TRAVEL STORIES: Being Mistaken as a Local in Hawaii

I was adopted as a baby by a couple I would grow up to call “Mom and Dad”. Being an only child allowed my family to travel as much as we have, plus my dad’s brother had married a world-class Hula dancer and lives in Kailua-Kona with her. My adoptive parents are both of German and Polish decent. I however, am Half-Mexican and mixed European. I have very dark brown hair, brown eyes, and tanner skin compared to my parents. 

I’ve been to Hawaii six times so far (as of February 20th 2015), and when I was younger there were a couple of incidents where I was mistaken for being a local. According to my parents, it happened more often than I could remember. What would happen is, a local would come up to my parents and ask if I was really their daughter. When I was a little older (Between 5-8 years old), there were a couple of times where a local would come up to make as ask if those haoles were my parents. (Haole = Caucasian person) At the time, it was confusing for me. I didn’t understand why people would ask me if my parents were really my parents. I did, however, understand that I looked different from my parents. According to my parents again, when I was about five I said I liked Hawaii because people look like me. I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States, and I hadn’t really encountered people who “looked like me”. Green Bay has really diversified since then, which I’m very happy about. 

Nowadays, I still get mistaken for a local. I don’t get asked about my parents anymore, but sometimes caucasian tourists will ask me where something is or how to get somewhere. I actually find it very flattering when I’m mistaken as a local now. It makes me feel like I belong there. Anyway, that’s all I have for today’s post. Happy travels! 

COMMENT CHALLENGE: Let me know down in the comments below if you have ever been mistaken for a local!

It was so cool seeing sea turtles up close!
It was so cool seeing sea turtles up close!
Taken at the City of Refuge, a must-see attraction!
Taken at the City of Refuge, a must-see attraction!

5 thoughts on “TRAVEL STORIES: Being Mistaken as a Local in Hawaii

  1. Yes, but never in Hawaii haha.
    In Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. But those places are so diverse, many people could be mistaken for locals- especially Puerto Rico.
    Its always been interesting to me how different the idea of race is here in the US vs. some countries in the Caribbean.
    One of my cousins and I used to hang out a lot, and people would look at us like we’re crazy when we’d say we’re family because she’s white, and im black.
    Meanwhile, in other places, the concept of a person with pale skin and a person with brown skin coming from the same family is not out of the ordinary at all!


  2. I quite often get mistaken for a local and asked for directions wherever I am in northern Europe. I think this has more to do with the fact that I always look like I know where I’m going, rather than looking like I come from the country. Having said that, I don’t think I look typically English, so maybe I just look like a bit of a mix.


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