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On the mainland, when the groundhog sees his shadow, there are six more weeks of winter on the horizon. In Hawaii, when the flamingo sees his shadow, there are six more weeks of paradise – especially for us snowbirds who live here from Christmas to Easter. It took 39 visits to Hawaii to figure out the right place to live as a seasonal tourist. We explored all the major islands before deciding Oahu was the right choice. As much as I love the tropics, I can’t give up cultural gems like the theatre, opera, symphony, fine arts, and historical lectures. Originally, I had my eye on Naalehu (on the Big Island), where Mark Twain planted a monkeypod tree near the southern-most point in the US. Unfortunately, I have muscular dystrophy, and Naalehu is too far from MD specialists.
Oahu has Queen’s Hospital, where board-certified neurologists provide medical services for disabled people like me. At first, I had my eye on Laie town, because I wanted to live near the Mormons. I feel safe with them, most likely due to their prohibitions on stealing, drinking, incivility, and all manner of vices. One never sees drunk panhandlers disturbing the peace, nor drug addicts passed out on their lawns. Although I am not Mormon, I get along with them very well, just as I did when I lived in Amish territory in northcentral Indiana.
I love the Polynesian Cultural Center at Laie. My post-doctorate graduate degree is in cultural anthropology, and visiting the Center is like being a kid in a candy store. I would live there if I could, mingling among the heritage interpreters, celebrating the rich cultures of Polynesia. But again, Laie town is simply too far away from advanced emergency room locations.