1. You pronounce words correctly.
Hawaiian is actually quite easy to pronounce, as words are spelled as they are spoken. You know it’s “Ho-no-lu-lu,” not “ha-na-loo-loo.” And that little apostrophe is called an ‘okina — a glottal stop. So it’s “Oh-ah-hu,” not “Owahoo.”
2. You know how to properly weave a lei.
First off, you need a long lei needle. Second, a bag of freshly picked plumeria, carnations, <maile, ti, kukui or tuberose. Third, a long, hot afternoon, some shade, and good company fo’ talk story.
3. You know all the lyrics to Maui Hawaiian Sup’pa Man and belt it out loud whenever it comes on the radio.
“Mischievous, marvelous, magical Maui / Hero of this laaaand… The one, the only, the ultimate / Hawaiian Sup’pa Maaaaan…”
4. You’re not fazed when you find out you and a random stranger are related.
In a place as small as Hawaii, it’s not uncommon to meet a relative or a friend of a friend just by walking down the street.
5. You can pronounce the singer Iz’s whole last name without thinking.
While we’re at it — that famous fish? Humuhumunukunukuapua’a. No sweat.
6. The first thing people ask you is: “Why did you ever leave?”
The number one question on everyone’s minds is, If you’re from Hawaii, what on Earth are you doing here? Hawaii has its highs and lows, like every place, but it’s always been the idyllic paradise, so no one — sometimes yourself included — can fathom why you ever left.
7. You think nothing of going for midnight runs to Ken’s House of Pancakes.
8. But you still think driving anywhere more than 30 minutes away is excruciating.
It seems like everything in Hawaii is within close reach, so driving 1 hour just to see a movie in Kailua-Kona feels like a major event.
9. You love poi.
Most mainlanders can’t stomach the stuff — sour, gooey, sticky taro pudding that is the glory of poi. But to us, it’s the epitome of home.
10. Bugs don’t bother you.
Cane spiders climbing on the walls? Roaches in the bathroom? Mosquitoes buzzing in your room at one o’clock in the morning? No worries, it’s just another day in tropical paradise.
11. You still don’t really get daylight savings time.
One hour ahead? One hour back? Summer hours? Winter darkness? What??
12. You’re proud of all things Hawaiian.
When you’re traveling to the Mainland or overseas, you’re proud to share your culture with others and can usually pull out a fun fact or two. Double points if you sing a tune by Iz!
13. You know how to cook a few dishes from home.
Haupia, kahlua pork, lomi lomi salmon. You grasp around these recipes when you go traveling like they are the last ones on the planet.
14. For you, there are only two seasons.
Sunshine season and that one month in winter (usually February) that’s all storms and rain, depending on where in the islands you are.
15. You think nothing of driving from the beach, up through the desert, to misty hills and up an icy mountain — all in one day.
The Big Island has more than twenty microclimates, and is fairly small, so you can drive from sand to snow, Kona to Mauna Kea, in less than 8 hours.
16. You’ll swim, shop, and eat in the same clothes.
Wet swimsuit? Wrap a pareu around you and you’re good to wander the boardwalk. So long as you’ve got your slippahs.
17. You have a rice cooker.
And you probably eat rice every day. But, then again: You have no idea how to cook rice on the stove.
18. You think snacking on dried squid is no big deal.
Roasted rice crackers? Salty and sour dried plums? Oh yeah.
19. You use chili pepper water as easily as you use salt, pepper and soy sauce.
Water infused with salt and red chili peppers makes for a simple but fiery condiment.