From coast to coast: moving to Hawaii as a Burlingame student


Photo courtesy of Jacklyn Nee

Jacklyn and Michaela Nee officially moved to Maui in December of 2020.

Allison Cohen, Business Manager

After planning a temporary stay at a family member’s house in Maui this past October, senior Jacklyn Nee, sophomore Michaela Nee and their mother Jen Nee were hooked on island life. From over 2,000 miles away, Jacklyn and Michaela have continued their education at Burlingame through distance learning while enjoying an exciting new daily life.

“We just kept extending our trip by like a week or two at a time until it was like almost six weeks in Hawaii and at that point we were thinking … we should move here,” Michaela said.

By December, they were ready to move, returning to Burlingame to pack up all of their belongings over the two-week winter break and flying back out to Maui. 

“We’ve never moved out of state and then to move to an island it was kind of like ‘wow, okay this is happening.’ Overall, it was not that stressful and kind of fun and exciting,” Jacklyn said.

On the island, Jacklyn and Michaela have enjoyed warmer weather which has opened up a new world of outdoor activities. Maui’s climate and plethora of beaches has allowed them to surf daily, and without the hassle of wearing the extra gear necessary for surfing in the colder water around the Bay Area.

“I really love it, because my favorite thing to do is surf … and we’re always kind of outside which is nice … it really motivates me to just get my work done so I can have a full day,” Jacklyn said.

In addition to surfing with her sister, Jacklyn began working at a surf shop on the island, where she gets to interact with new people on a daily basis and become acquainted with the island community. 

“It’s like a whole surf community so it’s just kind of fun to be with people who love [surfing] just as much as you,” Michaela said.

Living in Maui has prompted some important adjustments to their daily classes, as they now live in the Hawaii-Aleutian time zone, which is two hours behind the Pacific time zone, the zone California is in. This means that virtual classes that begin at 9 a.m. in Burlingame begin at 7 a.m. in Maui.

“Because of the time change it’s just easy to get all your work done by like, let’s just say 11 a.m. so you have the rest of the day to just kind of unwind and not really think about your homework,” Jacklyn said.

While the time adjustment has brought some new obstacles to adjust to, with Michaela and Jacklyn having to keep up with deadlines that approach earlier in the day, their new environment has made finishing work early more enticing.

“I feel like it’s more effective to do school from a place that you love a lot, because then you’re motivated to get your work done fast and just listen [in class] so you can have the rest of your day,” Michaela said.

With the shift to in-person classes still dependent on COVID-19 cases in San Mateo County reducing, there is a great deal of uncertainty concerning a return to campus for all students. As a sophomore, Michaela still feels connected to Burlingame and hopes to continue her high school education as a Burlingame student.

“I’m going to continue at Burlingame … I mean I’ve lived here my whole life and since I still like do live here with my dad,” Michaela said.

Michaela and Jacklyn split their time living in Maui with their mom and Burlingame with their dad, so they are able to enjoy the best aspects of both locations throughout the year.

“In some ways I feel a little detached [from Burlingame], but also it’s like now we know all these people and are friends with all of these people in Maui … we’re part of two communities now,” Jacklyn said.