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"After class, a moose burst out of the forest. He stared at us, we stared at him, he casually grazed on."
- Javina Kiume

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Rocky awakening
by Javina Kiume, 32, originally from Vancouver, Canada
Sep 20, 1999

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Rocky Mountains, Canada
Emerald Lake, the Canadian Rockies
I've been working at a resort in the Canadian Rocky Mountains for nearly two weeks. I'm the Shift Supervisor of a bustling cafe at a remote resort with a swimming-pool-blue lake and spectacular mountains. I've been to the Rockies only a couple of times when I was a kid; working here this summer is a great way to be immersed in the atmosphere while being able to afford to be here!

I taught a yoga class to other staff on Saturday. Basic stuff, I explained that I'm no guru, but they enjoyed it. After class, a moose burst out of the forest. He stared at us, we stared at him, he casually grazed on. Being all relaxed and harmonious, he didn't view us as a threat. It was very cool.

Hmm, yes, so here I am immersed in wilderness. I've seen elk, the moose, a mouse, a marmot, ravens, mountain goats, rabbits and a grizzly bear beside the highway. Dozens of tourists stopped to capture it on film. I work at a backwoods resort, so fortunately I'm away from the throngs at that mall-in-the-mountains, Banff. Enough t-shirts to clothe the entire population of Canada, were we ever to lose all sense of taste and want to sport caricaturized moose in Mountie uniforms. Yuck. Who's responsible for marketing these images internationally? It does not accurately portray the Canadian identity. Or the Rockies.

So what's it about, then? A tremendous respect for nature: there's no litter on the local trails, there are laws against picking wildflowers. A celebration of beauty and sport. A diversity of culture; not just the tourists, there are staff from nearly every province here and we trade stories about where we're from and where we'll go. The chef is from Northern Alberta and he wants to work in Inuvik, the horseback riding guide/trainer has worked everywhere from Windsor to West Vancouver and the Northwest Territories.

I've never felt so Canadian in my life, going to a BC vintnor's wine tasting, serving venison sausages, listening to the Tragically Hip at work, hearing French-Canadian accents, sitting around a bonfire singing a Neil Young song, blasting down the highway with 3 girls from Victoria and a guy from Halifax seat-dancing to Big Wide Sea while elk graze beside the road and a CP train passes by.

2.3 million Canadians have maple leaf tattoos. I'm thinking I'll get one too.

I've lost weight already. The combination of exercise and abysmal food at the staff cafeteria is having an effect. I badly need a belt for my jeans.

The daily life in the Rockies..

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