4,599 miles apart, from the Pacific ocean to the Atlantic, Hawai’i, known for its beautiful islands and some of the best beaches in the world to the amazing city of Atlanta and the sweetest peaches around is how some classify the state of Georgia. The two very different states come with two very different lifestyles. Only some can say they’ve experienced both, and at Shaw High School, we have a few senior students who can express they have, from military backgrounds to job opportunities, overall activities and culture from the island to the mainland have many effects on those who transition.
Hawai’i is an attraction for the entire world, some will spend thousands of dollars to make their island trip the best it can be. For special individuals, they get paid to live on the beautiful island of Oahu(apart of the Islands of Hawai’i chain), Senior student Elijah Rijos explains “Both of my parents got orders to Hawai’i for 3 years,” his Mom serving as a Staff Sergeant First Class while his Dad as a promotable Staff Sergeant both serving in the United States Army. Rijos was very active in his time on Oahu, he did many things for fun “I enjoyed the beach, dancing, body boarding, and photography. They were my favorite hobbies that I enjoyed doing every weekend.”
Brandon Olson another Senior student at Shaw High can relate in ways, he explains “My father serving as a current Sergeant in the United States Army was stationed on Oahu, we stayed for four years,” Olson rather than enjoying the beaches enjoyed other things, “I liked to go play basketball with my Army friends on base because they’d challenge my skills and help improve them.” When asked what was different from Hawai’i to Georgia, Olson replied “There’s less diversity in Hawaii, while here in Georgia I feel there’s more racism,” Rijos also explained his differences that he has noticed, “The culture difference is very noticeable. In Hawai’i, you have people wearing board shorts, slippahs(sandals or flip flops), and tank tops. In Georgia, people wear Jordans, jeans, and more clothing. People are more chill on the island than people here(referring to Georgia).”
Granted, islands are some of the most beautiful places on earth and leaving an island like Oahu that you’ve grown on as a person can be one of the hardest things, but to Olson it was more than just the island, he explained “I miss the aloha spirit, the happiness everyone had and just the good vibes people gave off.” Olson does furthermore explain that in Georgia the people are overall just “friendly and courteous”, he likes how the skill of basketball increased from Hawai’i and “there’s more places to eat like Chick Fil A, which I’ve never had before.” More opportunities are presenting themselves to Olson easier than it would in Hawai’i, he believes his school grades have gotten better and he has more time to enjoy himself.
When asking Rijos what he misses the most about the Island of Oahu he said “I miss the beach the most. The water was home to many people and I think if you ask anyone that they will say the water or beach.” Rijos was very connected with the island itself, it speaks more to him rather than the people, except one individual. Rijos has been with his girlfriend Taina Rodriguez for two years, when asked Rijos what makes him happy here in Georgia he explains “Chick Fil A and my girlfriend make me happy.”
The difference between these two great places are obviously seen. The people, the culture and overall setting that is given off can be perceived by many in Georgia as a home state, meaning a place where you have grow as a person, educate yourself and start your future off. In Hawai’i being known for it’s great access to many adventures and the large amounts of ethnic change, some do call it home. As we all have our certain homes, the people who have traveled between these two places have experienced greater than most and are more aware of how state change is such a drastic effect on their lives. All we can do is be grateful for the opportunities life has given us and furthermore explore what the beauty this world has to offer.