Heather Newman graduated from high school in 2007 from Robina State High School on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. Not exactly in 2009 and definitely not in Whitehorse. All the Whitehorse kids from the class of 2009 seem to be busy this summer; as I haven’t been running into any of them lately. Some might just be in Australia!
Instead, I ran into Heather, and as she looked around 25, the same age as the kids from the class of 2009 in Whitehorse, I asked her for an interview and she accepted. Heather is 27 and she is spending a year in the Yukon, as part of a two-year working visa. She is working at Otter Falls Restaurant on the Alaska Highway where she is the front-end person.
At the restaurant, I ordered poutine and in between Heather’s other clients we talked, also engaging the Texans who happened to be dining there. After high school, Heather went to work in retail: a Dollar Store and its Australian variations; Stacks and the Reject Store. In Australia, they call these sorts of stores Cheap Shops.
Heather loves Queensland. The area she grew up in, she says, is very beautiful. Queensland is not only how we imagine Australia, but there is also a beautiful rain forest close by: the Daintree Rainforest in tropical northern Queensland.
And closer by, she lived just one and a half hour drive away from the famous Australia Zoo, “home of the crocodile hunter” Steve Irwin, who was a nature expert famous for his and his wife’s wildlife documentaries. (You might remember his tragic death in 2006, which occurred while he was making an underwater documentary.)
After graduation, Heather went back to school, trying business administration and later veterinary nursing. However, she realized that school was just not for her. Instead, she liked travelling and made money so she could afford to go on cruises. She particularly loved one cruise she took to New Caledonia, which is a most beautiful group of Islands in the South Pacific with blue lagoons, sandy beaches and palm trees.
So why relocate to Canada, you may wonder. “I was working my last job back home at a theme park called Movie World. I left that job about six months before coming to Canada,” Heather told me. “I just couldn’t find a job and after trying for a few months, I finally decided to use my tax refund that I had coming, to come over here and do the working holiday that I had wanted to do for the last couple of years. I finally was able to achieve that.
“Awesome! And last winter was my first ever white Christmas and it was amazing.”
That white Christmas was in Jasper. Back in November 2016, Heather started her two years in Canada. Heather found a job in Jasper at Marmot Basin Ski Resort. And after the ski season was over in April 2017 she came to the Yukon.
She didn’t manage to learn to downhill ski when she was in Jasper. “I did attempt to ski, I just was not good at it and I fell over a lot.” she laughs. “I want to try again this winter.”
So if you don’t make it out to Otter Falls this summer you might run into Heather in the winter at Mount Sima. It’s one of her goals to learn to ski properly before returning to Australia.
As I was eating my poutine, I asked her about Canadian food. She misses Australian lamb chops, she said. For meat, she said that she grew up on lamb, beef and kangaroo burgers.
On advice from a colleague in Jasper, she will wait to try poutine until she is in Montreal… Looking at my poutine, it made me wonder what I am missing out on.
To finish off her two years in Canada, Heather will travel across Canada next April. She says, “I’ve met so many amazing people in my time here in Canada and made many great friends that I hope will be lasting friendships. And when I travel before I head home, I’m hoping to catch up with my new friends.”