Posted by: Kiersten | December 14, 2009

You know you’re a Ukee local when:

You have at least one pair of calf-high black $20 gum boots, purchased at the co-op, identical to the boots everyone else in town has.  You wear them everywhere (unless it’s sunny, then you wear $5 flip-flops.)

You do not expect a store to be open during regular business hours.  All stores are on “Ukee Time” and may close at any moment for any reason.  This doesn’t bother you because you operate on Ukee Time yourself and enjoy the same flexibility.  You are not in a hurry to get anything, you will simply return the next day to try again.

You drive or bike around for entertainment, you rarely have an agenda.  Errands get done by osmosis while you’re out:  If there is parking directly in front of the post office you will check the mail, otherwise you will drive around the block and try again in ten minutes.  If there are more than a few cars in front of the co-op, you decide to do your grocery shopping later because there might be a line at the checkout inside.

You never use your phone for local calls – you’ll just talk to whoever you want to talk to the next time you run into them.

You finally receive your B.C. drivers license in the mail.

You get an actual post office box of your very own and no longer have your mail addressed “General Delivery”.

You often wave to the drivers in cars as they pass by. 

You never hear sirens, car alarms or gunshots.

You barter for a portion of your groceries.  Got crab?  Trade ya for some halibut from my freezer.

Most of your food was farmed, harvested or caught within 100 miles of where you live.  Part of it was harvested with your own hands or was purchased directly from someone who harvested it with their hands.

You have at least three sources of income including at least one part time job.  You likely employ someone else part time and you find a way to make your hobbies earn money too.

You have at least two vehicles, one of which does not run and is parked permanently in front of your house.  You have at least one recreational vehicle, boat, or camper parked beside the broken down car.

You stop locking up anything.  You don’t lock your house, your garage, your bike or your car.  Locking things just means you have to keep track of the keys.  You keep your car keys in your unlocked car – that’s where you need them.

The value of your vehicle is less than $500.  You have it to take your surf board / kayak / mountain bike to the ocean / lake / mountains.

Your surfboard / kayak / mountain bike is worth more than your vehicle.

Should your bike ever disappear overnight, you know it wasn’t stolen – it was merely borrowed by someone too sloshed to drive home.  You know the bike will reappear the next night or two.  You visit the bike shop to post a note with the description of your bike and your address, just in case the borrower sustained a head injury in the nightly bar brawl and can not remember where he got the bike from.

You realize it’s been a couple of days since you’ve seen your working car.  You know it’s not stolen, you simply parked it somewhere, forgot you drove and walked home.  You don’t sweat it because you’ll spot it next time you make the rounds in town.



  1. Well, I’ll just update this post in the comments as our time in Ucluelet progresses. There are a few things I have to add, after a year and a half of living here:

    If you do hear a siren, you realize you probably know who is driving the ambulance and you might know who needs a ride in it. You find yourself honestly concerned and hope whoever it is, is not seriously hurt.

    Your summer is all about surviving the winter. Half of the people you know work on boats or in the fish plants, and they’ll be on EI in the winter. In the summer, people have no time but lots of money. In the winter there is lots of time but no money.

    You have said goodbye to a lot of cool people, some of them seasonal workers, some of them moved here for a year or two and then moved away again.

    You work at least two jobs, and you’re probably self-employed on top of it. This spring I had FOUR jobs and no days off.

    You may not get excited every time you see an eagle, deer or sea lion, but you may greet them like old friends. If you’re an animal person, you’ll get to know the individual members of the wild kingdom, you’ll watch their offspring grow up and leave town, you’ll notice when new animals show up and you’ll be happy to see an old animal you haven’t seen in a while.

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