Blogging My Way Through 100 Suggested Topics for Writers

I am blogging my way through 100 suggested topics provided by mixtusmedia

Suggestions #2: Talk about how the story you’re currently writing stands out from others in your genre.

My genre is memoir. I write about my experiences working for luxury hotels in the Canadian Rockies, in Alberta, Lake Louise, and Jasper to be more specific. My debut self-published memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, is about my first three summers working at Chateau Lake Louise before it was a Fairmont. It was a Canadian Pacific Hotel when I started. Fairmont became a part of the hotel chain before 2000. I remember the weeks before the new brand was in place. I was working at Jasper Park Lodge and was sorting through hundreds of spoons, trying to pick out the old CP logo because someone dumped the new Fairmont logo spoons into the main cutlery bins. The back of the house was in chaos most of the time to ensure guests only saw the perfection they paid for in the front of the house.

The question was, how does my story that I am currently writing stand out from other memoirs?

Great question.

Chateau Lake Louise

My self-doubt says it doesn’t stand out compared to Frank McCourt’s, Angela Ashes, or Matthew McConaughey’s, Greenlights, but it stands on its own for being a hotel memoir and second, how I worked through my personal self-doubt. From the experiences of being thrown into my unofficial first day of work, where I stood in the middle of the main ballroom that could seat 600 comfortably, to being cheated on by a guy who knew was too good to be true. Everyone else knew he was cheating and didn’t tell me. I was fortunate enough to find out myself when I caught him in the act.

Say’s my sassy alter-ego, Sis.

Sis: hi there!

This is another way my current story stands out. Sis, she is me, but I use her voice to share what I can’t seem to say upfront.

I don’t hold back about how I feel about guests who ask for everything on the side, to the personal debate over trying cocaine for the first time one random Saturday morning before the breakfast shift. A supervisor offered it a few of the servers, and this was my first week at Lake Louise.

My story may stand out to only one person or to those who have worked in the hospitality industry, focusing on food and beverage life, then the front desk/operations life. My story is mine but everyone who has travelled will understand, and anyone that has worked for a resort hotel will shake their head in agreement over the nights where we worked until 2am cleaning up after a wedding, conference, insert event here. I wouldn’t change anything, even the personal drama. Everything happens for a reason and being able to share the experiences with you is one of those reasons. Thank you, universe.

To learn more or read my debut memoir, click here.

Thank you for being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

The Farm Life; Trying to Create Balance.

I am a writer. I am a writer who happens to be a manager at a hotel to pay the bills. Because I am not Danielle Stelle or Stephen King. I am an amateur writer. I can say that about myself because it is true. I haven’t taken my writing career as seriously as I know I should be. It’s a sad story.

I am a writer who is a manager at a hotel that happens to have a small-scale farm. I am a writer who doesn’t write as much as she would like to. I am a writer who is more into hotel life than farm than writing. Okay, I’ll be very truthful. I barely help with the farm, only on the weekends when I try to squeeze in a few hours of writing.

On Saturday morning I did some hotel work because my job doesn’t end at 5:00pm on a Friday. I’m not a GM, but I am part of an senior leadership that doesn’t equal a 9-5 model.

It’s hard to find work-life integration. Human resources, Lifestyle experts say it is possible, and I’m trying to find my integration. I’m trying to blend my lives to live as one. Why? Because it’s hard to keep things separate in the world we live in. Yet, I love boundaries. I use to be the queen of telling people politely that when I am not working; it is my time. Unless it is a life-or-death situation, it can wait until I return to the office. It’s true. Nothing is that earth-shattering that I need to leave the comforts of my home to go to my day job. Yes, sometimes it was a serious situation, and I put my work hat on because it is part of the job. I choose to be in the world of management in hospitality. I am good at what I do and I love sharing how great it is to work in an industry that brings people together. I am of service and I am aware of the choices I make. I am grateful for this awareness.

I started off by saying I was a writer who happens to be working in the hospitality business, who has a small-scale farm, and who is trying to live all three lives in harmony. There are days it works. I can do all three. There are days I am not able to and I have to come to terms with this. The true self is crying out to be writing and I have to pay attention to her. My creative life is my priority. I will keep working on integrating my three passions to live as one.

