Alvia Alexander: A face behind Lake Eola’s swan boats

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Seven years ago, Alvia Alexander came to Orlando with her son from the small island of Antigua to be with family.

She worked an office job but felt drawn to the outdoors and the flexibility the swan boat-attendant job offered at Lake Eola. Alexander said despite the hardships that may come with the gig — like dealing with difficult customers — it’s still beautiful.

“Being out here, you get sunshine. Yes, you get all the elements of the weather, but I just feel like being in the open, breathing fresh air,” she said.

Orlando was a “culture shock,” but she had an idea of it already in her head.

“To be honest, it might sound funny, but a part of what you get about another country, you get it from the TV,” she said. “So you kind of had that concept of what it may be like, but I find it to be a lot different. Orlando to me, right now, is perfect because it reminds me a little bit of home when it comes to the weather.”

She said that in terms of lifestyle, the island is a little more laid back than how it is here. She said a lot of the experiences here are trial and error.

“It’s different in terms of — you have to hustle, you have to do what you have to do to make it, and it was a lot of figuring things out,” Alexander said.

Now, Alexander has a 1-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son. She dreams of moving back to Antigua once she retires and hopes they would like to go too.

“I’ve always had this picture in my mind when I do retire here, I leave and go back home, you know,” she said. “And then for the kids, it’s kind of like their choice if they want to stay or go.”

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