The Shock of Moving From Hawaii to San Diego
I grew up on the Big Island, and when I got accepted to San Diego University I knew my world would be changing. I used a moving company that does moves from all 50 states, and arrived safely followed by meager belongings one week before the start of classes. I worked with a property management San Diego agent who found me a nice apartment. I thought I’d be ready, but I have to admit I suffered from culture shock. I am used to smaller roads, rural schools and crazy drivers. At least the drivers are consistent – crazy as loons. The hardest thing to get used to was the shear congestion of downtown San Diego. They have a bus system that runs every few minutes, and its jam packed during rush hour. I felt like a sardine for the first time in my life.
Another change was the different ethnic groups. I’ve met some other Hawaiians or Okinawans here, and bringing up ethnicity seems to be a taboo. Where I come from, we celebrate our backgrounds and freely discuss them. Here, not so much.
People in San Diego smile nearly as much as we do in Hawaii. Seems like they don’t take themselves completely seriously. I always smile at people I meet, and it usually cheers them up. Polite speech and compliments can go a long way towards making others comfortable. I guess that is my Aloha spirit at work. When people find out I am from Hawaii, I usually get a nice greeting and a reference to the president. Except from some people who call themselves “birthers” – I don’t know their problem but they are not very friendly!
I am getting used to the food, which is quite different from the fruit and fish I am used to. I am learning to like hamburgers, but I have to say the quality varies greatly from chain to chain. I don’t like soggy, greasy food, but the locals here seem to want to eat their French fries dripping with oil (and salt). Another thing – people consume a lot more alcohol on the mainland. At the university, drinking on campus is not allowed, but people somehow get very drunk anyway. I don’t mind that so much, as long as they don’t pressure me to drink. Same thing for drugs – not interested. I am high on Hawaiian spirit! I am looking forward to the next four years, but also know that I will go back to Hawaii some day. I guess I am a “home boy”.