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Decisions, decisions...

Hello from Kelowna

Have I made the right choice? Homesickness etc.

Hello from Kelowna

Postby Alex Ram » Sun 6 Apr 2008 02:02 GMT

It was lovely to revisit this site today and relive with you the ups and downs, fears and excitements of the process and final stages.
We have been in Kelowna since 15th December and can only say that we are delighted to be here. We have had loads of hardships and complete changes of plans and ideas since we arrived but we feel that we are on permanent holiday. Tomorrow is the last ski day in Big White and we will be there to eke the very last out of our seasons tickets.
We bought a house which is a dream come true for us - but quite modest by normal standards here. We have a fantastic view of the lake and mountains and it takes my breath away. I am constantly pulling over to the side of the road in my car just to drink in the gorgeousness of the place.
We have 2 children 12 and 13. Our son (13) settled immediately into his high school and is finding the work pretty easy. Our daughter has learning dissabilities (identified here) and is struggling with school and missing her huge group of friends at home. My major negative comment which is really peculiar to this area is that the kids can be a bit spoiled and snotty - especially girls!!
We brought our dog with us with Zoom everything went well with the flight and he is finally settling in. We have coyotes and cougars in our area so will have to keep a close eye on him.
Our first visitors from home have just gone back and we are now feeling a bit lonely.
I am trying to get my business off the ground (dog grooming) and my husband is also self employed doing small renovations and general handyman work. He is really busy with work coming in all the time. Kelowna is booming and work is plentiful for everyone. The cost of living is pretty high and we certainly don't think we will be better off financially here. We are however living exactly where we want and think that we and our kids have much more going on and a better future. The weather (even in winter) is fantastic.
Well all I can say to everyone is go-for-it. I had serious cold feet at the end of our application process and was ready to call the whole thing off. I have not looked back for one minute. I really miss my friends and family but can phone them any time I like (great phone deals here) and know that it will be a couple of years before I feel like I belong here properly.
Good luck everyone. This site helped me so much and I am sure I will check in from time to time to visit an old friend. Alex
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Postby Graeme » Sun 6 Apr 2008 15:04 GMT

Alex and Family:
Glad to hear you made it and are settling in, it is a big adjustment to be sure. Kelowna is a nice place but very busy which is good for jobs and setting up your own work. I go to Kelowna quite often as my oldest daughter has moved there and I find it a bit hectic after living in Merritt for so long (drop by for a Tim's if you travel this way). I'm glad it seems to be working out for you, I'm sure there will be ups and downs and lots of homesickness for the UK, but it will pass and you will settle in, it really is a nicer place to be.
Cheers.
Graeme
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Postby nattyk » Sun 6 Apr 2008 17:23 GMT

been reading the site for awhile, as we are thinking about moving to Canada - but we are finding it hard to decide were? Kelowna looks beautiful - so thanks for posting about it and your story - did you visit afew times before you made the move - any tips??

we are a family of 5 (kids are 7, 5, 3) so am nervous about moving, as want to make sure we find a nice area/school etc for the kids...

any help would be great..

thanks
N
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Postby maia » Sun 6 Apr 2008 21:51 GMT

Great to hear :) *feeling reassured* I'm off in a few days so it's 'butterflies' time!

Good luck!

:wink:
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Postby Alex Ram » Mon 7 Apr 2008 04:01 GMT

This is for Nattyk
I think your children would be growing up in one of the best places possible. There is so much going on summer and winter and so much to do as a family. Our kids (like most brit kids) did not think it cool to be with their parents - now after a winter of skiing and skating etc together they are seeing it as the norm. Schools are really good - I am so impressed and we came from a good area in the UK. My son's "high school" has 700 students. My daughter needs extra help in school and after testing to find her problem areas she has a program modified for her and always will have. Of course - the better schools are in the better areas but overall the schools in Kelowna have a good reputation province wide. There are lots of other choices - christian schools, french immersion etc.
We did visit several times in summer and winter before making the final decision to come here. We Chose Kelowna because we fell in love with the Okanagan not because of work.
As I said it is fairly expensive here. Housing is going up by the minute and an entry level house would be around $450k. You would probably expect to pay between $600 and $700K for a decent house in a good area. I would suggest you have a look at mls.ca and look at Upper Mission (they are building a brand new elementary school to open in 2009). This is a new area so most of the housing is in subdivisions. There are great views of the lake and excellent facilities. Also look at Lakeview Heights, Dillworth and Glenmore for an idea of what housing is like and areas.
I would strongly recommend you come and have a look here and then make your decision.
Hope this helps - Good Luck - Alex
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Postby Alex Ram » Mon 7 Apr 2008 04:11 GMT

Graeme - each time we have done the Kelowna to Vancouver run your road was closed. You have been right in the middle of avalanche territory this season. Thanks for your reply and maybe see you at Tims when the roads get better!!
Maia - I wish all the very best in your last few days of preparation. Look forward to hearing how you are doing. Alex
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Postby CanadianMom » Mon 7 Apr 2008 19:14 GMT

