When I first started this blog, I simply wanted to record the discoveries I made and share the bits of useful information I learned from others. I was curious if it was possible to fly here on a one-way ticket, make a living somehow, and call Maui my home.
Nearly 3 years later, I daresay that all of the above have been possible.
Everyday is paradise as I had imagined it: predictable perfect weather, friendly and polite people, endless outdoor possibilities, low population density giving to plenty of personal space, slower pace of life requiring one to chill out to adapt, and tropical fruit and vegetables galore.
The low population density translates to one degree of separation. Everybody knows each other — and as long as you’re not in the black book, this is fine. It’s easy to find the person you’re looking for. Transactions are based on who you know and who knows you. The more people that know you, supposedly, the easier things get done. The reverse is also true — a bad reputation travels fast.
If you like variety and choice, Maui may not be the place for you. Pretty soon you run into the same people or see the same faces but don’t remember when or where. Some things you simply don’t get to choose, e.g. electric kettles and book cases. You’re lucky if there’s one model in stock, usually the last item on the shelf!
And so, I’ve passed the honeymoon stage of culture shock. I’m also long past the homesickness stage. Certain activities remind me of what I miss in the places where I have lived before, and that’s when it jolts me. I miss my own tribe — people that I discover by myself (and not introduced) and want to get to know through collaboration and activities.
I am at that stage of culture shock where I feel pretty well adapted and adjusted, except for the paradoxes that puzzle me.
- Why are we squeezed between high cost of living and low wages?
- Why is it difficult to find a job if you have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher — unless you’re in the health and medical profession?
- Why are energy prices higher than average, or rather, among the highest in the country when we see an abundance of wind and sun? Why are we so dependent on petroleum — or rather, dependent on fossil fuel imports — when we are blessed with natural sources of energy, i.e. renewable energy?
- Why is there such a big gap between the very rich, famous and in hiding, flown here to retire and those that were born and bred here, juggling 3 jobs to survive?