Do you have work-life integration? How do you do it? I would love to hear about it. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

I survived the Blogging Through A to Z Challenge

The Blogging Through A to Z Challenge is over. I feel good about how I approached this year’s blogging challenge. I did witness that I left the last letter to the eleventh hour. I wrote twenty-five blogs in two and a half weeks. Then stopped because of my ego, thinking I would get to the last letter before they were due. I left the letter Z for the last day of the challenge. I knew I was going to write about Zen and had started the blog, but last week I was stuck in my head. The ego was in overdrive with too many thoughts about something that is bothering me about where I am in my life at the moment. I am frustrated with not finishing my second memoir, but I have to give myself a break because I just wrote 26 blogs based on my memoir. I was working the messy stuff out on the page and it helped me get past the fear of what I was and was not sharing. So on Saturday, April 30th, I finished writing the last blog and published it in the afternoon. It felt good to complete the project. I had come so far. Why would I leave the last letter out?

Everything Happens For A Reason

Two Mondays ago, a friend I worked with 25 years ago at the Chateau Lake Louise was driving through Fredericton on her East coast road trip. We had coffee for an hour and the number of times I felt goosebumps appear on the back of my neck and arms was joyful. These moments were my angels/true self saying ‘pay attention. I am paying attention.

I am a big believer everything happens for a reason. As I listened and shared stories with my friend and her friend that was travelling with her, they reminded me that life is too short to worry about the little things. Life is meant to live and live fully.

My friend from the past showed up exactly at the right time. I needed to be in her company and hear her stories to help remind me I am the only one who can write and share my books. I knew this, but sometimes I float around like I have all the time in the world. That is not the case.

Each blog I wrote about certain experiences helped me go deeper and not hide behind anything. You can’t hide in memoir. We do not share often the dark side of hospitality. This second memoir is about the choices I made when I veered off my true-self path and the third memoir is about how I got back on track with my creative life.

Now that the challenge is over, I will go back to each letter that I wrote about the hotel life and include what I need in the chapters in my memoir that I forgot to add. I will provide more detail and tell myself the image of keeping things at an arm’s length is no longer an option. Not only for the writing but for myself. If I was chosen to write memoir, why would I try to keep things from the story? Now is the time to let go of the past on the page and move forward. (Inset a hallelujah here).

Thank you for being here with me today. If you have read any of my 2022, A to Z blogs, I would love to hear from you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Y is for Years

27 years ago, I was preparing myself to fly to Calgary for a summer job at Chateau Lake Louise as a busser in the main dining room. I did not know what I was in for. I saw pictures of the stunning resort settled amongst the Canadian Rockies and was ready to see it in person. Some of my cousin’s friends who worked in the food and beverage department were happy when I met them at her wedding. They were quick to help and well organized. They helped clean up the banquet hall at the wedding and it impressed me with their teamwork. I worked at McDonald’s and knew about teamwork and customer service. I knew I could do this job.

My years of service have given me a lifetime of experiences to share about working for luxury hotels in the Canadian Rockies. These experiences include what it was like to live-in staff accommodations, meet random celebrities, hanging out in a staff pub until close, and then head to the after-party before getting up at 5 am to work a breakfast shift where I poured hundreds of cups of coffee and orange juice to guests of the hotel.

Me in my busser uniform at Chateau Lake Louise

More experiences about learning how to carry twelve water glasses between your fingers to set your section at the end of the night. We couldn’t bring the water glass racks into the dining room when guests were present. Everything had to look perfect. A scuffed-up glass rack was not in the pictures when guests were booking their dream vacation to the beautiful Lake Louise in Banff National Park.

Learning how to mend a broken heart after dating someone you work and live with after a few months was not in the training manual. One day, you are in love. Hanging out every minute of the day, seeing each other at work, then joint at the hip after work was common behavior at the Lake and resort towns. Then you break up and see one another at work and the staff café and pub are not fun. Then they date another colleague weeks later is also not fun. Not at all.

My years at Chateau Lake Louise and Jasper Park Lodge were filled with adventures, some great, and others not so good. That’s life. I learned a lot about myself. I have grown in my hospitality career; I have said yes to opportunities that have brought me to this very moment. Thank you, universe. This month I have been working through some chapters that I have been struggling to finish. Blogging through the A-to-Z challenge has helped me sit down and write without judgment. I have to remember to write for myself and not worry about what anyone thinks. It is not my business what others think of me. It’s how I feel about myself and writing without the critic has been freeing and I’m ready to finish this second memoir. Whew!

