Day 174 - Vivienne

Day 174 - Vivienne (4th person I approached)
June 23, 2014 - Vivienne was sitting outside a coffee shop when I first saw her. I couldn’t help but notice the lovely delicate blue stars tattooed behind her ears and onto the back of her neck. I asked her if she'd chat with me, and showed her my Facebook page. She asked me to give her a brief rundown of one of the stories to get an idea of what we’d be talking about. She then agreed to chat with me!


Vivienne was born and raised in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam.

“I have four sisters and three brothers. I’m the youngest. The oldest child, my sister, was kind of like a second mother to me, which was good, and sometimes not so good! We are a very close family,” she said. Vivienne completed high school in Saigon.

“My sister sponsored me to come to Canada when I was 16, and I moved to Guelph, Ontario when I was 20.” She had intended to go to school to become an architect.

“I enrolled in the wrong program. I thought I was going to learn about Architecture in the Engineering Construction program. It wasn’t architecture at all,” she said. Vivienne stuck with her mistake, completing three years of college before going to the University of Waterloo.

“It was important to me to complete my university education. I upgraded my courses after college and turned my diploma into a BA (bachelors degree). My parents really wanted me to go to school and as I was the youngest, I wanted to do it for them, as well as for myself. My siblings never had the opportunity to go to university,” said Vivienne.


“Engineering Construction is about the technical aspect of building code, structure loads and weight bearing capabilities. Ensuring all the rules are met,” Vivienne explained to me. After graduating, she moved to Toronto and worked as an Engineer in construction.

“I did that for about a year, but I really didn’t like it. I found it boring.” While on a trip to visit a friend in Seattle, Vivienne came to Vancouver for a week.

“I have always been interested in skincare and makeup. I heard that one of the best esthetics schools in Canada was here in Vancouver, so my friend and I came here to check out the school. I did a tour of the school, and fell in love with Vancouver, and decided I was going to make a change in my career,” said Vivienne. She went back to Toronto and sold her car and belongings and moved to Vancouver to study esthetics.


She has a boyfriend who is studying criminology.

“I find that very interesting. The psychology and the mind of criminals,” she told me. With three months left of school, Vivienne has started the examinations at school.

“I had one today, and another two later this week. Today’s test was easy.” I asked if she had studied a lot.

“No, not at all,” she said laughing. She figures it was easy because she had learned everything she needed to know for this test. Vivienne plans to work in a hotel spa for a few years and then eventually open her own business. I asked Vivienne how her parents felt about the change of direction after so much schooling to become an engineer.

“They were very supportive. I had done what was important to them by going to university. I tried working in that field and didn’t like it. They told me ‘This is your time now' and that I should chase my dreams.” #notastranger