It's been a little over three weeks since I arrived on Ocracoke, and boy it seems to have flown by. I've been settling into my new situation: living on my own, my work schedule and island life. As far as living on my own, I'm trying to learn to cook for myself a bit, but I haven't gotten much past sandwiches, ramen, rice and (this is the most exciting) tortellini. I figure it's better to practice on myself than on my roommates next year. They would be less than impressed if the only cooking skills I brought to the table (literally!) were ones with the microwave. Then again, I haven't had to put my skills to the test much, since Philip, Jude and her husband Frank have been really wonderful in welcoming me to the island by inviting me over (or out) for dinner. More often than not, during those dinners I get to meet some of their friends from on and off the island, and I'm starting to recognize people around the island.
Working down here is actually a lot of fun. I've been warned that it will only get busier, but so far it's been steady and I've been able to ease into things comfortably. I am enjoying being able to meet people from all over, many of which come back year after year—as a result many know more about the island than I do, and I'm always learning something new. It's the island life that seems to draw people back; I've only gotten a taste of it and you can't beat it. I love hopping on my bike at the end of the day and riding down to the Community Store and picking up what I need, or maybe just going for a ride. I go the beach on my days off, and I'm hoping to check out the ghost crabs at nighttime one of these nights.
The other day Philip showed me how to open clams, and invited me over for the "clams casino" he talked about earlier. Jude is recovering from several nights of nursing kittens only days old that were brought to her the other day. Her dedication to taking care of the "Ocracats" is one of those faith-restoring gestures. It is refreshing to see that people down here care "because nice matters," as the new sign reads above the counter at the Village Craftsmen. The laid back atmosphere, the fresh clams and the caring nature of people on Ocracoke...it's only the beginning but it looks like I've tapped into something pretty great.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the brave and courageous members of the US Life Saving Service. You can read it here.