The Story of One Doctor Leaving Cape Breton

Brodie Marshall is 31 years old. He's young. He's married. He's active in the community, and he recently finished a 15 and a half kilometre leg of the Cabot Trail Relay in one hour and nineteen seconds. He's finishing his residency today, and will be known as Doctor Marshall come Monday. He trained in Sydney and Cheticamp as a rural family doctor. In many ways, Brodie Marshall is exactly what Cape Breton needs, and he's leaving.

He's also a good friend of mine.

Brodie and his wife Annie came to Cape Breton two years ago. At the time, their plans were not set in stone. They thought they might return to Sioux Lookout, Ontario after his two years of residency, but might find a home in Cape Breton, where we desperately need the skills he's dedicated 6 years of his life to learn. Cape Breton, after all, was one of his top choices for residency locations. They visited before they moved, and their initial impressions were good. They couch surfed with Amy, and were sold by Alyce. They thought maybe, just maybe, this island could become a home.

They moved here about the same time I did. Annie and I became friends, because we both found ourselves bumming around the same coffee shops, unemployed with Master's degrees. This is where the problems began. Generally speaking, Cape Breton is one of the worst places to have an education degree in your back pocket. The only function it serves is admission to the underemployed club, and Annie couldn't find work. "Even if she did get a full-time position," says Brodie, "how fair would that be when half the island's teachers are looking for work." 

Then there's the question of how truly welcoming we are on this island. While Brodie and Annie were quick to meet new people in Cape Breton, making real friends on this island proved difficult. I also came two years ago, and have to agree with them. In a way, it only makes sense.

Brodie, Annie, and myself could all be described as transient. We move around a lot. Transient people have to make friends fast, or they don't have friends at all. It's a survival mechanism. In comparison, people who have lived their whole lives in one place might never make a new friend after high school. Why would they? They have their circle and they are content. Add to this that making friends as an adult is difficult in the first place, and it's a rough go for many Cape Breton newcomers.

In short, why would a Cape Bretoner call the person they met on Tuesday to go out on Friday night, when they could call the person they've known for 20 years.

It's a complicated problem, because it's entirely passive. Nobody is actively perpetrating any wrongdoing to make this place unwelcoming. Nobody is being a jerk. But how do you solve it? You can't force people to have dinner with people they just met. 

After 6 months of not finding a job or a community to be a part of, Annie returned to Sioux Lookout. She is currently a kindergarten teacher. Brodie and Annie have lived in different provinces now for a year and a half. He's visited 6 times, sometimes making the 34 hour drive through 3 provinces to see her. He's moving back on Monday.

This is not a new story. In the 1992 Summertime Review, Max MacDonald cracked the joke that "the last doctor to leave Cape Breton, please turn out the lights." This joke has always stuck with me, because my dad was one of the doctors that left Cape Breton in 1993, and relocated his entire family to Warner Robins, Georgia.

The story of my dad moving to Georgia is different from Brodie moving to Cape Breton for a number of reasons. First, hospitals in America are private businesses that hire professional recruiters to lure qualified doctors from all over the world. As my parents visited a number of cities in America, these recruiters took them to the best restaurants, showed them the best neighborhoods, and gave them all the statistics about the local schools, crime rates, and housing prices. They even met with local principles to make sure we would have a great elementary school experience. Even after moving to Warner Robins, the recruiters job turned to retention, and they made sure we were comfortable.

There were welcome parties where my parents were introduced to the medical community, and my mother got hired almost immediately because it was common knowledge that Canadian X-ray technicians were better trained than their American counterparts.

My father delivered 700 babies on Cape Breton Island in 1992. A lot of my friends were delivered by his hands. He was paid $350 per birth for the entire process. In America, he was paid $6500.

I am not advocating for an American medical system. If anything, I believe both systems are broken to different degrees and in completely opposite ways.

The biggest difference between these two stories is the work put in to not only welcoming the doctor, but also his spouse and family. It's difficult to compare the two situations with all their differences, but that contrast, to me, is apparent.

Eventually my parents retired and returned to Cape Breton. My brother moved back in 2012, and I moved back in 2014. We still have a brother in Georgia, but he makes it back as much as he can. We trickled back, because there are some things Cape Breton has to offer that no amount of money or parties can compare to.

The story of Brodie and Annie isn't singular. It has happened to other doctors, and will undoubtedly happen again. It is important to note that it doesn't happen to every doctor. Four out of six doctors in Brodie's residency class are staying in Cape Breton for at least a couple years.