BC is incredibly expensive. Prohibitive to alot of people in Ontario who would like to move out. Although we have pricey areas too. But you are paying for those views/climate!! :shock: :D
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Postby craig1975 » Tue 15 Apr 2008 20:54 GMT

hi there

myself and my partner are planning to emmigrate to bc and one of the places that is standing out is kelowna. i wondered if you could give us some first hand comparisons on things like cost of living. ie: loaf of bread bottle of wine, cinema ticket, petrol etc etc. also what is the community like what are the people like and how do they treat the brits!! also any info on the not so nice topic....crime etc i heard rumour that drugs are a problem, have you seen any evidence of this.

the type of property we are looking for is semi rural but commutable to city hospital i suppose we are looking for that typical cabin in the woods thing. are budget is around 450000cad any ideas on where we should be looking. hope you can help. best regards craig
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Postby Graeme » Wed 16 Apr 2008 00:56 GMT

Try reading the Kelowna on line newspaper at http://www.castanet.net/ and you can see lots of information for the whole Okanagan Valley. Petrol (Gas here) is currently at 126.5 per liter whatever that compares to UK. Personally I like Mission Hill, Lake Country (Winfield as it used to be called) Peachland and Summerland although Summerland is a bit far to commute in from.
Hope that helps a bit.
:)
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Postby Timber the Dog » Thu 17 Apr 2008 07:09 GMT

Hi Alex
Glad to hear you are settling in and loving it in Kelowna. We visited our friends who live there 4 years ago and loved it.
Well we are are due to leave the UK(Finally) on 19th May and are heading for Ontario (Kitchener/Waterloo) as thats where my new job is. We are also taking our dog with us, and I think Im more worried about him being ok than the rest of us.

Well, Im glad you are settling in and all the best.

Graeme
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Postby Alex Ram » Fri 18 Apr 2008 16:31 GMT

Hi Graeme - You really have had a long wait - but most of us get here in the end - Congrats.
I can relate to your concerns about the dog. Although everything went fairly smoothly with ours - it did traumatize him (me more). We moved a lot initially (hotels/rentals etc) and he did step out of character a bit. He is a Cavalier spaniel - the most docile breed around - but he has actually bitten a couple of people through this ordeal. He has become very protective of me and is always beside me. After 4 months he is starting to settle - we are seeing his old personality again. I would have poo pooed anyone who told me it would be hard for the dog - I thought that as long as he was with us he would be fine - not the case for him anyway.
Definitely take items that smell of his old home and you and keep them with him at all times during the move. I even brought a small supply of his old food - so I could gradually get him on to the new.
Anyway enough about dogs - hope your move goes smoothly - we love it here and even though, of course we are a bit lonely and homesick at times I really haven't looked back. I can see a much brighter future for everyone (dog included). We always knew the okanagan was the place for us and we haven't been dissapointed.
Keep in touch - don't envy you these frantic last few weeks before you move- Alex
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Postby Alex Ram » Fri 18 Apr 2008 16:41 GMT

Hello again. Anyone considering the Okanagan/ Kelowna can look at a few websites to get a feel for what it is like. One is the kelowna Daily Courier and the Capital News websites. They are local newspapers. Coming from the Isle of Man - they seem very familiar. All the small-town news about missing dogs, school trips etc. That is not to say that major things don't happen here, - but overall I feel that we are safe. The people are very friendly and neighbourly. Another website is Access Okanagan. It is specifically for new comers and has things like clubs and rentals. Have a look - it seems to have a lot of Brit ex-pats involved. Alex
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Postby Timber the Dog » Fri 18 Apr 2008 20:18 GMT

Hi Alex.
Thanks for the reply.
Our pooch is a little on the large size. He is an English Mastiff. All 12 stone of him, hes only 2yrs old and is a big ol softy but gets abit stressed now and again but Im hoping he will be fine. We are going straight into a rental home for couple of months then will buy a house so he shouldnt be too unsettled really.
I know what you mean, we have 4wks before we fly and Timber (pooch) will be flying on 23rd. Will be a stressful few weeks but Im hoping in 6mths time we will look back and wonder what all the stress was about.
Must admit..we cant wait to get over there now and are counting down the days.
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Postby nattyk » Sun 29 Jun 2008 11:56 GMT

Alex Ram wrote:This is for Nattyk...


[Edit: snip. There's no need to quote previous posts in their entirety. It just makes things tedious to scroll through. Thanks.]

Hello thanks for your post and your info... We are still thinking of kelowna - and we are hoping to visit next year and then decide about starting the process...my daughter (7) loves gym and dance, do they have all these facilities? can you recommeded places to stay if we come over for 2wks - we saw a beautiful house for sale on the internet and soooo wanted to just put in an offer there and then!!!! it is in the Westbank with views over the lakes and mountains....
Have you found it hard to make friends and be accepted????

thanks
n
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Postby Alex Ram » Wed 16 Jul 2008 06:52 GMT

Hi N.
My advice would be to hold off on buying anything - it seems that the housing market is levelling off a bit, certainly more of a buyers market at present. You really need to come and have a look around. I would have a look at the Owner Direct website to find somewhere to stay. It caters mostly to house, apartment and suite rentals. We have used it a number of times with great success.
We have found the people here to be extremely friendly and helpful. We are very busy but are making friends quickly. Here in Kelowna especially, most of the population has moved from somewhare else - so are open to new-comers. Check out the Access Okanagan website - it has a huge British user base and is a really good resource for just about everything.
Let us know how you get on - Alex
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