Basia Mikolajewicz emigrated from Poland five years ago. (Photo contributed)

Welcome Shuswap: Romance leads Polish woman to Canada

Immigrant Services Shuswap, located at 371 Hudson St., N.E., would like to introduce more of our recent immigrants to the people of Salmon Arm. Our non-profit, non-governmental society has a mission to support and include all immigrants in the Shuswap. We hope that you will join us in welcoming these new members of our community.

We would like to introduce Basia , pronounced Basha, (Barbara) Mikolajewicz to those of you in the community who have not met this recent addition to Salmon Arm. Basia emigrated from Poland five years ago as a Canadian permanent resident and has a such a romantic story attached to her reasons for being in Salmon Arm.

Thirty years ago , while hitch-hiking in Germany, Basia and her friend were given a ride by a young man, with whom Basia established an instant bond during their four-hour trip. They corresponded for some time after she returned to Poland, but without the advantages of social media, the interchange fell by the wayside. After many years, Basia’s exploration on Facebook revealed the friend from so many years ago had emigrated to Canada. They made plans to meet and Basia made the journey to Salmon Arm to meet up again with Michael. They are now a couple … Almost a fairy tale!

Basia left her brother and Mother in Poland after a relatively short (as they go) process to apply for citizenship. Enderby and the surrounding rural area were a bit of a culture shock to Basia after spending her previous years in one metropolitan European city!

At first, Basia worked in a local institution, using her Polish education, a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology working with special needs clients, to good use. After a few years , Michael and Basia decided to live together and she moved to Salmon Arm from Enderby.

Michael Strauch, an holistic counsellor and web designer is Basia’s partner in their new enterprise. They have a five-bedroom home set up for home-sharing with special-needs adults, with whom they live in a family setting. Basia enjoys photography and ethnic music of all kinds and is interested in interior design and good conversation.

Basia is very interested in the experience of other immigrants and of the community that absorbs them. She is aware that a diversity of immigrants come to our town for as many different reasons as there are new arrivals. She is looking forward to the opportunity to serve on the board of directors of our local Immigrant Services organization , hoping to engage in conversations about discrimination and prejudice reduction in our community, the improvement of which can only come from talking about these issues.

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