I don't write this to disparage Brodie. He's one of those guys that you slowly learn is better than you at almost everything, but he's so humble and nice about it that you just can't hate him. I write this because the reason Brodie is leaving, and Annie has left, has nothing to do with politics or policy. He doesn't care how much he gets paid, or what car he drives. They're leaving because it turns out, Cape Breton just wasn't for them.

Sure, we have to ask what policy or politicians can do to entice and retain doctors on Cape Breton Island, but we also have to ask ourselves "What can we do, as a community, to make newcomers feel more welcome?"

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Eric Lortie Follow Me
The story regarding his social interactions resonates so much with my personal experience. My wife and I have a huge social circle down in Halifax and I've never had trouble making friends. I've enjoyed Cape Breton, but never in my life have I struggled to find myself socially to the extent I have here. I couldn't figure it out until I started talking to other CFAs (you know. Come From Aways... what an awful label that is, and it's at the heart of the situation.) and realized it was a shared experience. Folks on the island just don't think to include other people that often. They all just have very established social circles. It's not ill intentioned. I'm by no means saying that there aren't people that don't like me and don't want to hang around with me. I'm not THAT great. But the people that do, and would, don't think of it. It is what it is. You do what you can. We used to throw parties for our various social circles, and that turned into invites to other parties (sometimes), but didn't result in the creation of an intimate circle of friends like we used to have. We're fortunate enough to have been able to drive down to Halifax regularly enough to get our social fix. Someone from Ontario wouldn't have that. We also thought it would change once we had kids, and we'd meet other parents and expand our social circles that way, but that hasn't played out as well as we'd have liked either. For the same reasons, mostly. It's not ill-intended, and often not intentional. I certainly don't begrudge people for not thinking to hang out with us, but I'm always struck by how cultural it is. If it were just me I'd have simply accepted that I'm a jackass people don't want to hang out with by now and made peace with it, but I hear the same story from almost everyone else who came from away. It's fascinating. And frustrating.
Eric Lortie Follow Me
I think part of it is because there's this view that Cape Breton is an exceptionally friendly place. And it is. If you're a tourist. I spent a decade in hospitality and tourism and am very well acquaintend with "hospitality" versus "friendliness". If you're a tourist you're bringing something to the island. The "Come From Away" mindset contains an unspoken element that the person is taking something from the island. Often, a job. And hey, maybe they are. But a lot of the folks I know, especially the younger ones, are here with specialized training and are filling a technical gap. It's distessingly ironic when a region known for its hospitality and lack of young professionals loses a young professional and a lack of hospitality plays a role in that.
madeline yakimchuk Follow Me
There are the CFAs and there are the CBFAs... come back from aways... that is what I am. 32 Years away, lived in six cities in three countries, and felt more Cuban in Cuba after two years, but took 10 years here. A friend of mine who came back a while before I did warned me, and he took me EVERYWHERE the first year or two I was back, but they all just had so much shared history that I wasn't part of I had to make my own elsewhere.
Eric Lortie Follow Me
Yeah, I've just become much more proactive in social stuff. It's possible to do things socially, you often need to be the one to start it. Once we learned that it became easier. We thought it might change once we had kids, but it hasn't yet.
madeline yakimchuk Follow Me
Hey, I saw you at the Stand-up event tonight so I know why you don't have any friends!... just kidding, you were great. I really enjoyed it!
Eric Lortie Follow Me
That burn would have been sooooo good if delivered during my routine.
madeline yakimchuk Follow Me
it would have made a great heckle eh? I wish I had thought of it!
Mary Ruth Vassallo-Joseph Follow Me
You are one of a kind Brodie Marshall, enjoyed working with you in the Palliative Care Service. You will be deeply missed. I wish you and your wife all the success in the world. I wish things were different and you could stay.........
madeline yakimchuk Follow Me
Excellent article. Some points related to the experiences you describe were highlighted in an article a while back on this same subject. Perhaps someone from goCB can find the link for us. I have two things to contribute. I returned to CB after 32 years away, and after 11 (ELEVEN!) years back I finally can say I have friends. It took 10 years. It was lonely and sad. I think you have hit the nail on the head with some of the reasons for this you present, and also with how there is really no easy solution. I am at a loss for words. Secondly, I know of a professional couple, fella finishing up medical school at Dal while his wife made a tremendous professional contribution here on the island. They had kids in school, neighbours, friends, lots and lots of reasons to stay. He couldn't get a residency here and they had to leave. Undoubtedly this is a problem of different jurisdictions for different decisions, but theses people could easily have been long term Capers. I am also at a loss for words.
