Why we live here

By PORTLAND PHOENIX STAFF  |  April 22, 2009

090424_Katrina
I don't look like I'm from Maine, and that's fine with me because I'm not. The Garden State is my true home and I came to Maine without much choice. The summer after eighth grade, my step-dad came home and said, "Pack your bags, we're moving to Maine." That's how I began the process of growing up in a place where there are no diners or real pizza, where people choose snowmobiles over braces, where the sky is clear at night from lack of lights, and most importantly, where people enjoy the simple things in life. I am proud of where I came from, but filled with pride for where I live.

When people come out of their winter doldrums; cleaning their car, leaving the hats and gloves at home, and seeing grass (whether its green or brown), I remember that there is life here, a good life.

The ebb and flow of Maine weather is about acceptance I think. Although I complain about the snow (I find myself baking more than sledding), I know it will pass, as it always does.

Spring and summer rock. The very first time I eat Martel's ice cream, in flip-flops, with my brothers, I am thankful that this is where I landed. My summer job in OOB allows me to walk right into the ocean after punching out ... and it doesn't bother me if I kick sand onto sleeping Massholes on my way to the water. Oh, and in the summer, having Maine plates automatically gives you the right to drive erratically, what with all the lost Canadian tourists cutting you off.

Mainers, born and raised, have many endearing traits that I appreciate. The accent is one that will send both chills up your spine and melt your heart. People with pick-up trucks know that they'll have to help you move, and (most of the time) people wave when you let them into traffic. Wave to a stranger in New Jersey, and you might get shot. I will never fully understand how to eat a topless Italian sandwich, but Mainers embrace the mess and I smile at their satisfaction as oil drips down their chin. There is something genuine about Maine people that I have never seen anywhere else in all of my travels. Even when you go down to "The Shaws," the cashier will ask how you are, and it seems that she really cares.

I have tried to leave this state numerous times with ridiculous fantasies of greener grass and just wanting to GTFO, but I always come back, and I always will. It's probably because it's the way life should be.
_Katrina Botelho

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