Today’s interview is brought to you by Sharon Carrington. She was one of the first women to be interviewed at The Long Table and she’s chosen to interview Karen Love. Here’s what Sharon has to say:

I have known Karen for many years…she and her family have taken piano lessons from me for a long time. The one thing that impresses me about Karen is her honesty and laughter. She is a dedicated mom and teacher. She is also a champion for the Migwani Girl’s School in Kenya. She has shown me what true consistency means and is so determined to embrace life with all the ups and downs. She is my friend!

Welcome to the {extended} table, Karen!

What do you treasure about the Bulkley Valley?

I feel like this is such a cliché answer but obviously the beauty and small town living here in the Bulkley Valley are what has drawn me back and kept me here. I grew up in Houston and have lived in Smithers for my adult life so far. I love it here, it’s home. I love going to our little town and saying hello to practically everyone, I love working in a school and knowing students and their families. I know I’ve made the right decision to raise my family here when we are out walking, and my kids are picking out potential spaces they want to live in when they ‘grow up and move back home.’ Pink, snow-capped morning mountains and lavender dusk dog walks are what fill my photo gallery on my phone.

What is your most favourite thing?

I love to travel. I think that traveling has made me love the Bulkley Valley even more because it has made me really recognize what I enjoy here in terms of family, nature, and community. But still, I love to travel. My favourite style of travelling is for extended periods where I get to really integrate into new cultures and landscapes, to learn new people, languages, food, and customs. Of course, I’m game for a great beach all-inclusive vacation too!

What does generosity (or kindness) mean to you?

This ties into my love of travel. I am a co-director of an international charity called Kenyan Child Guardian Foundation (KCGF) and I believe that this work helps define generosity for me. We work with underprivileged and disadvantaged youth in Kenya. Specifically, I have helped with some teacher training in a small community called Migwani in Kenya. Here is where my family helped to build a school at the special-needs facility, and we also support Samburu Girls Foundation. Part of my personal mission working with our charity is to demonstrate to my own children and my students how we can give and share with others.

What do you know to be true, and how do you carry that day to day?

Learning is so important to me; my everyday life is filled with learning. Individually my personal hobbies, crafts, and interests are driven by learning new things. Right now, I am learning about raising chickens. I take music lessons and fill my spare time with courses and projects that are constantly challenging a new side of me that I didn’t even know existed. Also, I am a classroom teacher here with SD54 and feel I excel in my current position as a TTOC because of the amount of learning that I get to do. I have a huge amount of joy in seeing students gain their paths to knowledge, but truly the excitement of meeting new students, teaching new curriculum and getting to be creative everyday feeds my sense of self as I’m the one who gets to learn continuously.

What are your future goals?

I know that my future will have me continuing to learn. I am so lucky to have a flexible position in my career right now because I plan to continue my work with KCGF, to travel and to continue teaching school here in the Bulkley Valley.

Who inspires you and why?

Rather than by who, I am inspired by ‘what.’ I think laughter inspires me. I am drawn to laughter like a moth to a light, it might not always be the best choice, but it’s so fun!! When someone is getting to know me, they always comment that I make them laugh. I love making people laugh. One highlight in laughter that I’ve experienced was a little taste of stand-up comedy that I was invited to do for an art gallery fundraiser. I was on the Della Herman stage telling a story about my robot vacuum and my dog, yup that one you can imagine, it’s TRUE!! After the show, I was absolutely ecstatic, I thought to myself, and often say now, that when I grow up, I want to decorate wedding cakes and be a stand-up comic.

What is the one thing you would say to your younger self?

I would say to a younger me, ‘learn to treasure the moment.’ One thing that I reflect upon and wish I was more capable of would be this exactly. I know I get tied up in the expectations, particularly my own, in the busy schedule, in the list of ‘to do’ that cumulates in my mind, of a busy life and the next stage of things. I currently am working on enjoying and loving all my moments, even those really challenging ones. So, if I knew to slow down, to be more mindful and enjoy my family, my situation and my life, I think I would have learned to love myself better.