Verlyn Orilla, Ericson Dizon and Family

Written by Canmore Museum

This oral history interview was conducted by Canmore Museum on July 29, 2020.

CM: Okay, well, let’s get started. First of all, can you guys just introduce yourselves for me? Give me your full name.

Verlyn: Well, I’m Verlyn Orillia.

Ericson: And I’m Ericson Dizon.

CM: Okay, and you guys are living in Banff. Just tell me how you’re doing. How are you feeling? What’s your life like right now? Just tell me a little bit about it.

Verlyn: Well, it’s so busy in Banff.

CM: Yeah, no kidding.

Verlyn: It looks like there’s no pandemic or there is no virus at all. And there’s so many people walking around town, not wearing masks or something like that.

CM: Yeah. How do you feel about that?

Verlyn: It’s scary every time we’re going out. We’re staying away from the people who’re not wearing masks.

CM: Yeah. As residents, it must be kind of frustrating. Or do you feel frustrated that there’s so many people who aren’t obeying the rules, or what do you feel like about that?

Verlyn: Yes. Well, actually we’re wearing masks, we’re wearing gloves, just not for the sake of our safety and for everybody as well, but I don’t think they are.

Ericson: It’s a matter of respect. What she was saying, we wear masks not just to protect ourselves, but also to protect others. Anyone could be asymptomatic and yeah, for us it’s mutual respect.

CM: Absolutely. I think that’s a really good way to look at it, actually. What do you guys do for work?

Verlyn: I work retail.

CM: Okay. So you’re probably seeing a lot of people day to day then. [00:02:00]

 Verlyn: Yes. And we’re getting more and more people coming in and we really don’t know where they are coming from. Too many.

CM: Oh, totally. It’s amazing how many tourists there are, I was in Banff on the weekend and it’s nuts. And how about you? Where do you work?

Ericson: I work in a bank here in Banff.

CM: Okay, and how’s that going? What’s it like?

Ericson: Well, I work in a bank that actually cares for people. So, you know, even during the pandemic, I’ve been working regularly as a front liner, helping people out with their finances and it’s sort of a regular eight hour [00:03:00] workday.

CM: What was it like for you Ericson, being on the front lines the whole time? Tell me about kind of the early days with your business, what was it like in the beginning and how did that change throughout the time that you were working? You know, it’s interesting to hear you guys talk about it, it does in a way feel like the pandemic is over. You know, summer’s here, it’s nice to be outside, but tell me about your experience working with the public.

Ericson: There were a lot of realizations, of course. You know, when you are in a situation where everything is wrong and everything is as it happens, you get to see the real color of people, you know what I mean?

CM: Absolutely.

Ericson: You know, the real character. Especially in a situation where you’re in a pandemic, and it’s an eye opener too. It’s an eye-opener too, for me.

CM: So when you first started, when businesses first started closing and lockdown really started, like, how did your bank handle precautions and stuff like that? Did they get screens or are you supposed to wear masks? Or what was that like?

Ericson: I think just like any other industry, not just banks, in the first few weeks we were also at a loss. We were open, but our gates were closed and we were accepting appointments.

CM: Right.

Ericson: In terms of precaution, at that time, we still, no one knows how the virus actually contaminates or infects people. We were also at loss and personally, I’m trying to do my best to make sure that I’m safe because while half of my day is spent at work, two thirds of my day is spent at home with my wife and my kids. So there’s a lot to lose there if something happens.

CM: Absolutely. Yep. I totally understand. It sounds like you were feeling you were very conscious of that, that fear or that concern about losing your family, or losing your life to your family in the beginning. Do you still feel worried [00:06:00] about that now? Or do you think you’re more comfortable? Tell me about that a little bit.

Ericson: I’m feeling more worried now.

CM: Oh ok, tell me why.

