Christina Waschko is a world traveller, entrepreneur, fitness instructor, wife, and mom to three boys.
You can now officially add published author to the list, after she completed her first book Verry Berry Extra-Ordinary, A Mother, Her Teenage Dream & Recipes for a Buzzing Business.
A relative newbie to Maple Ridge – she and her family moved to the area 15 months ago from The Netherlands – has lived in six countries on two continents and along the way, has collected a suitcases packed with memories and experiences.
She made Canada her seventh country and third continent to call home.
In her book, Waschko writes about her dream of living the sunny life of the Caribbean, but by the time she dared to make it happen she was 40, had three children and lived in The Netherlands.
At this point, she entered the world of what she describes as “mompreneurial-ship.”
She said Verry Berry is “not a how-to-book but more of a story, one imbedded with invaluable advice on how to start and establish your business.”
“I always wanted to own a beach-front cafe in the Caribbean but I always had excuses like, ‘Oh, I’m pregnant. Oops, I’m pregnant again. Ooh, I’m pregnant again.’ Or ‘The rent was too expensive,” she said. “I had all these excuses.”
She ran out of excuses when she turned 40 and decided to open a cafe called Strawberry Lounge just outside of Amsterdam.
Even though she didn’t speak Dutch and didn’t have any family in the country, the business became, in Waschko’s words, a “roaring success.”
“And not because I’m such a wonderful business person but because I listened to my gut feeling, followed my heart, and had really stupid ideas,” Waschko said. “I didn’t care what people think of me, I just did it.”
The first section of the book focuses on why she started her cafe, and the second part transitions to how her business affected her family life.
“It’s a mixture of memoir, business, and entrepreneurship,” she said, adding with a laugh, “The second part is how to stay happily married.”
Waschko said this is more than a “boring business book.” She believes it’s funny and entertaining.
“It’s a very honest, heartfelt story,” she said.
It took Waschko two tries to finish Verry Berry. She wrote a version, printed it out, didn’t like what she read, and started the process all over again.
Inspiration washed over her early one February morning and words poured from her fingers. It took her two months to complete the 129-page book.
“It’s my story and it’s a universal story because we all have universal dreams and ambitions,” she said.
German is Waschko’s first language, which added colour to the words.
“Be warned: it is edited but we didn’t want to take away from my originality,” she said. “In certain sections you read English the way a German person would say things.”
She and her family, including husband Dominic and sons Brando, 15, Cohnan, 12, and Cruze, 10, have had a footprint in different countries across the world.
“We used to live in Australia, we used to live in England, my husband is American, and my children were born in Holland,” Waschko said.
The family stayed 12 years in Holland but became disenchanted with the aloofness of the people in the area in which they lived.
“They are very cliquey,” Waschko said. “They sap your energy.”
Deciding it was time for a change, the couple researched various countries to call their future home and felt Canada was the right fit. It offers plenty of activities for a family of skiers and outdoor enthusiasts, and English is the primary language.
They had visited Canada once before and loved the experience.
Christina and Dominic “Googled” several places in B.C. including Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, White Rock, and Langley, and settled on Maple Ridge.
Within 13 days, they found home to buy and settled into a new life in Canada.
“It turned out to be the best neighbourhood, ever,” Waschko.
On St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday, March 17, Waschko will present her inspirational talk, “Dream and Dare To Make It Happen.”
The presentation is from 2 to 4 p.m. will take place in the Maple Ridge Library’s Alouette Room.
During her presentation, Waschko will talk about how to take the first steps into the business of your dreams.
“We all have dreams and ambitions, it doesn’t matter where we live in the world,” she said. “With my experience and knowledge I want to inspire women, and men, of course, to take the plunge and tap into their own resourcefulness.”
This event will be free of charge.
You can purchase a copy of Verry Berry on the Friesen Press website: www.friesenpress.com.