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Meet Isabel Lalonde. Isabel is from Calgary but has lived in Kamloops for almost five years. She loves to spend time with her grandchildren, cook and visit places with a rich history.
Where are you from and how long have you lived in Kamloops?
I spent my first 20 years in Calgary and then moved to the West Coast where I lived for almost 30 years. My partner and I chose to move to Kamloops 5 years ago for the 4 season climate and to start living our retirement dreams.
Who is your favourite person to spend time with and why?
My grandchildren, I just adore them. They give me perspective on what is truly important, and their happiness is my joy!
What is your favourite local store in Kamloops and why?
There's a few but I'd have to say that Real Deals on Home Decor is my favourite. Michelle carries affordable decor items in a variety of styles to suit every taste, and her customer service is second to none!
Describe yourself in one word.
I call it tenacious, my partner Dennis calls it stubborn.
If you could go anywhere in the world right at this moment where would you go and why?
Italy on a culinary tour because I love to cook and I love places that are rich in history.
What is your favourite activity in Kamloops?
My favourite activity anywhere is hiking! Unfortunately, my knees have had a few rough years, but with a very definite improvement over the past few months, I will be trying my boots back on and exploring the varied terrain that Kamloops and area have to offer.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
Forgetting my lines at my parents 65th birthday function, I was mortified and still have difficulty speaking in front of a crowd...related or not!
What is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you?
Reading the Dalai Lama's book The Art of Happiness, his words are life-changing.
Tell us your favourite childhood memory.
I spent some of my summers on the farm when the school year in Calgary was done. The farm was an 880 acre, primarily wheat farm, that was just outside of Brooks. There were 3 houses there that housed 2 sets of aunts and uncles and their families as well as a house for my grandparents. I loved it there. No running hot water, an outhouse, definitely back to the basics from my opulent city life! Oh, the fun we had my many cousins and me, playing on haystacks, working in the turnip fields or the honey house, collecting eggs, lego, guitars, music, lambing, sheep shearing...I know now how lucky I am to have those memories and the experience of a different lifestyle.
Where do you volunteer or give back to in the community?
My favourite charity is The Salvation Army. Having my father in hospice in a Salvation Army facility showed me for the first time the compassion, respect, and love that these earthly angels share with the dying, and I have supported their cause ever since.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
I believe that all children/people have the right to a good, free education. I would wish that all countries would follow in the footsteps of places like Germany, Norway, and Slovenia, where university and college education is free, or Mexico and Brazil where it is virtually free with people paying only registration fees which amount to very little. It is ludicrous that our young people are having to accumulate tens of thousands of dollars of debt to get an education that in many cases will still not afford them to support a family on a single income, and in worse case scenarios find them on the unemployment line.
Where would you sneak away to in Kamloops to spend some time alone?
The Thompson River's edge near McArthur Island Park on the North Shore. There is nothing more soothing to me than the sound of a river ambling by and the sight of a colourful summer sunset framed against our Shuswap Highland Mountains.
Where would you like to see positive change in Kamloops and why?
Encouraging more physicians to open practices here. As someone who has had a health crisis with no single GP and only a multitude of walk-in clinic physicians to make suggestions and write prescriptions, my experience had a less than desirable outcome.
What do you think makes Kamloops great?
The people...I've never known a friendlier, more helpful bunch! Kamloops maintains a small town feel, and that has everything to do with the people who call it home.
What are 3 things on your bucket list?
To take my family on yearly vacations, something I was unable to do when they were younger.
To open a second overnight accommodation with a slightly different feel, perhaps something more for families this time.
To survive this next month of gluten and sugar free eating with a smile on my face.
Tell us something that not everyone may know about you.
I play the accordian, not well, but I do.
How do people connect with you, personally, through social media?
Facebook - A Suite Retreat - Beyond Bed & Breakfast.
What is the name of your business/organization?
A Suite Retreat - Beyond Bed & Breakfast.
Why did you get into/start this business?
My greatest joys in life are cooking, interior design, and meeting new people, so how could I go wrong doing something that allows me to do all three every single day! This is my retirement dream, I'm just starting a little early!
What is the goal of your business?
To provide a unique B&B experience. We've created a romantic, private, high end suite for our guests, that caters strictly to couples. We didn't foresee the wonderful memories that our efforts have helped to create, and that has been the biggest blessing.
What has been your biggest struggle either at work or in life?
Alarm clocks...the struggle is real!
What do you always find yourself saying?
Attitude is everything.
Tell us your best piece of life advice.
Love, because in the end it's all that matters!
If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select?
I would have to say the Dalai Lama. He advocates the cultivation of warm-heartedness and human values such as compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline. He is committed to encouraging harmony among the world's religious traditions. This world is in turmoil, and we as individuals are lost as what to do. I feel that change can happen if we practice his way of thinking, his behavior towards others, and his genuine concern for the human condition.
Why do you think it is important to shop locally?
Local businesses are owned by people that live here in Kamloops. This is home, making them unlikely to leave, and much more invested in our communities welfare and future!
What has been your proudest accomplishment?
My children. I am so proud of who they have become!
Give someone you think that deserves it a shout out and explain why!
Michelle at Real Deals on Home Decor. Besides being a wonderful human, her shop provides budget friendly decor solutions like no other in Kamloops. Her customer service is not a department or a desk, it is an attitude, she knows how to treat people well.
My choice for the KamloopsBCNow In Focus spotlight is:
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In Focus is our gift to the community. A way for us to help show our recognition of the people, businesses, and organizations that help make our city great!