We passed the 2 year mark on the 25th August and can’t figure out where the time has gone….

What to say? Erm,…. I have no idea.

Are we making progress? Of a fashion. Leigh has finally been granted her visa and has, after a couple of knock backs, got a job in a bank, starting Sept 6th. The kids are enjoying school life more than ever, making new friends all the time. I’ve packed the day trading in for the time being, along with almost all the other traders it seems. What to do next, I have no clue. I’ve got some brochures on becoming a diving instructor…

With some of the lowest wages in Canada yet the highest cost of living and average house prices over $500k, I can’t see us staying in the long term. There’s only so many times we want to sit on the beach watching everyone else out in their boats, or have conversations with people about how much their house is worth and how they were lucky to buy when they did. "Yeah," I heard Leigh say to a couple on the beach, "but the food you’re eating is crap, which might explain why your kid’s hyperactive all day." I hope they got the message.

Which leads me onto the quality of food. It’s not good. Yeah, you can but as much of you want, but, hey, it’s full of additives and all sorts of junk. The reason parents feed any form of diet soda to their kids is simply beyond me. And yet, then they go on to be "diagnosed" with all manner of disorders, ADHD being a particular favourite, the parents then being encouraged to then administer various drugs to calm them down by the teachers. Don’t get me wrong some kids need it. But,…. I’m afraid some simply don’t. How mild does it have to be before it simply becomes an excuse for little Chuck’s complete lack of interest in what can only be described as a boring lesson or a totally unengadging teacher? Or too much diet pop and e-number loaded candy?

The good thing, on the food front is this particular area is jammed with produce, from cherries to apples, broccoli to milk, a lot of it being organic. And so you get it from the Farmers Markets that are well attended 2 or 3 times a week. The only question I have is, as this is the case, why do the local supermarkets hardly stock any of it, preferring to sell fruit and veg from Mexico and the US in particular? Get it from the local farmers. It tastes better.

It still has it’s painfully slow moments at times. Westbank is simply not modern enough for us. Yes, people are coming to the area, but most are retired and whoever is in charge of planning the town growth simply has not got a clue as far as we can tell. It has no character, period and nothing in the pipeline seems to be changing that. If you want to go out for a coffee, forget it. There are 2 Starbucks within a block or two of each other, one on the main highway through the town, the other overlooking the industrial site car park, no sign of any independent coffee shops getting a look in. Fancy sitting on the lake front in a coffee store? Forget it. It’s all been sold to the wealthy. No reason to go down there at all, unless it’s warm enough to swim. There’s nothing else to go down there for. 

Kelowna has more going on, but is still kind of characterless. Downtown Kelowna is it’s only saving grace. But, of course the majority of people want to go the mall, so the downtown shops have a smaller piece of the pie and a lot are very dated in their merchandise. It feels like we’re living in the 70’s at times. The Mission part is nicer, more tree lined streets and more thought gone into the  building of the shops, less of the industrial park look that Westbank and Kelowna have gone for.

Having said that, yeah, the weather is fabulous. We have 2 world class ski runs within an hours  driving distance of us. The traffic is getting worse, but still, it’s not the M25. Despite what the paranoid parents would have you believe, it is safer here than they care to admit. Samuel and Holly walked to school with another couple of kids this morning, while we dropped the cat off for his "male operation" and we had no fear that they were going to be stabbed or shot, or nabbed by weirdos.

Not that you would, but you can and people do, leave your garage door wide open without fear of having the entire contents being removed by out of control youths or gangs. My bike was left outside a third floor flat in SW London, for all of 3 mins and it was gone when I turned around. (Then Samuel’s was taken overnight despite being chained up outside the front door. A baseball bat, a rather annoyed bike owner and 4 armed police units ensued, but that’s another story for another time. Book your flights out, we’ll have a few glasses of wine on the balcony or in the hot tub and I’ll tell you the rest of it…..)

People have more respect for each others property it seems. Yeah there are muggings, and burglaries, but still, they are few and far between.

So there you go. I could babble on about how wonderful everything is. But then I’d not be telling the truth. At the end of the day, it’s less stressful, more laid back, friendlier and simply a nicer place to live than the UK. But it takes a bit of getting used to and figuring out.

As an old guy told me before we left for Canada, "The grass is always greener as the saying goes. It’s up to you to go see if that’s right or not".

Take it easy,

M

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