*This list excludes people (and dogs) because I’d rather not tear up as I type this list. Plus, those are a given.
- Local food (of course the first thing on my list would be food.) I’m getting hungry just thinking about all the kalua pig, lau lau, ahi poke, Portuguese sausage, malasadas, and spam musubi I’m leaving behind.
- Rice being the default starch served with every meal
- Breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean from anywhere you are
- Japanese tourists. Sure, Japanese visit New York, too, but in Hawaii, they’re a thing. They’re the best-dressed people (the only well-dressed people, actually) in Hawaii and are the reason why we have designer stores that no one else can afford and amazing Japanese food in every neighborhood. They’re the reason why Gaku and Sasabune are on the same block; our standards for Japanese food are that high.
- Walking from my house to the beach alone at night, sometimes with a bottle of port, to clear my mind
- My electric toothbrush. My mom and I share chargers, so I’m not allowed to take my toothbrush with me. Back to the primitive way, I guess.
- town Restaurant
- Tradewinds. I am absolutely terrified of New York summers. The hottest Hawaii gets is the low 90s, and we have constant tropical breezes that distinguish us from any other muggy island close to the equator. For the first time, I’ll have to consider getting air condition.
- Seeing this trailer before every movie at the theater:
- Being able to easily send non-locals macadamia nuts, Kona coffee, and Big Island cookies
- Hotel hopping. This has been one of my favorite hobbies growing up, and while New York obviously has hotels, I’ve always felt like certain hotels — the Kahala, Moana, and the Royal Hawaiian — were somehow mine.
- Longs Drugs. So much better than Duane Reade.
- My 6′ cherry wood Bosndorfer grand piano. Even though I hardly ever play the piano now, those few times that I did play this past year were perfectly fulfilling. I refuse to play on anything less, so I highly doubt I’ll be playing anything anytime soon.
- The Kahala Hotel. This hotel deserves its own bullet, as I practically grew up here. Walkable distance from my house, this hotel is the location of many special occasions throughout my life, e.g. high school graduation party, Mother’s Days, ballet and piano recital completion celebrations. I will have to claim another hotel in New York.
- Beachside brunching (let’s not pretend New York has beaches)
- Waikiki. While growing up, I used to walk around Waikiki for fun because it reminded me of New York (tall-ish buildings with lots of people), but now I’ll miss it because it has two things that New York lacks: warm, crystal clear waters and happy people. Oh, happy people…
- Laid-back culture. I am not a laid-back person, and one of the things I love about New York is its fast pace and efficiency, but I know that there will be times when I’ll miss the easy going nature of people running on “Hawaii time.”
- Zippy’s. Of course New York has 24-hour restaurants everywhere, but there’s something really endearing about Zippy’s, a relatively clean, family-friendly 24-hour chain serving local food, found in almost every neighborhood on Oahu.