Thank you for being here with me today and this month. If you would like to learn more about my hotel life, please send a message. I would love to hear from you. Thank you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

V is for Victory

Victory: achievement of mastery or success in a struggle or endeavour against odds or difficulties

The meaning of victory rings true for me. As I have shared, I have been struggling with my second memoir of my experiences working for luxury hotels and resorts in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. I made some poor decisions with relationships and I have ended up with great heartache to where I thought I would never love again, but I knew that was not true. All the romantic movies and romance novels told me otherwise. I would bounce back and fall in love with the man of my dreams. I did. But it took time for me to heal from the men I had in my life because I ‘thought” I had to have a boyfriend when all I needed was to write.

This is maybe the dominant theme of my memoirs if not a sub theme.

Am I saying I am victorious for overcoming poor relationships? Yes, I am. Each broken heart taught me what I didn’t want. I wasn’t as innocent in these messy relationships. I did some things I wasn’t proud of. I tried to hurt an ex-boyfriend for cheating on me by cheating on him. I know how that sounds. It doesn’t sound like the person who people may know me as the good little girl. But what does even mean? Because I obeyed what my mother said when I was a young girl? Or because I was polite and talked a little, I remained silent when everyone else was trying to be heard. I started out this way when I started at Chateau Lake Louise; I admit I felt homesick for the first few days, but once my friend from university arrived and we settled into our staff accommodations and had a night out with our two other roommates, I felt comfortable. With the amount of orientation and training days, there was no time to be the shy little girl anymore. I had a job that required me to be ‘on’ all the time, or at least when I was in front of the guests. When I walked into the dining room, I would be all smiles. When I walked behind the kitchen doors, I let my smile loosen to take a breath from the busy days of carrying trays of dirty dishes and bins of wasted food. That part of my life, the job, was easy for me. Each time I was promoted to the next stage of the food and beverage world, I excelled; it was easy for me to be an excellent employee. But when it came to relationships, any relationship, I was awkward. I didn’t understand the amount of work that was involved in maintaining any relationship. This is where my life lesson started. I had to learn many times through several friendships and romantic encounters that I didn’t have to always be the one who gave, but I also had to find the balance of learning there was a give and take in any relationship.

I was 29 years old when I met my husband (we are not married but after 18 years, saying boyfriend doesn’t seem right). I finally figured out how relationships work. Communication, trust, compassion, and love are key. Not just for each other, but for myself. I make sure I take the time to work on myself so that I am doing the best for myself and for him and for our relationship. The same applies to my friendships. It’s so important to remain open and understanding in any relationship. This is how I have been able to move forward in my career and relationships. It is an ongoing life lesson and being aware of this is victorious for me.

This month seems to be going by quickly. Writing 30 blogs about my hospitality career has helped me with this second memoir. I have more work to do, but I knew that would happen with this exercise of sharing some hard experiences. There is no hiding in memoir and this month I have ripped off some band-aids and exposed the wounds that I was trying to keep safe. If I could learn from these messy times, maybe someone else will know they are not alone. This is why I write. To share, to learn, to grow, to be.

Thank you for being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

U is for Unqualified

Hospitality life is not all sunshine and roses. Employees may smile from ear to ear, but sometimes they are faking it until they make it.

Some people work at the hotels for a summer job, and sometimes that summer job turns into an unexpected career. I fell into hospitality easily. I enjoyed working at Chateau Lake Louise as a server for my first four years in the hotel. Then I was blessed to transfer within the hotel chain to other hotels where I got the hospitality bug and wanted to grow in an industry that provided me with everything I needed to maintain this creative life.

Jasper Park Lodge ~ Emerald Lounge

When I worked at Chateau Lake Louise, I was a good server. I was a fine dining server with experience. I learned everything I could about wines for the opportunity to upsell. When I moved to Jasper Park Lodge, I transferred to the Emerald Lounge, a chalet-style lobby bar. The menu was limited to two salads, a few sandwiches, and a mini cheese fondue. Beer and wine were the top sellers and offering more than that was asking a lot. I embraced my new position. The stress level was lower. They did not expect me to pair a forty-year-old French wine with a filet mignon. House white wine or a lager went well with the cheese fondue and bread. I sold a lot of those fondues, they were the most expensive menu item, so I tried to drive my average check sale as high as I could. My manager told me I was doing a great job, and I seemed to have a knack for selling. It was a conversation for me. It was easy to sell the fondue on a cold winter’s evening, especially to anyone that had been skinning all day. Sitting in the lounge facing the snow-covered mountain tops was magical. Why not add a fondue and a glass of sparkling wine to the moment.

