to the mainland. I can’t wait!!

  5. Anyone please read these comments from Americans about this place! from this website.
    The people in Hawaii seem to be very ignorant and immature, almost like they’ve never grown up and they have a child like mentality. Many even seem to be very proud of their own ignorance.

    They appear very hateful and wicked. Do they hate themselves that much? because by they’re actions and behavior that is the impression they give off.

    Many here are rude, have tunnel vision, are not cultured in the ways of the world and think that no other heritage or ancestry is as interesting or as important as they’re own. They almost seem brain washed or narcissistic or both.

    It’s a strange culture and the people are flat out tenacious weirdos.

    Spend your money elsewhere and especially don’t be a fool to move here!

    Comment by BitterSweet — July 29, 2012 @ 10:18 am

    • I don’t even know what to say to this post and a few others that I have read that have referred to the native people of hawaii as (thease people) like they are not human. Honestly when I read this the first thing that came to my mind was Hitler and his propaganda against the Jews. How he taught people to see them as nothing more than uneducated trash. It is very saddening to me, to see that people in our world still separates eachother by race,culture,education,religon, life choices and looks. How can any person of sound mind move to a place of deep and almost spirtual culture and expect for it to be like home or for them to change to make you comfortable. The worst part is that this is coming from our miliarty wifes, who’s husbands go off and fight and some give their lifes for our country no matter what race, culture,education, religon and morality. As wifes it is very important to show compassion in the face fear, acceptance in diversity and love when confusion and lack of knowledge produceses fear and hate. We should stand for what our husbands or wifes fight for

    • Wow, painted everybody in the state with the same brush as those you obviously met and interacted with and looked down upon from a Miss Holier Than Thou view. If I were to do the same with you and cast you in the same mold as the ass-backwards rednecks in western MD whom I had to tolerate while stationed in that area, who never got into a plane or went to the beach, who didn’t trust anybody as white as them (CA beach boys frequently got jumped by the farmboy pasty whities), then y’all (if I may borrow a term that lends to uneducated English speaking) would be driving around Hawaii with Jethro Boudine riding shotgun in my mind.

    • You knew what you were getting into when you married your army husband so don’t complain and you are the ignorant one and respect the people of hawai and probably when your husband gets paid and enjoy his perks you don’t complain.

  6. This is so sad. What a wonderful opportunity to teach your children about resiliency, other cultures and appreciating God’s great beauty. What do you think you did teach your children? How did they feel about their time in Hawaii? Did they see it as the great adventure that it was or look at it as life without Golden Corral? Turning to material things for happiness will only leave you empty. Always. Fast food places, malls, driving in the car. Get outside. Walk. Breath. Look at the world as a child would, with awe and appreciation, not with cynicism and fear. Life has so many great gifts to give if only you are open to them. I wish you peace and hope you can find joy in life no matter where you live.
    “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

    • I completely agree with you Siochain! Hawaii sounds like heaven! I am an Army wife as well, and Im stationed in Germany right now, and let me just tell you… it isnt exactly all its cracked up to be either, and most people would consider it a dream to liveI here! Its expensive as hell, and the post we live on has 1 burger king, a PX the size of a Blockbuster, a coffee shop, and thats basically it. And any town worth going to is at least an hour away and we have to convert our money to Euro anytime we leave post.. talk about an evergrowing hole in our wallets… AND its cold and rainy most days of the year, our families are thousands of miles away, and dont even get me started on the language barrier (seriously anyone complaining about how hard it is for wives to get a job, I’d like to see them try over here)…. BUT ANYWHO, despite all that(LOL sorry I had to throw in my rant), I still find a way to appreciate it here because I am experiencing a new culture all the time, broadening my horizons, seeing places and things I probably will never be able to again, and that is priceless .. point being, theres always reasons to hate any post, and yes its tough on us Army Wives to have to adapt to new places every couple years… but we all just have to try to make the best of it! I personally would LOVE to be stationed in Hawaii: sea breeze, gorgeous sunsets, water, natural beauty, the great outdoors, warm weather, people who speak English everywhere you go.. ya wouldnt mind that :)

  7. I find it really amusing that all these people are responding to a post that was posted 2 years ago as if its something new. (Im not saying anything is wrong with contributing, but dont respond to a post like its trying to say something new when the poster most likely already has “been through it already”.

    Personally, I dont mind whatever people think of this place. In fact, I find it great that people dont like it here because its already crowded and we really dont need more people wanting to stay for life.

