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Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Podunk anymore

by Chris Veith, staff writer


Another summer gone. One more year of school to get through. Funny how it doesn’t seem so bad here in Hawai‘i. Back in Milwaukee, school means winters so cold it hurts to breathe. Here, though, I’ll be wearing shorts and getting a tan all year long. And sending pictures of all this to my buds back in Milwaukee, along with notes like “The weather is beautiful… still. How’s Milwaukee?” Or maybe a simple, “Haha, suckers!”

But that wouldn’t be in the spirit of aloha, now would it? Aloha is one of the biggest differences between the mainland and Hawai‘i. I can walk up to the most grizzly looking guy on the street—the one who hasn’t shaved in a week, who’s wife just left him and on the way out ran over his dog—and start a conversation. A simple “Hey, my name’s Chris,” and boom, you’ve got an instant conversation. Before you know it he’s giving you pointers on where to go for cheap groceries, and that information is like gold here.

Food is crazy expensive in Honolulu. Remember Denny’s Grand Slam for $2.99 meal? Yeah, it’s SEVEN DOLLARS here. No joke. Want a half rack of ribs? Better bring your Visa. I’m afraid to go out on a date here. When I get the bill I’m going take the girl by the hands, look deep in her eyes and ask, “Do you have cash or credit?”

Has anyone else noticed that there’s about five girls to every guy here? I’m having trouble remembering all of their names. It’s got to the point that I have to write their name on my arm along with a small portrait to keep them straight. I see a person of the female variety that I recognize, I have to pretend I’m trying to lick my elbow just to find her name. I’m not complaining, but until I learn to get my shoulder back into the socket on my own, it’s going to be rough.

Especially since all of the island’s extra curricular aquatic activities require both my hands. I’m gonna attempt surfing this week, so if you want a good laugh, sit on Waikiki beach and watch the pasty white guy attempt to “toe the nose.” Should be good clean fun for the whole family. Bring popcorn.

Speaking of popcorn, has anyone gone to the movies here? It’s cheaper to watch a movie here than it is in Podunk, Anywhere. I don’t understand that. Milk is 8 bucks a cup here, but I can go see Angelina Jolie and Jude Law kick some alien butt for $5.50 before 6pm. Or better yet, wait a month and see it free in Waikiki at Sunset on the Beach.

For those of you wondering where I’m from that movie tickets should be so expensive, I attended college for three years in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which is great if you like beer, cheese, and cold weather. I’ve lived for some time now in Ohio, but I try not to spread that around. You ever tell people something about yourself, and suddenly they act like you’ve got a social disease? Saying you’re from Ohio seems to have that effect on people. I don’t know why, it’s not a bad state. Sure, there’s nothing to do there but watch corn grow (literally), but it’s not like we’re Indiana or anything.

When I told my boss I was transferring to Hawai‘i Pacific University, his initial response was “Hey man, that’s cool.” Later on, he mentioned that I might consider staying at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, because it was ranked top 14 in the nation for engineering. I replied – “Did you know Hawai‘i has the first, seventh, and ninth best beaches in the world?”

So now you know my reason for coming here. Well, one of them. The other reasons are ambulatory and can be seen frequently at the beach.



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