Rory Andrews My Post Follow Me
Thanks Madeline. I think I know the professional couple you're talking about. They actually bought a plot of land from my Dad, and were going to be next door neighbors to my parents in Mira, until they forced him to Ottawa or some other place. Well, either we're thinking of the same couple, or there's more than one in the same situation, and I'm not sure which possibility is worse. It was Chris Bellemore's article you're thinking about. Here's a link: https://capebreton.lokol.me/cape-breton-warm-welcome-or-cold-shoulder
madeline yakimchuk Follow Me
Must be the same couple... Ottawa it is. I worked with her and was very pleased to be part of her team on a project. I don't know him at all, but we need doctors, and she will be a great loss to the island. I don't know how that residency allocation thing works at all, so I don't know if there was anything at all that could have been done differently.
Joe Ward Follow Me
Perhaps they may need to just incorporate planning social engagements as a long term retention strategy. Planned activities, over time, will yield organic friendships and relationships. I'm friendly, but my work and interests require a lot of time in solitude. That works for me, as my social interactions are with my colleagues and primarily my family. However, when I lived in Tampa (outskirts, Land O Lakes/Lutz), it wasn't my hometown. I would actually get invitations to do things that I would, for the most part, find a way to put off. But I was fortunate to have some friends that were extroverts and very active. So one of them would more or less show up and tell you that you were going fishing or for lunch, etc. And that would break me out of my own trance and end up being fun, of course. The second friend was one of the most extroverted people that I've met. Just completely thrived on activity and being around others. So much so that he would plan activities ahead of time and talk you into going. Since it was a bigger city, there were also lots of activities posted on meetup.com, etc. That isn't something I would have ever done on my own. But having that sort of friend, I ended up at dodgeball, beach volleyball, salsa clubs, theme parks, mud runs, redneck bbqs with homemade 100 ft slip and slides, target practise in the backwoods, pool hangouts, house parties, movies, etc. And then those activities would set me up to establish familiarity and create the potential for new friendships to emerge. So perhaps something like that could work here. But it would have to be more than just a welcome wagon type deal. I.e. one time only gesture and then you are left to fend for yourself. If they could capture the approach of my persistent friends in Tampa, even those who appreciate as much solitude as I do end up trying new things, and meeting new people that would be unlikely (or less likely) otherwise. Why not make having fun a retention strategy?
madeline yakimchuk Follow Me
Now that I am past it, I can speak more openly about it. There was never any shortage of activities. You just didn't get included in the after movie coffee discussion, or the inner circle dinner party. I think that educating people, individuals, on this problem, and hoping that some of them will open their inner circles to the new people at the office would be more effective.
Joe Ward Follow Me
That would probably be something best conveyed in your medium, Madeline: A video that shares the importance of welcoming new friends or something. I still feel like the events focus would work better. I would find it offputting to be compelled to invite new people into my life, who I might not actually connect with. But the events would be a good, no pressure, way to interact and find out who you might naturally gravitate towards. With that said, I think I'm probably a poor choice as an example here. I'm enjoying my Friday prioritizing my software features/bug fix task list and drinking one too many... coffee. Ha ha :P
madeline yakimchuk Follow Me
Joe, I didn't mean to imply that you would be forced to invite strangers into your home, just that if you realized that the new fella at the office, or the all alone person you keep seeing at the theatre, who you already do think is interesting, might be invited to the after show or after work smaller and more intimate discussions so that the poor fella has a chance to make some friends. The events focus would certainly work better from a public point of view, agencies offering ice breaking activities, whatever you have in mind, but it is the intimate circles that the CFA take 10 years to build.
Joe Ward Follow Me
Ah, I see what you mean. I like including people. I'm actually quite consistent at doing that. Only problem being that I don't do enough activities to make enough of an impact. :)
Alec Willman Follow Me
I am reading this story and the comments with some trepidation. I am currently a college student in Ontario studying to be an electrician. It has been my goal for years to move to Cape Breton and start my career after graduation. By the way, I am graduating this August. And so the job search begins. I am hoping that this story and the comments of loneliness and solitude are not the norm. I may not be the most outgoing person but I do enjoy doing things with friends and workmates. Maybe it will be different with people my own age. Wish me luck.
madeline yakimchuk Follow Me
