Good-bye... and hello

It's the end of one of the most life-changing chapters of my life

Beautiful and heartbreaking, one of our last sunsets from the window of our home in the Hamlet of Mount Lorne. Photo by Christa Galloway.

I came to the Yukon a different person than the one who is leaving now. 

I'm a bit tougher. In the winter I've found myself saying, "it's only -20C, let's go skiing while it's warm," and in mid-August I've scraped the frost off my car before work. 

I'm a bit spoiled. I used to admire photos of beautiful mountain landscapes, now I see one out my window every day.

On a personal level, I've changed drastically. Where I used to rely on my husband for everything from driving to grocery shopping to answering the phone, I am now used to getting myself around, going away on business trips and bringing home the bacon.

I like myself more than I did before. I'm more independent, less afraid and stronger.

Things that may not seem like a big deal to a lot of people but used to make me nervous, like arranging car insurance, driving long distances, or going away for a business trip by myself, don't faze me anymore. I answer the phone like a pro star. I can even do the looney thing in the shopping cart now, no problem.

The other day I realized that for the first time in 14 years, my friends are people I met independently of Richard. It occurred to me that they must actually like me because of me. Part of me always assumed people hung out with me because I came as a package with my charming, social and guileless husband and not for myself. I've taken a good hard look at myself and I think I'm actually moderately cool to hang out with, albeit in a awkward geeky way.

Now it's time to say good-bye to the place and the people that changed me so much. Yesterday I worked my last flight for Air North. I thought I would be relieved because it's been a very busy summer with few days off, but I was almost overcome with emotion. My two trainers happened to be there and announced to the passengers that this was my last flight. They said very nice things which had the effect of making me happy while at the same time turing beet red with embarrassment.

The people here are what I will miss most about the Yukon. There are the Air North flight attendants. Erin's quirky good nature, Angelica's vivaciousness, Jessica's toughness, Michael's kindness and energy, Wini's sense of humour, Susan's sassiness, Derek's in-flight baking skills, Sonja's enthusiasm... the list goes on and on. Then there are all the people who have helped us along the way, our neighbours, co-workers, teachers and friends. Maybe its the fresh northern air, or being away from the rest of the world, but Yukoners are a different type of people. Richard likens them to people from Yorkshire in England, they are a little tough at first but once you're accepted you see they have a heart of gold.

Soon, ironically, we will be on the road south. I'm excited for the future. My life will change drastically. For four months I will be a stay-at-home mom living in a city apartment with no vehicle, all new for me. This time, we do already have one friend near our new home, and we've already been invited for Christmas!

We visited Red Deer yesterday and absolutely loved it. We got a very good feeling from the area and everyone we spoke with was amazingly friendly and went out of their way to help us. Red Deer has many beautiful parks and trails, nice buildings and rolling hills... and conveniently there appears to be a liquor store at just about every street corner. Like Whitehorse, the winters will still be damn cold, so I'm in no danger of going soft.

Also, like Whitehorse, Red Deer would be a great pub name, so it totally fits.