When you’ve travelled to every continent, coached figure skating athletes for many competitions, been an ‘artist’s model’ for Queen Elizabeth’s portraits and are entering your 10th decade, you may tend to think you’ve done it all. It seems that for Valerie, a new resident at Westerleigh PARC, it’s quite the opposite.
Although she had barely settled in after moving to Westerleigh PARC in October, Valerie was off on an African Safari for three weeks, bringing family members with her.
Travel is something Valerie has always adored, yet she never seems to be able to quench her thirst for it entirely. She’s seen a great portion of the world, but says “My biggest regret is I didn’t travel enough, or be there long enough to learn the language.” But in the next breath she’s recounting tales about travelling Russia coast to coast, or what she experienced in India.
A self-admitted computer addict, Valerie also has a thirst for knowledge. “I was just reading about Mark Twain/Morgan Stanley in the newspaper, and then I found myself wanting to know more. So I went online and researched. Really, I should be writing Christmas cards instead!” she laughed.
As for keeping busy at Westerleigh PARC, Valerie told me she has multiple interests and takes part in pretty much every activity she can. “I enjoy anything that’s positive really, and keeps me mentally active.”
Having some family nearby, Valerie joins them for activities when she can. Recently, her son invited her on an impromptu fishing excursion up the Fraser River. Not a fisherman at all, this was a fairly new experience for Valerie, but she was happy to try. Perhaps it was beginners luck or good karma, but between them, they landed eight Sturgeon – one upwards of 400 pounds! Never a dull moment for Valerie.
She is also enjoying not having to do housework, cook for herself or maintain a garden at Westerleigh PARC. “I had a large home and garden previous to moving in here, and I was always having to water or weed or clean. It stopped me from enjoying other activities,” Valerie explains. “Now I have choices every day. When I wake up, I say to myself ‘What am I going to do today?’ And it’s very exciting!”