Living in Hilo

Monday Musings from Melinda by Melinda M.

Living in Hilo, or living Hilo style, means so many things to me:

1) Waving to each other on the road – very stressful. I often get chastised for not waving to my friends – in other words, for paying attention to the road!! Here, you have to know each other’s cars and license plates and be on the look out for the friendly wave coming at you! If you get a new car, you have a few weeks of anonymity and if you are borrowing your friend’s vehicle, be prepared to wave at all kinds of cars!img_97112) Talking about mowing the lawn, aka watching the grass grow – this one was pointed out to me by a friend in Waimea. When I told her my husband was probably mowing the lawn she said, “All you Hilo people do is talk about your lawns!” She’s right! The persistent cycle of rain + sun means that by the time you are home on a day it’s not raining and can mow your lawn, your house looks abandoned! So yes, we really do watch the grass grow here but I don’t mind it one bit!

3) Most men from Hilo are better known by a nickname – have you noticed this? Just to name a few, I know a Birdman, General, Potato, Pondy, Chukie, Snail, 20, Squirt, and Fresh, a councilman who is so known by his nickname that it is printed on public works signage in his district!img_92124) Near daily rainbows – it never gets old. When the morning rains come and the sun is rising out of Hilo Bay in the east, the mountainside in the west is often illuminated with a neon rainbow arching its way from one neighborhood to another. In the late afternoon, when the sun sinks behind Mauna Kea and the afternoon showers roll in, the rainbow spans the Hilo Bay. I have never driven under or through a rainbow as often as I have here. I squeal with joy every time it happens.IMG_21895) Go to or stay at the beach when it rains: it most places when the skies open up, it’s a mad dash to grab your stuff and run for shelter or back to the car. Not here. Here, there is little reaction from 99% of the people at the beach when it rains. Maybe a few keiki shriek, and the adults put away their reading material or phones but, for the most part, it’s business as usual. We all say: hey, we’re wet already! and know that by the time we pack up and wash off, the rain is likely to have stopped.

6) The original sharing economy – mullet, avocados, lemons, lychee, even leftovers – everyone shares. Bring it to work, leave it at my doorstep, give to the kids to bring home – the generosity of my neighbors and friends continually overwhelms me.

Most of all, living in Hilo means family, friends, and good fortune.

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