My weekly routine here in the Nicola-Thompson-Okanagan has really taken shape. I am now teaching 6 classes a week to people in their workplaces, at a photography studio, to children and to University students. It feels good to be a presence in Kamloops, and I have to say, I really like the city!
It's interesting how the Universe makes choices for you based on your perceptions of the world around you. I always disliked Kamloops because every time I was there, I got lost, could never find what I was looking for ... and it is so freakishly dry that I would feel a little panicky. I suppose that if you hang out in any place for long enough, it will start to grow on you and change your mind. Once I figured out a few things, I was liberated to start truly seeing this city for the beauty ... people are pretty darn friendly here! It's an interesting place because it's a big town and a small city, so you still get the connectedness of a small town, but the facilities and shopping of a city. I am truly enjoying my time there, even if it means driving so much to and from Merritt. (7 times a week, but only 4 days out of 7!) It's an easy drive, I get to drive fast (120km/hr), and it's 2-3 lanes the whole way, so you don't usually get stuck behind drivers. It's 45 minutes one way. Easy with good tunes, a coffee and your sunglasses, because 9 times out of 10, you will encounter sunshine along the way somewhere.
The trail running here is great too - there are some steep, long uphills - and I figured out the hard way that Kamloops trails, just like the roads, are easy to get turned around on. (Luckily, I was rescued by a local couple, of whom the woman's brother lives in Quesnel!) Some of the trees are absolutely enormous, and I see such tenacity in these beasts, when so many other trees in the area suffer for lack of water. Perhaps those monolith trees have been around long enough to have experienced more consistent moisture .. I am certain they have stories to tell.
Oh, and it finally dawned on me why it's called Kamloops - it's because all of the roads loop around each other, and that's why it's so easy to get lost! Once you get into the flow of the city, it's really not so hard to understand .. but I wouldn't be surprised if I get lost again. Soon.
Every time I drive down towards Merritt, about 10 minutes out, there is a sign that says "Welcome to the Nicola Valley". We must have travelled to this area a few times when I was a kid, because I always remember seeing that sign and saying "Welcome to my Valley!" Yes, indeed, the Universe has a funny way of presenting things to a person. I am ever grateful for the lessons.