1. Embrace the jungle soundtrack—or invest in ear plugs. I don’t know who came up with the idea that roosters crow to signal the arrival of dawn, but it’s not true. They crow at all hours of the day… and night.

2. Wear socks to bed so you don’t inadvertently step on a centipede on your way to the toilet in the middle of the night. Actually, wear socks or slippers (flip flops) all the time for this reason.

3. Not a fan of ant floaters in your tequila, water glass, or food? Decide to get over it — and then do. For me, it happened when a bomb pizza I’d gotten from Flatbread Company in Paia was attacked by ants while I was having a painting party with one of my girlfriends…on the floor. (I know, not the best place to set food. I s’pose I deserved it.) Throwing that pizza out wasn’t an option, so I stuck it in the fridge and ate it for breakfast the next morning, ants and all.

4. Embrace the Jungle residents that will share your home. (You really don’t have any other options, other than misery. And who has time for that when you’re living in Paradise?!) I’ve done a whole post on this, but for now suffice it to say that you will be living with geckos, cane spiders, ants, cockroaches, centipedes, and mice/rats.
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5. It rains a lot in the jungle. Get a solid pair of wellies and a rainjacket, and some comfy “cold jungle” clothes. It can come out of nowhere — huge, torrential downpours — and it can leave just as fast, or stick around all day. I spent Christmas week this past year in the jungle, and it rained probably 94.7% of that time and I was freezing. The rain and humidity can make everything feel damp and cold, even inside the house.

6. Know what thrives in the jungle even better than you? Mold. It can take over almost as fast as the roaches and ants, and it’s bad for health — it can cause a whole host of sinus issues and other health problems. Keep an eye out for it in common places, such as around the bathroom, but be aware that it can grow in other, less obvious places as well, such as in closets, around pipes, and inside drywall. One of my friends who lives in the jungle went into the back of her closet one day and discovered that her clothes were covered in mold. Yuck. Bleach works great to tackle mold issues in tubs, showers, sinks, etc, but if you’re opposed to bleach, some natural alternatives that still kill mold spores are vinegar, tea-tree oil, and grapefruit-seed extract, as well as steam-cleaning. If you live in an area where mold is a problem, you will definitely want to invest in a  dehumidifier. Rotate it through the various rooms of your house, including the closets—you’ll be shocked at the moisture it collects.

7. Laugh a lot. No matter what happens, keep a sense of humor. Promise yourself that you’ll never get so distracted that you stop noticing the wild, breathtaking beauty around you. Hawaii’s jungle is magical, messy, exhilarating, exasperating, and safe. There are no snakes or wild animals that are going to jump out and kill you, so when you’re pulling your hair out over the bugs throwing parties in your home, take comfort in that.