Although some of my friends through real estate have made the move to Maui, the greater number make up the friends who own second homes in Maui. These friends I tend to see whenever they return.Because living on a resort island by nature means people come and go, it is a difficult aspect of island living to see friends leaving for the mainland and having to say goodbye. However, my real estate clients-become-friends tend to make up the exception. By securing real estate in Maui, I have a catch-phrase guarantee from them, in the famous words of Arnold Schwarzeneggar, “I’ll be back!” and in turn I have the emotionally cushioned benefit of never having to say “goodbye” simply “Aloha!” and “A Hui Hou” which means “until next time.”
As I mentioned, some of my clients have actually moved to Maui and have become my nearest and dearest friends. Missing out on tornadoes and flooding in Oklahoma, to dodging volcanic ash and vog of the Big Island, the transplants to Maui are finding that Maui Life Is Good, Really Good!
Locals, here called kama’aina which translates to child of the land, enjoy what is known as “kama’aina rate” on various activities, at select restaurants and in supermarkets and stores. The word Kama’aina identifies you as being a Hawaii resident, and retailers and business owners take account that residents are often paying a premium for living in a resort environment so offer a discount to compensate for this surcharge.
An early lesson for my new friends who buy Maui real estate is teaching them to say and correctly pronounce “kah-mah-aye-nah” in order that they may enjoy the benefits of the discounts afforded locals. This typically requires having a Hawaii State ID or drivers license. I read to my amusement somewhere that if you haven’t learned how to say “kama’aina” then just bring a dog with you wherever you go as proof you live here! Because of our quarantine laws, it is not likely you will have a dog if you are a visitor.
Needless to say, much of my social calendar is made by when my friends are here, staying at their properties. It is a privilege I enjoy as one of the greatest perks of my job! As a former employee at Four Seasons without any disrespect to their company policy, they do not permit “fraternization with guests” so this is something I have been liberated from by being a Realtor. As much as being a professional comes first, the natural outcome has tended to be friendship.
Over the years I have seen friends leave Maui, especially those who work in the resort industry who typically do not own real estate as they are climbing the corporate ladder and moving every 2 or three years to other hotel locations, getting a resort under their belt with Maui to add to their resumes. I remember one friend who’d relocated to Chicago tell me, “I used to think when I lived in Maui, the people just didn’t get it! Living in a paradise island, enjoying a resort lifestyle, sunshine weather…it’s not real life. Then I moved to Chicago with the hustle and the bustle of the daily grind and the snow freezing my pipes in winter and came to realize “no, I’m the one who didn’t get it!” Another family I knew packed up and moved to Florida having sold everything. They were back in Maui within a year.
It is what I have always believed, Hawaii gets under your skin! Many years ago I read if you come to Hawaii once you will always come back. At whatever level, that seems to ring true. Did you know that Hawaii is the most remote island chain in the world? Even my fellow Brits who endure the 24-hour journey across the globe to get to this dot in the central Pacific, 2390 miles from the nearest landmass, leave intent on returning.
As I wrote in a previous blog, I moved here having travelled extensively to discover that there is no place like Maui. When I would visit, I felt a terrible dread each time I left that I recognized could only be eased by putting down roots here and becoming kama’aina myself. I knew that by buying something in Maui I would ensure, in Arnold’s words adapted, “I’d be back.”