The day has come for sure, I found a new group on Facebook.  It seems to be taking the lead and talk around the Island at least in our news paper.  The name of the group is “Islanders by Choice Alliance” or for a better short it is IBCA.

It is no secret, many people want to come to the Island to live and others continue to dream about one day living here.  While others have been here their full life and their grandfather was born here. We all come together to make up this grand land we call home.  It isn’t as easy for some as for other’s to make and meet new friends.  Our website is: http://peislanderbychoice.wordpress.com/

I’m glad to see this group go up on facebook and I’ll let you know about the first meet and greet happening on Feburary 21 at the Old Triangle.

Thank you Google Maps

http://goo.gl/pZ8Te  click this link to find others.

I plan to meet a few new people and Martha Howatt is maybe the first one.  She wrote an article on January 23 and in a way has to say a lot of what has been on my mind for the past few years. She said it so well I’m going to share it with you, it is a public forum.

Martha Howatt Says:
January 23, 2011 at 5:19 pmReply

Where do I start?
My father is an Islander. Our family has been on PEI since the early 1700?s. My father moved to Ontario as a young man for work, married my Mother who is from Ontario, and we returned frequently to visit my Grandparents and other family. Following the death of my Grandparents within the last ten years, my father decided to buy a cottage here so we would have a place to stay when we came down. I loved PEI growing up. We had so much fun either staying at my Grandparents or camping. I always thought ‘I would love to live here’. A few years ago while staying at the cottage I met the neighbour and fell in love and made the move from Southern Ontario to live with him. My parents are in Ontario as well as most of my siblings and of course my close friends. I have a sister in Nova Scotia. I live two minutes to the South Shore which I love. I spend as much time as possible on the beach. After almost 4 years I very quickly realized that PEI is not the perfect place to live. A great place to visit..as many have said Islanders are very friendly when you are visiting and living here they are very superficially friendly but that’s it. Try to break into their established circle of friends and family and it is like being up against a brick wall. They will go out for lunch or a coffee if I initiate it but don’t look for an invite back. I have cousins who say ‘drop in’ (a very island thing) but would not pick up the phone and say ‘ what are you doing for dinner Sunday?’ opps, dinner is lunch so be careful with that if you invite someone for dinner… make sure they know it’s not the noon meal! I think all of the friendships I am forging are with people from away. And as others have said I notice that most people who volunteer are from away or have lived away. The corruption and patronage makes me shudder. And yes, I know it is alive and well in other parts of the country but it is so much more evident here as everyone knows each other, and wouldn’t say anything or do anything to change it as their job may depend upon it. Islanders love the Status Quo. I have made a few phone calls about environmental messes and heard afterward ‘how dare she, she’s from away’ . Don’t get me going on the Island Environmental stand or lack of it. Sure great, one of the first places in Canada to have recycling but it has barely moved forward from there. A leap into the 20th century would be nice let alone the 21st. And how about a bit of tree planting? It’s pretty hard to find the Island Tree…Red Oak. Fish kills, potato spraying….. as I said don’t get me started. So the only thing that has saved me is that I have volunteered for a few things, formed a quilting group (with people from away). If my partner hadn’t lived in Ontario I don’t think I would have lasted with him. He is not rednecked, homophobic and zeno-phobic like many Islanders. Not all, don’t get me wrong I’m sure there are many enlightened, open minded Islanders and I’d love to meet them. If anything happened to my partner the only thing that would keep me here at the moment is the Ocean, the clear starry nights and fresh air. The pull to return to my elderly parents, siblings and friends in Ontario is very strong. I miss Stratford and Shaw Festivals, big broadway shows in Toronto, a great diversity of ethnic foods, many ethnic faces in the streets, great fruit and vegetables from the Niagara Penisula…. If I became single I don’t know if I would stay. I tried very hard not to generalize and I know it all happens in other places but damn it’s so in my face here. The statistics show how the education system is doing and unfortunately it is very evident in many ways. I’m still here, and will probably be here for a while…I guess I’m hoping to help pull many Islanders into the year 2011 even if they are kicking and screaming. Small town and quaint only goes so far in the the world today. Apologies to anyone who is offended.

So there you have it, it is obvious when Martha gets going she doesn’t give any thought to paragraphs, and we are a lot alike already as I give way to run on sentences.  I’m looking forward to meeting Martha, I also found out that her and one other are Euchre players.

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Islanders By Choice Alliance

We are a friendly alliance of people who choose to call PEI our home. Our goal is to host social events Island wide and offer support for people integrating into PEI communities.   Our website is: http://peislanderbychoice.wordpress.com/

This is a brand new initiative so we are looking for people who want to use our group as well as those who would like to help get it going. (Of course you can also do both!) If you moved to PEI and have been successful integrating into your community, we would love to hear from you to get some ideas of what our group can be doing for our members.

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I joined to see if I met the criteria for the Facebook group.

Lets see…

Are you new to PEI?

No, I’ve lived in PEI for 11 years now and call this home.  I have struggled to make friends and found that newcomers are not as welcomed as I imagined after being a visitor here the first time.

Have you lived on PEI for a while and have difficulty integrating into your community?

Yes, glad you asked, I have spent 8 years living in Greenvale and met  a small group of people who gossip about others and so left that group, then moved to Winsloe and I’ve been here for 3 years and no one has welcomed us to the community yet, the only people through the door have had an agenda.

Are you planning to come to PEI and want to set up some networks?

Doesn’t apply, but would like to network.

Are you an Islander who would like to make more connections?

Yes, and no, I have illegally called myself an Island for many years, but it is turning out that I’m a real PFA to some and an IBC to others. Either way I would love to meet and make friends, its been 11 years it is about time.

If you answered YES to any of the above questions, our group may be of interest to you!

OK, see you at the first meeting on Monday night.

So like me, are you an Islander by choice? Perhaps you’r from away? Maybe you’r thinking on moving to the Island? I live here, call this home, and breath the same air and just want to fit in.  How about you?

xo~Cindy


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