**This is a lengthy post. You have been forewarned ;)**
I love home reno tv shows.
I love the dreams that exist as the consequence of binging on 5 straight hours of home reno tv.
I am, however, about to diss on a dream that home reno tv makes look all too real.
You see, in the start of one popular show, they say,
"You don't have to be rich to live in Hawaii — you just have to want it"
I'm not saying that's not true,
but I'm willing to share my truth what
not being rich and living in Hawai'i looked like.
And yes, I did want it.
For brevity's sake (and because the show is a real estate show), I'll only focus on real estate in this post, not the other elements of "Hawai'i Life" that actually make all of this worth living there. See the REST of my blog, like this post, this post, and this post for that info.
Here we go:
The Blue Light Special
$1400/month, 2 bedroom, 2 bath, near Pearl Harbor,
30 min. to the nearest nice beach,
"Looks a bit like prison"
I lived on the 4th floor of this building.
Most likely, if you aren't rich in Hawai'i, you'll be living in a walk-up building. Heck, even if you are rich, you may be living in a walk-up. This means: cinder block walls, jalousie windows, and the ability for anyone to "walk-up" to your door, bugs and people alike (See more on this below in Apartment #4.)
My roommate and I were stoked on this apartment because it touted new laminate wood floors, separate bathrooms for each of us, easy entrance to the freeway (she was a student at UH and I worked a bazillion jobs to make rent), and a blue light bulb in the overhead kitchen light.
This was the view off our front lanai...not too bad.
Here was my lil' bedroom
Wish I had a better pic of this bathroom...it had a tub 1/3 the size of a typical bathtub...not really sure what I was supposed to do in there. Pretty humorous, actually.
This was our shared living space
This doesn't have anything to do with Hawai'i life...it's just funny. We had to hang a mug off of a fork, off of the dripper, to make coffee...but it worked!
Here we are. Livin' the Hawai'i Life:
We had plenty of space to invite friends over (and please take note of my hubs luscious locks in this pic...timeless)
This was the sunset view from my bedroom window. Not half bad....
$1200/month, 2 bedroom, 1 bath, near Waikiki,
15 min. to nearest nice beach
This was my (now) husband's apartment when I met him.
He lived on the 2nd floor of this lovely 2-story walk-up in the middle of this paved paradise.
I was jealous of his lanai.
My walk-up apartment didn't have a lanai,
but it did have new flooring,
and his had only old (I'm talking '60's/'70's old) laminate tile.
Look at that hunk of man!
$900/month, 1 room (kitchen/hallway that fit a bed), 1 bath, 1 closet.
15 min. to nearest nice beach., 5 min. walk to stunning hike.
300 glorious sq. feet.
My first "place of my own."
Then, 4 months later,
my (now) husband moved in.
2 grown adults and 1 pet gecko cohabitating 300 glorious sq. ft. of cinder block walls and '70's orange laminate flooring.
The location was key, though.
Centrally located between all of our jobs,
at the base of a lovely hike into the forest,
and next to one of the biggest private schools on-island (false sense of security).
Here's the view of the "guest bedroom/kitchen" as seen from sitting on my bed (with guests in town...hooray for futons in the kitchen!):
Baby me reading the Sunday paper and just happy to livin' the Hawai'i Life:
It was in this kitchen that our love of cooking together was born ...and when I say together, I mean "one small counter top together"
We even had a small lanai which featured our washing machine and our camping table for date-night dinners.
Date night! Woo-hoo!
The Married Life 2-Bedroom Spacious Delight
$1200/month, 2 bedroom, 1 bath
same building as the studio, 15 min. to closest beach, 0 min. to closest burglar.
I actually cannot find pics of this place, perhaps because my computer was stolen in the burglary. I will say, we thought we were in heaven to have 2 BEDROOMS AND A HALLWAY! Heaven even included upstairs neighbors with at least 12 people living in their two-bedroom... running 2 washing machines on their lanai... one after the other... from the same water line... which meant when one machine was on the spin cycle, they would disconnect the water and let it drain over their lanai... onto our lanai... dirty laundry water from 12 people. Gross. But we were happy to have the space, until everything we had in the space was stolen one day while we were at work... working to pay for the bigger space.
That's a Hawai'i Life reality, folks. Drugs and drug money are a big problem, and people aren't afraid to take what is yours to make some money for their drug addiction. Lock your doors (and your jalousie windows) and DO NOT leave anything in view in your car (my preschool teacher's car was broken into at my wedding and they took a bag with a towel in it. Seriously.) Okay...onward...
The Castle in the Sky
After the burglary, I moved us immediately to the
most secure building I could find
(even though the property manager told me "secure buildings either secure the crazy out or lock the crazy in.")
This was the nicest apartment we lived in during our time on island.
It even had a convenience store on the bottom floor!
The rooftop deck had shared BBQs which looked out over Waikiki.
We loved it here.
We ate many dinners overlooking our incredibly beautiful view:
We had two bedrooms, so family could come and visit.
This was Thanksgiving one year:
We were even the rightful (3rd) owners
of an Italian-made couch from Craigslist.
We had a kitchen big enough for one person to cook Thanksgiving Dinner...
Space to work on our graduate studies
A large master bedroom
That view, though!
An ocean view from the rooftop deck
A moonrise view from our bedroom
Fireworks every Friday
Ko'olau dreams any time we wanted them:
In short, we nested here.
Until it was sold.
For 800,000 dollars.
That's when we decided that our dream of raising a family in Hawai'i was too far flung for two (now) teachers.
Our kids would rarely see their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins on the mainland.
We would (probably) never afford a house with a yard.
we loved our Hawai'i Life
despite the burglars, high rent, flooring from the 1970's, etc.