GUEST COLUMNIST: Albertans find a home in Sarnia

Shauna Lupaschuk

This past winter was the best ever. Seriously.

While my fellow Sarnians buckled down for their snowiest winter in recent memory, my family reveled in the mild temperatures. We went for a walks, built a snowman, fed carrots to our friends at the Children’s Animal Farm, and delighted in making snow angels.  To top it off, there was very little snow to shovel.

You might think I’m crazy, but if I told you we moved to Sarnia from Edmonton eight months ago you’d understand.

Born and bred in northern Alberta, we understand harsh weather.  Albertans are a hardy bunch and with temperatures occasionally reaching -50C (not counting wind chill) we have to be.

We know what it feels like to have your eyes freeze shut the moment you walk out the door, and how long your lungs can take the icy burn before you nearly faint.

And although Alberta has its merits and its beauties, it’s got nothing on the people of Sarnia. We moved east and found 1970 again, a time when people still wave to each other and bring casseroles across the street, when warm nights bring folks outside onto their porches or open garages.

We were absorbed into the community like children to a grandmother’s bosom. We’ve had soups and pastas and homemade everything brought to our doorstep. Neighbours mowed our lawn when we took a trip south. And when my father passed away in January, two families took great care of our home while we went west for two weeks.

The Coffin family did our walks so often you’d think we had a heated driveway.  The Solinas family made it a mission to spend time with our kittens, fresh from the vet and their spay appointments, after I received that fateful call.   Both families took the task of scooping poop and feeding our tender furballs.

Our vet even boarded the cats for another night, at no charge, so my husband could race me to Toronto to catch the last flight to Edmonton.

Sarnia has become our home, and its people our family. We have fit in here, and you can now find me on my porch or in my garage, waving hello just like everyone else.

Being the rare Ukrainian on the block, I’ll gladly make you some perogies or paska (Easter bread.)   I might even scoop the poop for you, too.

 Shauna Lupaschuk is a freelance writer and marketing professional.