            When the captain server position was posted in the staff services room, I immediately applied. I had all the experience listed in the job description and qualifications. Essentially, the position was a glorified server who held their own section, but then helped junior servers when needed. The captain also oversaw cash-outs and did the inventory and training. I did all those skills when I was a banquet trainer in Lake Louise. I helped create a new training manual with the training team. As a banquet bartender, I had to do inventory every night. I understood what was needed. When I had my interview, I shared my experiences and answered all the corporate questions on top of the real-life scenarios. I felt good about my outcome.

A few days later, I was told I was unqualified for the position. They knew I could do the job, but I needed more experience with training servers in a dining room. Being a banquet trainer was a good experience but not enough. They said I was the second choice so don’t feel bad that I didn’t get the job. I wasn’t sure if I felt insulted or mad. A bit of both.

My mother’s motto rang true, everything happens for a reason and I believed that. I still had my job, and I was a good server. That’s all that mattered to me, but my ego was bruised from hearing I was not qualified enough, but I would find a way to train new staff to grow as a leader.

I didn’t stay in the lounge for long. Another manager took a chance on me when I said I was interested in learning the dining room reservations manager position. Everything happens for a reason.

***

Please let me know if you enjoyed this brief introduction to how my hospitality career started. Do I need to share more? What do you want to know more about his excerpt? Thank you.

Until next Time, Keep on Typing…

T is for Training

Training for anything in life is necessary. When I accepted the bussing position at Chateau Lake Louise, I was told they would provide training. I wasn’t a stranger to orientation. My first job was working at McDonald’s. There was a lot of training involved in how to smile when placing fries on the tray. No joke. The training was intense for the first fast-food giant. The training didn’t stop after the “probation” period, I learned every day. There were mandatory classes you had to take throughout the year. This is no different in hospitality.

My first summer at the Lake, they trained me after I worked my first shift. What I mean by this, I arrived at the Lake a few days early. I wanted to settle in and be ready for my first day on Monday morning, where I would sit with fifty other new staff members of the hotel.

Serendipitous events aligned my job at the Lake. My cousin was working at the Lake and her husband was the food and beverage manager. The Lake was busy in the summer and hired a lot of students. I may be hired if I applied on my own, but my resume was put on the to-be-hired pile in the HR office.

The night before my official training, my cousin’s husband mentioned how busy the dining room was with tours and he was short-staffed. He asked if I wanted to help. He mentioned it wasn’t the way the regular way of onboarding new people, but he needed help. Of course, I would help. That was who I was.

Going with the flow seemed to be one of my strengths as an employee. I didn’t say no when I wanted to run the other way. I was terrified I would make a mistake, but I went for it. If I didn’t learn, then how would I grow?

I went through the proper training at the Lake and each summer I returned I went through the same orientation. Maybe a new policy and updated handbook, but the information was the same, mostly.

My real training was watching and listening to the senior staff, the lifers, as they were called. They worked at the Lake for over five years and learned the tricks of the trade of being a server for a luxury hotel. They shared a few tips for the new servers or those who stayed longer than summer. When I stayed for my first winter, I learned more about the shortcuts of getting out of the dining room earlier if it was slow. I learned bribery was worth the $20 to the busser to finish setting my section and I could get my end-of-night duty polished off before last call at the staff pub.

As I transferred to other departments and hotels, my training was more about how I could get a better job, to move up the corporate ladder. Fairmont promoted within and they wanted to grow and develop the employees who were interested in becoming a manager. I said yes to opportunities and every time I said yes; I was gaining more experience. They invited me to meetings privy to strategic planning, to budgets, to more than a smile, and welcoming the guest to the hotel. I was learning how to get the guest to the hotel. Marketing was more my style. I was a writer and coming up with ways to tell a story about the hotel was fun. Every opportunity was training me for the next step. The universe had a plan, and I was following along for the ride.

Twenty-five years later, I am happy with a hotel doing what I do best. Supporting and providing great service. I am a human resources manager welcoming new employees to the hotel world. Thank you, universe!

To learn more about my first three summers working for a luxury hotel in the Heart of the Canadian Rockies, my debut memoir, Behind the Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, is available here. Thank you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

S is for Sis

Who is Sis?

Sis is my sassy alter-ego/guardian angel.

My dad called me Sis once, and it just stuck as one of my nicknames for him and my mother.

Sis is commonly used between siblings. Sis is like my imaginary sister. I am an only child and didn’t use my voice until I was older.

Sis says what I could not say when I was working on my debut memoir, Behind the Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers. I used Sis as an internal dialogue on the page. A banter of internal thoughts back and forth. Here is one example of Sis helping to tell my story;

I’d met Julie in one of my university English classes. We weren’t the best of friends right from the start, but we became close. Now, we don’t talk anymore because of my stupidity. I was grateful for Julie’s friendship. She was a genuine friend, but I messed it up over a guy and booze.