Ericson: There’s a false sense of confidence coming from a lot of people, and even me sometimes, because people have this tendency to adjust to the situation and we’ve been living in fear for a couple of months, and we are now able to accept the reality and then you have a false sense of confidence or security, because for the past few months you have survived this. That’s a sense of invincibility, you know? Even right now, when infections are spiking everywhere, people are now walking without a mask because they thought that, “Hey, you know what? I survived the past few months. It’s probably not going to get me.” So that is really scary for me because everyone now thinks that they’re invincible.

CM: And nothing has really changed.

Ericson: Exactly. In fact, it’s worsening. When you think about the infection rate of COVID, which was 2.5 before, now it’s 2.8. And the number of days before you get the results of your COVID test, you could see that by the time your COVID test arrives, if you’re infected you might already have infected 2.8 people.

CM: It’s very scary to think about that.

Ericson: And people don’t really understand the statistics behind that. And that is very scary because it is exponential. On the fourth day, you have another person infected and that person would have infected 2.8 again. And every shower I was thinking, if we don’t approach this situation scientifically, it’s going to go worse before it gets any better. And people are just holding onto false hopes. Everything is false [00:09:00] right now because they think that the vaccine is coming soon so I don’t care what happens. “I know the vaccine will save me” things like that.

CM: Oh yeah, absolutely. I think it will be interesting to look back on this interview in six months or a year, and to re-listen to your words and to see what happens, I think you’re probably right. It’s been interesting to see how people’s behavior has changed from three months ago to now, and what’s going to happen in the winter time. Verlyn, since you’re working again, tell me: your shop, the shop you worked for must have closed, right? So what did you do, when did it close? Did you know it was going to close? What were your expectations in the beginning?

Verlyn: Well, I really didn’t know what we were going to do because we were working that day and then suddenly they called us, they informed that a day after we’re not going to open starting today, and we need to wait for there for the head office to tell us when are we going to come back to work again.

CM: How long were you not working for? How long?

Verlyn: April-May. So me, we started March, April, May. So two months.

CM: Wow. That’s a long time, if you’re used to being employed full time. You might have said you had kids. So how old are your kids? Cause they must have been in school, right?

Verlyn: I have my two daughters, [00:11:00] the two big ones, they just got here in October. And we have the youngest, so she was the one who’s been here.

Ericson: The longest. So we were not allowing her to go out, she goes out from time to time. But whenever we see that there’s lots of other people outside.

CM: How old is your youngest daughter?

Verlyn: She’s 12 and she’s just finished grade six.

CM: She must be feeling kind of frustrated by the whole thing, I would imagine. [laughter]

Verlyn: [laughter] Yeah. She, uh, used to study here in Banff. So she’s a, she’s a bit excited going to school, this coming school year because she moved to Canmore, Our Lady of the Snows.

CM: Okay, so she’s starting a whole new life, junior high, different school. Yeah. It must’ve been really hard on her to be without her classmates. That’s such an important part of your life when you’re that age.

Verlyn: Yeah. But she was the one who decided to move into a different school. Just for a change, she said. Because she wants to explore herself and something like that.

CM: Interesting. Well, I wish her well, I hope things go well for her. In your household, is everyone still getting along okay? Or did you have any fighting while everyone was stuck at home?

Verlyn: Well, we’re doing good actually. My oldest is working now as well. So there are three of the family working right now.

CM: So you guys are married to each other, right?

Verlyn: We’re common law.

CM: But you’re a couple?

Verlyn: Yeah.

CM: So you guys have separate children, or do you have children together, or do you have children from previous relationships?

Ericson: We do actually. I have two daughters from my marriage and she’s got two daughters from hers.

CM: Ok, so how was that during the pandemic? Whose kids are in the house, do your kids get along? What was that like?

Ericson: My kids are already grown up.

CM: So they’re old. They’re gone.

Ericson: [laughter] They’re gone.

CM: So where are your kids?

Ericson: My kids?

CM: Yeah, Ericson.

Ericson: Yeah. One is in [00:14:00] Calgary, and the other one, my eldest, works here in Banff at Pursuit.

CM: Okay. I have some friends who work there.

Ericson: She got here in January, just when this COVID thing was starting.

