How to catch glimpses of Hawaii from Chicago

We’ve just ticked off one huge item in our ‘Things to do while living in the US’ bucket list – we visited Hawaii. Needless to say attempts were made by some to stand up using wooden boards on white, frothy stuff in the water. I’m not calling it surfing because it certainly wasn’t. But we loved it. Just off the plane in Chicago, I read the waves on Lake Michigan are getting bigger and it made me realise little bits of Chicago will help keep the memories of Hawaii alive. Because….

hawaii…in both, you’re never far away from the water. Where you can bathe, paddle board, kayak, and yes, even surf. From Labor Day to Memorial Day, surfing dudes and dudettes can ride the waves at Rainbow, Montrose, 57th and Osterman beaches and during the open beach season, they can still bring out the boards on Montrose and 57th Street. There were even plans to set up a stationary surf park with a wave machine at Montrose this summer but that appears to have suffered a wipeout for the time being.

….they’ve both been home to an American president. Oh, and it’s the same president.

musubi….in both, you can find the great delicacy that is musubi. This, for the uninitiated, is a slice of grilled Spam laid on a block of warm sticky rice and wrapped with nori dried seaweed. For some reason, my kids thought their mother wouldn’t contemplate trying such a delicacy. Little did they know the wee island of Ireland is not that different from the wee islands of Hawaii and Spam was a regular feature in my childhood. And on our return to Chicago, we discovered we didn’t even have to travel over 4,000 miles to try it – ‘Aloha Eats’ on Clark Street serves the real deal, complete with Saran wrap and styrofoam box.

….in both, you often see happy people wandering around wearing brightly-coloured necklaces and clutching brightly-coloured drinks.

…in both, the word ‘da’ is associated with being a local. As in ‘da Bears’ here and ‘da kine’ over there. ‘Da kine’ is described as one of the ultimate Hawaiian expressions, used when you can’t/don’t want to/have forgotten the actual word. As in ‘Did you see da kine over at da kine?’. In Norn Iron, we get this totally. Our version would be ‘Did you see yer man over at yer man’s? ‘. Of course in both instances, the respondent knows exactly to whom and where the speaker is referring.

….in both, you can find sometimes black sand. Although in Hawaii that’s thanks to lava and not litter.

…both are surrounded by a large expanse of flatness (in Hawaii’s case, watery flatness called the Pacific Ocean). This requires anyone who wishes to stand up on wooden boards on white, cold stuff to first get on an airplane. And before anyone points out that you can go skiing in Wisconsin, this is a little like surfing in Chicago.

….in both, you leave your outside shoes by the door – except that in Hawaii, they do this year-round while here we do it when the pavements are caked in once-white-but-now grey, cold stuff. So that’s about 1/2 of the year.

cracks…in both, cracks in the earth’s surface are common place. Over in Hawaii, you have to go to National Volcanic Parks to see them but here, we get to drive over them all year round!

If you enjoyed reading this, you might also like –

10 ways Chicago reminds me of Rio de Janeiro

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  • You explained why Dog the Bounty Hunter's business is called Da Kine Bail Bonds. But over here, they don't have Whatchamacallit Grocery.

    Chicago was the home of lava lamps, but not real lava.

  • In reply to jack:

    Lava lamps - now, there's a memory Jack! Loved learning that they were made here.

  • In reply to Caroline Eagles:

    Still have one from the early 70s, but it is in a box. Google says that the company is still in Elk Grove Village.

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