Sis: Story of your life.

Marion Ann: Don’t give it away.

***

Sis doesn’t hold back and neither do I, but I find it easier to tell my story with Sis by my side.

She doesn’t have patience. She is nattering at me to finish the second memoir in my hotel life series. But I’m stuck and I shouldn’t be. I hear the sayings, write like they are all dead. Who cares what they think? This is your story, not theirs. It’s true. I don’t care what people think; it is none of my business of what other people think of me. I haven’t cared for a long time because when you work in the hospitality business, you can’t take it personally. I have been accused of ruining a daughter’s wedding because it rained. Sure it hurt a little to hear that, but seriously, it is not my fault that the rain started. I don’t have some magic switch that I can turn on to ruin someone’s day.

            Sis: But wouldn’t it be cool to do that?

See what I mean. Sis always has a snappy answer. It’s what I want to say to the guest, but won’t because I know my job. To make sure the guest knows they are right.

            Sis: Ummmm

            Marion Ann: Not now.

This is how I move the story along. Sis and I work well together. I discovered Sis through a series of serendipitous events. My writing mentor pushed me by asking some hard questions when I was working on my first memoir of my maternal grandparents, who I called Nanny and Bumpy. Then there was a part of the book I skipped to when I stopped trusting men. I shared how a boy I had a crush on used my affection for him for a friend’s phone number. He played me for months, having lunch with me, asking me out to family outings, and sharing his secrets and aspirations. I was hooked. Then he told me he wanted my friend’s number. She was one of the smartest people in their class and he had to collaborate with her to maintain his grades. I was heartbroken, and that was where Sis showed up.

Sis: Excuse me! He thinks we’re dumb.

Marion Ann: She is the smartest person in class.

Sis: I don’t give a

Marion Ann: Hey.

Sis: No! He’s not getting away with that. 

She cut him off as a friend without question. I was the one speaking when he tried to make up with me, but Sis was the one who yelled at him to stop it and I didn’t want to have anything to do with him anymore. I buried that hurt for a long time.

My writing mentor said that was my breakthrough. I had found my writing voice.

Sis: Hello.

So why am I feeling stuck? I am sharing the darker side of the hospitality world when I worked in Lake Louise and Jasper. My experiences of the heartache of my own choices are not the problem. I admit I made some bad choices with relationships. Everyone thought of me as a good little girl, but they didn’t know what I was going through. When I shared some of my first memoir with a friend, they read the pages and said,

“I didn’t even know you were dating.”

            Sis: What The F…!

            Marion Ann: I feel sick.

It was a messy time. What I thought was an actual relationship was possibly a lie. Maybe my rose-colored glasses were on for too long. I was living in the honeymoon stage for longer than I should have.

So I am using this month of the A to Z Challenge to work through these speed bumps. Sis is ready to be let loose, to share the truth, and so am I.

I also have asked myself, why do I even bother with writing memoirs? Why do I need to share this time? Because it could be like another situation someone is going through, and I want them to know they are not alone. It’s not about me, it’s about the act of writing and sharing.

I may be ready to finish this memoir.

Sis: Thank Gawd!

Thank you for being here with me today.

If you want to learn more about Sis, please send me a message. I’d love to hear from you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Risks and Rewards

Risk: a situation involving exposure to danger.

I think risk is more like taking a leap of faith. Taking a risk that you wouldn’t normally have taken in certain situations. I have taken a few risks in my life and followed my heart, which may have been the wrong decision, but if I didn’t follow my heart, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

There was no risk in me accepting a job in Alberta when I was nineteen. I only knew life in Nova Scotia. I had been to Florida and Boston and traveled back and forth from Ontario to Nova Scotia when my father was posted back to Nova Scotia when he was in the military. Many of my non-military friends were traveling to places that I wished I could visit, New York, Mexico, and Ireland. I lived vicariously through them and I found myself daydreaming about traveling and one day living somewhere other than where I was born.

I was presented with an opportunity and I took it and I haven’t looked back once. Okay, maybe once or twice when my heart was being broken by a boy or by my vice.

I said yes to every opportunity presented to me. I accepted the job in Lake Louise, Alberta and the only risk was missing the comforts of home. But I was ready to learn, to grow. I was a writer and wanted to experience more.