Good Luck Alec! I didn't mean to put you off. I think if we discuss this sort of thing openly, it might help, and yes, age might help, you are right. I know a couple of newcomers who seem very active socially... but they don't participate here. I'll ask them to check out the thread.
Peter Sheehan Follow Me
Alec . It will take you a while , but if you come and start a business and do a good job , you should be able to build it up. You should also know there is a large underground of trades people on CB that you have to contend with . You should all know that you'll have to cover a wide territory if you are not located in or near Sydney . You can succeed with good service and good prices . Many companies and trades on CB are terrible at providing service.They don't return calls, they don't schedule, they try not to quote , they leave you hanging . So do your research and think you can do it , but in what location is your challenge . In some rural areas , there are no electricians handy , but then there may not be that big amount of work to start off with .
Alec Willman Follow Me
Peter, as I am about to graduate from college in August, I am trying to get hired by an established Electrical firm. This way I can continue to learn my craft and develop a relationship with the community. Living and working in Sydney we be the best for me because that is where I will have the biggest chance to meet people and make new friends.
Peter Sheehan Follow Me
I do not know the Sydney area, but start your search as soon as you can . You may also have to consider being in the union.
Eric Lortie Follow Me
Also, get a website. The tiniest online presence puts you leagues ahead of virtually all of your competition. People rely on word of mouth and "I know Budy Whatizsname and he can fix yer sink", and it works, but it results in people who don't have connections not knowing where to go.
Monika Dutt Follow Me
Interesting discussion. There are so many factors that go into whether someone stays in or leaves a place. I've moved around a lot throughout school and the first few years of finishing residency (I trained both as a family physician and as a public health specialist) -- but once I hit Cape Breton, I felt like I had found a home -- both for me any my son. I've been here four years now, which might not be much in Cape Breton time, but it's the longest I've lived anywhere since childhood! In some ways, it is easier to move and find work as a single parent (but perhaps harder, when there are no family supports in the place you move to). I've found a smallish circle of close friends, which is enough for me -- and many others that I enjoy spending time with. My public health job also lends itself to meeting people in a way that's different from seeing patients -- it's easier to have social connections with the same people I work with within public health and in the community. Activity-wise, Cape Breton has more than enough for me/us to do. And I enjoy my work -- additionally, I've had flexibility in my work to spend some time in India every year, which is important to me. When I worked in northern Saskatchewan, it was built into the contract that doctors could take a one-year leave every two years -- it's a long time to be away, but it was seen as a way to help keep doctors in the area long-term (that's easier to do in a group practice setting though). I might have more to say in the morning when I'm not ready to go to sleep -- but thought I'd share the thoughts of a doctor who's quite happy to have made Cape Breton my home! (An addition -- not to say there haven't been any negative experiences. There have been, particularly related to race. But not necessarily worse than anywhere else...and the good has far outweighed the bad, as hurtful as the bad might be.)
Dave duChene Follow Me
Boy did this story ever hit close to home. I've lived in Cape Breton for over 25 years and love it here. I still have more close friends in Halifax. I thought it was me, perhaps not.
Heather Sparling Follow Me
I've lived in Cape Breton for 11 years now, having come from Toronto. I remember students "from away" in my grad program at York U in Toronto saying the exact same thing about making friends in Toronto! They struggled to find a circle of friends among Torontonians who had lived there their whole lives and already had friends. So I'm not sure that this is a Cape Breton-specific phenomenon, although anyone who leaves as a result is more noticed here than in Toronto, I'm sure. My circle of friends here has comes through professional circles (most academics are CFAs, so we're mostly in the same boat), as well as through interests (I'm involved in the Gaelic and traditional music communities). I did make some friends when I had a child as well. Meanwhile, I stay in touch with good friends in Toronto and elsewhere. I think it's pretty normal for really strong friendships to take some time to develop. As a big city girl, I was a little apprehensive about moving to Cape Breton at first. But I'm very, very happy here.
Bev Brett Follow Me
You don't say who is in rural or industrial Cape Breton. I think it may be a very different experience. I think the word CFA is an urban word. You never hear it used where I live- Victoria County- never heard local older people use it. And only heard it used alot in the last 10 years in the media - Sydney etc. People where I live may say someone is "from away" or a "Stranger" Ach well you're a stranger. Or a foreigner- but that would be a translation from Gaelic- not a negative attitude as in "furriners". I think in the Country - recent retirees may have a problem - but there are lots of things to join- church, darts, health centre- community walks- theatre- choirs- but if you have no outside interests then it could be a problem. I think people need to actually DO things with other people to get to know them.
