It happened the other day. I was in a touristy spot, and the sales clerk assumed I was a local! It's been almost two years since I moved to Maui. Without a doubt, the journey has been amazing. The cultural change I have experienced is hard to put into words.
One thing's for sure, I can spot a tourist now. No question, they stand out with their floppy sun hats, perfectly manicured nails, and floral clothing. The funny part is though, it's usually not all about how they look. It's mostly about how they behave.
1 Timothy 5:1-2 says, "Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters."
It's amazing living in a culture where everyone really treats you like family. For instance, if your mom was the server at a restaurant, you would be a little more patient if the service wasn't speedy. There's a bumper sticker here that says, "Relax this isn't the mainland." People here really are patient. It's funny to watch the uptight, hot pink tourists. I mean, they are on vacation, you would think they would be relaxed ... but no, most are in their own little bubble world, not interacting, making eye contact, or talking to the people standing behind them in the bathroom line.
Not so with the locals. A guy just the other day started telling me all about how Kona coffee is overrated and he has his friends from the mainland bring him coffee whenever they come over. It seemed totally normal for me to be standing in the coffee section at Costco and "talking story" with a total stranger.
And people really care. Even the hoodlums are respectful. Once a group of teens apologized to me for using swear words when they noticed I was walking by with my kids. Another time an elderly man was walking his small dog and a big dog attacked him. Before my husband had time to get outside to help, half of the neighborhood was already out there. People look around them and if they see a need, they help.
Galatians 5:14 says, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Maui culture is a modern day example of the Biblical principal of truly loving your neighbor as yourself, and I know I have been inspired to open my eyes and try to treat everyone around me with as much consideration as if they were actually my family.