    I even understand the whole issue with bugs, weather, missing family, and travel cost and travel time if you live really far on the mainland (because lets face it, a Cali person will feel less threatened than a East coaster….. I was stationed in Georgia when I had a family emergency in Hawaii.. I know how you feel just in the opposite direction!)

    What I dont get is that people say there is nothing to do here. To me that is simply insane. The island can be driven around in 4 hours. So what? The distance between Atlanta and Savannah, LA and SF are about 5 hours. Does that mean all of those locations and everything between it suck and get boring after a while? I HOPE NOT! Honestly I’ve heard that story before and to me it sounds like what a lot of people do on the mainland to kill time is to just drive around aimlessly for more than 5, 6 hours and then turn around and go home or something.

    Secondly, the food. There is a ton of it! Sure, you may miss your favorite food from back home, I got that. Do you think I don’t want to eat Chipotle, Chick Filet, Cracker barrel, In n Out, Five guys, so on so forth (Im not from a place that has any of those but Ive eaten there and love it) but there is a lot of food out here.

    Seriously, I know a lot of people who have never gone anywhere to eat except Chili’s and a steak house. Have you gone to any Korean restaurant? Why havent you if your excuse is you like beef and thats all they have there? Have you been to a single ramen noodle store? A single downtown buffet restaurant? Just one brunch place thats not IHOP? (Koa’s is good if you tried it, good for you, but thats not the end of the choices) Seriously, having one olive garden is not going to save that way of thinking if you get bored that “all there is to eat” is Chilis and Ruby Tuesdays.

    Ive been here for 2 years with family connection here, and I’ve yet to go to all the Indian restaurants yet. There is only 3 and I’ve been to 1. Have you even been to one of them? I know a lot of mainlanders like to go to Dixie grill, which is great, but how active are you in exploring these little places? The choices are finite on a weekday, I got that, but for heavens sake, there are weekends and chances to go to places to eat. If I was grading you on a checklist of all the different types of restaurants you went to in a 3 month period, would there be anything other than mainland franchises or fast food? You can go ahead and ignore Zippys and L&L because I’m all for eating there but thats just 2 local franchises. There is so much more than that out there to choose from.

    My intention in posting this is obviously nothing to do with having issues with what you think of Hawaii or thinking you suck because you have a different opinion than I do. But really guys and gals, if you are stuck here due to the Army or a job, for heavens sake please just go out and do things with a friend or your significant other. There is a lot to do and I just want you guys to not be feeling screwed and bored. Make the best out of it while youre here. Dont believe this garbage that there is nothing to do. Go out and do it.

    And please dont live in Wahiawa if you live off post. And if you travel to downtown for your job, dont live on the west side (especially Ewa) or Northshore unless you absolutely love driving everyday. I guess thats all I got for now. Take care

    • And obviously, since I know the the original poster of this blog is long gone from Hawaii, when I use “you” in this post I am referring to generic anyones who are dreading being here.

      I fully support you wanting to go home to where you feel you belong or dealing with it. Vent away about how much this place sucks. But please, for heavens sake, dont be “bored” with this place. It may suck a lot for you but it is not true at all that there is nothing to do here. Especially if you enjoy dining out. You probably need more adventurous friends that want to go out eating and having adventures with if you feel like youre being couped up. Anyway, thats all. Take care.

      • I totally agree with you. I have never been to Hawaii, but I would love to visit. I feel that she didn’t truly see Hawaii for the opportunities it offers that other places do not have. I feel like anywhere you go you can get ‘bored’ or tired of it if you are not trying something new i.e different cuisines, exploring unique places, or even the simplest thing as in appreciating the sunsets. I understand people will not always enjoy what others may love, but I feel that a lot of people just don’t make the best of what they have. If you are in the military you know you are going to be traveling/living to new places, why not try to get familiarized with where you will be for that year or two or three. Thanks for posting :)

        • Believe me I never get bored being on the mainland. I think it’s hard to see when you have never been there much less LIVED there lol. Vacation I can do , living there I can’t.

