A few weeks ago we launched our new Q&A “Get to know your Bowen Island neighbours” series with randomly selected Undercurrent subscribers. Third up is Sheena Ashdown.
When did you come to Bowen?
We came in 2003.
How did you get here?
We were living in White Rock, and [Dale – Sheena’s husband] is American and at that time, he was working in the States. And then September 11 happened and the border got just awful. Dale got really tired of that so he took early retirement and we started looking for another place to move to. We checked out the Fraser Valley, Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island. I was teaching at BCIT and if we moved to Bowen, I realized I would be able to keep my job. So that was a really big factor for me. And Dale is a down home country guy and really liked how rural Bowen is and how forested –he loves trees. We completely lucked out. We were able to find a very modest house in soso condition and were able to afford to move. Our timing happened to be really good for the real estate market. Renos ensued and it was all good.
Where on Bowen do you live?
We live in Bluewater.
Fill the ferry lineup gap or don’t fill the gap?
I don’t fill the gap.
I did once and my husband caught me.
What’s your favourite Bowen fact?
This is going to sound kind of odd but it’s only 15 minutes away from the city by ferry. I think that’s pretty cool because you have access to the city in such a fast and easy way, if you don’t mind ferries. And for me, that was a really big deal, because it meant I could keep my job.
When do you think somebody can consider themselves a Bowen Islander (alternatively, what’s a Bowen Islander)?
I have no idea. I don’t feel like one yet, so I couldn’t even tell you. But I was thinking about Bowen people in general. What really strikes me about Bowen is the people are very, very caring. A lot of people volunteer, they help their neighbours, they have fundraisers, and stuff like that.
Dale and I started a small project called the Africa Village Project and we adopted a village in Tanzania. In 2012, we did a big fundraiser on Bowen and you would not believe the support we got from the community. We made, I think it was about $10,000 from that event. It was just brilliant.
And so I think that people on Bowen, really do try and give back.
They care about big picture things, like income inequality and human rights and homelessness and all that stuff.
Also, I think people really appreciate how fortunate they are on Bowen. In the grand scheme of things, I think we’re just extraordinarily lucky. And I think many people on Bowen really realize that, which endears them to me. I think we should be having parties every night to celebrate our incredible good luck – socially distanced of course.
And what’s your favourite COVID-19 balm or activity?
I’m such a nerd. It’s reading.
One of the best books I’ve ever read in my life is a tome by Steven Pinker. It’s about 700 pages, and it’s called the Better Angels of our Nature. That book was just just breathtaking. It completely changed my life. I found it answered a ton of questions I had and made me appreciate how far humanity has come.
Previous weeks' 'neighbours':