Over on our Facebook Group page we have been having great discussions this weekend! People have so many stories to share about their personal experiences with PEI. Please do share your story with us. Leave a comment on this post. We are planning to do some profile posts on people who are connected to our Alliance in the very near future. In the meantime, this is a great way for us to get some stories going!
Are you an Islander?
- Tell us what has drawn you to the Islander by Choice Alliance.
- What issues do you think there are for people who move to the Island?
- Were you away for many years and then came back “home”?
Are you an Islander by Choice?
- What drew you to PEI?
- What has your experience been like so far living on the Island?
- What do you LOVE about PEI?
- What barriers have you faced?
Are you a Part Time Islander by Choice?
- When did you first come to PEI?
- How often are you on the Island?
- What keeps bringing you back?
- Do you plan to move to the Island in the future?
Are you planning to relocate to PEI in the future?
- What is drawing you to the Island?
- When will you be moving?
- What are you waiting for to happen before you can make the move?
You can add yourself to our new Google Map showing where in the world you are. You can be already living on the Island or dreaming of moving to the Island some day. Simply click on the Edit button and then locate where you live on the map. Then click on the “Add a Placemark” button on the top left corner of the map section. (This is the one that looks like a balloon) You will then be able to write in details about yourself! Then click Done when you are finished. You will then be on our map!
Johanna dropped by our blog and left the following comment. I think that it speaks volumes. There are many people who live in other parts of Canada that are truly in love with the Island; yet they can’t quite make the move to live full time on PEI. If you are an IBC or CFA please share your thoughts on this. How long did it take you to finally decide to move to the Island?
I live in Ontario and have been wanting to move to PEI since the first time I visited in 2004. I’m currently working on getting our house renovated to sell hopefully within the next 5 years. All with the goal of moving to PEI. Our main concern with making this move has always been in the ability of finding jobs. My husband is in manufacturing and we have been through layoffs (2001 & 2005) and workshare(2010). He wants to change career paths into a trade, probably electrician. I’m a bookkeeper and I think I will have an easier time finding work than he will. I’m working at having enough money saved and through the sale of the house to support us for a short time after the move but it is the long term that concerns me.
We also have 3 kids aged 16, 12 and 10 at this time. We have to consider their educational needs. My oldest is looking at UPEI as a possibility for herself but will we be able to move at the time she is ready to go or will she start her university education here in ON.
I think a group like the one you are proposing would be wonderful. I have been reading every blog I can find about people who have made the move to PEI in the hopes of trying to figure out the answers to some of my questions.
I have watched the PEI housing market since 2004 and have watched the prices of houses steadily climb. I’m no longer sure if we can afford to move to the Island even though it is still my dearest dream.
I would love the opportunity to network with people who have done it and/or in the process of making the move.
In followup to the discussions we have been having on Twitter over the last while Carol & Steve (@peihouses) wrote this post on their blog:
I recently received an email from a lady who had been “shopping” for a home here on PEI for almost a year via our website. I wasn’t aware of her circumstances, only that she was curious about PEI and wanted to move here from Alberta. We have lots of “lookers” on our site and many don’t end up making a purchase. However, those that do end up coming here often look online for some time to learn about the market on PEI.
In her last email she told me she had been to PEI for a visit over the summer and thought everyone here was quite friendly. But she had been told if she were to move here, she would not be welcomed by Islanders since she wasn’t “from here” and wasn’t married to someone “from here”. So she decided to stay in Alberta.
Of course her email could very well have been a polite “brush off”. It could have been that she never intended to move here in the first place. Or it could have been true. Perhaps someone who moved here from another place did find it an unfriendly place to live and confided in this person. Whatever the case may be, it made me sad to think someone felt this way about my lovely little Island and it created much discussion on Twitter when I mentioned it. I tweeted a suggestion about a support group for people who move here from away and this created an even bigger buzz.
As a result of this email and discussion on Twitter, a few of us have decided to look into this further and see if we can come up with a way to form a group to welcome and assist new Islanders. We are just embarking on this journey and we would love feedback from those who would be interested in this service as well as those interested in participating in this group. We think it would be a valuable tool to all those wanting to make connections to others while forming a wonderful sense of community.
So what do you think? Would some sort of group be helpful? Would it be a good place to have discussions and help people make Island connections? What kind of things could a group like this do?
