I never really thought the move to Connecticut for college would be all that different than where I grew up, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Fairfield is practically right on the beach, still in New England, there are seasons and a little town. How can it be that different I thought? However, after living in Fairfield for the past three and a half months, I have come to realize how different The Cape is from here. Specifically the language barrier.
“Yeah I’ll meet you by the rotary.”
“The what???” Replied my friend, Corinne, from Pennsylvania.
I was appalled, I could not believe Corinne, a girl I had just met did not know what a rotary was. Back at home you cannot drive five miles without coming to a rotary, or roundabout as Corinne referred to it as. But then it dawned on me. Whenever summer rolls around rotaries become a huge traffic starting point as summer people do not know how to drive them. This might be the most frustrating thing for Cape Codders. When you’re in the rotary you have the right of way, when you are entering the rotary you do not. People from out of town are constantly stopping inside the rotary causing horns to start beeping and the traffic to start.
My new friends at Fairfield love to repeat the word “wicked” after I say it. I never realized how much I used the word, or how uncommon it was, and the stereotypes that are true that come along with the word. At the first day of field hockey preseason in August I made a reference to the hotness and used “wicked” to describe the weather. I got laughs, confused faces and comments such as “Omg, you say wicked?!” Well, yes of course I say wicked, infact it is very common where I am from. I have not heard another person who is not from Massachusetts use that word here. Until, Emma, a teammate from Maryland used the word and immediately after said “I cannot believe I just said that.” as if it was a bad thing.
You know the difference between a local and a tourist by the way you refer to Cape Cod. A true Cape Codder when asked where they are from replies “The Cape” while others know it and call it “Cape Cod”. When I would introduce myself at the start of college where I was from I would say “The Cape” as this is what naturally came out of my mouth. Again, I got weird looks as though people had never heard of it. People would say back “Oh, you mean Cape Cod?” I never knew it was that unapparent. Yes, obviously I was referring to Cape Cod!!
Another mistake people make when referencing Cape Cod here which I cannot stand is, “in Cape Cod” and “on Cape”. Tourist say in while natives say on. You cannot live in the Cape, you live on the Cape. You cross over a bridge and eventually are on Cape. I’m not sure why this irks people, like me, but there is just something about it that makes me shake my head.
I always know the following question in response to when I say I am from the Cape. It is something along the lines of “You actually live there year round?” or “What do you do all winter?”. When I was younger I really had no idea what people meant when I would get asked this. I was not really aware people did not all live on the water in a small community where there are no skyscrapers and major companies, highways, or factories. People think of The Cape as a vacation, summer place but not for me. Now, in response to that I always make a sassy, sarcastic comment back to the point of “Well what do you do all winter long?” Exactly, the same thing. We go to school, play sports, go to the mall, out to eat, sledding, bog skating, etc. Truly, living on The Cape is not that different from other peoples daily winter activities. It might take Cape Codders longer to get to the mall or we might have to go over the bridge to so something we want but that is something you get used to.
The list could go on. Living somewhere three and a half hours from home I never knew would be so different. Despite the differences I have loved living here for the past few months and look forward to my next seven semesters at Fairfield University. The variety of people I have met are people I know I will have a connection with for the rest of my life. It was strange at first getting adjusted to a calling Fairfield home but my family always reminds me, The Cape will always be my home.