It’s been just over a year since we left Watson Lake. In the months and weeks leading up to our departure, I kept telling Nuni, “I don’t think I’ll really miss people here. I don’t think I’ll miss Watson.” Deep down I knew I was fooling myself. I knew I would miss everything, and everyone. This is what I miss, and what I love about Watson Lake.
- Our friends. Our friends that were more like family. I moved to Lower Post in late August, 2009, and Nuni(my then boyfriend) joined me in December. We were married in April of 2010. Our family members couldn’t make it due to the distance(being in southern Canada and Brazil), but we had already made wonderful friends who not only attended our wedding, but helped make it happen – the decorations, the food, the drinks, the photography – all were donated by our new friends. It was a very special event, not just because of us getting married, but because of the love and community we felt by these new friends of ours. We made many more friends over the next four and a half years of our time in Lower Post/Watson Lake. Friends who were always available for a chat or a visit. Friends that I got together with every day to walk around Wye Lake when Shasta was born. I miss our Watson friends so, so much that writing about it gives me a massive lump in my throat.
- Our church family. This is basically in the same category as friends… but deserves its own bullet point. I walked into the Liard Evangelical Free Church one Sunday and found my new home. A small congregation, but so welcoming, and so real. People that were truly there for you, people who helped us immensely in so many situations. A Pastor so down to earth, you can trust every word he says because you can see how he lives his life and how he treats people. I miss the jokes and the laughter during the services, and how fellowship downstairs afterwards was just as important as the worship/sermon. I miss our monthly potluck lunches… Henriette’s potatoes and Naomi’s soups and Ruth’s chicken. I enjoy our new church here, but boy do I miss our church family in Watson Lake.
- Professional Opportunity. I got to do so many things during my 4.5 years in LP/WL. I started out as a volunteer in Denetia School, where I got to run my own Music/Art/Drama program. Then I became the secretary of the school, and continued to do music lessons. In later years I was able to teach music in my own home, to lead a Zumba class(and have my training paid for), to start a Farmer’s Market, work at a Daycare, and launch a photography business. Things I felt I succeeded in, and would have been so much harder in a big city with lots of competition. This was the beginning of my professional life, and starting out in such a supportive community helped me to feel confident and gave me priceless experience.
- The size. I am a small town girl. I loved that there were no traffic lights in Watson… that you could park anywhere, for free, and that it only took five minutes to drive from one end of town to the other. I loved running into friends and acquaintances in the grocery store, the post office, at the Rec Centre, or just walking down the street. I loved that I didn’t need a car to visit any of my friends – just good winter boots and a stroller. It felt a bit like summer camp, only colder. Maybe winter camp.
- The thrift store/free store. I LOVE the treasure hunting you can do in Watson Lake! There are a few consignment stores here in Floripa but nothing like the bargains you could find at the Thrift Store and the Share Shed.
- Easy access to Public Health. The public health people in Watson Lake are awesome. Anything I needed, at any time, they were available. When Shasta was born, they came to our house on multiple occasions to check how we were doing, making sure we had everything we needed. At our request, they gave Shasta his first bath in our home. They give out free prenatal vitamins. I once thought Shasta had a fever and they were very happy to check him out right away. They gave me a free pregnancy test when I thought I was pregnant for the second time(which I was). They give free information and resources for pregnant ladies and new moms! That is not how it is here, let me tell you. I miss all of that.
- The quiet. I miss going to bed in silence. Here we live next to a busy street, and there are absurdly loud motorcycles that zoom by almost all night. The only loud noises I heard while living in Watson Lake was the snow falling off our roof(which was pretty scary. But it only happened a few times).
- The community. I could go on forever about the community. I might start singing the Cheers theme song right about now – “Where everybody knows your name…” I loved that the grocery store clerks made Shasta feel special every time he was there. I loved not needing my Library card because the staff all knew me by name and sometimes had my Library Loan books ready for me before I even had to ask. I loved the events, the clubs, the people who care so much and who want to make Watson Lake a more enjoyable place to live. Thank you for your hard work.
There are so many other little things: Wye Lake Trail. The amazing food at Goldie’s. The ravens. The northern lights. But far, far above all is our friends. If you are a friend of mine in Watson Lake, I miss you. I didn’t want to believe it before because I knew it would hurt. But that’s okay. I am glad it hurts because it proves that Watson Lake is an amazing place to live.
Sending love, and a big hug to you all.