CM: Where did she arrive from? Did she arrive from the Philippines?

Ericson: She was already here, and decided to go home to get married. Having a boyfriend and, I know her boyfriend since- so perhaps they weren’t being that practical.

CM: So, you know him quite well.

Ericson: And then this pandemic happened.

CM: Did she end up getting married when she went home or not?

Ericson: She did.

CM: Did her husband come back to Canada with [00:15:00] her?

Ericson: Not yet because she actually stayed in the Philippines for almost two years.

CM: Wow.

Ericson: And they said cause when she went home, she got married and she stayed there for two years. I told her to come back soon because this is where she belongs, she used to live here. Right?

I find that that’s actually one of the main reasons why I came to Canada, is to get a better future.

CM: Right. So during the pandemic, did you guys see her or did you stay separate with your families?

Ericcon: She actually landed in Calgary, so she got her own pad and worked there for a while, [00:16:00] but then things got crazy. Her landlord was COVID symptomatic. She had to do the test. And once she got cleared and everyone got cleared in their house, I asked her to come back here to Banff. I’ve got quite a big family here in Banff. My sister also lives here and has a house here.

CM: A little too close to home for comfort, hey? You must’ve been scared

Ericson: Oh, definitely. I’ve been asking her to call me, I even have her on my phone locator, so I know where she is.

CM: Right. Oh, that must be hard for you. A dad never gives up on his daughter, or never gives up on taking care of her even when she’s older.

Ericson: Definitely. Yeah.

CM: So when she came back to Banff, did she join your family unit? How did that work or did she find a place to stay?

Ericson: She she’s got her own- Well, she actually lived with her cousin. Cause that’s her peer, she grew up with their cousins, so yeah.

CM: During lockdown, did you guys merge households or did you stay separate from each other?

Ericson: Oh, we stayed separate.

CM: That must’ve been hard having her so close and not being able to see her.

Ericson: Yeah.

CM: Yeah, totally. So, Verlyn, what about your daughters? Cause you said the youngest one is at home, are the oldest two at home as well?

Verlyn: Yeah, the second one.

CM: And so did, how did your older daughters do? Were they okay? Were they feeling a bit frustrated? What was it like for them?

 Verlyn: The second one, she just graduated in high school so she’s okay. She loves drawing.

CM: Oh, really? So she graduated this year then.

Verlyn: I’m sorry?

CM: Did she graduate this year?

Verlyn: Yeah.

CM: Oh, so she had a different graduation experience then, hey? How did you guys celebrate her graduation? What did you do to mark that day? Well, we just

Verlyn: We went to Calgary right after the graduation, the problem was that there’s no dining in at any restaurant at that time and it was raining. So we ate our food inside the car. So that was crazy. [laughter]

CM: It wasn’t a normal graduation celebration. That’s funny. I know that if I were her age, I would have been really [00:19:00] disappointed to not put on my fancy dress and get my hair all done and everything. This pandemic has taken so much away from so many people and graduating, cause it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I guess when you’re that age it is a big deal and it’s such a life milestone. What for you guys as a household or individually, what’s been the hardest part of all of this? What have you struggled with the most.

Verlyn: So every time it’s, it’s really hard. Every time we’re going out for work, every time we’re coming in, we need to disinfect the shoes, the clothing, everything that we carry outside and go straight to the washroom, so that’s the hardest part. Everywhere we went, when we went out shopping, everything that’s from [00:20:00] the store. You need to disinfect and sanitize everything.

CM: It sounds like you guys are taking very good care.

Ericson: I guess I’m lucky. And I haven’t said this to my wife before, I’m lucky to have her because no one would be taking care of our own safety more than she does, she would come and shout at me coming to the door, and you haven’t heard her shout before.

CM: [laughter] Hopefully I won’t.

Ericson: And like the neighbors would have heard her from miles away. [laughter]

CM: Good. They should probably hear it too

Ericson: She would tell me too, “Don’t touch anything, go straight to the wash” And I guess in retrospect that’s very important because if I was really careless of being in the front line all the time, there was even a point where last June I really had to take a COVID test because I wasn’t really feeling well.

