When Do I Get My Citizenship?
Yes, we have been asked this question, but there is no single answer and a wide range of opinions. Perhaps the question should be: When will locals accept me as a "local"?
Opinions range from those who will never accept you as a local, to those who accept you right away. Some people think you're not a local unless your family has inhabited the Northwoods since God created dirt (I'm exaggerating, but only slightly). Others believe you only have to live here permanently.
Attitude really does make a difference, and it should. If you come swaggering up here with a superior attitude because you are from some area where a $750,000 home is a doghouse, you will never be accepted as a local, deservedly not. If you wear an entitlement attitude like a badge, thinking you should be able to do what you want, where you want, because you spend lots of money here - well, you'll never be accepted as a local, again deservedly not.
You'll be accepted faster if you never make either of these two statements:
1) "Oh, this area...town...restaurant...whatever...is soooo quaint!"
According to Dictionary.com, "quaint" is defined as: "charmingly odd, especially in an old-fashioned way". This is really insulting. Perhaps we don't have all the modern amenities of, let's say, Naperville, Illinois, but we don't have the population they do (thank goodness). We've been to Naperville, and we'll take this area any day.
2) "If it weren't for people from Illinois (like they're the only ones who vacation here), you guys wouldn't have $H!^"
No one can deny the importance of the tourist dollar. Everyone has a reasonable expectation of good service from an establishment in exchange for hard-earned money. It does not mean that every Northwoods citizen must fall to their knees in reverence or eternal appreciation.
Who keeps the businesses open? WE ALL DO. Tourists are here for two weeks out of the year, but locals are here year-round, and - get this - we spend money here too.
A final thought: If you don't act like your stuff doesn't stink, you should be accepted anywhere.