Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Eh, They say life is different out there?

Natures Glass - Frozen Trees March 8, 2011
Photographer - Rachel Bethell 
Prior to moving to the East Coast of Canada people, friends, warned me "Things are different out there." They tried to explain, but could never really find the words to describe what they meant. The best descriptions I got were "Things are slower", "In some ways it hasn't caught up to the rest of the world yet", "The nicest people you will ever meet". Now, before going ANY further, to my new East Coast friends and anyone reading this, I in NO way whatsoever mean anything in this posting as a negative... Please, do read on!

I was thinking about this a lot today as I drove along the highway to Woodstock. We live in Fosterville, population in winter approximately 40, summer hundreds... Of course there are lots of little communities which all increase in the summer since we are in lake and cottage country. In the winter you can literally drive from Fosterville to Canterbury about 30 minutes away and never pass a vehicle. From the Village of Canterbury to Woodstock traffic increases but never to the rate of a major city. For an urban transplant like myself it can be strange and wonderful. I am getting used to people just popping in (hence my dressing shortly after I wake up rather than lounging all day!)

"Things are slower". Absolutely! However, if you don't mind not  rushing, people taking their time to listen to you when you answer and seeing the same person each time you go to a store or business, it is fine! Of course, this means it is not recommended to mouth off when you get bad service, because there may not be an alternative location to go to OR you may mouth off to someone who is related to a lot of other people and get an unpopular name for yourself!(Keep in mind almost everyone is related to everyone!) It also means that you can drive through town and not hear horns honking at you, getting the middle finger wave or much road rage. (I don't actually miss those things.)

"In some ways it hasn't caught up with the rest of the world yet". I think that the recent call my insurance adjuster from BC (ICBC) made to a NB mechanic explains this well. Let me share! Due to our accident during our move, we had to get some (lots!) of repairs done. Recently I found the 4 wheel drive function was not working properly and didn't think we had been treated as well as we could by the dealership. So, ICBC agreed to have another mechanic review it and give an independent quote. My experience at the mechanic was interesting to say the least, however, he had a great reputation and several people had referred me to him. 

I gave the adjuster the information and had him call the mechanic. The next day the adjuster calls me and says "Sarah, I am not used to dealing with places like this." I asked, "What?" Adjuster: "Are you sure this is a real mechanic? I called, he isn't there, they don't know when he will be back and say he only comes in sometimes, I am NOT used to this!" Me: "Well, I can assure you he is a mechanic, I saw his ticket, went into the shop and I am told they have been there about 40 years." Adjuster: "Are you sure???" Me: "Yes, they just do things a bit differently here. For example, when at the mechanic, he let me watch him sweep the floor for ten minutes before going to my truck, he then drove away with my kids without saying anything, needless to say , I was stunned! He did return (sadly the kids were still there!) and then looked at the truck, unusual yes, but he looked at it and seemed to know what he was talking about." I also explained that lots of people had more than one job here and were very good at multi-tasking. I later heard back from the adjuster that he was very impressed with the mechanic, see? Slow, different but effective!

"In some ways it hasn't caught up with the rest of the world yet." Mmm maybe! However if that means that people are polite, stop even went there aren't crosswalks to let you pass or stop in the middle of the street to let you pull out, then I am OK with that! I am glad they are behind a bit on websites since that is my new career and I get a little bit excited when I open the weekly "Advertiser" paper and see a lack of websites because it gives me an IN! I know that sometimes this is a struggle for my teen since she is up on her fashion and style and can find it puzzling as to why other teens aren't necessarily there, but I figure that is not really a bad thing!

"The nicest people you will ever meet." YES! I love you my West Coasters and you are all wonderful, never the less, East Coasters are incredibly welcoming! On the West Coast we were all so busy, hurrying through traffic, to the next event, commitment, job and never enough time in a day. It isn't like that here... I don't think... 

Maybe it is because not a lot of new people move in, maybe it is the heritage, either way I LIKE IT! Last Friday morning as I "rushed" to market and my truck decided to die... The neighbour came out at 7:30am in -28 C weather and helped me out! (No charge! I did give him cookies and a sticky bun!) He even lent me his truck for the day so I am not complaining about my neighbours one bit! (Elaine, please tell Roger I still remember him rescuing me on a cold rainy Nanaimo morning!)

I love that I can call the neighbours and pick stuff up for them if I am going to town or that they will pick up for me if I need something. I love that everyone waves as you walk by or do the steering wheel wave as you drive. I really enjoyed listening to Big Daddy and Bubba on Country Radio today and understanding what they were talking about! Good people, kind neighbours and a bit of a reminder of how life was when I was a kid back on Bell Road behind Sproat Lake School  in Port Alberni.

I do like that life is a bit more relaxed. I know it isn't for everyone but we have chosen to try to relax with it. I do tend to get a bit beyond myself with tasks at times and then peter out since I get overwhelmed but I am working on that. I do find that I have to calm down and speak at a slower pace, not because people don't understand, but because I don't need to rush and if I have my harried hurry face on, it doesn't get me anywhere. I sat at the border crossing today, lake shaking ... hurry up! hurry up! hurry up! Then thought... Why? No worries, right? (Except that I did make it to the next border crossing with a whole 30 seconds to spare!)

The next time you sit at a traffic light and anxiously send a mantra to it to change, just think for a second about what you might be missing if you don't slow down. Sometimes things are right in front of us but we don't see them because we aren't looking or we are looking for the next thing to happen without enjoying what we are doing now. Yesterday, Rachel and I were yet again stuck in a snow bank, running "late" and took time to laugh and take some pictures of the beautiful frozen trees while we waited to be rescued...( 25 minutes for the first truck to come along.) 

Enjoy! And for heavens sake, chill out!
Country Roads, Take Me Home, To The Place, I belong...
Frozen Road to Canterbury - March 8, 2011
Photographer: Rachel Bethell


Anonymous said...

I love the way you tell it Sarah :) You're awesome!

.........Sarah Sherman said...

Thank you!

webgardener said...

As a fellow recent NB transplant from the same city in BC, I've been trying to find the words to describe all've said it! I couldn't have said it better myself.

Marie said...

good telling Sarah - & lovely pics too! Rachel does nice work :)

.........Sarah Sherman said...

Stewart T. Having lived on the East Coast, I can say that you articulated the lifestyle out there perfectly. You are a words smith my dear. Very well written. : )

Anonymous said...

Just love your Blog, I check in more often than you write, eagerly awaiting the next tail.
Excellent writing once again. Better watch out, we will all start packing up and moving out there. Glad your enjoying it.