CM: Interesting.

Ericson: It was stress mixed with the changing weather, and it’s frightening.

CM: Yeah, it absolutely is. And it’s hard, it’s easy to get complacent. Summer time, the weather is good, and you want to be with your family and your friends. So it seems you guys are really fighting against that urge to relax. Is there anything that’s turned out to be something kind of nice from this experience? Some of the folks I’ve talked to have said, “Yes, there were secret blessings” and some of the people I’ve talked to, it would be “Absolutely not. No, it was terrible.” But for you guys, is there anything that you’ve found?

Verlyn: Yes. Well, we had more time during the past few months, more time for me actually. Because he was working, so more time with my kids. It was three year before I got them here, so-

CM: Wow. Oh my gosh. So you came to Canada far before your family.

CM: Well, no.

Ericson: I got here first. I’ve been in Canada for seven years now without even visiting the Philippines. [00:23:00] So I haven’t seen them for like four years before they came, and they came in 2016 and it took three years before she could get her daughters. My two daughters.

CM: No wonder you guys hold your family so close. I know that’s a long time. It’s a long time to be apart. Absolutely. So you don’t want to lose anybody ever again.

Ericson: Yeah. Sometimes I tell my friends, my closest friends, that the feeling is like being incarcerated. You know what I mean? They’re saying like you’re in a small room without seeing your family. And because of the time difference too, sometimes I try to wile away my time by volunteering and being active in volunteering because if I don’t then I’d probably go crazy.

CM: Yeah, because you can’t be with your family. How far ahead is the Philippines, how many hours?

Ericson: During summer

Verlyn: Almost 20 hours, or 15.

CM: So the most inconvenient time difference. You’re asleep, they’re awake or vice versa. So speaking of that, your family back home, are your parents still alive?

Verlyn: I still have my dad.

CM: How has your family in the Philippines been handling this experience? What’s it like there for them? How are you feeling about them and are they safe? Tell me about that. Well,

Verlyn: We’re afraid actually, because it’s getting worse back home. So we always talk to him, and tell him just to be careful. Don’t go outside because he’s a senior citizen. So we always remind him to ask the kids, or ask someone to go outside instead of him.

CM: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, he’s at high risk right now. That must be scary for you, especially because there’s no sign of being able to go visit, not for a while. How do you feel about that? Knowing that you’re kind of locked out of your home country at least probably for many months, maybe years.

Ericson: In fact, I’m used to that. In fact, there was a time when back in 2016, my [00:26:00] mom and my sister’s family came here to visit me. Because at that time I was still working on my papers and because it is really very expensive to do that they decided to visit with me here instead, because I don’t have the money to go home. And they were actually supposed to be planning to visit again this year, but this COVID thing happened.

CM: That breaks my heart. That’s so disappointing for you. To look forward to that for years and then not be able to see them. Wow. That must’ve been really crushing.

Ericson: Yeah.

CM: Yeah. Awful. Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. That makes me sad. You know, my family is such an important part of my life and I’m sure it is for you guys too. So that would be really rough. So I’m going to ask kind of a bit of a personal question, but I’m asking everybody and they’ve all answered [00:27:00] it. Has this been a financial problem for you guys? And would you be willing to share how this has been an issue? Cause some people their investments have crashed or they can’t work or whatever. So tell me a little bit about what that’s been like for you guys, if it’s been a problem.

Ericson: Well, we didn’t actually experience any financial problem.

CM: Yay!

Ericson: Because yeah, I was continuously working and Verlyn was receiving CERB from the government. And so even with our loans, we continue to pay it as normal. We didn’t even ask landlords to pause the rent or something, because we thought that if we can stay on top of it [00:28:00] we’d rather pay it in full, rather than trying to scramble in the future, trying to pay up for the deficiencies, right?