When I moved to Lake Louise for the third summer, I stayed for the winter, then I moved to Jasper to transfer to the sister property, Jasper Park Lodge. The only risk was starting over and I was use to that. I moved so many times in my young adult life. My mother would want to move because the neighbors were too loud, or she could smell cigarette smoke, or whatever excuse she found to move. My mother is lovely, particularly, so it felt like she was picky about where we lived. But to her credit, I learned how to adapt to change quickly.

After Jasper, I took the risk to move to Edmonton because my boyfriend at the time moved to Atlanta for his career. I thought I was moving to the US as well, but I didn’t. I didn’t take the risk of moving with him without a job. I didn’t define the odds of getting caught of living in the states legally. I stayed in Edmonton and when we broke up, I was lost. I didn’t know what to do. I was in limbo. I continued working at the hotel and trying to fill the void of our messy breakup with a fling. But that quick love affair sparked my creativity back to life. When that fling was over, I was ready to move on. I was ready to leave and maybe return to Nova Scotia. Then the universe placed another opportunity in front of me. The man I had been waiting for. My hubby. We are not married, but what do you call someone who you have been with for nineteen years?

After six months of dating, Adam said he was moving to Vancouver Island, BC, to become a golf pro. I said yes. We got jobs in Tofino, BC, the farthest away from my family, but how could I say no to the rainforest? I needed to heal from the past 10 years of dysfunction of the hotel life. Yes, we were going to work for a hotel, but it was an independent hotel tucked away in the forest along the ocean. The risk of being semi-isolated was worth it. I learned more about myself and took one more risk. I left the hotel life for two years. I worked for the only bank in Tofino and then at a pharmacy retail store. My hotel experiences are transferable. All the risks of moving from hotel to hotel provided me with exactly what I needed to learn and move forward. I returned to the hotel life and haven’t looked back. How could I turn my back on the very experience that has provided me with a lifetime of stories to share.

I am truly grateful – Thank you, universe.

Thank you for being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Q is for Questions

Every year when I plot out the letters for this blogging challenge, I seem to turn back to the same thought about the letter Q. Maybe I should look into why I choose the same topic or ask a different question.

What I was going to write about was the questions guests have asked me when working at Chateau Lake Louise. They are the same questions I would get year after year.

· How heavy does that mountain weigh?

· Are the shrimp from the seafood chowder from the lake?

· When do you turn on the Northern lights?

· What time does the staff paint the lake?

· What time do you let the animals out?

At one point, I wondered if it was just me. Maybe I was the only one who got the questions. Then I would hear guests at other tables in another section ask their server the same questions. As the weeks passed, my work friends would not complain but mention the same questions asked by guests. The bellmen would tell us stories about what guests would ask about what they packed for their trip to the Canadian Rockies, “Do you think three pairs of sneakers are enough? Do I need an umbrella for the snow? Should I bring snacks for the bears?” It was never-ending.

Questions I would ask myself when I talked to guests in my early twenties:

· Why am I here listening to someone ask about how heavy a mountain is?

· Do they really think the lake is painted? Common sense is not so common.

· How can I get them out of my section?

· If I spit in the soup, will they notice?

· Why are they married, all they do is bicker about nothing?

· Can I just leave and no one notice?

There were times I stood at my side station organizing my tables and watching people eat the overpriced meal that I placed in front of them and wondered,

If I just left, would anyone notice?

I know it would go noticed, but when guests dismiss you and call you, honey, dear, you… it gets a little draining. There were times I wanted to walk out on my entire section because of the same questions, the same self-entitled odour coming from their comments about how they couldn’t believe they got a room facing the back of the hotel, they spend all this money and they don’t get the room with a view. I may have said, you have a beautiful view now, waving my hand towards the floor-to-ceiling windows facing the Victoria Glacier and Lake. Maybe a guest would pay attention and realize I was right, but there was the odd guest who gave me the stink eye, as if I knew nothing. In those times, I wanted to drop my wine opener and walk out the door.

Why I stayed? I was living in one of the most stunning places in Canada. I was gaining experiences; I was learning about myself and filling up my creative well. I was doing what I needed to get to the next step.

I focus a lot on Chateau Lake Louise because it was a special place for me. During my time there, I connect with many people I am still in touch with today. During the mid to late 90s, we had something special. We had fun, we laughed, we cried, we did everything together; we went through the same heartaches and the same celebrations. It was amazing and the one question I ask myself, is what if I stayed? That is another story percolating on the side.

Thank you for being here with me today. Have you worked in the service industry and been asked silly questions by guests? I would love to hear from you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com