Christine MuharremWhere did you grow up? 

I grew up in Chatham, born and raised. My parents both moved here from London, England a few years before having me because they wanted a better place to raise a family and needless to say it was probably one of the best decisions they've ever made.

What was your first job? 

My very first job was when I was 8 years old delivering papers to several homes on the streets surrounding my house. My father worked at the paper at the time so he pretty much set it up for me and would go around with me and help deliver them. I remember being so small that at some of the houses I couldn't get the paper in the mailbox because it was too high up so my Dad would have to lift me up to it so I could put the paper in.

What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime? 

That's a tough one .. I'd say I have a different favourite Chatham-Kent pastime depending on the season. In the summer I love heading out to Erieau for a day of fun and sun and some drinks on the patio at Bayside Brewery with friends. In the fall I really like to go for walks in Rondeau and watch the leaves change colours. I take a lot of pictures for fun and all the fall colours make for some beautiful shots so I could just spend all day out there wandering through the bush or walking along the water. In the winter I do what any good Canadian does and strap on a pair of skates and find a pond to play around on. Admittedly I am no hockey player, but I still like to just skate around and have fun. Another winter pastime would have to be heading to Kingston Park and sledding down the hill and making forts in the snow. In the spring ... all I do is look forward to the festival of giving lol.

What is your favourite season, and why?

Each season has something different to offer so it's hard to narrow it down to just one. I think either spring or fall would have to be my most favourite because they both give me the feeling of a new beginning. I love in the early spring when it starts to become warm enough to keep your windows open and you can hear all the noises of people outside enjoying the weather and kids playing after being cooped up all winter. I love that you can smell different foods in the air as people are breaking out their barbeques or the smell of a campfire as people sit around it with friends in their backyard. Just the feeling you get of waking up in the morning and the sun is starting to come up a little earlier and set a little later and the general change in attitude everyone seems to have because we all know the good weather is only around the corner. In turn, I love fall for very similar reasons. I love the changing colours of the leaves and the beautiful perfume they seem to leave behind. I love wearing comfy sweaters and cuddling up at home with some hot tea and reading a book and participating in all the fall festivities like pumpkin picking and the corn maze!

Name an experience that has positively motivated you.

An experience that has positively motivated me was the mentality towards money that my parents instilled in me from a very young age. They would always tell me how much things would cost and were very open about where money comes from and how it can help and hinder you. They taught me it was a necessity in life but not the "be all end all". They would tell me stories of people who saved every dime they could in belief that they'd retire rich and would live their lives then, only to not live long enough or to not be healthy enough to use that money when the time came. They also told me stories of people who never saved at all and would spend everything they had only to end up in debt and be constantly stressing about how to make ends meet. They taught me everything in moderation is the key to a happy life. Make sure you pay your bills, save a little for later in life and for big purchases you want to make and whatever's left over use that for what you want and don't feel guilty about it. As I mentioned earlier I had my first job at 8 years old delivering papers. My parents had me take any money I made and split it in half. I would put half away in to savings to pay for my education later in life and then the other half was mine to do what I want with. I continued doing this as I got older with every paycheck I got and it's the reason I was able to pay for my university education and graduate debt free. I still use this process now but this time the other half is being used to pay monthly bills lol.

What did you do after high school?

After high school I moved to Toronto to attend school at York University's French Immersion Campus, Glendon College. I studied Psychology as my major and took many of my classes in French to fulfill my French requirement and receive my Certificate of Bilingual Excellence. It was a huge change for me moving from small town Chatham to big city Toronto, but it was a welcome change at the time and definitely opened a lot of doors for me and gave me a lot of experiences I would never have had in Chatham.

What are you doing now? 

I am now living back in Chatham and working at the Co-operators on St. Clair St. selling insurance. I live with my boyfriend Eric in a cute little house that we're renting and we just bought a car as well! He's also from Chatham-Kent, but he moved to Toronto so we could live together about two years ago. We loved our time in Toronto, but a job opportunity was presented to me that required us moving back to Chatham and after talking it through it really seemed like the best move for us at this time in our lives so we packed up our tiny little condo we were living in and moved on home.

What is your #1 reason for choosing Chatham-Kent as “home”? 

Honestly, I never saw myself moving back to Chatham. I thought after I left for school I had "escaped" and there was no going back. But, now after having moved back and getting involved in the community I really can't think of a better place to be. The number 1 reason though? Can't really say there is just one reason. There's concrete answers like the cost of living is substantially cheaper here compared to Toronto, this is a better place in our eyes to raise to a family later on, and both of our families are here which is amazing. But then there's the reasons that you don't really appreciate until you've been gone for awhile. Like, being able to get from one end of town to the other in less than 15 minutes, or being able to see beautiful sunsets from pretty much anywhere in town because there aren't massive buildings blocking your view. Just the community feel that there is here and that if you're ever in need there will always be someone willing to help. I truly love Chatham there are so many great things about living here and I am more than happy to be home.