When I was a sophomore in college, I stumbled upon a brochure that offered students the chance to “swap” colleges for a semester and attend any other state school for no extra charge. I was attending Portland State University at the time, and after 10 straight days of grey skies and rain, I took the brochure to my advisor’s office and said, “I’d like to go to Hawaii, please.”
A few months later, I moved to the Big Island to attend the University of Hawaii at Hilo. More than a decade later, I still look back at the time I spent living in Hawaii as some of the best days of my life.
Here are eight surprising truths about living in Hawaii that I learned firsthand — and how they all come together to make Hawaii the magical, one-of-a-kind place it is.