Story of a spoiled rotten Indonesian city slicker married to Canadian geologist

BY JULIE ASPINALL, Whitehorse

I remembered clearly, it was a nice sunny afternoon in Vancouver on Tuesday, June 25, 1996.

It was the first time I arrived in Canada, with my husband (then boyfriend), Clive.

I didn’t have any idea whatsoever about the Yukon. My husband kept telling me about how lucky he was to be one of the Yukoners. Mind you, that was my first trip overseas and my first passport too.

My image of Canada was exactly like I was going to live with my husband and daughter in Ottawa or at least Vancouver, living in nice downtown or waterfront condo, walking to work in the mining offices complex just a couple blocks away and, to top everything up, become part of the morning rush wearing high heels and carrying a cup of latte … that was my image of living in Canada.

Yeah, right!!

Not even close.

Instead, this very spoiled, rotten Indonesian woman (aka me, myself and I) followed her husband to Whitehorse, Yukon.

My family would never understand why on earth I would trade all my luxury living in Indonesia, with hundreds of close-knit extended family members, maids, sitters, cooks, domestic helpers, security guards and gardeners, and choose to follow my husband to this very neck of the woods called the Yukon.

I said to them that I checked it out first and I can always come back home for good, if that didn’t work. That never happened, as I still live here with my husband and seven-year-old daughter.

I did test the Yukon water with my husband; he took me flying all over the Yukon in his two-seater float plane to see what it was like, to feel what it offered, to sense if it was the right decision for me to say “Yes” to his proposal (I started to sob, pass me the handkerchief please … or tissue probably, eh?).

We visited Carcross, Tagish, Beaver Creek, Elsa, Mayo, Keno, Burwash Landing, Dawson City, Watson Lake, Teslin, Tincup Lake and, of course, the capital, Whitehorse, where we live now.

This spoiled rotten Indonesian woman had to learn to climb and conquer Mount Edziza at Telegraph Creek, had to cook, wash clothes, prospect, walked – heck, a lot of walking all over the place to see what it was the Yukon about — to feel what it was to be a true Yukoner, to sense, to just grasp everyday feeling of being a true Yukoner engaged with nature in its very own backyard.

The Yukon has turned me, a mall cruiser, a city slicker, to become an ordinary Yukon mother who feels lucky over a single simple thing in life: to enjoy a morning sunrise over a cup of coffee on my deck, surrender to the nature with the people I love, my family. They are my husband and seven-year-old daughter.

I smile. It’s the Yukon, The People and The Land that sure make a big difference and positive change in my life.

June 25, 1996: The Anniversary of my first visit to the Yukon that leads to my permanent residency here.

Tell us your 500-word or less “Larger Than Life” story and you could win a full-day guided fishing trip for two, or kayak lessons for three or three prizes of $100 gift certificates. All prizes are from UpNorth Adventures. Send your story to editor@whatsupyukon.com.

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