Williams Lake resident Tanya Thomas enjoys small town life – Williams Lake Tribune
Coming from the sticky heat and crowded streets of Mumbai, India, to living in the cold winters and wide open spaces of British Columbia, Tanya Thomas likes to be where she is.
Tanya came to Canada to pursue her studies, and when she landed at Kamloops airport, she thought she had come to the wrong place.
His first thought, coming from a city with an estimated population of around 20 million, was, “Where are the people?”
She had landed at the small airport, far removed from the city itself and empty of any obvious citizens, in stark contrast to what would have surrounded her leaving Mumbai.
Seven years later and living in Williams Lake, she says as she misses Mumbai, she now loves her six feet of space and proudly says, “I’m a little city girl now.”
Tanya said coming to Canada was a chance to see the world, as well as having opportunities she wouldn’t otherwise have given the competition for jobs in India.
She had done her bachelor’s degree there, but came to Canada to complete her master’s degree in business administration (MBA) at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.
The fearless, independent woman loves other solo adventures and has explored Edmonton, Victoria, Prince Rupert, Bella Coola, Toronto, Bella Coola, Niagara Falls and Montreal.
“I feel like I’ve seen more of Canada than India.
After earning his MBA, Thomas got his first job in Prince George.
Moving to the northern interior, many people warned her against going there alone, calling it “the most dangerous city in Canada.”
“I had the opposite experience there,” said Tanya, who shared examples of random acts of kindness by strangers, including a woman randomly giving him flowers. One day, another stranger passing by her as she ran to catch a bus stopped to tell the driver to wait for her.
She also met her fiancé while living in Prince George, and the couple moved to Vanderhoof shortly after he went there for work.
After Vanderhoof, the two moved to Williams Lake for another job opportunity for her partner, and she applied for a position with the Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN).
Her passion for her role as Director of Human Resources is evident when describing her work.
“It’s the best place I’ve ever worked,” she raves, crediting her team of colleagues for her job satisfaction. She also enjoys working with a First Nations community, citing the similarity to the family-oriented culture of India.
“Overall, if you respect someone, they’ll treat you with respect,” Tanya advises.
When she and her partner arrived in Williams Lake, they both joined the Rotary Club and served as Toastmasters who helped them meet people in the community.
She feels like Williams Lake has already given her so much.
“I’ve never seen a grumpy person here,” she said.
The couple got engaged on a local trail and recently built a new home here. They also enjoy hiking on the many trails in the area.
She looks forward to being able to experience the Williams Lake Stampede and other local traditions once COVID permits and her parents come to visit from India. She hasn’t been able to see her family for three years because of COVID.
“That’s the sacrifice we made when we decided we wanted to see the world,” she said, her brother having also moved to the United States before moving to Canada.
She misses food, but she’s grateful there’s now an Indian restaurant in Williams Lake to help her cravings.
“It saved my life,” she laughs.