          • Read my posts to your original complaints
            I cant beleive you complain about Hawaii the way you do. W ehave been here for five years and I know plenty of people who ahve been here 20+ years. Yes Hawaii is what you make of it however you cannot have it your way. Maybe if you had found a church home like we did you would have been happier. I dont swim yet the beach is a great place to visit, we have embraced the local culture and enjoy all that we do. Now I will say we dont have the advantage of living off and LTC salary as I am retired military and my spouse is enlisted. We also have two children but have somehow managed to go home every summer and yes we paid for our tickets no Space A for us,and we still maintain our home on the mainland. We are in the process of buying a home here so Im not sure what the problem is with not being able to make it for your family. Feel free to comment.
            BTW we also seem to have found a way to send our children to private school as I do agree with you about the Public school system here and somehow my wife make a yearly trip to Kuai to participate in the mini marathon and numerous others here on Oahu. I also play golf on a regular basis so all of this on enlisted pay not the fat check of a LTC. I really believe that you are just complaining without true facts as it seems you tried harder to not enjoy Hawaii than you did to enjoy it. Like I said in my previous post finding a church home was important to us and that introduced us to many people and adventures. We stay at Iolani resort every year for at least 3 days and have even stayed at the new Disney resort once again on an enlisted salary. Funny how that works. Feel free to comment.

    • Interesting my girlfriend is born and raised in hawaii she is also hawaiin and i have lived in hawaii she says the same thing that there is nothing to do in hawaii she has lived 24 years there and she finally moved because theres nothing there

    • Well I have a comment about Schofield Barracks, HI. This is the worst place we have ever lived. The locals are rude towards the military. The cost of living is outrageous, The gas prices are currently higher than the National average, the school system is horrible, recently there was a pending investigation about elementary school children wouldn\\\’t sit still. The children go to school on and off post. The units vary on how they will treat you and your family during garrison and during deployment. There are many places that do not hire you on the Island unless you speak English, Korean and Japanese. The food cost is over the top and a lot of the veggies come to this island damaged or molded. There roaches the size of a small hamster and this is the capital of the centipede, they are every where. People who are in the unit tend to hang out and party a lot and there are a lot of divorces here, because of the mentality. My car was towed from my house because someone said that my car was not from the area when I had been living here for over two years. I am going to say this if you are an island person or a mainland person Hcontinued…. HI right now is a horrible place to live: the average utility bill for us is at $300.00 living off post: if you need any car repairs be ready to spend big money. Wahiawa is a horrible place to live, Mililani is horrible it’s like living on post but paying higher prices. Depending on what side of the island you live on it can rain every day for weeks and months. The average place off post is about 1100 square feet and a lot of places people rent out every room in a house, so you can share laundry room with everyone else. It can feel like living in a third world country at Walmart. There are a lot of people from all over, but the majority are Asians and then a huge melting pot of people. It’s not fun to go site seeing if you have a sign of Military because some locals have thrown rocks at the bus tours and people’s personal vehicle’s. This place has been a horrible experience for me and my family. We are not white. On post if you are looking to make friends look somewhere else. Lots of drama and people are quick to break up marriages. The tour is usually 3 years with an option to extend another year. I just had to warn you. Our rent was considered low here $1600.00 and believe me you will spend all of your allowances on everything. I came to HAWAII with an open mind and a positive attitude and I am leaving with a bad taste for this place. They economic standard is low and there are homeless people everywhere. The rich get richer here and the middle class become paycheck to paycheck. Be warned if you think this is paradise because this place is a monopoly for most of the companies. The restaurant food always makes us sick and it’s expensive. Men run this place, also the speed limits are ridiculous and the police are always right, even if you have a video in your car of the whole incident. Good luck with your next move. We are almost out of here and I can’t wait.

      • I’d just like to point out, if you want to complain about how the military is treated, look into history and see how both locals and Hawaiians (the Thalia Massie Case is an example of that) were treated in the past.. and there are still many Hawaiians who live in very poor conditions..

        • Mistreatment is wrong for any reason. My being hurt by one person doesn’t give me a right to hurt other people. Racism is wrong and there is no justification for it.

  8. I know this post is two years old, but anyway, I’ve noticed the only people who “hate” Hawaii are the ones who let themselves hate it. If you have an opportunity to live somewhere, anywhere, on someone else’s dime why not take advantage of it?

    I can almost guarantee that she’s never been to many, of not any of the hiking trails there, or gone to lanikai beach, or the sandbar, or gone to see the lighthouse.

    The blogger sounds so small minded that she got it stuck in her head that Hawaii sucked and that was that. She admits that she didn’t even want to visit other islands. I mean anyone who does any kind of research about traveling knows that every island is different. This just sounds like someone who is from a big city and doesn’t have an open mind about exploring what hawaii had to offer.

