Day 118 - Sydney (1st person I approached)
April 28, 2014 - Sydney was heading to the gym, or “forcing myself to go” as she put it when I asked if we could chat. I suggested talking to me might get her charged and excited to go, or she’d feel satisfied that she had done something good and could go home.
Born and raised in Waterloo, Ontario, Sydney has only been in Vancouver for about six months.
“I did all my schooling in Waterloo, including go to the University of Waterloo,” she said. Sydney is the youngest of two children.
“When I was in about Grade seven, my mother took me to an athletic meeting. I had always liked swimming, and for some reason, I signed up for synchronized swimming. I don’t know what it was that appealed to me, but I signed up. I did that for about two years, and then I changed to water polo. I enjoyed the water polo much more than synchronized swimming,” said Sydney. I asked what it was that was better about water polo.
“Well, there was a more balanced dynamic. It was co-ed and it just seemed that everyone got along better. We all got along in synchronized swimming. It just seemed more political. And I don't mean amongst the swimmers either. The mothers. The mothers of the swimmers were the worst. My mother was fine, but sometimes it got rather uncomfortable. That didn’t happen in water polo,” Sydney said, shaking her head. She played in a water polo league until Grade 12. Each year, for three years, she also went to Mexico with the team and her coach.
“He was an Olympic water polo player, and we’d go to Mexico to train with a team there. That's when I really developed a love for the Spanish culture,” said Sydney.
“The league we played on only went to Grade twelve, so after high school, I didn’t play anymore. But the experience of travelling and seeing another culture and way of life was an incredible opportunity.”
After high school, Sydney went to University. She told me
“I took International Development for the first two years. I wished I had stayed in that program, but I switched to Physical Geography for the final two years of my degree. When I’m asked what International Development is, or what it means to me, it’s hard to answer. I’m not sure what it is I want to do in that area. In essence, it’s a way to help third world countries find their way forward, without getting bullied by first world countries. Helping to build ecosystems and infrastructure. Every time I think about what it means to me it changes. It’s a concept for me at this point. But it is something I think about.” In her fourth year of university, Sydney spent a year in France.
“I went with the idea of studying there, but in reality, I just wanted to travel, and to learn French. I managed to do that, so I was happy with the time spent there. Travelling is such an enriching experience. Everyone should travel and live in a different culture for at least a year,” she said.
Sydney has been working as a Project Manager for an environmental assessment laboratory, here in Vancouver.
“We test soil and water samples for analysis. I’m definitely in an area of work that I enjoy, and I’m happy to be working. The regular hours, office type job is different from what I’ve done before. I went tree planting all through my University years. I love being outdoors in the wilderness and out in the middle of nowhere,” said Sydney. When I asked why she had chosen to come to Vancouver, she replied
“It was here or England. My mother is from England. I knew I didn’t want to go through another Ontario winter, and I’ve always wanted to experience living on the west coast. I kind of knew that if I went to live in England, I might never make it back, or live on the west coast, so I thought I should do this now. It was time.”
As for the future, Sydney isn’t exactly sure at this point.
“I’ve only been here since last December, so I’m still figuring things out. I’d like to travel more at some point. I have a friend that I met when I was in France who is living in Hong Kong so I might go see her,” she said. Sydney’s brother lives out here as well, in Chilliwack.
“We’re becoming closer now. It’s not always been that way. We’re two different people who see things quite differently. We’re both very stubborn as well. We’ve talked about going travelling together sometime, doing a canoe trip. We used to do canoe trips as a family. I’m not sure how that would go. We’ve talked about it, but nothing has happened. I somehow think someone would get killed and no body would ever be found though.” #notastranger