1. You have low expectations for almost everything.

Living on an island means depending on imports for basic necessities and frivolous entertainment. Milk spoils fast. Produce loses freshness quick. It takes forever for a shipment to come in. Typical standard things that I take glorious advantage now that I live in the US must be anticipated and expected with a grain of salt in the Marshall Islands.

2. Every beach sucks in comparison to the beaches back in the Marshalls.

You can’t help but compare every beach to the ones back in the Marshalls, which, if you haven’t noticed, comes nowhere near as satisfying to the ones you’re accustomed to. For instance, I went to a beach today in Honolulu (yes the ever revered waters of Hawaii) and it was… Okay. Why isn’t the water blessed with azure? Why is there wood drifting alongside the shoreline? And what’s with all these people?

3. You think Kool Aid taste good on everything.

It’s a fundamental truth that Kool Aid is the greatest powder substance since sugar. You will happily put this on your noodles, your oranges, your peaches. It’s a supreme packet of flavor that shall always have a place in your shelves, locked away in a secret cabinet where no one can find it. Oh yeah… I guess you could also make Kool Aid out of it.

4. You will long for the taste of breadfruit chips even if they stunk up the place.

It’s worth it.

5. Anything remotely having anything to do with the Marshalls will have a special place in your heart.

Spongebob Squarepants, Lisa Loring, Shark Week, that Louis Zampenelli film by Angelina jolie.

6. Not working on Saturday is a mindf*ck and having to get up on a Monday morning just doesn’t feel right.

You don’t care what everybody says: Monday is part of the weekend, and Saturday is a weekday. How people function with this schedule is beyond me.

7. Your graduating high school class messages you on a near weekly basis to vent about random stuff.

And I mean all 8 of them.

8. You’re used to seeing you, your family, your friends, your neighbors in the newspaper for no reason.

Perhaps you were on the front page material because you were playing baseball, attending a club meeting, or because you were picking up a cool-looking shell on the beach. Unfortunately, abroad, newspapers like stories about tragedy, politics, and the weather, so your face won’t be in local media anytime soon.

9. “Yokwe” is the definitive way to say “hello”.

And “Kommol tata” is the definitive way to say “thank you”.