    Yeah, wahiawa is ghetto, but does everyone really expect every single place in the state to be some gorgeous area with amazing homes? Sadly, I bet anyone of those apartments in wahiawa costs upwards of $900+ a month to live there.

    Anyway, like she says in the beginning don’t let her opinion of a place cloud your judgement, and everyone wanting to learn about pcsing here should take her own advice.

    • What is wrong with you people? Everyone does not want to hike, hang out on the beach, or being in nature so for those people THERE IS NOTHING TO DO IN HAWAII. Couple that with the racism of half the native population and the high prices, HAWAII SUCKS FOR THEM.

      You need to stop being so small minded and try to see life from another person’s perspective.

  9. I am just coming across this…and I have to say Wife…HATE ALL YOU WANT! You are fully entitled to disliking a place. We are in a “desired” PCS location and I can’t freaking stand it. Everyone talked about how great it would be, we’d have all kinds of extra money to spend b/c of the allowances & COLA…we could TRAVEL ANYWHERE from here for inexpensive…But when we arrived our vehicle was damaged by the shipping company – who denied damaging it. (Um, our door was ATTACHED to our car when we dropped it off?) Our sponsor (while helpful, was SINGLE and had no idea how to help us) was not able to really meet all of our needs & we ended up just winging a lot of our incoming…moved in to the “wrong” school district…ended up being MUCH further from my husband’s place of employment than we ever wanted…and it was ‘off-season’, so we didn’t have many options to begin with. There was also the language barrier.

    COLA has dropped, the exchange rate is bad…and we keep getting shafted on our utilities, but magically, no one can speak English when we call to find out what’s happening…but they were perfectly able to speak English when we gave them our banking information. All we know is that utility allowance we get every month isn’t covering our utilities, even though on paper – IT SHOULD.

    With a family of 4 (soon to be 5) it COSTS to travel. And with the high gas prices…it’s just as expensive to drive the family car as it is to buy tickets on a plane or train. Sure, if we buy our tickets 6 months in advance they’ll be a bit cheaper…but everyone knows that planning that far ahead in the military is a gamble…it’s easier to decide on an outing a weekend or two before we want to go. We have to feed 4 people, buy tickets to attractions for 4 people, get 4 people the DISTANCE we want to go ($90 per person for a train ticket…one way?), and then find somewhere for 4 people to sleep…and maybe it’s just a Euro thing…but what’s up with all the single rooms? DAMN.

    And regarding the person who mentioned that the distance to SF & LA is about the same as driving around Oahu…Um…a 4 or 5 hour drive in a place that offers NOTHING ELSE isn’t entertaining. Try driving through Nebraska or Kansas for 4 or 5 hours…Hell, the Florida panhandle takes 8 or 10 hours to go through…it’s a vacation spot for a LOT of people…but boring as Hell if that is ALL YOU HAVE AVAILABLE…b/c there’s not a lot to offer up against the interstate…which is lined with pine trees & kudzu. Whereas, if you’re in Tampa & driving in a 4 hour radius there is TONS to do b/c it has LOTS of cities & sights to offer. Distance means nothing if the location sucks.

    One person’s paradise is another person’s Hell. I was born & raised in FL…I love it to death, but know people who can’t stand it. I’d *like* to gasp & act shocked that someone could hate the place…but I get it. Not everyone’s idea of a good time is a year ’round farmer’s market, beaches, & heavy humidity with record breaking heat for 9 months out of the year.

  10. I stumbled on this post while looking for pot roast recipes- I know totally random. I have been to Oahu, 6 times, Twice while in the Army Reserves (I was in the reserves from 1990-1999, then active duty from 2001-2004) and then 4 times (after active duty) while I dated a guy who was stationed at Pearl Harbor. I have to say I had a better time there when I was there for a week at a time, the two weeks I was there for the reserves was awful. It could be because I had to work everyday at Tripler but even knowing people there (Marines) I got bored.

    Don’t get me wrong, I loved going when I was dating, I got SCUBA certified in my home state of Colorado and got to dive and saw some amazing Honu!

    I agree with the author, there is some VERY bad areas of Oahu, I have not read her second post, so I don’t know if she made it to the other islands. But I can tell you that I tell people who go to visit to be very careful, you may see expensive looking hotels but behind them could be a shady part of the neighborhood.

    I rented a condo through VRBO (which was the best thing I did when going to Hawaii), it was in Waikiki and near China town, awesome right?! Well, yeah but you never go to China town at night! Even the local girl who rented me the condo told me she never goes there at night! Well, there goes dinner plans.

