What a wonderful year 2011 has been for me. I am so grateful to have been so blessed.
My latest and greatest news is that I just bought my first home – a brand new 2-bedroom condo in West Kelowna. I must extend great thanks to my late Nana for my generous inheritance and to my parents for their constant support. I am on the top floor and have wonderful views South, of the lake and Okanagan Mountain Park. I moved in just before Christmas and am harbouring another international traveller. My buddy Darryl who I met a few years ago here on the dubious recommendation of mutual friends from the Nile in Uganda has moved into my 2nd bedroom. He is a helicopter engineer who tends to work half the year in Africa for offshore companies, so depending on your visit timing, you may meet him or you may get to sleep in his bedroom (or both)... Christmas and our housewarming were perfectly timed and the loot has helped turn the condo into a home. My mother in unimpressed with my observation that with a wicked KitchenAid mixer now already in my possession, I have no real good reason to get married anymore. Now that I have my own place, I do hope to repay all the hospitality I have received over the years so take note of my address above and let me know when you make it to my part of British Columbia.
Of course I do hope to be off flying a lot of the time so I may have to just hide a key for you. I’m not exactly kidding. I was in the middle of mountain training this summer with my boss when I got called to my first forest fire. I had about an hour’s notice to grab my go-bag and fly North to Fort McMurray. Later in the summer, I go to bulk up my hours with a pine beetle survey contract in Alberta. My boss is pretty awesome and didn’t mind that I took Dad along for the spectacular ride across the Rockies before he bussed back home the next day. My brothers and their respective broods came to visit in the summer and in a couple of trips I got to take everyone (except poor lil Sophia) for flights up to the alpine of Little White. Damon had paid for his first flight with me 3 years ago in the Rockies – all 8 minutes of it, but it was the first time any of the others had ever flown with me at the controls. Quite a wonderful opportunity and just another example of ‘how I’ve fallen on my feet’ (as my mom likes to say) since I returned from Fiji. I loved the land and the water and my friends in the South Pacific, but it was definitely the right decision to return to Canada last spring. This is the first year that I haven’t been laid off for the winter and the folks at Valhalla Helicopters seem to want me around for a while. With 2 Jetrangers that I can fly now, and 2 Bell 205s and a Bell 212 to move up to in the upcoming years, I feel that I have found a fabulous niche that I mustn’t take for granted. It doesn’t hurt that my condo is less than 15 minutes away from the office and the new hanger that is being built.
My parents are already chomping at the bit to reorganize my room at the lakehouse but they keep telling me they didn’t really want me to leave. Of course I still plan to spend a lot of time on the dock there in the summer and cuddling with my furry sisters Kenai and Mistaya. I also intend to remain a volunteer with the fire department out there so I’ll be ‘back home’ once a week for practice anyway! Kind of perfect really.
I have truly appreciated the experiences of this past year but I feel that I have a lot to look forward to in 2012. This coming Spring will be my 10th reunion and I am hoping to return to Princeton for it and see many many friends and rugby teammates who I’ve missed since I graduated. I also hope to have a sort of high school reunion in September in Wales for Danielle’s wedding (UKers, let me know if you want to invite me over for a sleepover...) There are even whisperings of a Bolivan Christmas since Tepita’s brother will be getting married!
I wish you all the very best wishes for 2012. For my last day in 2011, I am getting to fly a man and the woman he wants to marry up to Big White Ski hill for lunch. I hope to get a couple of runs in before I spend the evening with wonderful friends. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do. Here is hoping all of your dreams come true.
Love & joy,
Uncle Peter – the wise and loving husband to my mother’s older sister Audrey – passed away suddenly this fall. He walked an interesting path in life, always seeming to be a little more off-beat and unusual than you would expect. Something that I definitely appreciated. He is a character who will be missed greatly. xo