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From mainland college to mainland job: Why Bert Kanoa Jr. left Hawaii

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I was born and raised on the Big Island. My wife and I both grew up in North Kohala and graduated high school from there. I was class of 2012 and she of 2013.

The turning point was when I left Hawaii for two years to serve as a missionary for my church in Las Vegas. Doing so opened my eyes to what the mainland is like. After I returned home, I decided to attend college in Rexburg, Idaho, where I currently reside.

My reasons for moving were originally for school. My reasons for staying in Rexburg are for the greater financial and work opportunities it offers. And, of course, Hawaii is unfortunately the most expensive state to live in, and shows no mercy even to those who were born and raised there.

It wasn’t an easy decision. My family and my wife’s family really miss us, and we miss them. If possible, we would love to move back, so long as it would make sense financially.

If the cost of housing in Hawaii were similar to that in the mainland states like Texas, Florida, Idaho or Utah, then I would go back in a heartbeat.

Bert Kanoa Jr
Rexburg, Idaho
Former resident of Kohala, Hawaii

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