By: William Beall
Hey there. My name is William Beall, and I’m an international Student from Manhattan, New York City. (Morningside Heights.) I’m now in my third year at UPEI, and I have something to tell you.
I love and hate this Island. I show my love for it with my smile as I get off the stairs of my Air Canada flight at Charlottetown airport, seeing trees, and blue skies, and I hate it when in the face of horrendous weather and a frustrating week find myself shouting obscenities in the air, waving my arms around like a lunatic, and probably startling passerby. (I’m not helping the New Yorker stereotype am I?)
I love the Islander who heard me asking the worker at Superstore to double bag the huge amount of groceries, and out of the blue said, “I’ll drive you.” I love the Islanders who teach or work at this university and have helped me through the hardest times I’ve had here, and helped me think even more of the best times.
I find myself wondering what was up the lower posterior of the Islander who decided to throw a hard boiled egg at me one night, or the person who somehow knew my origin and shouted “**** THE STATES!”
I loved seeing the Milky May for the first time at Cavendish beach this October.
I hated my first run ins with Hypothermia. (Though that was probably my fault to run 3km in -25.)
Now how does Charlottetown compare to New York City?
I love Charlottetown because I’ve never once, felt genuine fear for my life here. (Which I can’t say the same for NYC.)
I love PEI because I wake up hearing birds chirping, rather than swearing or screaming from six floors below.
I love Brits Fish and Chips.
I love Coffee and German food that reminds me of my mother’s cooking at Leonhards cafe.
I love the charm of downtown Charlottetown.
I love the wide range of well-educated Islanders who have travelled the world, with amazing stories to tell.
I love my classmates who are engaged and make me smile with their brilliance.
I hate what you people try to call “pizza.”
I hate the fact that my first question asked as an American is “How the hell do you guys let Trump run,” while I try to resist the urge to mention Mike Duffy, Rob Ford, etc.
I can’t bloody stand the fact that it’s considered abnormal for a man to wear a suit and tie, and care about his appearance, whereas a backwards baseball cap, hockey mullet, low hanging pants, and a Hurley t shirt, are considered high fashion here.
I can’t stand the Islanders who apparently came to the conclusion that I’m a loud mouthed, Ultranationalist American, crazy, douche. (You’re not half wrong.)
To make up for all of that, I love UPEI, and the small, welcoming, collegial university with an intellectual atmosphere, I find myself happily attending.
All in all though,
While I miss New York City’s massive museums, small closet size pizza places, walking through Spanish Harlem on a hot summer day after getting a haircut, and sitting down for a cold drink and hot rice and beans, Charlottetown never ceases to make me smile.
I’ve met some of the most amazing people I’ve had the pleasure to come across here, Islanders and other International students alike.
I enjoy every class I take, as the Professors I attend lectures of on a daily basis are remarkable.
I find myself missing fish and chips, stars at night, and Island charm when I’m walking at night through Manhattan’s’ lights.
If you’re an Islander, and you’re wondering why the hell I’m here, or like many who have asked my friends from Cities in Iran, Iraq, Xinjiang China, South Korea, Germany, Portugal, South Africa, Nigeria, or Japan, why we came here, the truth is, we often can’t tell you, but there’s something about this place we all find to love. (Or hate, depending on our mood.)