Your Name (if you would like it to appear):
How long have you been here? (give years please, ex. 2003-present)
What is housing like? On-post? (waiting list, conditions, etc.) Off-post? Any areas to stay away from? Average price to rent or buy?
The quality of housing on Schofield really depends on the neighborhood they assign to you. The housing built post-privatization is very nice, with central air, carpeted rooms and quality appliances. The older housing has no carpeting and no air conditioning, but other than that, it is still very livable (we were thrilled with all of the storage in the kitchen). You are permitted to install window a/c units, this being Hawaii, but there are restrictions on BTU’s and appearance; I would advice contacting your local community center before installing anything. At least one neighborhood on base is of very low quality, and the housing office will inform you if this is the neighborhood they are assigning to you, as I’m told they will not collect full BAH if you choose to accept it. As for off base, avoid Wahiawa. Mililani is a little further away, but it’s a much nicer neighborhood. Wahiawa’s pretty much only good for restaurants.
Rate the PX & Commissary.
My husband and I don’t like crowds, so we prefer the Schofield PX to the nearby Pearl Harbor NEX, which may have (a lot) more shopping options, but is regularly a madhouse. The PX has a decent food court and typically has quite a few tables and kiosks of local crafts. Because the prices at off-base grocery stores are so much higher, the much cheaper commissary is almost always super crowded. I would recommend familiarizing yourself with the stocking cycles; if you show up at the wrong time of the week, you are likely to find there isn’t a cut of meat left on the shelves.
Activities on base?
There is a bowling center both on Schofield and on nearby Wheeler. There is also a movie theater, which only shows one or two, slightly older movies at a time. There’s a sports bar on base, too, which I’m told has a weekly salsa night. Most communities also plan activities for residents of their neighborhoods, usually child-centered.
Active Spouses Club?
If there is, I never heard tell of it, and none of the other spouses I knew attended.
Things to do in area?
Lots! Hawaii’s reputation for being expensive is warranted, but we’ve found plenty to do that hardly costs a thing. The North Shore provides scores of free, beautiful beaches and roadside produce stands with tasty, cheap tropical fruits. And don’t pass up those shrimp trucks just because they look a little sketchy! They are some of the tastiest restaurants around. Also, the Dole pineapple plantation is within a few miles of the base. It’s a big tourist destination, but it is still fun, and the pineapple ice cream is worth the trip. Iolani Palace, the only royal palace on US soil, is in downtown Honolulu, not far from the Honolulu zoo and Waikiki beach, which are also worth checking out. Our favorite place is the North Shore town of Hale’iwa. Check it out on Sunday mornings for a small but lovely outdoor market – we bought a locally farmed Christmas tree there, and added a tropical feel to a normally cold holiday! There are also a number of gorgeous golf courses, some military-run, all across the island.
We don’t have kids yet, so I’m not sure.
Any colleges in area?
The University of Hawaii is the big one around here.
Jobs? (on post and off)
I am currently unemployed, as are a number of the other spouses I have met. Quite a few people I’ve talked to have either had trouble getting a job, or could only find one nearer to Honolulu, and the traffic makes that a rough commute.
Favorite aspect of this base/surrounding city?
We love so much about living in Hawaii. The weather is amazing 90% of the time, great food is everywhere (particularly if you enjoy Asian cuisines), and there is always something to do, even if it’s just strolling down the Waikiki strip, people-watching. They refer to the Hawaiian mentality as the ‘aloha spirit,’ and we enjoy how relaxed and friendly that spirit is. Some people say the islands feel too foreign to them, too far and too different from home, but we are thrilled with the opportunity to experience new things here.
Least favorite aspect?
The bugs and the mud. We love the geckos (they’re cute, and they eat the ants), but pests like cockroaches and centipedes are unbelievably large and gross, and we learned quickly not to leave the backdoor open for the dog. Also, Hawaii is covered in red dirt, and with frequent morning showers (Schofield seems to get more rain than other areas of the island), the dog was ALWAYS tracking mud in, and lots of it. I recommend some serious rugs at the entryways of your house, or you may be spending an unreasonable amount of time mopping.
Local websites? (base, chamber, newspaper, schools, etc.)
Any other tips?
Take advantage of the endless summer. We’re from Minnesota, and strolling down Waikiki Beach in flip flops and aloha wear on New Year’s Eve was an amazing experience that will stick with us forever. The flowers here are always blooming, so stop and smell them. Oh, and drive down the H-3 sometime, just for the sights. It’s beautiful!