So long, and thanks for all the fish

Vanderhoof Omineca Express editor Vivian Chui bids farewell to the community

Vivian Chui

Dear Vanderhoof,

This is your editor/reporter signing off, after over a year and a half of learning about and taking many pictures of you!

Thanks for teaching me about beef farming, Mennonite heritage, river managing challenges, volunteer fatigue, sturgeon habitat, crime reduction programs and policing, northern or rural community realities, and potlatches, among many other aspects of Vanderhoofian life.

My brief time in the Nechako Valley has enriched me in many ways — from never hearing of Vanderhoof before to singing its praises to many friends down south — and I’m proud to say that six friends and family came to Vanderhoof and enjoyed its offerings and hospitality!

I will miss Woody’s creamy baked goods, loud trumpeter swan fall conventions, running with the running group, and recognizing fellow Vanderhoofians in town.

Regretfully, I still haven’t floated down the Nechako River, fished or swam in one of the area’s many lakes, ice fished or skated when they are frozen, cross-country skied or shot a rifle on our sporting grounds, or even gone camping or quadding.

I did half-pulled a middle-aged sturgeon out of the Nechako, took aerial photos of the Valley from a float plane and barrel-rolled in a biplane, hiked up Mount Pope through snow, walked the McIntosh Trail many times, and attended more meetings or events than I ever have in a community.

I’m now overwelmed by big(ger) cities, fearful of urban solitude, and half-defensive about “living in the middle of nowhere” jokes.

Thank you also for your generosity in humouring all my questions, multi-angle photos, and focused eating at food-provided events.

I’ve met many inspiring people, had some philosophical discussions, and listened to heartfelt stories with quotes that I couldn’t report but would stick with me for awhile.

Some highlights include experiencing the Fall Fair and 4-H auctions, catching a glimpse of the off-the-grid lifestyle, and learning about First Nation communities and their struggles.

As some of you may have heard, I will be taking my curiosity and northern training to Mongolia for a year.

In the equally cold and beautiful scenic country nestled between Russia and China, I’m tasked with giving voice to less advantaged youth and women involved in the cashmere and yak wool industry, hopefully contributing to the effort in improving their livelihood by increasing their market share, which in turn can help to diversify the mining-heavy Mongolian economy.

Thank you for giving me a home, Vanderhoof.

Keep up the good work, stay proud and strong, and I look forward to swim in the Vanderhoof Aquatic Centre when I swing by again.

Until next time,

Vivian Chui

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