I am originally from Rouyn-Noranda, in northwestern Quebec, but was living in Montreal. One day in June 2009 I was reading Le Voir newspaper, looking for a new apartment. I didn’t find one, but I also took a look at the jobs available. There was a job posting for a journalist at the French newspaper, L’Aquilon, in Hay River. I had graduated as a journalist from a polytechnical school in April, and was working as a researcher at a magazine. Since I’ve always been attracted to the North, I decided to apply. To my surprise, I got the job. Since I didn’t speak any English, I figured it would be a great way to learn. So I hopped on a plane and started my job in August.
Hay River has a sizeable French population, a French school and a French reporter – me. As a reporter in a small town, I interview people and write the stories, take photos. Being the youngest member of the team also put me in a good position to help out with social networking and the paper’s website. I’ve been able to travel to places like Inuvik to give the French students a talk about being a reporter. I like my job – I enjoy meeting and talking with new people.
I met my boyfriend Jesse here and he is learning French as I am learning English (well, we’re working on it!). My younger sister, Laury, who is 15 came to visit last summer and may come again to stay for a school year. That would be fun!
In my spare time I do a French language radio show on Hay River’s radio station. I’m involved in the French Association and I’m always reading and writing in both French and English. I also helped plan and organize Hay River’s first annual music and arts festival last year. It was a lot of fun and a great event.
Hay River has a great beach and a group of us go there to grill a steak and enjoy a bonfire. We also love to kayaking, running, walking the trails – almost anything outdoors. I find it just amazing that the air is always so refreshing and it’s never the same! I bike to work in the summer and walk to work in the winter. During the coldest months we enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice fishing and just playing outside. I plan to learn trapping and try camping this winter.
My life here in Hay River is very different from Montreal. Sure I miss the variety of foods, restaurants and entertainment a big city offers, but the trade-off is worth it. Here people say hello on the street and I don’t risk my life each time I cross it. I’ve made lots of friends here. It’s easy to socialize if you want to. Life here is what you make of it. And I’ve made it home.