When I walked onto the stairs of the plan after my plane touched down in Yellowknife, I stood on the cusp of my new life, closed my eyes and breathed. Deeply and continuously. Until the flight attendant told me I had to keep going because there were people waiting to get off the plane.
I was born in Albania, but I moved with my parents to the US 15 years ago. I did my schooling in Detroit and ended up in Windsor, Ontario, where I managed a hotel property. After I’d done all I could do there, I was ready for a new challenge and wanted to try the west coast of Canada. I got a job offer there, but then received a better offer from a hotel here in Yellowknife. When I arrived there was still snow on the ground and it was about -10°C. I couldn’t believe how clean the air was compared to Windsor. That’s why I couldn’t help but stop and take time to breathe.
Almost immediately my employer whisked me away by car and snowmobile to a party. I’d never been on an ice road or a snowmobile, let alone driven either one, but I did both that day. I couldn’t believe how friendly everyone was. People even came to my hotel offering help and friendship, so making new friends and creating a business network have been easy for me, compared to what I’m used to.
In my new position as Manager of the Capital Suites Property, I’ve been making connections, improving service and working with a local women’s centre to provide work and advancement for the ladies there. I am learning so much since I’ve been here. There are cultures from all around the world, for sure, but I especially love the Aboriginal culture. Oh, and those Eskimo Donuts the ladies bring me!
I meet a lot of business people who stay with us and it’s encouraging. The city and the territory are growing. There are lots of people moving here – many from Windsor. There is so much opportunity here, it’s no wonder this is the place to be!
I’ve had 8 months of great experiences. I want to enjoy everything and learn everything. I’m happy I have a bit more time now to explore. I’m excited to try winter sports like dogsledding, skiing, snowmobiling – and those Northern Lights! Spectacular!
I also enjoy volleyball and I’m a competitive ping-pong player. Kayaking was great this summer and I liked Cameron Falls so much I went there three times. My mother also came here from Detroit for a month and she’s as much in love with this place as I am. So much so, she’s bringing two friends next year.
I am here to stay.