Scottish lass loves life in Sault Ste. MarieMonday, December 23, 2013 by: Darren Taylor
We often say 'it's nice to meet you' whenever we are introduced to a person, but it truly is a pleasure to meet and get to know Lee Murphy.
Lee (pictured with husband Danny Krmpotich of the City of Sault Ste. Marie's Local Immigration Partnership) told SooToday.com: "I've always been able to get the best out of people and they're able to get the best out of me."
We first met Lee at a Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) Immigration Forum in Sault Ste. Marie in February of this year (an event which included Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney as the keynote speaker).
At that event, we noticed Lee greeted everyone who entered the room with a sincere, warm welcome.
From Lee, you get the feeling she has always known and appreciated you, a feeling which automatically puts you at ease.
Lee told us: "I'm interested in giving back to this community and welcoming anyone who's willing to be a part of the backbone of Sault Ste. Marie."
Lee first visited Canada in 2010 and met Danny.
Not long after returning to her native United Kingdom, Lee returned to Canada to stay and build a new life with Danny.
The two felt comfortable with each other upon meeting, Lee told us.
"We just 'clicked," she said.
Indeed, it's very clear they are a wonderfully matched couple who love life and laughter.
Lee is originally from Dunfermline, Scotland.
That city has a long, rich history and was, long ago, the capital of Scotland.
Lee's retired father and mother now live in Wales, while Lee's son is stationed in Scotland as a Corporal with the legendary Black Watch Regiment of the British army.
Before her arrival in Canada three years ago, Lee worked in a variety of fields throughout England and Scotland (she is a believer in constantly learning and adding to her skill set).
Currently going through the "fill out the paperwork and wait" process, Lee said she is looking forward to obtaining Canadian citizenship and a work permit, adding she would like to return to work as a Personal Support Worker (PSW), having gained previous experience in that occupation.
In the meantime, Lee and Danny share a Bayview home and love camping at Marks Bay.
At home, Lee does a lot of handyman work.
"I do a lot of the carpentry and things like that…Danny's learning how to help," she smiles.
Lee has already had at least one great Canadian outdoors experience.
"I've had an encounter with a bear."
While at the trailer at Marks Bay, Lee recalls: "I instinctively felt something was behind me."
"I looked around and saw this big bear…as I stood up, it stood up with its paws out."
"I got my dog because it was trembling under the deck, and we got inside the trailer…then a ship tooted its horn on the river and the bear disappeared. I've had coyotes follow me up the road too."
Lee doesn't mind snow (she came to the right place!) and, in fact, loves to annually build an ice wall in her yard.
Lee, who says she feels comfortable with Sault Ste. Marie's mid-sized population, described the community as "absolutely picturesque…a beautiful, welcoming city."
Naturally, like any newcomer, Lee says she misses some of the customs of her native land.
However, because of Canada's continued connection to our British colonial roots, she's always glad to see and hear the stirring sounds of Scottish bagpipes and drums, played by men and women in kilts, at official functions held locally throughout the year.
When asked what strengths Scots bring to the Canadian multicultural mosaic, Lee replied: "We're very innovative and think well ahead, we've been like that throughout history…it comes naturally."
"We embrace communication, we don't find it difficult."
"We're very pragmatic and realistic."
"We can all have our dreams, but you have to be realistic too."
Lee, who says she has taken to many diverse types of cuisine, such as Italian food and poutine, clearly embraces Sault Ste. Marie's multicultural population.
Advising other newcomers to Canada, Lee says, with a big smile: "Embrace each other's cultures, and remember that no matter how cold the winter is, we do have a great summer, and use insect repellent to keep the mosquitoes away."
"If you see a bear, don't run, walk away!"