Bernadette’s Take #29

Desperately seeking Susanne

Susanne Keller from Roberts Creek B.C.

Where is Susanne Keller?
I cannot find her!

She used to live in this rustic/romantic/rural country home. But she’s not there!

SusanneKeller2 - CopyShe has moved away! This home is the dream of every Swiss guy or girl that wants to live near the wilderness. Not quite in it but bordering on it.

There are these tall trees around, typical for the moderate rain forest of the Canadian West Coast (I did my research, as you see). Everything is so lush and green because there is hardly ever snow on this stretch that is called Sunshine Coast. (In the winter, there is a lot of rain, that is when there is a Canadian exodus to Mexico, Cuba, Cost Rica and Hawaii.)

S3 - Copy(Photo Susanne Keller)

Where are all her friends, where is her Canadian husband Tim? A mystery.

SusanneKeller5 - CopyTheir house is all empty, nobody in there. (Photo Susanne Keller)
There is a place where I can find her: Susanne Keller (49) is a French and Spanish teacher in Gibsons, the home of the Beachcomber TV series (I know you are too young to know this but your parents grew up with it).

SusanneKeller4 - CopyThis is the school in Gibsons B.C. where Susanne Keller is a teacher. But nobody here, either. The mystery deepens. (Photo Susanne Keller)

Let’s go inside and see whether we can find her in the class room.

Here we are, the students are reading. But where is the teacher?

SusanneKeller3 - CopyNo Susanne Keller to be seen in her class room at Elphinstone Secondary School in Gibsons B.C.! Maybe she is hiding behind the black board? (Photo Susanne Keller)

Today she would be a teacher in Switzerland, maybe even in her hometown Langenthal in the Swiss canton Berne, if it had not been for a broken heart. Yes, lost love drove her to Canada. She became an au-pair in Vancouver. After the first shock – her English was very poor then – she loved it!

But Cupid struck again, just as she had made plans to go back to Switzerland. Long story short: She stayed and married Tim Kline, a glass artist.

S10 - Copy (2)I found her! Here she is! Vacationing at Crater Lake in the U.S. state Oregon with her husband Tim! (Photo Susanne Keller)

They moved to the Sunshine Coast, had two sons and lived happily ever after in their beautiful country home where Tim created a lot of glass art – but wait! She is not there anymore. What happened?

SusanneKeller12 - CopyTim would never leave his glass art behind – maybe he found a gallery for it? (Photo Susanne Keller)

Well, it is not always easy to live near the wilderness. I know most Swiss living in the suburbs will not believe it. But trees can crash down onto your roof during a storm.
And bears are not always exciting. Especially when they go after your compost. Or when they cross the road in front of your car. Susanne`s car hit a poor black bear who shook his head and ambled away into the woods. “There was blood on the bumper bar”, Susanne says.

S2 - CopyA black bear is looking for Susanne and Tim, too – or he is looking rather for the compost in their yard that has gone missing. (Photo Susanne Keller)

“I never could get used to the presence of wild animals like cougars, bears, coyotes”, she says. “I was never relaxed while camping or hiking.”

Everybody who ever has spent a night in a tent with suspicious noise outside can oh so relate to it!

S15 - Copy (2)In bear country, safety is in numbers when you are hiking. Take your family, like Susanne does, her husband, two sons and one stepdaughter, and hope you are the fastest person running away from a bear. Susanne is second from the right. (Photo Susanne Keller)

Well, where Susanne lives now, in a rented house near the beach in Roberts Creek, there is only a wild cat. A cat that she feeds.

Her students are sometimes wild, too, but she tames them with Swiss law and order. When she started out as a teacher 18 years ago, it was a huge learning process for her. “I was used to the Swiss school system”, she says.

Today, she thinks that Canadian schools could do with more discipline Swiss style. And Swiss schools could definitely have more FUN.

Sometimes, Susanne wants to have fun, too. When she needs a city fix, she takes the ferry to Horseshoe Bay, then the Express bus to downtown Vancouver and there you are in the midst of the urban action!

But where the heck has Susanne disappeared again? She has to fill in the Can-Swiss Quiz! Susanne, where are you?

SusanneKeller6 - CopySusanne is painting, we cannot see her because she wants art to speak for her. Her art work says: “Susanne, hurry, it is time for the Can-Swiss Quiz!” (Photo Susanne Keller)

Here we go:

The Can-Swiss Quiz with Susanne Keller

What gift do you take to Switzerland from Canada?

Maple products or something made in Canada, preferably locally, e.g. on the Sunshine Coast

What do you bring from Switzerland to Canada?

Ground almonds, because they are so much cheaper. Also Vermicelles (chestnut paste), chocolate from Migros, Raclette cheese und Le Parfait (bread spread).

What product(s) do you miss most in Canada?

Really crusty bread and Quarktorte (a sort of cheese cake) and other really good pastries.

Which are the 3 qualities you cherish most in Swiss men or women?

They are well dressed, speak multiple languages and know about the world.

Which are the 3 qualities you cherish most in Canadian men or women?

They are easy-going, accepting and helpful.

What triggered a culture shock for you in Switzerland?

Swiss people stare at you when you look differently, and there are more rules.

Which Canadian or Swiss personality fascinates you?

Lara Jacobs Rigolo, the Balancing Goddess working for Cirque du Soleil’s show “Amaluna”.

This is glass artist Time Kline’s website:

P.S. If you would like to fill in a Can-Swiss Quiz yourself, you are very welcome! Please send it to

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