Peter Sheehan Follow Me
I grew up on CB and then became a CBFA about 20 years ago ,and am still a CBFA .One factor on CB is family . Those with family live a whole different social lifestyle than those that do not have a lot or any family but their own . Some families are inclusive to the CFA's and CBFA'a , but some are not. Having lived in a few provinces means having friends in a few provinces , some fade away but then also some stay close and maintain contact . You are always sort of included . On CB , you may find you are included, but then maybe not 100% as you were in other locations . There are always themes at play in anything and when it comes to CB , it seems there are far too many "divides" than you will find in other places . Petty things become big things far too often . Instead of looking for the path to succeed,too many get hung up on the negatives . The Municipal governments are a prime factor in why we are loosing people , let alone loosing professionals like doctors . There is a supply and demand factor in every profession . If population declines ,eventually we do not need as many teachers and why we are now closing schools. Some one has to get out there and troll for investments .
Lynn Hussey Follow Me
Really good discussion and thanks for it. I don't think we intentionally 'diss' people from other places, or at least the majority of us don't, but speaking for myself, I'm so comfortable with the way I live, I don't feel the 'need' to reach out to others. I'm in the country, so if someone new moves onto our Road then I'll let them know I'm here if they ever need me, but I'm just not the type to reach out to them. Not sure why, but I 'think' a lot of us just like to keep to ourselves and to not complicate things. Maybe if people moving here understood what is behind some of the 'stay to ourselves' way we have about us, it'd be easier for them and less hurtful. I don't suppose it'll ever change since it's always been like this.
madeline yakimchuk Follow Me
I certainly never had the impression it was intentional. For me it was a perfect storm, age 50, no kids, single, self employed. Most people had their gig already organized, their circle of support, and probably didn't realize I was alone. Also, people are really busy. Even so there were people who tried to include me, I just didn't share the history or simply wasn't a good fit for them. My intention for participating in this discussion was that those who are active socially know about this rather widespread phenomena. I, like many others, thought it was me. It wasn't.
Lynn Hussey Follow Me
No definitely not just you and I'm glad it's being discussed; it was always just under the surface but no one wanted to bring it out into the open. I have No idea what would help to change things..but having it out there and being aware is the first step.
Betty Williams Follow Me
When we see the lengths to which our local communities are going to welcome the refugees and help them settle in, perhaps we should be trying to do more and go out of our way to make other newcomers settle in as quickly as possible, with a view to keeping them here,such as those professionals we so definitely need. Don't misunderstand my comment here; I am certainly all for helping our refugees. However, recruiting and keeping doctors here would not require as much monetary assistance as it takes to set up families with a home and living expenses for a year. Mostly our assistance to future doctors who just might like to make a living and spend their future here would consist of making them welcome and seeing that they are looked after socially etc. Of course it would help if others in their families were able to make a living here as well!
Peter Sheehan Follow Me
I don't recall any Health Authority or any of their Directors reaching out to any Municipality or the general public asking for any assistance whatsoever to help attract let alone retain any health care personnel . Matter of fact , neither do you see any one really reaching out trying to attract any new population . We only think we should be marketing to tourists , but that is not enough .
Eric Lortie Follow Me
To my knowledge there is at least 1 full time position with the health authority dedicated to recruiting people to the island. It's just a really hard sell.
Peter Sheehan Follow Me
Well, sounds like that 1 person should try to communicate to the population what the recruiting and retention problems are . Is it the money ? is it the isolation? is it something to do with career limitations??
Eric Lortie Follow Me
I can't for the life of me imagine a scenario where having that person interact directly with the community, as part of their job, would do anything but hinder their ability to get stuff done. Have you SPOKEN to anyone from the island about how to solve this problem? Everyone has a different viewpoint. There is absolutely zero chance that opening them up to the peanut gallery would result int their ability to do things better. Note: I'm not saying the government shouldn't be more engaged on this. They should. I just think that should be the point of contact. I have no idea who this person is or what their job entails. I don't know if they're great at it or wildly inept. I do know that it's possible for them to be awesome at it and still fail catastrophically at luring anyone to the region. There are a lot of good reasons not to move here. This persons job isn't to change them, it's to convince people the good reasons outweigh the bad.
