Day 113 - Dave (1st person I approached)
April 23, 2014 - Dave was born in Croydon, a borough in south London, England. He is an only child born to a Chinese father and Filipino mother.
“Both of my parents were nurses and my father worried about how he and my mother would be able to work full time and raise me. So he bought a newsagents in Dulwich, (a suburb in London) and when one was at work, the other ran the store and looked after me. We lived in London until I was about ten years old,” said Dave.
The family moved to Tunbridge Wells, in Kent, southeast of London.
“My father bought a nursing home and so we moved there. It wasn’t easy at first. London as a city is a big melting pot of people. In my class at school, I had friends from all different backgrounds. In Kent, it was predominantly white, middle class people. For the first time I became aware of my ethnicity. I would get on the train to go to London, and I’d be the only person with an ethnic background on the train,” Dave told me.
He soon made friends and settled in at school.
Dave has spent a lot of his time in school and learning. He completed (high) school getting his GCSE’s (General Certificate of Secondary Education - academic qualifications). Then Dave stayed on at school to get his A levels (GCE Advanced Level) in Economics and Business. After that, he moved to Bedfordshire where to attend University.
“I studied Business Management in University,” said Dave.
“It was a three year undergrad degree. The first year I lived in a dormitory on campus and then I moved in with some friends.”
In 1991, when Dave was just 14 years old, his father passed away.
“My mother suggested I take trip to see my father's sister, my aunt. She lived in Vancouver and that was the first time I had ever been here. I fell in love with the city,” he said. Then in 1999, Dave’s mother passed away.
“It was a tough time. It was emotional and it was hard. I felt a need to leave England for a while and just get away. I took a year off and came to Vancouver for three months. It just feels good here and of course there are so many different cultures and ethnicities here, it’s so diverse. After that I traveled around Southeast Asia with a couple of friends from school. We planned where we wanted to go and went backpacking. We made it to Australia as well. It was a good trip and was good to get away from everything,” Dave said. We spoke about the value of travelling when younger and the lessons learned in the ‘school of life’. Dave smiled when I said this and told me he had just been thinking about this trip earlier today.
“It’s funny, I haven’t thought about that trip for a long time, but earlier today it crossed my mind. Funny that.”
After getting his Masters degree in Business Management at Hertfordshire University, Dave got his first job in business.
“I saw an advertisement, applied for it and got the job. I worked as a consultant for businesses for ten years. I was writing business plans and helping companies get established. After ten years, I just had had enough. I wasn’t enjoying it anymore, and it wasn’t doing anything beyond making other people rich. I wanted to something that was useful and helpful,” he told me.
In December of 2010, just after Christmas, Dave came to Vancouver for a three week vacation.
“About half through the vacation, my Aunt introduced me to my nephew's piano teacher. We made arrangements to go for lunch. It was like a double date of sorts. My Aunt and Uncle, myself and the piano teacher. It went really well. For the next ten days or so, we went out probably every other day. Then I went back to England and we started to email and it soon was everyday,” he said.
In the next year, Dave sold his house, and most of his belongings. He told me
“I wanted to sever as many of the ties to England as I could. I put the few things I had left in storage and came back to Canada.” Dave and the piano teacher got engaged, and married in August of 2012. He is now applying for his permanent residency.
“I've set up a company in Business Management and I’m now studying Immigration Law. I want to help people who are immigrants with setting up their own businesses and make sure that they have everything they need. I'm adding immigration consulting to my business management services. So I’m learning all about immigration,” he said, gesturing to his study materials spread out in front of him. Dave’s wife was teaching music therapy at a senior's care home nearby. He was studying while waiting so they could then go have dinner.
Dave and his wife have done some travelling together as well.
“We went to England just last year so I could show my wife where I grew up. If anything that trip to England made me happy that Vancouver is my home. I’ve always felt far more comfortable here,” Dave says with a huge smile.
“We've also been to Beijing to visit. That was before we got married. My wife is from China. While we were there her mother flew to Beijing so we could all spend some time together. It was a great trip. I proposed on the flight back to Vancouver.”
I asked what if she had said no to his proposal.
“Well. That would have been awkward.” #notastranger