Sometimes You Just Have To Leap

We moved to the Okanagan from Vancouver in 2008. It was exactly 4 weeks after my husband had accepted a job with a software company in Vernon. And 9 weeks after my husband had gotten a call from the head-hunter that got it all started.

The move to Vernon was a whirlwind. Our friends thought we were crazy. Here we were, two fairly urban Vancouverites with deep roots in the city, suddenly picking up and moving to a small rural town at the north end of the Okanagan Lake. It was an wildly impulsive move, but sometimes your best moves in life are the ones that begin with a leap.

I was born in Vancouver in the mid-70s. The Vancouver I grew up in was really more of a big town than a small city. Heck, the house my parents owned in Kitsilano was located on the same block as a hippie commune. My parents thought nothing of me walking the 3 blocks to the closest corner store. And everyone in the neighbourhood was called in for dinner by a parent yelling from their front door. It was more than just a different time, back then Vancouver was a different city.

Fast forward to me with 3 small children in a 2 bedroom West End Vancouver condo. I found myself pining for the space, the pace, and the relaxed mood of my childhood. I missed the Vancouver I grew up in. I missed that laid back west coast vibe that Vancouver was so famous for, but seemed to have lost.

I was as surprised as any born and bred Vancouverite when I found that laid back groove on a very cold December evening, in the waiting area of the Vernon’s Little Caesar.

We had come to Vernon for our first time for my husband’s final job interview. It was December and so very cold. I’m not sure I’d ever felt a wind quite like the blustery fury that blows off the lake during an Okanagan winter. The thermometer said minus 5, but I was pretty sure it was too frozen to accurately measure the true temperature.

The five of us had just gotten into town after a long drive and we were too cold to do any exploring, and the kids were begging us for pizza. So we went with the quickest and most obvious choice at the time, which happened to be the Little Caesars in the strip mall across from Polson Park.

Tired, hungry and cold, we placed our pizza order and waited. Being children, my kids rambunctiously bounced around the waiting area. At first I tried to get the kids to calm down, to sit, to stop standing in front of the door, but I soon noticed that no one seemed to be put out by my kids boisterousness and I should just relax.

No one shot me a dirty look. No one made a snide comment. As a matter of fact, most people smiled and made a joke about kids and their endless energy. I must have looked particularly road worn because a nice woman asked me where we were visiting from. When I told her we were thinking of moving up, she excitedly told me all about raising her family in the Okanagan and how wonderful it has been for her and her now grown children.

I got to tell you. After those 20 minutes in the Little Caesar waiting area, I was hooked on the Okanagan. I knew that the area was gorgeous, the lakes were deep and cool and the fruit was divine. But I honestly had no idea how amazing the people were. When we returned to the hotel room with our luke warm Little Caesar’s pizza, I told my husband I was ready to leave Vancouver and move to the Okanagan. He was too.

And we haven’t regretted a minute of it since.

Photo by Thiago Sanna F. Silva, trixnbooze, Richard Vignola & JeremyOK


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