In 1999, we found our house in the suburbs completely by accident.
We misplaced the directions our real estate agent had given us - and one wrong turn later, we arrived at home - a house with a lot of trees around it on a quiet cul-de-sac in Paradise.
It is, in my opinion, a great place to raise my family.
I live just far enough away from St. John's to enjoy the drive to work while I catch up on the news, weather, and latest music. Who knew Flo-Rida was a hit maker and not just a state? Yet I'm just close enough to the city to enjoy all it has to offer.
My husband and I are originally from central Newfoundland. Like us, most of our neighbours have moved to Paradise from other parts of the province. The reasons we all choose to remain in Paradise are varied, but we have one common denominator - we are happy here, we've put down roots, we plan to stay.
Our neighbours here are great. They have become the village it takes to raise a child. We can count on each other to remind our children to look both ways, to demand "Where is your helmet?" and to comfort a crying child who has scraped a knee.
Our children like the relative freedom of our neighbourhood. They spend their days running through properties with few fences, having adventures in the forest dividing our street from the next one, and feeling secure knowing everyone here knows them and cares about them.
It's not all paradise in Paradise, though. At the moment, we lack a public library, a pool, junior high and senior high schools, an arena, and in most neighbourhoods - sidewalks. What our community does have is a tremendous amount of potential.
As neighbours do, we get together around backyard barbecues to discuss the explosion of development in our area. We complain about the increasing amount of traffic, the never-ending road construction, the building of yet another subdivision.
But we do realize we are watching the development of potential - the growth of a town, the evolution of our space, and the blossoming of a true community in every sense of the word. In addition to the development we complain about, we have witnessed many positive changes. Paradise now has more childcare facilities, coffee shops, salons, restaurants, medical clinics, and a variety of independent businesses.
Change is often not easy, especially when you cannot see the big picture.
Paradise has so much potential. Our ponds are teeming with dragon boats, kayaks, jet-skis, canoes, fish and ducks. Our beautiful trails are shared with citizens and the occasional moose; our playgrounds, soccer fields, park and community centre are always busy. And they still know my name at our local post office.
So we watch, we listen, we trust that the right choices are being made, and we react when we think poor decisions are being forced upon us.
I know the day is coming when the traffic will flow freely and our children will walk on the sidewalks from their new high school to the new local arena.
Then, we will truly have Paradise.
Nicole Bishop is a teacher who lives in Paradise