Monday, August 20, 2012

Kootenay Lovin'.

We just returned from a trip to the Kootenays.  It was super awesome.  We stayed with friends at a mobile home resort-park-type-thing on Kootenay Lake, and even thought the lake was FRICKIN' cold, it was still so fun.  The kids didn't give a crap that the water was -20 (OK, give or take a few degrees, whatever), they just hopped right in and played on the beach for hours.  We grown-ups watched, and drank beer, and ate all sorts of awesome junky food, and played cards, and read, and just kicked back.  It was SUCH a good time.

Now, as you may know, the West Kootenay is mine and Shawn's old stompin' grounds.  I lived in Castlegar for 7 years, Shawn for 5.  We moved to Kamloops six years ago this November, but we haven't been back to the area in a really long time.  And let me tell you, it was a TRIP being back there.  I was actually shocked at how many memories instantly came flooding back.  The winding two-lane highway between Kelowna and Rock Creek that I drove more times than I can count.  The delicious deli sandwiches at the Rock Creek General Store that are so good, Shawn and I used to starve ourselves for the entire day when we knew we were heading to Kamloops, just so we could eat a bunch of them.  Heading through Greenwood, the "smallest city in BC", and stopping at the Copper Eagle bakery, which has the most ridiculously delicious baked goods.  Then came Grand Forks, and past the cemetery where my Baba is buried; and then beautiful, warm Christina Lake.  And the minute we started the descent from the summit of the good ol' Blueberry Paulson, with all the Albertans and the truckers and the old people that drive 50 km/hr on that highway then somehow manage to speed up to 130 when they hit a passing lane so you can't even get around them, I was a hit by a wave of nostalgia that, frankly, completely threw me.  I was not expecting to feel such warmth towards this little town that I couldn't wait to leave six years ago.

When we made the decision to leave the Kootenays, a lot of factors contributed to our choice.  Most importantly, with two small kids, we needed to be closer to family.  Also, neither of us were interested in raising our kids in a small town - we wanted them to be able to have lots of choices when it came to schools, and activities, and friends.  Shawn grew up in Calgary, and I lived in Vancouver for a couple of years, and we knew for certain that we did not want to be in a large city.  Small-ish without being teeny-tiny, lots of choices, beautiful climate, and family - Kamloops fit the bill perfectly, and I can honestly say that every single day for the last 6 years I have been thankful we made the decision to come here.

So you know what was totally weird??

I found myself checking out real estate in Castlegar, and wanting to go back!!!

Shawn told me I'd have to go with my new husband, but whatever.  I can deal with him later.  He's pretty easy to trick.

Even Mackenzie was all like, "hey, let's move here for a year!  Let's just try it!"  And I thought it was funny that out of all the cities and towns we've taken our kids to, this one really seemed to resonate with her.  I don't know if it's because she genuinely liked it, or because she knew that I was feeling so drawn to it, but either way, she has definitely never said anything before about living anywhere else.

I've thought a lot about why I felt the way I did when we rolled in to town, and really, it boils down to this: I "grew up" in Castlegar.  Yeah, I was raised in Kamloops, and yeah, I went to school in Vancouver, but Castlegar?  THAT is the place where shit got real.

I started my very first real job, in my chosen field of broadcasting.

I started paying my own way through life - no more sponging off mom and dad (I still remember the first time I went to the local Safeway and bought groceries with my OWN money.)

I started renting a place, all by myself.  I lived alone, and I paid the bills myself.  And yeah - I had to learn to budget!

I met Shawn.  That went well, so...

We got married.

We bought our first house (a tiny little bungalow on 7th Avenue that we paid a whopping $100,000 for, and just about passed out signing the mortgage papers because it was SOOOOOO MUCH MONEY!!!!)

We (actually, I) had our kids.

We made grown-up decisions, all by ourselves.

And all of that, and so much more, is enough to make me see the huge amount of importance that that little area of the world holds for me.  It is very weird to contemplate how different my life would be now, had I not spent seven years of my life in Castlegar.  I know we'll never leave where we are now; when it comes down to it, we are truly happy here.  But at the same time, rolling through a city that you didn't even realize holds so much meaning in your life, after 5 years away, is a very cool experience.

So, much love to you, West Kootenay area of BC.  It certainly won't be another 5 years before our next visit.

No comments:

Post a Comment