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What's it like to live on Maui?

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Having just read a similar question and many wonderful responses regarding Anchorage, I decided to ask, "What's it like to live on maui?" My daughter and son-in-law are giving serious consideration to moving there with their 1 and 3 year old boys. My son-in-law would probably be able to make a lateral transfer with his job at FedEx, and my daughter has her own cpr business which she could develop there should they move. The main attraction for them, I think, is living close enough to water to dive and surf on a regular basis. They think that this would be a wonderful growing up experience for the boys. But, what is it like to actually live there? How are the schools? What about the weather year round? Housing? Island Fever? Any feedback, positive and negative, would be appreciated.

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    I can only tell you what i have heard from my aunt and uncle who lived in Hawaii for 4 years, while mu uncle was stationed there in the air force. First everything is expensive, almost everything needs to imported. Second the public school system sucks. While my cousion was too young to goto school (and she would have attended a school on base anyway)Because their are SO many languages and different cultures the school public school system is very messed up. Also they always complained about driving on the islands, too much traffic and not enough roads. They were very happy to get a transfer to Md, and are even happier to now be in FLA

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    We lived on Maui several years ago and loved it. By the time we were done, we were ready to go back to the mainland, but would not have given up that beautiful experience for the world!!
    What memories we have.
    Now we're ready to go back for a visit.

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    My husband is from here, and moved to the mainland in his early 20s. After wanting to return to the `aina for 30 years, he brought me back here with him to stay. I am a So Cal girl, but we have visited Maui many times a year and it was ano-brainer for me. I found work right away, within the first week I was here. But I got lucky and had some good connections before I came here. If you meant that your daugher is a CPA, she will find that market very saturated here. The Maui phone book yellow pages shows me a full page of CPAs.

    Coming from LA I found the housing market to be comparable, but we were able to buy a house walking distance from the beach, in a nice, quiet, clean neighborhood. In LA a house at the beach was out of the question, and the neighborhoods where we might be able to buy would have been congested and questionable. Warning: the housing market has gone nuts recently and a house like ours, same floor plan, without our ocean view recently sold for $85,000 more than we paid and we closed Jan 30.

    Property taxes are seriously low, as are sales tax, in comparison to CA. Gas is a few cents higher than CA, although I was told gas in San Diego is higher than it is here right now. I'm paying $2.40 this week. But, I don't fill up every few days since I no longer commute an hour to work each day.

    Groceries are absurd if you buy them at the supermarket and pay the tourist prices. You learn where and how to shop here. Store like Safeway and Costco sell mainland produce and beef. But when you learn where to shop you will find that Maui-grown produce (and Maui beef, according to my carnivore DH) is some of the best produce you will ever taste, for half the price of the stuff at the chains. It took me about a month to learn the secrets, but now my grocery bill is manageable. Because of our large tourist population many things are more expensive on Maui than on neighbor islands. But you learn the ropes after a while.

    You can't always just go buy what you want and you can't always get it on the internet either. "Hawaii and Alaska excluded" are found in the fine print. So, again, you adapt.

    But, I have realized that I don't really need everything I think I want. I am learning to simplify. I no longer need 35 pairs of shoes, I just wear slippers, to work, to dinner, everywhere. I don't need to go to Macy's and buy cosmetics, heck, I don't even need but a swash of mascara. My skin is moist and tan and healthy-looking, not dry and pale like I was on the mainland.

    I go to the beach everyday. I am sitting here in my office watching the most gorgeous sunset from my window. I have learned to surf, something I never got around to in all my years in LA. Every weekend we go hiking or surfing or just exploring our island. Everynight we stop whatever we are doing and watch the sunset.

    No matter how bad the weather gets here, it's probably better than where you come from. The sky and ocean are blue and clear and clean. We don't get rain, we get blessings from heaven that bring us flowers and life and waterfalls and rainbows.

    Tell them not to move here if they do not like fresh fish and Asian food and mangos and papayas. My husband has eaten mabe three hamburgers since Jan, because while there aren't too many good hamburger joints here, there are so many other wonderful things to eat. So why bother with the cow burgers?

    The music will be different and they won't be up-to-date with the current top 40, unless they have XM radio. Even the local modern rock station is about 4 or 5 months behind the music in LA. But they may just get lost in the island music, and I don't mean just traditional falsetto and slack key. The Jawaiian reggae and contemporary Hawaiian music scene is booming here on Maui. I thought I would miss being able to go to Hollywood clubs, but we have a great local club scene here. And you never know when Maui residents Willie Nelson or Walter Becker or George Benson might be sittting in.

    I can't imagine getting rock fever anytime soon, as I am busy exploring Maui. When I am done with Maui there are the other Hawaiian islands. Plus, I plan on visiting SoCal a few times a year, and I have other trips planned as well. We have the beach, mountains, rain forest, alpine forest, desert, and even lava fields to mix things up a bit. If it's raining where you are, go to the other side where the sun ui shining.

    I wish we had made this move when my daughter, because she would have loved growing up here. The public schools might be an issue, as I understand they are not the best in the country. I don't really have much knowledge of the schools, but DH can read and write and even went to college. I think an educatiojn is what you make of it, and that it is too important to leave to teachers solely. I was active in my DD's education and I spent much of my time filling the void left by the CA educational system. You can probably find out more info on the schools from someone with school-aged children or by researching them on-line.

    As for the languages, I heard many more languages in LA, where some schools have more ESL students speakinf more languages than they can handle. Here the kids speak English and Hawaiian. There are Hawaiian language immersion preschools that are supposed to be very good and they are open to anyone, even haoles. I rarely hear other langues spoken, except by our many visitors.

    I love it here and I am thriving here, but I see people everyday who come here with expectations of what Maui is supposed to be. If they want to come here and change Maui, they will not be content here. We don't need the roads widened, we don't need the road to Kaupo paved. Things move on island time, and that really is not a bad thing.

    I laugh when people talk abou the island traffic. We have no Air Force base here, so I assume that Illusions aunt and uncle lived on a different island. But as for our traffic, hey, what's the big rush? And having driven in LA, I can assure you, traffic ain't no problem here, brah!

    I was lucky when I moved here that I already had a network, and it didn't take me long to develop new clients, make new friends and to essentially fit in. But I have heard from other people how they lived here for a very long time before they had a social circle. It's basically a small town and you have a lot of that small town attitude towards newcomers. This may be a problem for people who are used to an active social life.

    Island life is not for everyone. But then again, neither is life in the desert, or New York City or in the middle of Wisconsin. As in everything in life, here we have trade-offs. I may not have a big selection when it comes to bedroom furniture, or I may have to pay more to something shipped to me, but in exchange I get to have a beautiful sunset on my lanai every night. Traffic may move slower, but that just means I get to spend more time admiring the incredible scenery. And, if friends and faimly are always visiting me from the mainland, it just means I get to spread a little aloha around the world!

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    Thank you so much for your answers. I'll pass them along to my daughter and son-in-law. Just a clarification regarding my daughter's work. She's not a CPA; rather she teaches CPR. Any other input would be more than welcome.

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    I have two good friends who live on Maui and have heard the same story from both: the public education system is absolutely terrible, and the private (ie., generally Catholic) educations are only slightly better. The children who came from the mainland ranged in ages from 2-14 and the school-age kids were bored and frustrated in school.

    Getting island fever is another issue, along with work (i.e, the lack of it at good/comparable salaries). Real estate is high, for obvious reasons. If I had kids in school, I wouldn't move to Hawaii. Otherwise, I'd try it for a couple of years.

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