Day 112 - Jackie (1st person I approached)
April 22, 2014 - Jackie was sitting outside, reading a book in the sunshine when I asked if she’d chat with me. She is from Mississauga, Ontario.
“I have one younger brother. He’s about 18 months younger than I am, so yeah, we’re pretty close. We’re also very competitive as well, in sports and things. It’s was never a ‘I’m better than you are’ competitive, but a healthy challenging, do the best we can kind of competitive. He is my play buddy,” she tells me.
“He’s also followed me around too. I lived in Canmore (Alberta), and he came to visit, liked it and moved there. Later when I moved to Whistler (British Columbia), he came to visit and liked it and moved there. He’s still there. I don’t know if he’ll move to Vancouver.”
In elementary school, Jackie enrolled in the International Business and Technology (IBT) program. IBT is a curriculum that allows students to develop their technological and business skills.
“I went into the IBT in Grade seven and for the first two years it was great. But when I went to high school, in Grades nine and ten, it just seemed to be a repeat of what we had already learned. I got bored. So I went back to regular high school for the last two years,” Jackie told me.
“That took a while to get used to. I was the new girl in school. I knew a few people from elementary school, but I wasn’t good friends with anyone at the new school. There was one girl in particular that was really mean. After I had been there for a while, we got to talking one day and she apologized for being so mean. She told me that the year before, she had been the new girl in school, and wanted to stay the ‘new‘ girl. I told her she could have the title if she wanted it, I wasn’t bothered. We became great friends after that.”
Jackie went to University in London, Ontario. She studied bio-physiology, the study of all the processes in the human body, or as Jackie put it, the science behind why we do what we do.
"It was very interesting, but hardly useful in real life," she said. After graduating, Jackie made a move to Guelph, Ontario.
“I got a job in travel insurance. After a few months I was feeling pretty down. I would look around at some of my coworkers who had been there for years, and I just knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I knew I had to get out, or I’d become too comfortable with it all,” she said. Jackie took a trip to Vancouver with her mother for the 2010 Winter Olympics. “It was the first time I had seen the mountains. We got a redeye flight, and went to sleep shortly after arriving here in Vancouver.. When I got up in the morning and looked outside, it was amazing. To think that I was still in the same country. Still in Canada and these mountains were right there. It was amazing,” she says with a telltale smile.
Jackie headed back to Ontario with her mother after the Vancouver trip. That summer she decided she wanted a job working outdoors, and not with people.
“I got a job working on the maintenance crew at a golf course in Canmore, Alberta,” she said. “I loved being outside, pushing a lawn mower and just enjoying myself.”
She stayed in Canmore for the summer, before returning again to Ontario.
“I have always wanted to have a season working at a ski resort. I was thinking about going back to school, or doing some travelling. I had gotten my qualifications to teach English abroad (ESL). I didn’t want to travel abroad, or go to school and then interrupt it to work at a ski resort. I was single and wanted to have some fun and just enjoy a winter season. So I ended up going to Whistler, and working there for a season,” Jackie said.
On the last week in Whistler, Jackie met Rob.
“It was my last week there, so it was easy. There were no games and no expectations. We both knew I was leaving at the end of the week. It was kind of liberating, and honest and freeing. I left and went back to Ontario. Rob and I kept in touch and then he came to Ontario to visit. He wanted me to go back to Whistler, and I had a girlfriend who lived there that was bugging me to go back as well. My parents liked him, and they were doing all kinds of things to keep us in Ontario. My father restores old cars and Rob is pretty good at that sort of thing so my Dad offered him a job. No need to move. Eventually though, we did go back. It was kind of like one of our first dates. We drove from Ontario to Whistler. Some of my friends thought I was kind of mad, asking 'what if' it didn’t work out. I told them I’d get him to drop me at an airport, or I’d take a bus. It all worked out though,” Jackie said.
Rob and Jackie travelled to Australia, Rob’s home, together.
“We spent about eight months there. Visiting his family and then we spent some time on the Gold Coast. We were heading back to visit his family again and we both came to the same conclusion,” said Jackie.
“We realized that we both wanted to start doing something with our lives. First we went back to Toronto, but we decided we wanted to live in Vancouver, and here we are,” she said. Jackie is now taking science classes at Kwantlen college and has applied to the university of british Columbia (UBC) to study pharmacology.
“I've always had an interest in medicine and anything to do with the brain. I’m not entirely sure I want to stop at being a pharmacologist, but it’s a step in the right direction. I’m wrestling between doing that, finishing school and having a life. Or, going to school for another 12 years in medicine and never having a life, or children. So for now, this is the path,” she tells me. Rob starts school for Mechanical Engineering in September.
There is also a memorable coast to coast trip that Jackie told me about.
“Rob’s mother came out to visit us and we wanted her to meet my parents. We decided to drive back to BC from Ontario. My parents came along for the trip. We drove in two cars, which made it somewhat easier for us to rotate who we travelled with. Rob and I are comfortable travelling by ourselves. I'm sure we get along so well because of that first week we met. It's always been about honesty and being ourselves with one another. There were so many decision makers on that trip.” #notastranger