    I guess I can say I am luck, I look like a local, I am half Korean and American, my boyfriend at the time is Hispanic, and I have to be honest, if you don’t look like a local you will be greeted with rudeness by the some locals who are not in the tourist industry. Many do not like Haoles!

    My boyfriend is in the Navy, his rank then was a LCDR, equivalent to a Major in the Army. He was broke all the time! He even lived in the Barracks! He got COLA, etc. He did have a house in DC that was not rented out yet, but he would tell me how expensive it was there all the time and how he hated it! All the fun stuff like diving costs alot of money and gas was expensive to get to places. We wanted to go to the other islands but it is not like you can drive to them, you had to take a plane and that costs alot when you factor getting a hotel, rental car, and eating.

    Not only was I in the Army, I was also an Army wife and I can relate to the author’s frustration on the educational system there, while I was stationed at Ft. Campbell, KY I was upset that my daughter was not learning what she was suppose to be learning, but I quickly counted my blessings when a friend of mine who was stationed at Tripler telling me that she had to send her son home to Colorado (twice) because the teachers went on strike and all the kids were just out of school doing nothing!

    I have other friends who have lived there who were not in the military and worked as teachers and nurses, they had to live with other people, like up to six people because they could not afford the rent on their own!

    I can see why this author did not like living there. I miss going there, I miss the beaches, the people, and the food but for living there I would not want to. I don’t think I would appreciate what Hawaii gave to me if I lived there.

    And other thought, I hated being at Ft. Campbell! I hate being in small towns, I am a big city girl! So, I am sure I will hear from someone about that comment!

    Keep up the good work ArmyWife!

  11. My husband is Navy, I lived in Hawaii for ten years. I would go back in a heartbeat. I think a lot of people make the mistake of living in Hawaii with a mainland state of mind. It’s a very different culture, either get in it, learn it and live it, or you’ll miss out on true paradise. I wonder how far you ventured or if you sat at home paralyzed with fear of the unknown fueled by the rumors and myths military people seem to like to spread about the locals. It’s a wonderful place, wonderful people, wonderful food, local food, not “chains” of the same ol’ same ol’. I’m so confused by people who “hate” Hawaii, but it’s cool, more room for me. I do wonder if you miss it though, now that you’re likely gone… most people do.

      • American Japenese suffered too much back in world war 2 in hawaii. but still maintain grace honor and taking care of hawaiin native and others. without japenese american’s hard work and determantion there would be no hawaii. God bless presedent Obama and first family

  12. I cant beleive you complain about Hawaii the way you do. W ehave been here for five years and I know plenty of people who ahve been here 20+ years. Yes Hawaii is what you make of it however you cannot have it your way. Maybe if you had found a church home like we did you would have been happier. I dont swim yet the beach is a great place to visit, we have embraced the local culture and enjoy all that we do. Now I will say we dont have the advantage of living off and LTC salary as I am retired military and my spouse is enlisted. We also have two children but have somehow managed to go home every summer and yes we paid for our tickets no Space A for us,and we still maintain our home on the mainland. We are in the process of buying a home here so Im not sure what the problem is with not being able to make it for your family. Feel free to comment.

  13. BTW we also seem to have found a way to send our children to private school as I do agree with you about the Public school system here and somehow my wife make a yearly trip to Kuai to participate in the mini marathon and numerous others here on Oahu. I also play golf on a regular basis so all of this on enlisted pay not the fat check of a LTC. I really believe that you are just complaining without true facts as it seems you tried harder to not enjoy Hawaii than you did to enjoy it. Like I said in my previous post finding a church home was important to us and that introduced us to many people and adventures. We stay at Iolani resort every year for at least 3 days and have even stayed at the new Disney resort once again on an enlisted salary. Funny how that works. Feel free to comment.

  14. As the world progresses forward Hawaii continues to back slide and become even more closed in on themselves. Xenophobia is a real problem. Someone above mentioned above that the local culture was like a cult and unfortunately I’d have to agree.

