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8/20/2014 Off to work

While I started putting a lot of time into preparing my courses for this semester early last week, work officially started this week. Just meetings though, classes don't start until Monday. But meetings can be pretty time consuming. Yesterday's, for example, went pretty much all day and today's will be the same. I was thinking of doing a travelogue entry for today, but just don't have the time.  Things should calm down a bit by Friday, so I'll see you then.


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8/18/2014 Return of the Hawaii travelogue

This seems like a decent time to get my new Hawaii travelogue started. Not sure how frequent the entries will be, but here we go.

Late July - Mid August: Living in Hawaii
At this point, it's been several weeks since I left Florida and moved to Hawaii. So what's it like living in Hawaii as opposed to just visiting? Honestly, I'm still figuring that out. Mainly because, for the most part, I still feel like I'm in vacation mode. Part of it is that I haven't been able to move into my new place yet (though I did find one). Instead, I've been staying at my parents' condo, just like I have during most of my vacations here. And, while I've been fairly busy with work related tasks for the past week, most of my work has been done from the condo (and working out of here is something I've also done a lot of on previous trips). So when is it going to feel like I actually live here? Well, from this week on my job officially starts (meetings and more prep stuff this week, classes next week), so that'll help. Though it'll be another 2 - 3 weeks until I can move into my own place, at which point it should finally sink in.
So what have I noticed about living in Hawaii? Finding a decent place to live here is tough. I paid $800 a month for my apartment in Florida. An equivalent place here was around $2,000, and that was outside of Honolulu. You also don't have a lot of nice apartment complexes around, especially outside of Honolulu. Most rental places are privately owned, which is more of a hassle and offers no real guarantees on how long you'll be able to stay.
Those are the reasons I ended up buying a place. Though houses here are similarly more expensive than back in Florida, Colorado, or Arizona. The nicer places that aren't overly expensive sell really fast (often within days of being listed), and competition can be fierce. Back on the mainland, if you want to buy a house, you never offer to pay the price it's listed for. House buying is a bargaining thing. Here, you can offer full list price for a house and still not get it (like I did on the first place I tried to buy). The market does get a bit less crazy, with longer listing times and more room for bargaining, but not until you hit the $600,000+ range. And, just to make things a bit more expensive, it seems just like about every house and condo is part of a development with high monthly HOA fees (several hundred dollars, at least). Some places actually give you nice amenities, services, and/or free utilities, which balances it out a bit. Others seem to just take your money because they can and don't offer much of anything in return.
So yeah. While my salary here is a nice step up over what I was making, I'm probably not going to be banking any more money than I was before. Quite possibly less. Though I will have a nicer place to live, which will hopefully rise steadily in value, so that's a plus.
But anyway, just know that if you plan to live in Hawaii, especially on Oahu, you're going to get a lot less for your money than you would in most other parts of the US.


8/15/2014 Busy working...

There's a new Timmy Tonka strip for everyone who votes. It's the last of the current set. There will be a couple of other special bonus comics next followed by a return to Blooper Reel strips.

I'm actually running pretty late today so I don't have time to talk much. This week has involved a lot of paper work, course prep, and errands and, while I've made decent progress, I'm not done yet. Looking forward to taking a little bit of a break over the weekend but there will be plenty more to do next week too with start of semester meetings and whatever on my to-do list doesn't get done today. All this start of semester stuff will likely settle down by the end of the month, but that'll probably be when moving stuff kicks into high gear again...

But anyway, I really should get going. Once things are a little less hectic, I'll be able to write more and get the Hawaii travelogue going again.



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