CM: Yes. And that, I think for a lot of people that will be something they’ll have to handle for a long time, just trying to make up for that. for sure. Well, I’m glad it wasn’t too much of a stress for you guys. I know it’s affected a lot of people that way negatively, financially, and that would be very stressful. For your whole experience with the pandemic and it’s not over and it won’t be over for a long time, what do you think you’ll do I remember the most clearly? Both of you, what’s been the really kind of characteristic experience of your time?

Verlyn: That you have to cherish every moment with your family because you never know.

Ericson: For me it’s more of a realization, I find it so beautiful. Jumping back to your previous question, I feel like there was also something good that came out of this pandemic. And it’s not that I’m insensitive to the troubles of other people and their experiences, their negative experiences. But you know, when you really look into what’s happening, like now you start to realize that we have just reset our society. We have just reset the way things are being done. In terms of the industries, the businesses, [00:30:00] we’re able to gauge the greed in the system right now. We’re able to actually, even to a point, refresh the air that we breathe for a few weeks, right. So I feel sorry that this is happening, and eventually as an organism, we will evolve and we will be able to adapt to this situation. But I hope that the people who run this country or any other country start to realize the mistakes that we made in the past and then try to correct it.

And you can actually see a lot of this happening right now in the world, we wouldn’t normally have this pandemic not happen because we were too preoccupied with the things we are doing. I think this pandemic actually brought a lot of introspection to a lot of people and I’m happy about that.

CM: I absolutely agree with you. That was a very articulate answer. Thank you for it. It will be interesting to see what happens to the way we run our societies. And hopefully we can have a more just world out of this. And it sounds like that might be what you’re hoping for. As immigrants to Canada, do you think your experience has been different? I know there’s a huge Filipino community in the Bow Valley. Can you talk a little bit about your experiences, Filipino people during the pandemic? Do you think it’s been different from non Filipino people? Tell me a little bit more about that? [00:32:00]

Ericson: Well I am very active in the Filipino community, I guess having founded the organization here in Banff. During the pandemic, in terms of food even, and I think this is not specific to the Filipinos, but to any other cultural minorities, I would say here in Canada that we have adjusted as my family. We bake our own bread, but Filipinos need rice because it’s in their genes.

CM: Right.

Ericson: It’s how they grew up, their genes look for that. No matter how much some people eat rice, they never get fat. Right. Their body is already adjusted to that. There was a time when people were looking for even the basics. Because you look at a society by the way you look at their cuisine. The same as our features, you know exactly where they come from by just looking at their facial features, you have a flatter nose, smaller means you live more near the equator, or yeah. The same with food and during the pandemic, it was sometimes heartbreaking. You would hear from other Filipinos saying that.

They called me kuya, or brother or elder brother, and they would say, “We are hungry. We haven’t eaten for two days now.”

Not that it’s totally difficult to find food, but like they will normally eat foods that are readily available or something. There’s a fear of going out because everyone in this generation, this is our first time to experience this. So there’s always this fear of the unknown. So some people, there was one who called me, they thought that we were the ones distributing rice and she said, “My family hasn’t eaten for two days”. Whatever that they can scrounge, they give to the smaller kids and you could see the difference. But I do understand because as I mentioned, we were very active helping people in the community that [00:35:00] it’s not just the Philippines, it’s not confined to the Filipino community. Then the whites, Australians, English people, they’re also having a hard time. They also went through grief. We all have the same situation, but just a different landscape, I would say.

CM: Yeah. And it’s going to look different, but the same from everybody’s perspective, do you know what I mean? So it sounds like food security was a big issue for the Filipinos that you worked with though, people were having trouble getting food.

Ericson: That’s true.

CM: It’s always amazing to me, we live in this incredibly developed [00:36:00] country and then our social systems fail, and we have to step in to fill the gaps. And I think this pandemic has really revealed those gaps a lot. Yeah, for sure. Is there anything that you guys are particularly scared of in the future? And what were you scared of during the heart of lockdown? Both looking backwards and looking forwards from now, what are the things that you feel frightened about?

