Monday, July 7, 2014

Tanya Reimer: Where I live and why I like it.

My first guest post for my new series 'Why I Like Where I Live' is by my longest blogging friend: Tanya Reimer. I met Tanya through the Agent Query Connect website maybe three or four years ago. We've critiqued each others work and shared some personal family stuff. But there's still more I'd like to know. Her guest post today has helped me to get to know her a little better. 

Here are Tanya's answers.

Where do you live?

Canada, Saskatchewan, “On the Prairies”.

What makes our community so unique is that it’s not a city, town, or even a village. It’s a rural community, which means most of the population lives on farms, not in the hamlet itself. In fact, only about 40 people live in the “hamlet” part, yet the school has over 85 students and when we throw a community festival we see around 200 people who come from farms or surrounding towns.

Is there any place in your area that’s considered a pilgrimage site, such as a religious shrine? If so, have you been there?

Religion has always been a big part of this community. It was the French Catholic priests who encouraged settlers to found it in the late 1800 and early 1900s. Over the years, it has seen three churches, having one lost to a fire before it was even finished.

As for shrines, there is a pretty cool one. It was built back in the 1950s. We call it La grotte (the grotto).

There is also the Saint Maurice statue that stands in the shadows at the cemetery. It’s symbolic. When the settlers first moved here, they used St Maurice in the name to identify that the town was not the same one as their hometown in Belgium.

Is there a site that has special meaning for you?

I think of my community in terms of feelings, not spots, which makes it hard to brag about. There’s the spot under the trees by the school where I bring my friends when they need to cry because time stands still there.

Oh! And the path I took when I had a breakthrough in the world’s most complicated plot.

The creek is always a nice place to visit when I need strength. It is full of life from turtles to beavers. 
If I brave walking in it, there are insects and fish that freak the heck out of me.

And of course, there’s the cemetery where I go when I want to feel the wisdom of all my ancestors. Because even if I didn’t know them, living here makes me a part of their lives, because each one made this place home and that means they left a trace of themselves behind in the school they built, the rink they worked in, the church they tried to save…each one is a story I wish I could share.

Is this where you were born and grew up? If not, how did you come to live here?

I feel like I did all my growing up on the prairies of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. We live here by choice. My husband and I went on an adventure after we finished school and found a city we liked. One night we were sitting on our tiny little step overlooking a ‘green space’—well not our step, we were renting a room in a basement that was not home—and across the way, children gathered. With a content sigh, we said to each other that one day our children could play in that park…only there was no laughter or running, and the children were not smiling, in fact they were up to no good which we found out soon enough. I don’t even remember a debate. We packed up and moved to our new ‘home.’

We bought a house that needed love, but it has a huge front step that overlooks a play park. Yup, we live here by choice. Some say it has nothing, yet when we sit on our steps, we see children playing and running and laughing and, somehow, it has everything.

What do you like best about where you live?

The connection I feel to the prairies.

For tourists, what would you recommend seeing?

This really depends on the tourist. One guy said, he was shocked when he heard silence for the first time in his life. No ticking clocks, no humming fridges, just…silence. I had no idea that was a tourist attraction…but he was amazed by it.

I see some who park on the side of the road and take pictures of wheat fields, pump jacks, sunflower fields, grain elevators, deers…and they are enthralled by these common things.

Others need a little more excitement and for them, learning to drive in a blizzard is more what I’d recommend. (Just kidding. Don’t drive in a blizzard, grab a book and stay warm.) Seriously though, if you like adventure come in the winter, it’s much busier. Hockey, curling, dances, violin concerts, and snowmen to build…we’re busy.

Now, there are a million treasures out on the prairies. Every year we go for an adventure to discover a new one. We loved the tunnels in Moose Jaw, and the Native American dancers at White Bear. Oh! the settlers village at Cannington Manor and the dinosaur bones at Eastend were great hits,too.

This year we’re going to Fort Walsh and to discover a few more of our parks.

Saskatchewan is really BIG. I remember visiting a lake when I was a kid by a volcano. It was beautiful and I want to take my kids there, but no one remembers where it was in Saskatchewan! LOL.

If you’re a writer, have you included where you live in the settings of any of your stories? If you’re a painter, have you painted any of your area’s features?

As a writer, I find the tranquility of the prairies haunting all my stories. I find that even nature has a personality all of its own. The wind reacts to the moods and sets the tone. The storms stop or push the plot. Even in the quiet of the fall, the Northern Lights seem to whisper secrets as they dance across the skies.  Nothing is more romantic than sitting on a square bale with snow lightly falling and the skies coming to life for my hero’s enjoyment.

Would you recommend others to move to where you live? Why?

I would, but dang, if ya’ll move here where the heck will I go to hear the silence?

You can learn more about Tanya at her excellent blog Life's Like That.
Also, I'm a guest on her blog today, answering her questions about where I live.

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