Published: October 5th 2011September 25th 2011 Editor's note
Welcome to Williams Lake
The Visitor Centre was the first stop we made in town. It is quite a place. Lots of great information, friendly staff and a coffee shop. Sure gave us a great feeling about our new home.
I have taken the liberty of copying the recipient list from WilsonsInChina to this new blog. If you don't want to receive notice of new entries, go back to the email and click "unsubscribe". If you have seen this before, sorry about that. Chalk it up to growing pains (mine, not yours) The next adventure begins
Dianne “retired” in June 2006 but decided to keep her hand in by doing a few projects for her old school system. Then the opportunity to go to China was too much for her to resist. Went for two years, stayed for three and would probably have stayed for one more but the Chinese government has age related policies for “foreign experts”. There can be exceptions but we decided it would be better to be closer to our grandchildren. Ah, retirement.
But then, along came the opportunity to go to Williams Lake for a year where Dianne would mentor the teacher the system has selected to become to new principal. A small elementary school in the Cariboo/Chilcotin area was a perfect choice to spend our first year back in Canada. A lot closer to our grandchildren. At
Lots of scenery around here. Trees, valleys, rivers. Beautiful.
least we are in the same time zone.
The school building is fairly new and seems pretty well designed. The rooms are large and the school grounds are huge. Williams Lake is in a valley with some pretty nice scenery visible from just about everywhere. I wonder if I will still think the same way once the snow arrives. The gym has a commercial kitchen which allows it to be used as a parish hall as well as provide hot breakfast and lunch programs for the kids.
The school is less than a 15 minute walk from the apartment which is handy as I will be on Pender from Labour Day until Thanksgiving. This means Dianne gets to walk everywhere in Williams Lake. Luckily everything we need is less than 15 minutes from the apartment. Our new digs are very nice. The lower level of an up/down duplex, it was completely renovated just before we moved in. In fact, the last task was completed the morning of the day we arrived. Two bedrooms, a large living/dining room and a kitchen that makes our kitchen in China look like a closet (I think it was a closet).
Sacred Heart School
The reason we are in Williams Lake. Nice facility, nice staff and great kids. Dianne tells me she is really enjoying what she is doing. Can't ask for much more than that.
Even our new kitchen on Pender won’t be as large as the one in WL.
We have almost every store you can imagine here. I was surprised to find so many of the big stores here. Everything is walkable except Canadian Tire and Wal-Mart. The public library is great and has a huge collection of DVDs including all the series of British comedies and dramas that we enjoy. Lots of interesting restaurants and a nice coffee shop whose only problem is closing at 5:00!
So on our first weekend in the area, what should we do? Dianne decided we should go to Barkerville, a ghost town that was the centre of the Gold Rush starting in 1858. It has been on Dianne’s Bucket List for years and what better opportunity will we have for getting there. When we mentioned our destination to some of the staff, they thought it was appropriate we go that weekend because Barkerville was celebrating the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival!
The town is in a narrow valley so is narrow and fairly long. People in period costumes wander the town and inhabit the buildings talking about the large Chinese presence in
The school grounds are pretty big. My comment was that by the time the kids get to one end of the playground, recess is over and they have to come back. The answer was: the kids don't seem to mind.
the area during the Gold Rush. Lunch at the Lung Duck Tong restaurant was excellent and our chopstick skills came in very handy. We even had a Lion Dance. In the administration building at the entrance they were running documentaries all day on the history of the Forbidden City in Beijing. I watched for almost an hour and would have loved to see the rest of them. Because we had been there a couple of times, I found it very interesting.
The next weekend we tried the Williams Lake Trail. The Williams Lake River empties into the Fraser River about 11 kilometres from town. There is a great trail that winds its way along the riverbank back and forth over about 14 bridges. Since the 11 km is one way, we decided a 22 km hike was a bit too ambitious. There is a road that drops you near the 7 km sign and that left about a 10 km round trip (yeah, the math is a bit funny but so are the km signs). Some gorgeous scenery on the way to the river. It did make me think of some lessons I taught in China in my
Sign of the times
The olden times, that is. All over town these signs talk about the history of the city. Seems funny to think that here 150 years is "old". In China, 1,500 years wasn't even that old.
Canadian Studies course about rivers, lakes and tributaries. The Fraser River featured prominently in those discussions.
So, the post-China adventures continue. There will be a slight pause in the touring as Dianne and I spend September in different locations. She will be spending lots of time at school and I will be getting ready for phase two of the renovations. The addition is almost finished and the main floor renos begin shortly.
What will we do for excitement this year? Well, everyone keeps telling us how great the cross country skiing is. Hmmmmm. Why was it we moved to the Island? Oh yes, it wasn’t to get away from the snow, just was a side benefit! But Dianne is investigating a dogsled weekend in January for her birthday. Hmmmm snow again. Is there a pattern here? One of my jobs in Victoria this trip is getting a block heater installed and the car winterized. Haven’t had that much excitement in years!
To be continued....
There are more photos below