Ericson: I’d like to answer that question first, being the man of the house. [laughter] Honestly, there were a lot of things that came out during the pandemic and are still coming up. And there was one particular thing that some of my colleagues sometimes ask me, especially during the early part of the pandemic, why was I watching CNN? And you’re in Canada, you should be watching CTV, CBS, Global. And I said like, you’re right, it’s CNN. And it’s the U.S but they’re our nearest neighbor. And whatever happens to the U.S actually sometimes gets mirrored here. The biggest thing that is happening right now in America, other than the pandemic. And I guess it’s crazy, isn’t it. A lot of things have grown out of this pandemic. I feel Canadian, but I would be foolish to [00:38:00] say that I’m not Filipino too. Even when my back is behind the sun, you can see the color of my skin. So it’s not me, but what I’m more worried about my kids because they’ll be starting their lives here. Maybe they weren’t born here, but they will probably start their own lives here. They will probably have children, and that’ll be the first generation here. But it might take a while before the colour of their skin blends with everyone else. And that’s one of my, not really fears, but concerns because fear would mean that I think no one is lifting a finger to do something about it.

Concern is more we need to do it. Now. We need to erase ignorance by teaching people that the only reason why my skin is darker was because I was born in a part of the world where the sun is more prominent or things like that.

So that’s a concern. I hope I get to see our leaders working, day and night to make sure that people learn why we have differences, and it’s not really a difference at all. It’s just how we were packaged. [00:40:00]

CM: Do you think that the pandemic has made the experience of people who aren’t white more obvious?

Ericson: That’s a good question. I think that the pandemic has really brought up the role in our society, meaning maybe actually you’re now seeing each other without the facade that we would normally have. Sometimes the person that you think was “Oh, a really good friend of mine.” And then all of a sudden because he had more time to check on social media, then suddenly you see that “Oh, my God like this, this guy is…” you know what I mean? There’s a realization that [00:41:00] you’re more here to hear what people say, where you’re more conscious of the things around you, because all the extraneous things that are happening around you are minimized in a way that now you have more clarity in your surroundings, right?

CM: Yeah, absolutely. Again, thank you for your very articulate answer. It’s been a pleasure to talk to you, these interviews have been very wide ranging, so I’ve heard a lot from all different kinds of people. So it’s cool to get a bunch of different perspectives from you. Verlyn, what are you frightened of?

Verlyn: Well, it’s the same as what he said. He always tells me those kinds of things.

CM: Are you worried about your kids? You’re a mom, so moms are always worried.

Verlyn: Absolutely. Yes.

Ericson: I’m not really very worried about my youngest. She’s feisty and I think she feels Canadian. She’s very articulate. So I’m not really very concerned about that. I know that she’s tough.

CM: It sounds like all your kids have kind of got it on lock, they sound smart. So, you know, I don’t want to have a ton more questions for you guys, but I do have a few. One of the things that I’ve been asking people is how they think that their perspective on life is going to change and maybe your behavior, and this could mean anything. The example I’ve been giving to people is my grandpa grew up in Saskatchewan, in Canada during the depression. [00:43:00] So, you know, he’s 97 now and he still saves all the bags from cereal, and he wears most of his clothes he’s had for 40 years. And so he was really affected by growing up during this time of incredible scarcity. So it’s a good metaphor for our time. I’ve talked to people who say that their five-year-olds go around sanitizing everything, do you think that there will be any kind of long lasting changes to your perspective and behavior as a result of your experience with the pandemic now?

Verlyn: Yeah, I think, you know, even with or without the virus, we always do the proper hygiene.

Ericson: The second, I think, is our childrens normal way of life. Except for the fact that these days, you enter the threshold and then you go straight to the shower. I shower twice a day now. I can’t work without a morning shower. But the thing is, I think, not a lot has changed because we are fully focused on how we want our family in the future. So, we’re guiding our kids. We’re not perfect, moms and dads, but we try our best to make sure of that. Short of saying that we are better parents. [laughter] [00:45:00] If you had a chance to talk to my other daughter, she would probably tell you that when she was a kid, I had her cell phone on a fast dial to an emergency number, things like that. Because I have all girls, and I’m not saying that girls are the weaker sex, no, they’re actually feistier than boys.