  15. My son just arrived less than a week ago for his 3 year tour…his impression is “this is a dump and I’m already wanting to leave..”. He says it’s ghetto, dirty, confusing, compacted, terrible drivers and the worse part, he has no place to live, no vehicle, doesn’t know where he is, his sponsor dropped him off and left him at a Best Western that is in a bad neighborhood. He’s an E5 and worked his ass off to get there (22 years old) and is forced to live off base and not in the barracks. He has no idea which is good / bad parts of Hawaii and this mom can’t do anything to help him!! I’m frustrated because my Palm tree, psycho vision I had is now a mutilated forrest and I hope like hell SOMEONE helps him since I’m stuck in the middle of MO and he is way over there. He’s stressed, hungry (can’t go walk around and eat) and can’t sleep. Frustrating! If anyone has any ideas the good areas for him to get a good place to stay off base, please let me know!!!

    • Really! Seems like your Son needs to Man up! He’s a PO2 thats sounds like a whinney Seaman. It’s not at all that Bad! Guys like that are the reason I left the Navy for the Army!

    • That Best Western is right next to the airport, it is certainly not in a “bad neighborhood” just a part of town that only has car rental lots, car dealerships, some lunch spots, and the airport. It doesn’t look pretty but it’s not unsafe. If he has only been from the airport to the hotel of course he hasn’t seen Hawaii!

      We just left there 2 days ago when we PCSed out of Hawaii. We stayed at the Best Western for 11 days and never felt unsafe. It was all families and their puppies staying there! And yes he can walk around and eat, there is an L&L Drive Inn, Big Kahuna’s pizza, Starbucks, Jamba Juice, etc. directly across the street (Paiea St). I did it every day. Also he can cross Nimitz Hwy (totally walker-friendly with the big sidewalk on one side) and he can go for a nice walk up in the Navy housing neighborhood. He can also walk down Nimitz, tell him to go left, towards the H1 on-ramp, and it’s a relatively short walk to Moanalua Shopping Center and the NEX. PLENTY of shopping, food, necessities right there. He can walk down Lagoon Drive with a gorgeous view of the ocean, Diamond Head, and the mountains of Oahu.

      If your son is an E5 and 22 years old, he should not need his mom to do ANYTHING for him. He is a big boy. I just realized your comment is from May so he is definitely not stuck at the hotel anymore, but you painted a horrible picture without knowing AT ALL what you were talking about.

      I hated Hawaii when we first moved there, then realized it was my attitude that was making me hate it, once I changed that I loved my time there. Of course there are cons (traffic, crowds/tourists, cost of living) but there are pros as well (amazing weather, lots to do, exploring the other islands is incredible).

      Also, to touch on the expenses, my husband is an E4 (Army) and I only worked part-time as an ABA tutor on the island (I was only making about $20K/year, if that) and we were NEVER in a position of living paycheck-to-paycheck or going broke before payday. It’s called MANAGING YOUR FREAKING MONEY. Your housing and utilities (if you are on base) are PAID FOR! You are receiving a COLA! There is no excuse for crying poor, especially if you are an LCDR! WHAT?! People like that are the ones with $800/mo car payments, maxed out credit cards, and blowing their money downtown on booze and restaurants every weekend. Even with modest salaries we managed to find something amazing to do every weekend, some activities were free and some were pricier, it evened out. We also spent 4 or 5 days at each of the other islands (Big Island, Maui, Kauai) at incredible resorts throughout our 3 years there. Paid for with cash, not credit. BUDGET, PEOPLE! Life is so much easier!

      This is way longer than I intended. I am so SICK of the military getting blessed to live in Hawaii, a place some people dream of and wait their whole lives to visit. Shut up, seriously. I am happy to be back on the mainland, so happy, but I did not waste my time in Hawaii wishing I wasn’t there anymore. What a sad way to go through life.

      • Totally didn’t finish my thought in that sentence: I am sick of the military getting blessed to live in Hawaii, have so much paid for, so many benefits and military discounts left and right (we are now in WA and the discounts are few and far between!), and then they sit and whine the whole damn time. No wonder the locals hate us.

        • Erica please. The locals already hate us because most of us are haoles. Not me though. I am Hispanic and have been treated fairly well. Not my poor husband who is a Haole though. I once had a co-worker (oh yes, notice that I had a job here because I actually got out and experienced Hawaii for myself) who called the city I lived in Haoleville and even said White people were obnoxious. I had another local acquaintance tell me they had a pick on a Haole Day growing up in school. Wonderful. So if say, your kid is White going to school then his little local classmates might bully he/she for the day just because he/she is White. Backwards thinking anyone? Blessed to live in Hawaii? Yes, maybe. But what I mentioned makes it very hard to like it here for certain people.

    • Sounds like your son needs to cut the umbilical cord and grow up. And you need to stop babying him and let him grow up.

