So, We’ve been calling Beaver Island home for almost a month now and I am slowly noticing the little island-isms. It is by far the most isolated place I have ever lived long-term. I say long-term because I did live in the Alaskan bush for three months, this relocation is essentially a guaranteed year. The teaching contract has been signed so my life is pledged to the island until at least September 1, 2015. If we like the island though and things go smoothly, we may decide to stay longer.
The Island-isms. I don’t know how to accurately describe this place to outsiders. It’s so different than anywhere else in the United States. I suppose parts of rural Alaska are comparable…but the island is more cosmopolitan than the northern villages. I put emphasis on cosmopolitan because I use it…uh, loosely. Don’t get me wrong, it is a nice town. Things are well taken care of and the people feel overwhelming pride for their home. It’s just unique.
Anyways, the top five things island-isms I’ve been learning to adapt to are…
1. Waving: Everyone waves at everyone! I am developing a case of carpal tunnel much younger than expected because of this. It’s exceptionally nice though. It makes me feel welcomed into my new community.
2. Roads: Er…this should probably be titled trails. The roads aren’t paved, they’re gravel or sand. My poor car has gone from bright green to pale gray. The speed limit is 25mph everywhere on the island.
3. Island Time: Things are open for the most bizarre hours. Our ONLY store in town is only open from 11am-1pm on Sundays. My planning skills are going to be at an all-time high after traversing this issue.
4. Kindness: There is a sense of overwhelming kindness on the island. People are trustworthy. You leave your keys in your car, your doors unlocked, and many of the stores operate on the “honor system.” This basically means you can take stuff and come pay for it later. This blows my mind.
5. Wildlife: I always felt oppressed by the dangerous and abundant wildlife in Alaska. Here, the wildlife is just as abundant but not as dangerous. Wild turkeys cause traffic jams and playground riots.
So, those are my current “top 5.” I am sure my opinions and observations will change over time. These are just my first impressions of this very little island.