On Hawai’i Time


More stories from Maggie Cipriano

On Hawai’i Time
December 3, 2018

There are two ways to see Hawai’i. The first is staying in a fancy-shmancy resort on the famous bubblegum pink and baby blue Waikiki stretch, where tourists are corralled around the island in busses by day and head to the clubs at night. The other way to experience Hawai’i is the increasingly popular Airbnb and rental car route, for the people that want to cook their own meals and find their own adventures.

We live in an age where a good time is dictated by the photos taken. Everything seems to revolve around social media no matter how hard we try to avoid it. I mean, it is hard to fight the urge to take photos when Waikiki is the perfect place for it. However, there is so much more to the island than the postcard version of Waikiki.

I have been here three months and between a job and classes, finding time to explore is hard. That rare day where I have no class or work does happen from time to time. When that day rolls around and I am not sure what to do, I always ask my local friends. It is a well-known fact here that if you want to find the absolute best spot for adventure, food or anything else really, the locals have you covered.

Locals here are passionate about their favorites, more than any other place I have lived or visited. They are loyal to their surf spots and restaurants. These prized spots are usually far off the beaten path, and the restaurants are usually owned by somebody’s “auntie” who is in the back whippin’ up the best fried rice on the planet.

O’ahu is jam-packed with hidden gems. Every hike and every beach is someone’s favorite. It is part of the Hawaiian mentality here. They care so deeply for their island. Their pride is not shown by a flashy sports team logo. It is shown by honest respect for their land. They ooze Hawai’i pride.

Their love for the land is shown by graciously sharing their land with visitors, like me. The beautiful city, lined with palm trees, surrounded by beach and misty mountains, has so much to offer. But it is the rest of the island that offers the real Hawai’i.

The first thing I was taught when I arrived to Big Island last year was that the islands, and everything on them, are sacred. They are alive. Being a visitor here is an incredible privilege. I have learned to respect the land, and thank the land for allowing me to use it. From relaxing at the beach and adrenaline rushes in the mountains, to waking up to the sweet scent of plumerias, always thank the land.

So, O’ahu, thank you for being my new home. And locals, thank you for sharing your secrets about this little island. It has been three months since I arrived, and I still wake up with butterflies in my stomach, reminding me how in love I am with this place more than 4,000 miles away from home. Mahalo.

Cipriano can be reached at [email protected].