CM: The world is set up against girls a lot of the time.

Ericson: That’s true. And that’s why I’m very passionate about working with a YWCA.

Amy: Well, and there’s something special about dads and daughters. My dad was like that too. He wanted me to be safe, so I understand very much [00:46:00] why you are concerned about your girls. Not because they’re not tough, but you love them and you want them to be safe. Yeah, absolutely. So my last question for you guys, and this one always stumps people, so take your time. These interviews are like having a phone line to the future, right? And archives get read. We have researchers come into our archives and they’re reading papers that are 50 or a hundred years old. So you have a chance to speak directly and consciously to people in the future. What would you want them to know about your experience with the pandemic? And it could be anything, but what, what do you think is important for people in the future to understand?

Ericson: That is really a very good question. I was just about to mention that earlier. This is a unique [00:47:00] situation we are in, and we’re actually answering a lot of questions happening around us right now. I would say we are now best driving the future, and I want to thank you for doing this because I think you’re bridging, understanding, not just between people but culture.

CM: It’s my absolute pleasure. You don’t need to thank me. It’s my favorite part of my job,

Ericson: I think what the world needs now is not just the vaccine, or for the economy to pick up, but I think the world needs more of the understanding that all of us are humans. The future couple of generations down the road, our features, our [00:48:00] facial features, if Darwin is correct, start to look similar anywhere you go. Because right now we’re experiencing a faster rate of infection because of airplanes. Back in the day they don’t have that, they have ships. So it took longer. Now it is easier for us to conflagrate. Especially because you have planes, right?

In the future, I want people to realize that one of the best ways to face the challenge in this magnitude of pandemic is to hold on together, to hold each other, and find a common solution.

It’s not the walk in the park, but if you’re walking with someone who you can rely on, you actually probably solved half the problem already. So in the future, when we’re all gone, I hope that people would realize that it’s more important to be able to understand each other. You know, to bridge that gap, and to finally realize that there shouldn’t be any minority or majority. It’s just one people. And it would have been a lot easier to battle this COVID thing if people would realize it is just [00:50:00] one, and respecting each other. They should be wearing a mask from the onset, because when you look at history, that’s what actually happened. And it happened again. So what you are doing now, I hope people will start listening to history. Listen to our voices that we speak with today, so that they don’t have to repeat the same problems in the future.

CM: I think we all hope for that. I thank you both for being part of this,What did you say? Bridge to the future? It’s a strange time to be in the middle of history, you know? I mean, we always are obviously, but I think right now we really are. To witness it right from the start, and hopefully to the end is in its own way, a unique privilege. It’s not that [00:51:00] fun, but to be in the middle of something this big is something you’ll tell your grandkids about. That’s for sure. What about you, Verlyn? Is there anything that you want people in the future to know about?

Verlyn: Oh, he answered everything.

CM: Ge’s the articulate chatter in your relationship? [laughter] Well, I don’t have any more questions. Is there anything else you guys want me to know?

Verlyn: Well, other than thank you, no.

CM: It was really a pleasure to talk to you guys. Absolutely. And, I hope one day when it’s allowed, we could meet up in person. It would be so nice to meet you and your kids, and maybe have some rice together. I heard that’s a big deal.

Verlyn: [laughter]

CM: It was such a pleasure to meet you and let’s chat again soon.

Verlyn: Thank you.

The Stories of Resilience project offers deeply personal insights into the lives of Bow Valley residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. They each share their unique challenges, fears, hopes, and lessons learnt during this unique time in history. This project was brought to life by a collaboration of local organizations: Bow Valley Immigration Partnership (BVIP), artsPlace Canmore, Kristy Wolfe Photography, Canmore Museum. With special thanks to Community Connections in the Bow Valley.

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