With a heavy heart, I hereby declare my defeat. My campaign did not last as long as I’d hoped. I really wanted it to work but alas, it did not…I do declare my dear, no one gives a damn. (Toss hand to forehead in mock despair)
Only somewhat mocking. I am disappointed I was unsuccessful in convincing my friend to move back. Actually very sad, but in reality, I knew it would never work. But hope springs eternal right? Damn you Pandora and your fucking box. You have cursed me with unrealistic optimism ultimately leading to disappointment yet again.
There was two parts to said campaign though, and you may be wondering if I was successful in convincing myself to stay. To be honest, I don’t have a choice. As long as my children live here, so do I. I could try and leave, but I’d quite literally crumble to the ground in a heap of despair and ugly crying before I could get more than a kilometer away from my children and I can’t take them with me because no one wins in that scenario. It isn’t fair to anyone but my own selfish motives.
I moved here in 2009 with nothing but optimism that I could make this place home and that optimism has never left. Almost 10 years later, numerous setbacks and I still want to call this place home. I desperately want to feel like I belong and that there’s a place for me here. But it’s almost as if this place doesn’t want me. I thought maybe a campaign to convince myself to stay. Maybe someone would step up and say “I saw your campaign, have you seen this? Or have you tried this? Or have you gone here? There?” But, not one person stepped forward and said, “you should stay because… “
I’ve lived in a lot of places, some nice, some not. Big cities and little towns. I’ve never had problems making friends, meeting new people, even in Toronto (which I really didn’t like) I still made friends. And yet this place eludes me. Everyone is so nice, so friendly to your face, but when it comes right down to it, no one remembers to invite you along to the movies, or to the backyard BBQ. Rarely anyone has time to join you on a hike or just have a drink after work. Is it because they don’t know who my father is? Maybe…
It’s a PEI thing when you meet someone new “Who’s your fadder?, where’s he from?” If you answer with “He’s not from here” you get an “OH” and conversation just stops. The mentality here is not like anywhere else I’ve lived.
There is a very negative connotation to being “from away”. It is a bad thing and Islanders have no problem voicing that negativity. When confronted with an explanation as to why it’s unkind and alienating to people trying to make a life here, I receive shoulder shrugs and a half-hearted “ha ha ha that’s just they way we Islanders are” (actual scenario) It’s just…not…nice! JUST STOP!!!
Non-Islanders can spot each other from a mile away. It’s the way we think, the way we receive each other and make the effort to make others feel welcome. We know what it’s like to be the outsider and we make an effort to include each other. I found one at my sons ball game last year. We were drawn to each other like magnets. It’s like we made eye contact from across the dug out and just knew. We connected instantly. She called me out in about 5 minutes “you’re not from here are you?” I asked how she knew, she said “you actually talked to me unlike every other parent here” I know how she felt. I experience the same thing at every baseball game, soccer game, school concert, hockey practice… every single one. I don’t know anyone and no one wants to know me. Their friend roster is full (actual quote from an islander) Unfortunately, the one fellow CFA (Come from away) was moving in two weeks. Her and her family were getting out of Dodge, and they couldn’t be happier to do it for all the same reasons I struggle to make this place home.
So I may not be leaving PEI for anything other than vacation, but I will try to maintain some optimism that it will someday feel like home. For now though… this is where the campaign ends.
Here’s a happy sunrise to end on a good note.