Meet Surrey Girl, Katherine Petrunia
Blogger, Our Happy Place; Co- Founder, Captured in Squares
Grew up in Newton | I took where I grew up for granted. As recently as a few years ago I didn’t appreciate it at all. But looking back and reflecting, I know I’m lucky to call this place home and I love where I live. Our family moved to Delta a few years ago, but I was born and raised in Surrey; it’s still home to me in many ways. The beauty of this place still catches me off guard and even though it isn’t perfect (but where is?), Surrey has come a long way.
Some of my favourite memories were spending days at the beach, getting covered in salt water and sand; learning how to swim at the Newton Wave Pool and Unwin Park; volunteering at the SPCA; and making memories with family and friends – too many to list here. We are lucky to live where we do, surrounded by the ocean, forest, mountains, and farmland. We have it all, we just sometimes have to remind ourselves to appreciate it more.
Growing up in Newton, there was a wide range of everything: ethnicities, religions, cultures, wealth… you name it. We were a melting pot. Of course this isn’t without it’s challenges, but there’s so much beauty in the diversity. I grew up with food, music, and cultures that weren’t mine and I loved it. This unique blend became my culture and what I think is also Surrey’s culture as a whole.
There are so many amazing things coming out of Surrey, so many amazing people, and whether we still live there or not, we have the place we grew up to thank- at least in part- for the people we’ve become. This place has a reputation that’s outdated and it’s because of it’s people that it’s changing. I’ve been blessed to meet so many amazing people there and the support for local and small businesses in Surrey and the Metro Vancouver area as a whole makes me proud of where I’m from.
I don’t love that being a girl from Surrey is often joked about, but I love that we have the capacity to change it, to change what people think of. The women born and raised here have so much to offer, so much talent, and it’s sad that even as women the term ‘Surrey Girl’ follows us around. I love being a Surrey Girl – a girl from Surrey – I just never appreciated this place until I was an adult. I am the woman I am today because of where I’m from.
I am thankful for all the imperfections that come with this place because it teaches us to think creatively, not to take the easy route. If things were always easy we wouldn’t grow and evolve, and that’s what’s now happening in Surrey – an evolution and growth out of challenges the City has battled. No one denies that there are still improvements to be made, but every little bit counts in the effort to turn the City’s reputation around; each voice matters.
As a blogger I’ve learned the impact that sharing online and social media can have. It isn’t always good, but when it is, there’s potential for it to be great. We live in a time when we’re more connected than ever – even if it’s miles away over a screen – and I feel it’s important to use this opportunity for good, for positive, rather than negative.
Even though The Surrey Girl Project highlights women from this city, it’s so much more than that: it’s an effort to insert positive, to create change, and come together for a common goal; things that are relevant no matter where you live. And I hope it’s a message that extends beyond Surrey and it’s surrounding areas.
Finish this sentence: Proud to be a Surrey Girl because… This City made me the woman I am today.
About | Katherine is the creator of The Surrey Girl Project and was born and raised in Surrey. In addition to managing her blog, Our Happy Place she is also the co- founder of Captured In Squares, a photo- styling/ marketing company as well as freelancing in marketing and copywriting.
About The Surrey Girl Project | The goal of The Surrey Girl Project is to change what people think of when they hear the term ‘Surrey Girl’ by highlighting some of the diverse and talented women born and/ or raised in Surrey. Our hope is to flip the term upside down and give it a makeover, to show how amazing it is to be a female from Surrey. Photo Credit: Ally Fotografy
Click here to learn more about The Surrey Girl Project and the mission behind it.