Day 133 - Laura (1st person I approached)
May 13, 2014 - Laura was about to have a snack before going to the gym. Instead, she chatted with me for a little while. Laura is from Urumqi (oo-room-chee), in western China.
“The area I am from is surrounded by deserts. It gets hot during the day, and then cold at night. There are many varied cultures in western China. It starts with two backgrounds, the Han people, and Muslims. There are many troubles between the two backgrounds. The surrounding area comprises of about 56 different cultures. Each with their own foods, clothes and beliefs. Chinese people of muslim descent tend to have whiter skin and larger eyes. Han people have skin that is a bit more yellow, with little body hair, smaller eyes and less eyelashes. I am a Han person,” said Laura.
Laura is the oldest of three daughters.
“My parents come from a generation where young people had arranged marriages, and that’s how they met. Today, few people have arranged marriages,” Laura said. I asked her if being the oldest daughter meant she had to be a role model for her younger siblings. Laughing, with her hand covering her mouth, Laura says
“Well I might be the oldest. Maybe my body inside is aging, but I’m not the responsible one in the family. I am not a good role model I think. My sisters are still in China and they help my parents out. I am here living my life.” After finishing school, Laura went to University.
“I studied Computer Sciences. It was okay, and a lot of work. After graduating I went to work for China Post, the post office. I did some coding and work with the mechanisms. I was there for eight years,” said Laura.
She had met a man while in University and they married.
“We separated while we were still in Urumqi. He wanted to go live in a bigger city, and I stayed in my town. Then it was his idea to immigrate to Canada. I followed him here. We're divorced now, and I don’t know if he is back in China or in New York. Who knows? I am grateful to him though for moving to Canada. My life is very different than if I had stayed in China,” Laura said.
Three months after arriving in Vancouver, Laura heard a radio advertisement that appealed to her.
“I was listening to a local Chinese radio station and the ad was for a graphic design course. It sounded so attractive to me. I enrolled and took the graphic designer course that was nine months long,” she said. Laura told me that the course was intense.
“I made it through. There were students from all over the world. One woman from Colombia left because it was so hard. I competed the course and have been working in graphic design now for 12 years. The last eight years I have been working for a company where I design flyers, banners, do web design and work with images.” When I said she must enjoy being creative, she adds
“I hope I am creative!”
Laura is considering making some more changes in her life.
“I’ve been here by myself for almost 13 years. I enjoy going to yoga, working out and looking after myself. All my friends that are my age have kids and families. I sometimes feel I have too much spare time. I’ve done the same job for eight years and lived in the same apartment for the last five years. I like change and discovering new things. Although I don’t like moving, I might start with that.” And then it was time for Laura to go.
“I’m going to the gym. Tonight is a cardio step class.” When I took Laura’s picture and then showed it to her, she asked me to retake it, and to make sure the background was squared off and balanced. The creative graphic designer showed through. #notastranger