Gro Brodersen is likely to be the first person you see when you go to the Watson Lake town office, and she has been that person for the past seven years.
Before that, she worked at the CIBC bank in town. And before that, she was a teacher’s aide at the elementary school.
She immigrated from Norway with her parents when she was five, and remembers the ship that brought them to Canada and her fear of the train tunnels as they journeyed across the country to Vancouver.
She grew up in that city, but it was in 100 Mile House where she worked at the Hills Health Ranch and Spa that she met her husband, Shawn, and it was Shawn who brought her to the Yukon in 1999.
We met over coffee; this bright, attractive woman was a pleasure to interview, showing thoughtfulness and a genuine interest in answering the questions.
Q: What do you like best about living here?
A: I like the feeling of freedom, and safety. I believe I could walk anywhere in town at any time and not worry about my personal safety; there is a lot of freedom in that knowledge.
I appreciate the many opportunities here for myself and my family.
Q: What do you like the least?
A: I find the public drunkenness disturbing, and the messy yards and litter on the streets are ugly and show a lack of community pride.
Q: Will you and your husband retire here?
A: There are many good reasons to do so, but we like the ocean. I’d have to say, we haven’t really decided yet.
Q: Does Watson Lake have an image problem?
A: Yes, but I am not comfortable in saying much about it.
Q: How do global concerns relate to you and your community?
A: Watson Lake still burns garbage and now everyone knows such smoke is dangerous to our health.
Q: How do you think people see you?
A: I think they see me as a happy person who tries to always look on the bright side of things.
Q: What is your best quality?
A: I am an optimist.
Q: What is your worst quality?
A: I think I tend to be too critical.
Q: What natural gift would you like to possess?
A: I would like to be able to play a guitar. I would like to be a good photographer.
Q: What is your present state of mind?
A: Its summer in the Yukon; its hard not to feel everything is good on a day like this.
Q: What quality do you most admire in a woman?
A: A positive attitude.
Q: In a man?
A: Strength of character. A sense of humour is good, too, but I’ll stay with strength of character; you can always bring out the humour.
Q: What is your favourite virtue?
Q: What makes you angry?
A: Waste. Waste of all kinds; resources, time.
Q: What do you do with your anger?
A: I get busy with some task, or I vent.
Q: What makes you happy?
A: Shawn, my husband.
Q: What makes you fearful?
A: Concerns about health; health that deteriorates, or fails. On a more global scale, I worry about terrorism and chemical warfare; the likelihood of a bomb dropping by accident.
Q: Where are you spiritually?
A: I express gratitude every day for all the blessings in my life. I don’t go to church, but I do pray.
Q: What do you think most people do NOT know about you?
A: I am a tailor; I can make a suit.
Tor Forsberg is a Watson Lake-based freelance writer. Her profiles will appear every Wednesday.