Meet Nerina Jahja

Nerina has never lacked determination. After weighing her options, she felt making a big move was best for her future and career, “When I was 18, I left my family in Albania for North America, though I’m not sure what I was thinking,” she laughs. Speaking little to no English and lured by her romanticized impressions of Hollywood and South Beach, she headed for the United States only to find herself (where else?) in the Motor City—Detroit, Michigan. While there were no beaches or palms tress, it was just the beginning of her journey.

Nerina persevered through the harsh winters—studying business, completing her Masters degree, and eventually moving to Canada in 2014. “I like it way more here,” she confirms.

Fun times at home

Like most of us, Nerina now spends a lot of time at home with her family. “I have two kids and they are my world,” she exclaims. Though the pandemic has changed family life, she admits “I love having my kids here at home because I get to see them all the time.” That means lots of time to bond through tobogganing, building snowmen, and watching movies and TV together. “They are like two little adults and we talk about everything.”

And someday away…

Nerina also has a passion for travel and she’s fascinated by people with different backgrounds. She’s seen much of Europe, where having a few languages in her repertoire—including Italian, Albanian, English and some French—came in handy. “Mexico is a favourite destination,” she says, and she looks forward to visiting New Zealand, Australia and South Africa some time in the future. “I also want to see more of Canada,” she adds. So far she’s been west to Vancouver and east as far as Quebec City, but looks forward to seeing Nova Scotia and, at some point, Canada’s northern lights.

Tiramisu and piano too

“I love to cook,” Nerina says, “I make great desserts and tiramisu is a specialty.” Her favourites in cuisine combine Italian, Turkish, Albanian and she takes pride in coming up with her own recipes. “Albanian food is a mix of Greek and Turkish,” she explains, “so we’ll do stuffed grape leaves or stuffed peppers and use a lot of lamb and veal in our dishes.”

Nerina is also a budding musician, with the piano being her choice of expression. “Growing up, my dad and uncle were very musical, and I always wanted to play something. But when I asked why he never put us in lessons, he said it was because we didn’t have any talent!” So, she decided to jump right in by recently purchasing a grand piano of her own. Now, she’s making up for lost time and finds music a great stress reliever as well as a different way to express herself.

Remodel, refurbish, repeat

Nerina’s creative side has also spawned an interest in remodelling rooms and fixtures, such as an old fireplace, a kitchen, or her current basement. “It gives me pleasure to do it myself and add my own touches. And most of it I can learn online.” She’s also constantly on the lookout for antiques and trinkets she can spruce up and sell online.

Being herself at Farber

Although she’s still new to Farber, she has enjoyed her first few weeks at the firm. “The culture has been great for me,” she declares, “with everyone quite connected, like a family. People care about how I’m doing which makes me feel I’m important and not just an employee number in a big company. I’m able to be myself.” While she still hasn’t figured out how to get closer to beaches and palm trees, she feels right at home—both in Canada and at Farber.

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