Let us know your thoughts as we are just at the beginning of this journey. We look forward to hearing your ideas.
What is it that you love about PEI?
If you relocated to PEI from another Canadian province (or even another country) what drew you to the Island?
Perhaps you have always lived on the Island – what is it that makes it so special for you?
If you are an Islander who moved away and then returned back home – why?
Maybe you a part-time Islander, perhaps visiting every summer, what continues to draw you back?
People love PEI for so many reasons. It is magical in so many ways. What do you truly love and why?
The discussion about IBC’s, CFA’s and Islanders has really been going on for generations. It is actually nothing new. That said, people who love the Island and who live with the reality of the debate every day have some very specific feelings about it. The interest in this blog is a testament to that. Today alone, we have had more than 8o hits – not bad for an initial launch based on some discussion on Twitter last week. Not surprising….these Island cultural issues seem to be close to the heart of everyone who loves life on PEI.
@thewholeway reminded me of the research that was completed for for the provincial Population Secretariat by UPEI Professor Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino. Here is an excerpt from an article in The Guardian, August 22, 2009 regarding the research.
In a recent report compiled for the provincial Population Secretariat, UPEI Professor Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino found many newcomers to P.E.I. feel the marked distinction between themselves and “real” Islanders is cold, unwelcoming and sometimes just plain discriminatory.
The report surveyed recent immigrants to P.E.I. about their reasons for coming to the Island and wanting to stay and, for those who left, the factors that made them want to leave.
Among the 257 respondents who shared their stories in the survey, “the alleged closed-mindedness of Islanders” was the most common explanation given by newcomers for wanting to leave.
“Many of them are fairly concerned about the labelling that’s going on,” Baldacchino said.
A settler to P.E.I. from another province or country is often referred to as a CFA (Come-From-Away). But this label is seen as prejudiced and mean-spirited by many new residents.
Baldacchino said he believes the designation of newcomers as ‘CFAs’ borders dangerously on outright racism.
“It’s creating a class of second-class citizens who will never be able to belong and I think that’s an issue.”
As an immigrant to P.E.I. himself, Baldacchino knows first-hand how difficult it can be to integrate into Island society. He always gets questions about where he’s from, especially due to his foreign name and accent.
When he tells people he’s from Charlottetown, they just laugh and ask, ‘No, but where are you really from?’
“This is something that is very painful because it all the time means that I can’t belong,” he said.
That’s why some new settlers to P.E.I. have recently come up with a new name for themselves: ‘Islanders by Choice.’
Debbie Crowther is one such IBC.
She and her family moved to P.E.I. from Houston, Tex., three years ago. They now own and operate the Kitchen Witch Tea Room in Long River.
Like many who come to P.E.I., Crowther immediately fell in love with the Island and the community-oriented lifestyle of rural P.E.I.
Unlike Baldacchino, Crowther said she has been welcomed into her small community with open arms, and attributes this to her positive attitude and active participation in community organizations and groups.
But she does know that some people will never see her as a true Islander. Once at a party the topic came up in conversation.
“I was saying that I don’t want to be ‘from away’ I want to be an Islander, and a young woman, who was drunk, looked at me and said ‘Debbie, it doesn’t matter how long you live here you’ll never be an Islander.'”
Crowther said this has been the only time it was ever put to her in such blunt terms and she believes her community has indeed accepted her. But she knows this attitude does still exist among some. That’s why she makes and sells buttons that say ‘I’m not FROM AWAY, I’m an IBC.’
“We don’t call ourselves CFAs, we’re IBCs, because we’re Islanders by choice,” Crowther laughed, showing off her button.
“And it doesn’t really matter what anyone says or thinks, I consider myself an Islander anyway.”
This blog was create as the result of a discussion that happened on Twitter earlier today between a number of folks who love PEI; many of whom are part of the PEI Tweetup community. This includes people who were born on the Island, people who visit the Island and people who have become an “Islander by Choice or Circumstance”. The main discussion centred around the issue that people who are not born on PEI sometimes feel isolated once they move to PEI. It can be difficult to make connections on the Island; despite the “friendliness” that exists. Within the PEI Twitter community there is much interest about what we can collectively do to help people who move to PEI become more connected and feel a better sense of “belonging”.
We don’t yet know where all of this will go…but please feel free to comment and stay tuned….it seems like there is a lot more to come!