    • Nimitz Highway is not a bad neighborhood. You have not been given all of the details because as an E-5 he should know what he needs to do or if he doesn’t…he should have called his command, not his mother.

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  18. I swear you have put my thoughts into words even though it was way before we got here. We aren’t in Hawaii, but it’s just as bad from the sound of it. My husband’s first duty station had to be Okinawa, Japan. At first I was all excited because who gets to go to Japan for free right?(I was trying to make the best of it) but now that we have been here I just want to go home.
    #1. The language barrier is HARD.
    #2. The island is only 65 miles long at it’s furtherest points.
    3. It’s not free. With COLA steadily going down and everything having to be imported its hard to live here.
    4. People say “there is so much to do here”, well that would be cool if we made enough to match the tourist pricing.
    5. I think there are more things that can kill you here than in America. (Ex. Sea snakes, stone fish, box jellies, crazy snails with poisonous spikes, poisonous spiky starfish, habu snakes. Just to name a few.)
    6. You can’t bring your vehicle here, so unless you sell it, you pay for and insure 2-4 cars between the states and here.
    7. The island is mostly slums. I think I read somewhere this is the poorest part of Japan. (Could be wrong but if not it’s close.)
    8. And my FAVORITE is when family members/ friends say “you are living on a tropical island. Quit complaining.

    I could seriously go on for HOURS but I’m going to go read the rest of the series instead.

    Finally someone understands me!:)

  19. Interesting post. I am from Hawaii..at least 5 generations on both my mom and dad’s side. My suggestion, don’t come here. And those complaining that are still here..go home.

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  23. OH! MY! WORD!! I couldn’t agree more with your “review” of Hawaii. I know some people love it here, and that’s great for them, but I am NOT one of them. I was so excited (like most newbies to Hawaii are) to find out we were going to be stationed at Pearl Harbor. Like everyone who comes before us, we dreamed of island living. Beaches, warm weather, “laid back” island style of living. Our “dream” lasted, Oh, two weeks before reality took over.

    I can’t stand the traffic. Seriously! 45 MPH on a freeway? WTH? Traffic lanes and parking spaces that 6 inches narrower and shorter than anything on the mainland. (Really, they are. My husband works with the Public works department and knows these discrepancies.)
    I hate that no matter what, you are paying out the bazookas for anything. Clothing, food, gas, utilities, shipping. It’s insane! No one has a clue until you’ve lived here.

    I also detest that despite the thousands of restaurants in Hawaii, we have yet to find one that isn’t more then meh.

    Things to do? Yeah, you run out of places to go and things to do within a few months. Seriously, how many times can you go to the beach, or sea life park, zoo, aquarium, Waikiki, north shore, hiking, etc. And waterfalls? Most of the time its a teeny tiny trickle. We have waaaaaay bigger one in Oregon where I’m from.

    And lastly, this “laid back” aloha style of living is just an excuse to be lazy. I’ve never lived anywhere that has had such lazy people in my life. Its beyond aggravating. Thanks for putting your true thoughts about Hawaii out there. It’s bold and not everyone agrees with it, but I do!

    I think the monologue of the movie, The Descendants, pretty much sums it up.
    “My friends on the mainland think just because I live in Hawai’i, I live in paradise. Like a permanent vacation — we’re all just out here drinking mai- tais, shaking our hips, and catching waves. Are they nuts? How can they possibly think our families are less screwed up, our heart attacks and cancers less fatal, our grief less devastating? Hell, I haven’t been on a surfboard in fifteen years.”

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  28. It’s really irrelevant whether the original post was made years ago or today. I read (and hear, briefly till I shut them up) the same thing, the same narrow minded opinions from mainlanders, sounding exactly the same (whine but no cheese) time and time again. I heard it in 1985 when I first got stationed in Hawaii, in 1990 when I got a second assignment to the islands, and every few years ever since after I retired and chose to stay here and meet soldiers PCSing in.

    Try get out of your military housing, get off-post, go seek out other mainlanders – but original mainlander families who came to Hawaii on their own and not because of the military. They’re a whole different mindset from military. They do not have that entitlement attitude. They do not have severely critical opinionated ideas as if everything should fit them and their desires. They assimilate (soldier families, take a BSEP course to learn what that is) in their communities. They made the decision to relocate with the realization of where they were going, that it would be culturally different, geographically limiting, and oh yeah the bite in the butt for those “forced” by orders to come to Hawaii – the fact that for once in their life they would be a minority in their environment. That is the real shocker… to which when some actually vocalize their displeasure about it I rhetorically ask how’s it feel!!!

