As many of you know, I grew up on an island. Sounds cool… I guarantee you it’s not as cool as you think.
Okay, it’s kind of cool. But I never really realized how different that made my childhood from average kids. Only when I went away to college, in the mountains of East Tennessee, did I realize that my upbringing was far from normal. After moving back home (because you can take the girl off the island, but you can’t shake the island off the girl), did I truly begin to appreciate what it is to live here.
Where is here?
First, I can’t take credit for that picture. But it was such a great shot of my home, that I borrowed it from another local who shared it on our locals facebook page.
I am blessed enough to live year round in a place people save all year to spend one week in. The Outer Banks of North Carolina. Growing up here, it was a quiet sleepy little island (though technically the bit I live on isn’t even an island but a sandbar). You used to be able to stop in the middle of the highway (I say highway, in reality it was a small two lane road) and have a conversation with someone driving down the opposite side of the road. There weren’t many stores or places to go other than the beach, so there wasn’t much traffic.
Now it is one of the top five most dangerous places to drive in the US.
I remember the Ash Wednesday houses. The humble, yet beautiful unique beach cottages, with cedar siding, and green shutters on the windows.
Now the houses are so big you have to vacation with five other families to be able to fill and afford it.
The beach is still beautiful, and we aren’t quite as commercial as Virginia Beach, or Myrtle Beach… But I do miss the quaintness of the beach I grew up on.
Things I didn’t realize were weird:
- Island Time. Islanders are on a completely different time schedule. Even before we had traffic to blame, islanders had the habit of showing up whenever we showed up. We are terrible at starting anything on time, and tend to be (maybe a little too) laid back. “We’ll get there when we get there”, and “It’ll start eventually”, are just a part of our natural mindset.
- Hurricane Parties. You mean not everyone celebrates when a natural disaster is about to hit them? Though the evacuation of tourists (and having our island back to ourselves) is cause to celebrate, hurricane parties are also our way of fixing and eating all the food that is going to go bad when we lose power, and the fridge becomes just a statement piece. We band together with our neighbors, and it turns into a block party to make sure nothing goes to waste, and no one goes hungry under the circumstances. Also, when the power goes out, and there’s no Netflix, board games are a lot more fun with more people, so why not invite the neighbors over?
- Shoes. Okay, I went to college on the mainland, and I still can’t say I understand this one… Why do you people wear shoes, like ALL THE TIME!? I understand wearing shoes if there is debris on the ground, if you’re working construction, or maybe to a fancy dinner… But why on earth do you wear them just to run out to the store, in your own house, or TO THE BEACH? You can spot a tourist from a mile away, it’s the girl wearing sneakers on the beach, and the guy wearing socks with his sandals! I didn’t realize people wore shoes all the time until I was walking around my college campus in the snow, and going to classes, barefoot. No, I am not poor and in need. I hate confinement for my footsies!
- Picky with Seafood. If it can’t remember the last time it went for a swim, I am not going to eat it. If it has taken a very long ice bath since it left the ocean, I’m not going to be a fan. If it has never seen the ocean, and was raised in a tank, that is a big NO THANK YOU! I like my seafood fresh off the dock, still reeking of seaweed, and cooked to perfection, thanks. When I was in college someone took me to a Red Lobster… just, no. I’ll stick to their biscuits.
- Sleeping Arrangements. Growing up being carted around in the back of pick up trucks and Broncos, and being stuck out on the beach or on boats all day teaches you to make yourself comfortable anywhere. Covered in sunscreen, sweat, and sand with your bathing suit riding up your butt is just another day. But when the AC goes out and it is hot and muggy inside, you learn to appreciate sleeping out on the dock in the back yard, being rocked to sleep by the lapping waves. Or maybe you end up like me, sleeping in a hammock inside, for 6+ years. Whatever floats your boat!