Day 134 - Dan (1st person I approached)
May 14, 2014 - So, remember those rules? The ones I subject myself to? Well, somewhere in the top five, would be “I need to take your picture to go with the story.” Tonight, second time in 134 days, I forgot that part. I was doing a piece for Global TV News, and they were filming while I chatted with Dan. Then they interviewed him, and then he left. It wasn’t until I was walking home that I realized. I won’t write what I called myself. In truth I’m a pretty philosophical guy, so what is, is. I’ve come up with four solutions, and I’ll let you know which one I use at the endif this post this, as a footnote.
Dan was on his way to meet some friends.
“That’s ok, they can wait. I’d like to chat with you. This sounds interesting,” Dan said, as we sat down on a concrete wall outside the Vancouver Art Gallery. In response to the question 'Where were you born,' Dan gave the most original reply I’ve heard so far.
“Where was the home of Dracula?” I suggested, with a degree of uncertainty, Transylvania?
“Well just as BC (British Columbia) is a part of Canada, Transylvania is a part of my country. Romania. I was born in Bucharest.” Dan has one younger brother.
“I guess that makes me a role model, but he follows all the things that get him in trouble. I really like motorbikes and he became interested in them as well,” said Dan.
“I guess I sort of role-modelled some things not to do. How to break the rules and be independent rather than just following along. He’s four years younger than me, so as we’ve gotten older, it feels like we’ve gotten closer in age. We’re better friends now than when we were kids.”
When Dan was ten years old, his family left Romania and moved to Vancouver.
“I think my parents applied to every country that would be possible to immigrate to, and Canada became the choice. My father wanted to get out of Romania. Life is difficult for people living there,” Dan said. Settling into to Canada had it’s own challenges for Dan.
“I was the outsider, I felt like a misfit and didn’t like it here. I didn’t speak much English and it was tough. I had no friends and of course the culture here is quite different compared to Romania. In time I made friends and found my way. We lived in downtown Vancouver at first, and then eventually moved out to Coquitlam,” he said. Dan went to university and studied mechanical engineering.
“It was a five year program because you go out on job placements during the five years. Mechanical engineering is in part, where you make machines that craft things. So a piece of metal goes into a machine and it gets drilled and shaped and out comes the parts of a (cell)phone. Those machines are the kind of things made in mechanical engineering,” Dan explained. He says he did not take part in suspending any Volkswagen Beetle cars from any bridges with his fellow engineers. Upon graduating, Dan was hired by a firm that does consulting related to new building projects.
“I’ve been lucky. I got a job right out of University. Look around, I get to work on some of the buildings that you see being constructed right here in Vancouver!” he says with pride.
Dan has moved back downtown.
“I’m single and living here downtown is incredible. I’m having so much fun,” he said. He returned to Romania for the first time in 14 years last year.
“Going back was such a culture shock. Everything has changed so much in recent years. It’s also the memories of only being ten when I left, perspective shifts and changes. Streets that I remembered being long highways were in reality, two lane roads,” he said.
“I spent some time travelling as well. I did ten countries in four months. It was amazing. When I was planning the trip, I was thinking about my friends and who I might ask to join me. Then I decided to travel by myself. That was so good," Dan says excitedly.
"I met lots of people and I did what I wanted. Traveling alone was the best way to go!” #notastranger
Footnote: I sent Dan message asking him to shoot a picture and send it to me, or to let me use a picture off his Facebook page. Alex Turner, from Global TV News who did the story tonight offered to send me a picture once the story goes online. I decided to take a picture from the Global TV News at 11:00 tonight. I usually have the day's 'stranger' look at me when I take their picture, and while it's hard to see from this angle, Dan was looking right at me in the shot I've added. And I like that it has the TV lines on it too. This is part of what today's story was!