My blog's been a bit glum lately, what with deaths of my friends, fires in my workplaces, firings in my workplaces and expensive ear infections. Sorry about that. I'm feeling more optimistic today. Life's been a bit rough in 2009 so far, but everything that's happened is just part of life, and I am lucky to be living in a beautiful village, spending time with amazing people, regardless of the bad things that happen around the edges. There aren't many people living in Waterton in the winter, but let me tell you a little about some of them (as I'm aware most of my blogs are centred around Seamus and myself. I don't want you to get the wrong impression that we don't have friends here, because we do).
Irina comes from Russia, and works with Seamus in Housekeeping. She has had an amazing life; all her friends in Russia are philosophers, writers, artists and singers. She worked as a guide in the wilderness, and has lots of stories about bear encounters. She's an amazing artist, and her apartment is filled with drawings and paintings and photos. She can dance in a way that no British or Canadian person can. She works so hard and has all this crazy orange hair, and speaks her mind all the time, and feeds me cheese and Russian tea named after a Russian popstar (one of her friends, obviously), and paints stones to look like animals. She has so many interesting stories about her life, there's some I'd love to share but it's not appropriate on a public blog. I want to have as many experiences as she does.
Cook Al is younger than me, but has done so many things I feel like I've wasted my life. He's won 100-mile running races. He lived in Denmark for a year, and travelled around Europe. He's worked on a ranch in Northern Canada, and regularly goes for 30km jogs in -20 temperatures. He taught us to build campfires, and he cooks us wonderful food and mulled wine. He is so optimisitic and has this amazing idealism about how life should be.
Alex is new here, and from Slovakia. She's worked on cruise ships all over the world, and lived in Ireland for five years, and taught me to ski. She is an amazing judge of character, and organises staff outings all the time (something everyone else could never quite manage), and likes everybody. She wears a hat made of rabbit fur, and drinks brandy, and we drink tea together and talk about boys.
Sue and Zen are the people who hired us. For another four days, Sue is the Human Resources of our four hotels, and Zen is the General Manager. Unfortunately (and it breaks my heart), they have been let go due to the economic situation. From before we even arrived in Waterton, Sue made us feel so welcome. They care so deeply about their staff, and for a lot of us, they feel like family. I am going to miss them so much when they leave, and I can't see how the hotels will run without them. They do so much, for the business and for all of us who work there. They organised a Christmas meal, and chose to spend Christmas with a bunch of young people (most of whom drink and smoke too much). They are so caring and giving. And they have so many stories about their lives. And Sue wears an amazing fluffy white coat, and has a dog who steals mittens.
There are a lot more people here who are wonderful, but that's just a few. so, things aren't as bad as they seem...I am very lucky to be here, and living with these people. And I can't wait to go to the Yukon next Wednesday!