Ginta: All things Kamloops (so far): Seven months and counting

First of all, it's kindness. If I want to go all mushy, I can say right off the bat that the 'K' in Kamloops stands for kindness.

Or I could simply say that people here are kind. Because they are.

The proverbial extra mile some people walk to make it better or sunnier for those around them, I have had the opportunity to see it often enough to brag about the place I live in.

One time, I was in a hurry to walk home from the grocery store. It happened that I bumped into a new acquaintance, who was headed in the opposite direction, but noticed my hurry and offered to drive me home, detour and all. I said multiple thank yous but decided the only way to say it right is to pay it forward. So I have.

Last week, I offered to dye Easter eggs at school with my little guy's class on a Thursday. I also said I would do it the way people did it in the old days; with onion peels.

Wednesday night came and, after a busy few days, I remembered about the peels. My next thought was "Oh, no!" Where would I find enough onion peels late at night?

Ten minutes later, I was at Cooper's.

"Oh no, we just threw them out," said an employee, who added "But don't worry, I'll peel some for you."

Another 10 minutes later, I was leaving the store with a bag of onion peels. At that point, it is logical to assume that I live in a good place. It's called community.

Second on the list of good things here, is the world that opens up all around Kamloops - a world that rolls out from my front door. There is a short, dirt road a few minutes away from where I live and it's arched in a way that allows me to have a 360° panorama. No photos or videos would do it justice.

I now have a few good cycling routes around Kamloops and a couple of friends who are kind enough to share their secret, beautiful, Kamloops one-of-a-kind spots with me. When you're new in town, it's a gift, more so when all I have to offer in return is gratitude and the promise that I might one day find a gem that I will share, too.

The boys and I have discovered endless sandbanks that may be yesterday's news to people who have lived here all their lives, or for many years, but the golden carpets of sparkling sand charm us every time we visit.

The barren, dusty hills that once scared me with their scarcity have won my heart countless times. Some I see in the morning from my kitchen window. And I have yet to be bored with a sunrise.

In winter, the hills all wore white powder caps and wigs of blue sky; majestic is the right word, but not the glacier majestic that I am used to from the Coast Mountains. These ones bump toward the sky ever so gently.

Come spring, they are glazed in fresh pink glow in the morning and draped in lazy sunset light as I round the boys up for another good night's sleep. Sunsets in Kamloops are simply beautiful.

I have come to know that wandering through the grasslands can get my legs prickled by cacti and it hurts unexpectedly so. Somehow, I'm fine with that. Now I know what it's like to live in a desert.

Third on my list: the friends I've made since I moved here. I am by my own admission a relationship minimalist. I only pursue a relationship if it's real and has depth.

Though a child at heart according to many who know me, I know depth and real when I see it. And I have. Kamloops has gifted me with a few friends I can easily add to my list of blessings.

I'll end my list with the coffee shops I have found here. I am a coffee snob; I admit it and happily blame it on my parents, who always had cowboy coffee, the only way I make it now too. I make my own freshly roasted - fair-trade and guilt-free - on most days, but when I hit my favourite coffee shops I am never disappointed.

Whether I chat with friends over a cup of steaming coffee or sit by myself writing, I have found a few places that offer that kind of refuge a writer needs on any given day.

All in all, a good seven months.

Here's to many more - and "all things Kamloops" left to discover.

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Daniela Ginta is a mother, scientist, writer and blogger. She can be reached at daniela.ginta@gmail.com, or through her blog at www.thinkofclouds.com.

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