Thursday, March 24, 2011

Islanders By Choice

Crofters Lane

This shows my PEI home last spring when the lilac tree was in bloom.
Isn't it a pretty shot?
The previous owner/renovator has such a sweet, sentimental side to him - he loves this house and continues to care for it. Oh yes,
he also has a wicked sense if Island humour:)

Here's a message he sent me just the other day:

"We walked back to the house snow around the perimeter of the house...and none in the house either...that is also good ! I never noticed any new tenants the squirrel type . So...all is good . Oh...about 8 feet of snow still in the driveway . There was a big tree that fell in the woods...par for the course considering the winter we endured . See ya..."

The is typical of my "Islander" experience so far - friendly, helpful and always with tongue tucked firmly in cheek! 

A note to my fellow "Islanders" - if you are on facebook check out a page called Islanders by Choice Alliance (this relates to a comment about living on the island but being "from away"). A group of islanders from all origins have started a group that every Islander can join for socializing, networking, for newcomers, for long-time dwellers, for every person who has decided to an IBCer (Islander by choice).  The group has grown beyond all expectations and now has 413 members. One very successful social event has been held already with another planned for the end of April. 

Some folks who have moved to PEI found it very difficult to form friendships with Islanders and felt they were treated differently because they were "from away". (This has NOT been my experience so far but I appreciate that it has happened to others). So a group of Islanders By Choice thought they would form a welcoming committee of sorts and it has become something much much more. I can't wait to attend one of these events and meet many more IBCers! Even if you were born on the island and have lived there all of your life - this group is for YOU! 

Check it out!  Besides...I hear Islanders give great hugs!


  1. I have been acquainted with a part of PEI all of my life. My fondest memories are of going to Grandma's house, the little store nearby that had penny candy and wonderful smells, the horse track across the street... sometimes sneaking in under the fence, the lobster carnival also across the street, the milk man delivering the milk in horse and buggy (no I am NOT that old.. same age as you, I believe). It was magical.

    Were I to come 'home' I would still be considered to be 'from away'. Yet, if I were to visit I would be considered to be 'home'. It's bittersweet for me. I could never live there (by choice) but I see the intrigue and wish all IBCers the best of everything.

    In the work world, there is hard ground to break. Locals like to hire locals and tend to feel threatened by outsiders. I get that.. don't agree that it's beneficial but I get it. With so many coming to parts East, it should be considered a good thing instead of a threat but thus is the way of the small town mindset. It doesn't mean they aren't lovely people, though. They are... even here where the culture and language is unique, the people are, for the most part, are genuinely open and kind. IMO, it's just that they feel threatened they will lose their jobs to outsiders when outsiders could, in fact, produce new jobs.

  2. It's a beautiful home! The lilacs are absolutely gorgeous! I'd love to go to PEI one day! Looks beautiful there....

  3. Hi Michelle: Bittersweet is definitely the word that comes to mind when I read about your experience. I've read about a lot of job-related issues on the facebook page similar to what you've described - the resentment, the cronyism, etc. Yet - so many people have come to the Island FOR a job! Happily, I am coming to the island to retire (I think I have a few years on you but thank you:)and Michael is basically self-employed. I don't have anything to compare my experience to, like you do, and I think that's a bit of an advantage. I've loved our time on PEI so far and don't really have any concerns. But stay tuned...the adventure continues!

  4. Hey Jane,
    We've been lucky - we've been welcomed and accepted from Day One.
    I suppose Charlottetown is big enough that one can escape some 'local' favoritism, and it depends on what industry. Martin's been offered many jobs since we arrived here, even from true-blue Islanders!
    All depends on location, too. Martin purposely knocked on neighbor's doors to suss out the friendliness of the locals in areas that he was looking. Smart man!
    When one neighbor had him in for tea, and the others for lunch and a tour around the area, he knew this neighborhood was THE one!
    And a humble attitude goes a LONG ways, I find, especially with some crotchety Islanders, lol.
    You and Michael have already established good relations, even before you've moved!

  5. I agree with what you said about attitude Kim - I'm going in with the attitude that i know NOTHING and that I need help and advice. It also helps that Michael, like Martin, will approach anyone and everyone for a good gab. Within seconds of meeting someone he has established a relationship with them. That's part of being a life coach I guess. I'm not quite as gregarious but I haven't been rebuffed by anyone so far.
    Within minutes of meeting the seller of our house they both discovered they had worked in the same industry back in the 80's and 90's (both were satellite dealers) and they knew many of the same people. Go figure!
    By the end of the conversation the owner made ME an offer regarding the house and we purchased it for a bit less than the asking price - all because of establishing a great relationship.
    I'm hopeful that we'll continue to feel "at home" in PEI.

  6. I love your PEI home Jane, so pretty!!

  7. Jane what a beautiful photo of your home. I've heard lots of conversation about IBC's v. locals since coming here. Both positive and negative, it's such an individual experience. Attitude and circumstances play such a large role. As Michelle points out, work is probably the greatest difficulty. I was fortunate that my skills were sought after here. My partner though has had to look at making work connections off island. Some days it's a struggle for him but we were aware of that prior to moving. Above anything I've found islanders love to socialize. Joining in to volunteer, chat and spend time with neighbours goes a long way towards being welcomed.

  8. Hi sister: I'm envious of the lilacs but I have wild blueberries and cranberries to compensate..come for breakfast when blueberries are ripe! I'd frame that picture for sure..As far as friendships, I joined a cross-stitch class and they liked me and want me back! Everyone I've met has been very friendly so far..and the dances at Georgetown are wonderful..our future holds lots of L.Dee

  9. Oh my gooodness! What a pretty picture! Nothing islandy about Kansas, but my lilacs ARE starting to bloom already! :)


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