Sunday, November 25, 2018

Toques, Toonies & Timbits: Our First Month in B.C.

Mission Park Greenway-A favorite trail running spot
Hello from B.C.,

Here we are on the cusp of our first 4 weeks in our new home country. For me, it seems as though the 2000 mile journey here was long ago. So much has occurred since. Our nervous systems have been on overload with all The journey here was relatively seamless. We had zero mechanical issues with vehicles, we had lovely weather and we were able take rest with friends and family along the way. Our decision to haul our own trailers provided immense flexibility.  Mostly, I was grateful everyday not to have cats in my SUV crapping in the litter box at will! You always knew one of the felines had dropped a load when Eric would suddenly pullover, scoop the duke, toss it in the trash and resume driving.
Dogs road with me, of course, and slept quietly the entire time. Aside from leaving hair behind, the pets did not vomit or have any accidents despite the numerous places they lodged. We were on a roll until we arrived in Kelowna and faced a few obstacles with our housing plans due to our immigration status.

Smokey Thru Gavin's Eyes
Our realtor has been a blessing for months but upon our arrival and without the ability to yet buy a house as planned, she found us a stunning town home for our first weeks lodging. A spectacular home in a very quiet area allowed us to catch our breath and develop Plan B for a more permanent rental. No small task, seriously.
Okanagan Lake, Bear Creek Canyon Trail
The rental market here has a .6% vacancy rate and when you have 4 pets, you are not a particularly attractive tenant. I had to buckle down and find my negotiating panties but was able to secure a nice older home on a beautiful street near the lake. Six other families were vying for it so we felt fortunate. With the knowledge we will be buying a house soon, we are electing to leave nearly all our belongings packed in our trailer, the garage or the massive basement. I keep wearing the same clothes, as does Gavin, Eric is more appointed as he knew he had to look professional for work. Good thing we don't have any friends yet or they may be getting a bit concerned about our repetitive clothing selection. Grateful to have a Son, who could care less!
Okanagan Lake Via Gavin's Kayak

School is rocking along for Gavin but it is very large compared to his prior school. He is in a school containing 7th thru 12th graders, hovering around 2500 students in total. Clubs, programs and electives up the wazoo! 
Gavin's new school

Every kind of person, any kind of hobby or interest and it is covered. Plus, the ethnic diversity is considerable. Kids from all over the world with different customs and beliefs are teaching him a great deal.  Really, he is quite excited about it all. He seems at par or ahead in all his subjects, except French, which will likely require, a tutor. A second language and a plethora of toques  (stocking caps), are both required for Canadian offspring.
First day of school, rental house in background, shoes in truck!

Early Morning Jaunt, Bear Creek
He is rocking his saxophone in band, taking swim lessons while we workout at the Y and will be in an after school ski program in January. In Canada, both parents normally work full-time, thus the number of after school programs, is considerable. He will get to night ski with friends, have a lesson by a Certified Instructor and be fed dinner. I think he will have a blast. Our valley has not been blessed with snow as of yet and temps have been mild, but the mountains around us are putting on their winter crowns. The Winter Queen is inbound.

Big White Ski Area~550

Eric was recently custom-fitted for ski boots, for the first time in more than 20 years. He and Gavin visited Big White, pictured above, for opening weekend and were blown away! The sheer size of the resort and the amount of runs astounded them. Plus, the shopping, dining and lodging, where I will dwell, sounds like a hot toddy paradise! Suffice it to say, Eric is feeling like his old self~sans the stress of owning his own business and doing the work of 3 distinct people. 

He is enjoying his new job and loving the fact he is only responsible for himself! The office is very well-managed, his boss is super and the hours are lovely. To top it all off, they provide an employee, all expense paid trip, each year. Thus, we are headed to the Mexican Riviera in April. WHOOO! Since we had to postpone our trip to Jamaica with friends, this was thrilling news! For the first time in twelve years, we are going adult-only, while Gavin resides here and attends school. Meanwhile, we are trying to get unfat before we hit the beach so I have been exploring running trails and local food for my kitchen while the boys work and school.

My farm foraging is fun with a purpose: to find quality local ingredients direct from farmers with sustainable access for working parents. 

The girls above are residents of Fresh From The Farm where they roam freely, eat lots of veggies and produce bright-yolked golden eggs. The Spud-Nuts, pictured below, sort of blew my mind. I am not really a donut consumer as I find them to sweet and filled with an abundance of...air. Once a year, I will hunt out an apple fritter but I just don't care for donuts, in general. The Spud-Nut, made with farm raised potatoes and only a handful of other ingredients, were game changers. Crispy on the outside, moist and dense at the center and only a light hand of sugar, these are addicting and fleeting. The farm only makes 25 dozen, one time per week, and they FLY out the door on a normal day. We have learned the term donut hole, used in the States, has been taken over by the Tim Horton's brand and are solely referred to in Canada as, Timbits. Talk about brand sucess!
Fresh Farm The Farm is family owned and their goal is to utilize land resources to create loving products for public consumption. The arrangement below is yet another sample of their creativity. The smell is divine.

In other big news, Eric's much anticipated Canadian Citizenship Certificate finally arrived last week, after nearly five months of processing. He cried, then we cried.  Becoming a citizen in a new country is a once in a lifetime moment. Gavin and me are on our own multi-year path to residency now that Eric is deemed legitimately, Canadian, eh?

We have attended a few parties thus far and are enjoying telling our tale of how we chose Kelowna, crediting most of the decision to our cousins in Edmonton, and filling in the remaining blanks. People love the story and find it fascinating and courageous. 
In an attempt to meet some folks, we attended a party at The Rock House, duly named due to the large boulders surrounding it's lake-front elevation. Seriously, the most expensive home I have ever visited with very unusual, but fascinating decor. Click here for images of the home and its owners. 

The bathroom had faux diamonds in the sink and I almost felt criminal when I used the toilet! Ah, but the food for a foodie included a signed cookbook. To our enjoyment, a renowned local chef signed his new book The Okanagan Table, highlighting the bounty of local foods. He and his sous chef's provided all the canapes and they were out of this world. Check out Chef Raudz restaurants and culinary background.

Our relocation in a nutshell: Everything we needed to happen, did, and little of it had to do with our own determination but rather faith and flexibity. If you want change, it is yours for the asking, if you believe the universe has only good intentions for you, it will. 

In closing, our contact information is included below. We are missing our State-side friends and expect a holiday card, regardless of our move and your need to place two stamps on it. Please click "Follow" on the blogs left pane so when I create a post, you are notified.

With Love,

2099-3151 Lakeshore Road
Kelowna, B.C. V1W3S9
575.937.7673 Ness 
575.937.8096  Eric

1 comment:

  1. So happy that all is working out for the Collins. Know you all worked very hard and, with a lot of patience, it come together. Looking forward to visiting!