Tag Archives: canada

A Letter to Friends Telling our Tale

A Letter to Friends

Dear All,

After the Bush Administration got re-elected in 2004, my husband Mark went to explore the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia as a possible place to relocate. He found this beautiful spot by googling British Columbia and cactus.  Mark and I returned in May 2005 and found, by serendipity, Alison’s dream, a small farm. She had walked into the little planning department in the town of Peachland, described what we were seeking, and a man who had walked in behind her said that he was putting that exact piece property on the market tomorrow.  We the ended up closing on the farm on Canada Day, July 1, 2005. We applied for permanent resident status, a three+ year process in September 2005.

The saga continued . . .

While I was there for the first time exploring the arts & cultural scene to be sure I would have the arts I need to be stimulated, I ended up being invited to apply for the Executive Director position at the Rotary Center for the Arts and my resume and credentials being placed in the hand of a headhunter for the Kelowna cultural community. The deal for hiring “foreign workers” is the same as stateside. You must first find a Canadian who can fill the position and only if you cannot find the right person for the job can you hire a foreign worker. I was contacted by Diane early this summer to see if I was interested in applying for Development Manager of Ballet Kelowna, the small young professional ballet company that tours throughout the interior of BC. I flew up for an interview met the artistic director and dancers and members of the Board. It was a great fit and they chose to apply for a “Fair Labour Market Opinion” from the BC Foreign Worker Office, which allows me to work and gives Mark an open work permit to move his business. There are many more mini stories about this adventure and how every time we turned around there was an invitation by the universe to walk through yet another door on our path to move to Canada and to nurture a small farm for the benefit of a greater community.

I will begin work for Ballet Kelowna September 3 after driving up with our daughter Caitlin to BC beginning September 1. We are sifting sorting cleaning packing and hosting two garage sales and learning a lot about Craig’s list. The farmhouse is half the size of our current home so we have cut back by 50% of all of our possessions. Or at least we have tried. Caitlin has convinced us to hold onto our lovely home  in Boulder for a time, so if you know anyone who wants to rent a great house in a fantastic location with great schools blocks away on a lake with great blue herons and Canada geese gracing Viele Lake, please get them in touch with us.

We are still working on our communications plan. With communications technology being what it is today. Our plan is to transfer our current phone to a cell phone on the Verizon North American Plan so you should be able to reach us at this same number.  In the meantime we will also be setting up a land line.

As I say now, “ Be careful what you ask for” because if you are intentional about giving back to the earth or your community in a meaningful way, then the universe makes it happen.  I have been blessed and expect that this is another amazing blessing. This has been a journey that is taking a great deal of courage despite the fact that there are no obstacles, still every little bit of support is much appreciated.

Alison

July 1, 2007

Impressions of future life in the Okanagan Valley

I am exhausted. First, from the fact that I always have to get all of my work done in the office before I leave for a week.  The other because we have done something precipitous, buying land in Canada before we have the permission to live and work in that country.

But here I sit on the edge of the front lawn, looking past the jumbled flower bed of various planted and volunteer perennials, over the rows of peaches descending across the lawn to the mature Plum tree to be rewarded by a spectacular a view of Lake Okanagan. Over the Deep Creek ravine filled with tall standing pines some tipped with red, which protects the bark beetle that is invading both our countries over the past five years of drought.  The weather has been picture perfect, even a little too cool with its gentle breeze and cloud specked sky. This is just about the ideal, made-to-order, place for me.

 Why?

 It is at the very end of a dirt road atop Princeton Hill that is straddled by cherry orchards, which are simply breathtaking in spring with blossoms and gorgeous with the ripe red fruit in June and July. Although we can hear the faint drone of the farm equipment across the hillsides and an occasional seaplane leaving the water, it feels very remote. Because ravines on each side surround us, this little piece of farmland is a peninsula surrounded by forest and has become “my own private Idaho”.

 I was just about to shut down this computer when I couldn’t resist the temptation to add a few last words on my last morning. Yesterday was an amazing day of meeting cherry growing neighbors giving me warnings about trusting folks and a volunteer at the arts center in Summerland so encouraging but warning me about the pot growing operations (the biggest income source for the province). And then I go to a party and have a wonderful time learning about the key areas of Canadian history from a delightful professor.  And a BC citizen who immigrated from to Canada 30 years ago after working with draft resisters in Puerto Rico.

Travel in the Okanagan.  Making sense of the private Idaho’s in different lands. Wondering if this is the right thing. I guess I couldn’t have asked from more encouragement that I have gotten yesterday despite tales of hangings in adjacent properties and interesting shakes of head about the people of Peachland.  When everyone says that this is the destination of all people in Canada because it this country’s.  Shangri La and Palm Springs all rolled into one.

It is interesting when one travels alone you have the ability to engage folks in conversation that you don’t otherwise. Everyone should pretend they are moving every ten years just to clear out all their stuff, I also think that couples should head out individually and pretend they are new to a community and learn what people have to say. I guess people are all pretty encouraging about the community in which they live because they have chosen to make their lives there.  You wouldn’t disparage a place that you have determined to make your home.  That would make you a fool.  So I look forward o sending Mark up here next and tell him to go meet folks and make friends on his own and begin the network of friendship making.

I am experiencing an odd mix of emotions when I sit on top of the beautiful hill looking at they gorgeous lake and at the same time viewing the promise of what will be the work intensive fruit trees orchard. I also wonder about the huge amount of development going on all around the area without any design consideration with chock-a-block little houses.

 Ah, the little birds are chatting in the beach trees. I have seen more than my fair share of Gold finches and I just wish I could identify all these sweet little birds. Redtail, Osprey, Raven’s and Bald Eagles, I can identify on my own, but it’s these sweet little warblers and others that I don’t recognize. Someday.

Well it is time to get ready to go because I want to walk down and listen closely to the sound of the water rushing over the waterfalls through Deep Creek.

Alison