By the time this issue hits the newsstands, I will have lived in Lake Cowichan for exactly one year.
In that time, I’ve noticed one particularly unique thing about locals’ classification of their neighbours. They’re either newcomers, or old-timers. Although I’ve now lived here for a year, I’m still “the new guy,” and in a year’s time, I’m fairly certain I’ll still be considered new.
Although there’s no hostility toward people classified as newcomer, the fact that this label is so widely-used implies a difference between newcomer and old-timers.
As a newcomer, my take on the situation may not be as valuable as old-timers’, but from what I can tell, these labels are a means of old-timers’ grasping at the Cowichan Lake they grew up at.
The most common off-the-record criticism of old-timers I hear from newcomers is that they’re ‘stuck in the old ways.’
Well, they moved here for a reason, and over the years Cowichan Lake has become a completely different place. The mills have closed, house prices have skyrocketed, and this area has become more and more populated by part-time residents who buy secondary houses in the area. On top of that, there are few jobs, so the young people just aren’t staying, creating something of a retirement community.
So, don’t feel hurt if you’re referred to as a newcomer, after having lived here five, 10, 20 years. Old-timers will still welcome you to the area. They’re a friendly bunch.