Happy Hermit Chasing the Big Fish
Rolf Studer from Big Lake Ranch B.C.
Rolf Studer is one of these ping-pong people. They switch back and forth between Swiss culture and Canadian culture.
Need an example? This very Sunday, Rolf eats a snowshoe hare (a rabbit who walks on snowshoes, I presume) for lunch that he has shot himself – such a Canadian thing to do.
And for supper? Yes, exactly: He makes a cheese fondue. (If it weren`t true, you would have to invent it.)
Do you see what I see? The fish is Canadian char/brook trout – but the spice is Aromat. Which is the ultimate Swiss condiment that many Swiss immigrants cannot live without. Swiss Post makes a fortune shipping parcels with Aromat to Canada. (Photo Rolf Studer)
Rolf (53) has done this back-and-forth (for which I created the scientific term ping-pong) most of his life.
He came to Canada in 1990 with his brothers Heino and Urs to investigate properties in B.C. They all had a dream about emigrating to Canada. Ping.
After three weeks cruising around B.C. without finding the right land, they gave up and buried there plans.
Back to Switzerland.
In 1993, Heino and Urs and families emigrate to B.C.
1995 and 1998: Rolf visits his brothers in Canada during a holiday. He buys a house in Big Lake Ranch, a hamlet 50 kilometres from Williams Lake B.C. Ping.
Then back to Switzerland where well-paid jobs are waiting. Pong.
2000: Rolf emigrates to Big Lake Ranch with 2 kids and 3 cats. And his wife. Ping.
2002: He is back in Switzerland with 3 kids and 3 cats. Pong.
2004: Divorce from his wife.
2007, three years later, Rolf is back in Big Lake Ranch, on holiday. But he buys a house. Ping.
Back to Switzerland. Pong.
2008: Rolf lives in Canada again. Ping.
Ping-pong to be continued…
UPC (Urgent Phone Call) to Rolf Studer in Big Lake Ranch B.C.
Rolf, how does it feel to live like a hermit on 11 acres out in the middle of nowhere?
Oh, great! I want to live in peace, I don’t want to see or hear my neighbours. I love solitude and silence. I only see trees and clouds and moose and bears and the odd cougar.
But you always go back to Switzerland, weren’t you there recently for 3 months?
Yes, I had no job and my mother was ill and I looked after her. I also miss my 11-year-old boy Silvan and my daughter Miranda very much. But in Switzerland, there is too much noise and I don’t have enough room for me. I like ice fishing and snow shoeing and hunting on my quad.
But don’t your friends in Switzerland earn more money than your current job in a furniture and household store?
Money is not important for me. My career went down but my level of happiness was going up. That is how I want it. We have a lot of fun at the store, no stress. And I work Saturdays, too, to earn more money.
But is it not lonely to have only black bears for company on your acreage?
I am not afraid of bears. I worked two years for a mining company and had to survey the woods for mineral deposits. I was all alone but it was the best job I could wish for.
I’d rather be killed by a bear in Canada than by a stomach ulcer in Switzerland!
Don’t you miss a woman in your life?
The first years, I didn’t. Today, yes, I want to share my happiness. I have a girlfriend in Germany.
In Germany? Don’t you want to live with her?
Yes, I do. She cannot come to Canada, so I am thinking of spending 6 months per year in Germany. Or in Switzerland.
Do I hear right? Switzerland?
Yes, why not?
Right now, I’m working on a tourism project and looking for a reliable partner, perhaps a travel agency, in Switzerland. Switzerland is beautiful, if you have the chance to escape again!
I miss my family and friends, the good restaurants, the famous St. Galler bratwurst and the low-priced beer.