Joe Ward Follow Me
It is definitely a very challenging task (aka really hard sell) to convince someone with high demand professional skills, and an income level allowing them to live anywhere, to choose one specific place. And that is amplified when the place has some very significant limitations - as our region does (whether y'all burned copies of MoneySense magazine or stapled them to every power pole on Charlotte St). Given that we have a doctor shortage and high patient to doctor ratio, they are probably immediately overwhelmed by patient demand. And it can't feel good to know that you have to turn down appointments to people that are ill (or think they're ill) - or to not turn them down and become ill yourself from physical and mental exhaustion. Meanwhile, as I read the article, I wondered how often the doctor had to commute back and forth to Cheticamp and if that travel was something he enjoyed or was another non-desirable factor. If we're going to turn this around, we're going to have to think very differently. And expecting that to come out of a government agency is a bit of a long shot. Reaching out to the community will certainly be inefficient. But perhaps assembling a think tank of local stakeholders to brainstorm with the rep could yield some possibilities. But that also depends on them breaking the hearts of the usual suspects who sit on boards for the sake of such things as recognition, coffee, and sandwiches; and remind them this time they want real creative thinkers and entrepreneurial type people whose specialty is finding *new* ways to do things. So if you're already on municipal council, the school board, etc, then please back away and let those with an ounce or more of Calabrese-ivity take this one on.
Rory Andrews My Post Follow Me
Thanks Betty. I try not to delve too much into politics because I'm new around here, and don't feel I know enough to really talk about it. The reason I wrote this wasn't to ask what our politicians could do to solve this problem, but instead what we could do, and what we might be doing wrong. Just being conscious of the fact that we keep newcomers at arms length is a step in the right directions. If any Caper doesn't like that fact, they can invite someone new to go get a cup of coffee or to dinner, then tell me I'm wrong. I'd love to be wrong. Please, prove me wrong. Be super friendly to everybody and call me an idiot. I would love that.
Andrea MacEachern Follow Me
I can relate to this as I'm a recent CHFA. In my adopted city of St. John's, NL, I had many friends and always had someone to go out with and many social activities to attend. For the first three years I lived back in CB after being away for 12 years, I had zero friends, no one to contact, no one to go out with, nowhere to socialize and no invitations to do so. I attended a wedding of a relative at one point and didn't know anyone there. I sat at a table with extra chairs and introduced myself and half of them got up, left and sat somewhere else! Imagine! Living in St. John's, that was a common thing. Thats how you meet new people. Thats how friends are made. You see and empty seat, you ask if the seat is taken and if its not, you sit and make new friends. That's not a thing here. If you are not in the CLIQUE, you're a loser and not worthy of even a smile. In fact, the only thing I got in my hometown of New Waterford was people staring at me like I was an alien. I was always taught that the polite thing to do when in the presence of a new person is to say "hi, how are you, where are you from" or similar friendly remark. No one smiled at me nor said hi. Just blank stares. Necks craned to get a look at the stranger roaming their town. It was almost like they were saying "how dare she step foot here". Thats how I felt. Not welcome. In St. John's, I had a circle of friends that I still have to do this day within the first week of moving there. People were welcoming, they were interested in me, they couldn't wait to hear more about me and to invite me out to dinners and social gatherings. It took three years for someone to even give me a friendly look and still to this day 5 years after moving back, I only have a very small handful of people I can call friends and I met them through my job. Capers are friendly to tourists but I have heard stories similar to mine over and over again-they are just not inviting to people who move here from away. Plain and simple.
madeline yakimchuk Follow Me
I'm sorry that happened, or is happening to you Andrea. I had ONE friend from high school, who dragged me around everywhere, but it just didn't work. I didn't have the shared history he had with all of those people, and eventually I had to make my own history with other people. That one friend told me it took him 10 years, and it took me that long too. It is a strange place eh? And the damnedest thing is that after a decade you find you are just like them! I wonder how we would know, you and I, if we have anything in common, if we are neighbours, if we are both gardeners, if we are both into plant based lifestyles, if, if, if... I think I'll look for you on Facebook.
madeline yakimchuk Follow Me
There are two who could be you... one who is friends with robert and nona, and one who is friends with scott and harry. I'm betting on the first. I've sent a friend request.
Andrea MacEachern Follow Me
Actually I think you try to add the wrong one lol so I just sent you a request...well I hope it's you anyway :)
