Day 166 - Johnathon (1st person I approached)
June 15, 2014 - Johnathon was walking down the street toward me when I spotted him. I had a destination in mind, but as he passed me, I thought I’d ask him to chat. My hesitation was because of him carrying his child. My interest was because of him carrying his child. I explained what I was doing, and he agreed to chat. He was walking home and rather than keep him and his daughter standing on a noisy street, I offered to walk with him towards his home. We meandered our way down toward quieter side streets. Ironically enough, we ran into Mary from Day 135, and we stopped for a minute and chatted with her. I introduced Mary to Johnathon and without missing a beat, she asked if his daughter was my grandchild. It wasn’t until about 30 minutes later that I realized that that would mean she might have implied Johnathon was my son! I’ll laugh about that for many years to come! As we walked, Johnathon's daughter was enjoying an Arrowroot cookie, and seemed fascinated with my beard.
Johnathon was born in Edmonton, Alberta. He is the middle child of three.
“I wouldn’t say we’re close, no, but we are respectful and civil with each other,” he said.
“I’m definitely the black sheep of the family.” Johnathon did all of his elementary and high school education in Edmonton.
“I’m still friends with a few people that I went to school with. I certainly know people when I go back to visit, but I’m not in contact with everyone that I know from school.” He didn’t care very much for school.
“I struggled to go every day. I didn’t care for most of the teachers, I didn’t like the environment and I didn’t like the subjects. I remember being in social studies, and not paying that much attention. I figured that if I was ever in a situation where the conversation was about Versailles or World War ll, that I wouldn’t want to be involved in that conversation anyway. I didn’t see the point. Now as an adult, I realize how myopic and narrow that viewpoint was. I’m doing what I can to broaden my understanding and knowledge of things about the world. I know now how important history and cultural awareness is,” he said. We walked past a red brick wall and I asked Johnathon if we could stop and take his picture. Done. His daughter was getting that 'time for a nap' look in her eyes.
After high school, Johnathon told me he
“fled from Edmonton, going as far away as I could while still remaining in Canada.” He moved to Halifax to go to university.
“My entire reasoning for going to Halifax pivoted entirely around a woman. I met her when I was 18, she was five years older than me. She was finishing her undergrad degree in accounting. She was very intelligent and funny and was a big influence on me. She encouraged me to use my mind, to expand my experience and guided my decisions toward going to school and learning,” he said. Johnathon took her advice to heart, leaving their relationship behind in Edmonton so that he could go to school.
“I studied business and finance. I spent five years in university. And then I fled from Halifax, and moved to Vancouver,” he said, smiling that he had used the verb ‘fled’ again. His daughter was doing her best to not fall asleep.
Taking a train across Canada, Johnathon had a backpack, and a guitar.
“One of my friends from high-school was living in Vancouver studying for his Masters degree. I called and asked if I could crash on his couch for a couple of nights. When I arrived, I think he realized I was here for longer than that,” he said.
“I spent a couple of months kind of stumbling around, trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I wanted something that was a good fit for me. I got involved with a start-up company, developing a chai base. I learned by doing. I became the brewmaster. My partner was 20 years older and he made the financial decisions and I created and developed the product,” he said.
“Like any creative project, it’s trial and error. Getting burned by steam from the mixture, tasting something that is completely different than I hoped for, getting the chemistry correct. It’s like any art form, when creating something the environment and space are equally as important as the product. I found the right base for our product and then we launched. I was fully committed to the brand and gave it everything I had,” said Johnathon.
After being the brewmaster for seven years, it was time to do something else.
“I was burned out. What started as a joy and that I loved every minute of, was no longer satisfying at all. So I knew it was time to move on. I had to get back out there and discover what I wanted to do next. Find myself all over again,” he said. Johnathon had by this time gotten married. He and his wife had just had their first child, a boy.
“The plan was that I wanted to be a stay-at-home Dad, for a year. I did some small contracts related to my business degree, picked up some work here and there. Then one year went to two years,” he said.
His daughter was asleep. We had walked right past his home, and Johnathon said
“This is great that she’s fallen asleep. I’m going to keep walking while she naps.” And so we continued chatting. Johnathon and his wife have been married for five years, and have two children. His wife is from Germany, and on their honeymoon, they travelled around Germany together, by bicycle.
“I'm trying to learn to speak German before my son does, but it’s not happening. He’s three years old and speaks more German than I do. I read him bedtime stories in German, but to be honest, I haven’t a clue what it is I’m reading. People tell me I have good accent, but I’d like to know what I’m actually saying!” Johnathon stops and looks at his daughter, who is fast asleep. He stands still, just looking down at her.
“This is my favourite place. Right here, when she’s asleep and her head is at that angle, and I can just watch her sleep. I love this.” I took another picture.
“This one is perfect for Father’s Day.” #notastranger