In the book Almost French, Australian expat Sarah Turnbull describes the challenges of living as a new Parisian. She encounters particular difficulties in trying to understand the cool attitude of people she meets at dinner parties. She gets an opportunity to question a hard-won Parisian friend about this after he’s warmed to her:
“Why where you so unfriendly at first?”
Arnaud contemplates my question, which doesn’t seem to have offended or even surprised him. “The problem is the French aren’t very comfortable meeting new people,” he says. “For us, friendships form over years, at school or university. And after that, we’re not interested, we’re no longer curious. We think we’ve got enough friends already.”
I wonder how much the same could be said of Prince Edward Islanders, or, indeed, of people living in any place with a tradition of insularity.