Posted by Anne Abbott on Oct 15, 2018
Christine Meredith and I met up with the other 7 participants in the exchange at Tsawwassen, the departure point for the ferry to Nanaimo.  We were met there by the members of the Nanaimo North Rotary Club, who would be hosting various members of our District.

We had 3 nights with them, and they hosted us to many places, including a restaurant on an island, and a wine and cheese event at the home of one of the Rotarians, who was hosting Christine.  We also visited a store where there were goats on the roof and Whittakers chocolate for sale!

Our next stay was at West Shore Rotary Club in Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia.  We were driven there via a place called Chemanius, which was distinguished by the number of murals on walls all over the town.  There were also models of bears in the most unlikely places in the town, including the roof of the place opposite where we had lunch.

We had several visits during the 4 days that we had with Westshore Rotary Club, not the least of which was a day visit to the world-famous Butchart Gardens.  On the Sunday, we went to the harbour, where some of the water taxis did a 15 minute  dance – a very special sight!  What was even more special for us, was that all our meals and our visits were paid for by the West Shore Rotary Club.

On the morning of September 18th, we were taken to the Coho Ferry, leaving Canada for the USA, where we went through customs before getting on to the ferry.  We were met by three members of the Port Angeles Nor’Wester Rotary Club, who took us up to Hurricane Ridge for sightseeing. The following day, we went to our first Rotary meeting, where our team were presented.  It rather surprised us that they had political speeches from 2 of the candidates for the mid-term elections.  We were only in Port Angeles for 2 days before we had to move on to Poulsbo.

We were to be in Poulsbo for 3 days, and on the morning of September 21st, we had a 7am breakfast meeting with the Poulsbo Rotary Club!  There were over 120 members, including 8 Rotoract members.    The 9 of us were introduced to the club and most of us spoke briefly about the projects that our clubs were involved with doing.  The following day, we had a day sightseeing in Seattle, culminating with a dinner on the Seattle waterfront before returning to Poulsbo.

Our last visit was to Olympia, the capital of Washington State.  Here we had an evening at the home of one of the Rotarians, to meet all the other hosts.  Christine and I were staying with the same person – for the first time.   In the morning of the first day, we went to a salmon farm, and then on to a lunchtime meeting of the Olympia Rotary Club.  Once again, there were over 120 members of this club, and again, they had their Rotaract members there.  It was also expected that their RYE student from Thailand, would give a talk to tell the Club what he had been doing in the last week.  Some of our team also spoke about the projects that were being done by our Clubs.  The following day was “free” for us to do a range of activities, and Christine and I went to Wolfhaven in the morning, and to the Squaxin Indian Tribal Museum.

The following day, Christine and I, and the couple from Masterton went to Sea Tac airport for our trip back to NZ.   (The others were all going on to other places in Canada or the USA).  We all felt that the exchange had been well worth the time, and we look forward to hosting some of the people who had hosted us, when they come to NZ in March.