    But okay, I’ll grant you military types that the Army sent you to Hawaii, and it wasn’t your decision. Well, you or your other half volunteered same as I did when I got stuck in many redneck areas of bum**** USA. Deal with it.

  29. Does anyone know a good moving company in Hawaii? We were thinking about moving to Hawaii. I currently own a boat / yacht brokerage company and wanted to read about some good reviews out there about the company we should use. Do you have any idea of who is the best to use? We saw Matson and Pasha are shipping lines but were super expensive unless we bought a whole container! We were thinking of Hawaii Movers? Any clues?

    Thank you


    As the saying goes, Mahalo!

  30. I feel like I’ve written this, this exactly how I felt in Hawaii when our family is living there! We’ve been a few places and may be it wasn’t THAT bad, but the important thing is we’re in Kentucky now and I fell home here.

  31. I am sorry about your bad experience in Hawaii. Maybe that place is for vacations but not for living there one whole life. I hope that you are going to find your way! :)

  32. Are you young shoulders are spoiled brat this is ruined you and appreciate the fact you get to travel a lot of people don’t even get to join military let alone travel be grateful yeah you don’t have it so bad yeah you don’t make a lot of money remember life is about others not just yourself

  33. oahu rated worst highway,roads,ect, in america by some,polls.huge homeless population. the volcanic action on the big island of hawaii, creates (vog) on oahu. breathing vog can be a problem for some people. some areas of oahu have sewer problems,especially during storms. I’ve met a lot of very nice local Hawaiians. the beaches are beautiful, I liked the fall and winters on oahu the most. lots of outdoor things to do. the left politics, is dominant on oahu. I liked the slow pace of all hawaiian islands in general. i’m not blind to some race issues.

  34. Army Wife,
    I’m going insane here! I moved alone as well, and to Maui! I had ideas of a paradise with friendly people! Boy, am I wrong. Going on 5 years later I’m so depressed I can’t wait to leave. I worked for 2 years for a social service agency, and the last 3 for the DOE. I had to go into some of these people’s homes! So disgusting. It’s truly a third world here. The people are uneducated and dumb. Then, the kids here are rude and disrespectful at the school where I teach. It’s all ghetto minus the areas rich people who don’t even live here buy! I’ve had the rudest and nastiest bosses ever! Mind you I’ve lived in Vegas, LA, and born and raised in Milwaukee and this place is worse. The food sucks, it’s overpriced, there’s no shopping, no culture, and no one to date! Imagine if you were on Oahu solo. Also, I’ve had to move three times as they jack my rent up every year. Whoever thinks this is paradise is crazy. I’m basically living in poverty on my salary. My savings is gone, and I’m paycheck to paycheck. Sunshine isn’t worth it. My teaching contract ends on June 1st and I will be on the first plane after I ship my car.

  35. I realize this is an older post, but your grammar (ranging from tenses to spelling) is often incorrect. If you want to sound professional and convince more intellectual readers of your argument, grammar up my friend.

  36. Hello, thanks for the post, I know it’s dated. Navy here. Father. Lived all over the world, specifically in several places on the mainland. West coast, Northwest, East, South East. Your post still rings true even today, if not exponentially worse. By far the worst US station I have been assigned. Toxic people, aloha spirit must just be a Board of Tourism cover up for crab mentality and not-my-problem culture. Hot all the time. Traffic already at a virtual stand still 0530 to 0800 and 1600 to 1830. Nepotism and lack of meritocracy: good luck to your kids or spouse to get into a prestigious program at colleges or companies, the spots were already filled by friends of relatives of the program heads. This place is so much worse than it was before. I heard someone say it in Waipahu, “It’s like a cross between 1990 Philippines and 2010 National City, I love it!”

  37. Army wife, your pretty spot on, and your posting is timeless, I was out there as a child late 78-81, and there were gangs that would go to the beach and target military, the GOV and police didnt do anything cause of the faux take over by the evil American military…the monarch collapsed by their own people, then I severed at pearl for 20 years, again racism to military children in schools on islands is ignored….I served with hawaiians, one that grew on Ni’ihu that gave me a long explanation about how hawaii was over thrown by their on people and how the us stepped in out of fear of anarchy…I personally believe them. So visiting, it’s a great place, if you pay attention to the government, you’ll see communist in its entirety….unless you home school, or private school, your children will not get any viable education

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