Who of you when you have been on vacation always say you want to go "where the locals are?" My bet it's most of you, especially you New Yorkers - we are the worst. Well being local is a pretty big deal when you live in what is primarily a tourist location. Here is no different. There are benefits to being a local - whether it's knowing what's the best day of the week to go food shopping or which restaurants offer a more, um affordable? lunch deal.
For me it's more about feeling like a belong. I already have that French thing to tackle - but the good news it's getting a little better. Store owners are starting to recognize me - at least the ones I am in often enough, same at restaurants. A few things that help - my ability to tan well and quick - thanks mom and dad for those genes, being seen with my fiance who despite his somewhat shy demeanor knows a lot of people and has nice group of friends, and the fact that I can now at least fake my French enough when picking up everyday essentials.
Now to why it's really important to be local - it's expensive, very expensive. Since it's so small imports all come a significant price, restaurants are after the jet set tourists not the local dive shop owner. The good news is the locals take care of the locals and almost anywhere you go there is a local price. Sometimes its just a small difference, sometimes it can be significant.
Yesterday I went to buy my ferry ticket as I will be heading back to New Jersey - yep not New York City today for a few weeks. When I went to pay the ticket agent said - "you live on the island, right?" I said yes - it actually felt good. The bonus, a round trip ferry ticket at the residents price - which was a very significant discount.
It's not that I didn't know about the discount, but after spending the last year observing some of the local interactions, it felt good to finally be able to say that I am one - even though I don't totally feel it yet. But I'm getting there.