P Sheehan Follow Me
Having moved around the country a few times, every new location has different challenges. "Moving back" is even more challenging as you have higher expectations . When you don't have a large family to be a part of ,it is even more difficult as CB is a lot about the family and the cousins etc . Many CHFA that I know have also said that they found it more difficult to get their social life back on CB than they did in their other locations and could never figure out why . One told me that he thinks it is because the long time residents, of all age groups , do not want change, so resist anyone who seems different , seems to talk about their ideas for CB , or tries to impress too much . He also says that in many situations he believes employees are just not being trained ( or maybe don't care and get away with it ) to provide the service they should and could , and that includes recognizing a new person who frequents a business or looking for services if only buying gas .
Andrea MacEachern Follow Me
I totally agree with man life-long Capers not wanting to embrace change. Many things about living here are very old-fashioned (for lack of a better word) and there is certainly an air of closed-mindedness about a lot of things especailly anyone who is different than them. I am much different many people around here - I don't go to church nor subscribe to any religion, I don't watch TV or even own one because I would rather be outside being active and I don't go out to the clubs drinking and I don't play Bingo or darts - all of these things are common Caper activities and when people around here hear that I don't participate in any of them, they treat me like I have the plague and call me a weirdo or eccentric or strange lol. I dont say anything about the things they do that dont interest me. I have an attitude of "to each their own" and "everyone is different, thats what makes the world go around" but they treat me like I have something wrong with me. It's very bizarre is what it is. Never ever ever had that issue anywhere else I have lived or traveled.
Beatrice Wadden Follow Me
I agree with every word you wrote .. keep up the good work. I am a Cape Bretoner and one has to have their own circle of friends. As a senior finding new friends is quite difficult in any new environment one moves to in Nova Scotia.
Laura Mercer Follow Me
Great Article Rory. I am a CFA back in 1972 and then again in 1980. I did feel always like I was the gal from ON. But when I started Second Wind Community Band.....that feeling went away.....mind you that started in 1993. Took awhile to feel like this was home. And I just wanted those who could when they came to CB or stayed in CB, that they could join us and get an instant family through music. It helped in so many ways for so many. Instantly, even the Docs that came to my group, found friends and then deep friendships over the years. If only he and his wife played a concert band instrument, perhaps, they could have joined our group and would have had that welcoming feeling. I know how hard they've worked to get where they are and we have to work harder to keep them. You are preaching to the converted, but could your letter get to the desk of the CEO of the Capital Health Board.
Rory Andrews My Post Follow Me
Thanks Laura, I do find the the only surefire way to make friends after university is a hobby. I was lucky enough to get into acting when I got here, and stuffing 12 people in a room for months building a production is a pretty good recipe to find some good people. The reason doctors stay and doctors go is complicated, and I don't claim to know or understand everything about it. I did know Brodie though, and I thought his story was worth being told. I will say that the reason my Dad left is he had to deliver 700 babies in one year, because the medical resources in Canada are unfairly lopsided when it comes to rural areas. I still believe this fact to be true, but few doctors or medical experts are willing to say anything, for fear of professional backlash and consequences. When I was teaching, you wouldn't believe what didn't leave the school. Half a principle's job is PR management and making sure horrible stories don't leave campus.
Susan Sullivan Follow Me
Great story Rory ! We are looking at moving to Cape Breton. This story would put me off, except this is not just CB's story. I experienced the same moving to Roland, MB a Scottish settlement town. Original settler families and their offspring, a very tight club, outsiders not welcomed. I left after 3 years. Later in life wanting to leave cities (cities are very good for making friends, it's when you 'get out of town' things get interesting) I moved to Lester Beach, again an area settled in the late 1700's early 1800's by a group of founding families. Good luck making a friend here, you are looked at in disdain and distrust, because you're not descendent from 'them'. I'm descendent from one of two Guindon brothers from France that landed the Gaspe with Cartier. I descend from one of the 'first' families in Canada. My Canadian roots stem from the 1600's, so even the folks in CB came after me. I also come from deep Celtic roots and thought it might be good to live amongst that short of moving to Wales, which is where my people came from before a world migration to southern France. Me thinks CB's are a little too caught up with themselves, and should broaden their horizons. There is something out there that is 'bigger than them'.
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