Day 178 - Sandrine (3rd person I approached)
June 27, 2014 - Sandrine was stood under an archway, out of the rain, having a cigarette when I approached her. As I was telling her about my project and what I do, I watched a smile spread across her face. When I asked her to chat with me, she was full on grinning!
Born in Greenfield Park, a small town west of Montreal across the St Lawrence River, Sandrine is the youngest of two children.
“I have an older brother. He is two years older than I am. We are different people with completely different lifestyles,” she tells me in her thick French accent. The first three years of elementary were spent in the public school system.
“My parents wanted me to get ‘a better education’ so I went to the school where you stay, boarding school, for the rest of my elementary education. I’m not sure I actually did get a better education to tell you the truth. I did like the feeling of independence that I had at boarding school. Not being with my parents, sharing a large room with my friends. I didn’t mind it at all,” said Sandrine. Her parents separated when she was eight years old.
“My brother went to live with my father and when I wasn’t in school, I lived with my mother. When I finished elementary school, I moved to a private school. Not boarding, I went home every night, but it was a private school.” she said.
After completing high school, Sandrine went to CEGEP (General and Vocational College in Quebec).
“I took Marketing. I left after three semesters. I wasn’t into it. It wasn’t a good fit for me, and I ended up failing my exams. We had a contract in the school, and if you fail, you leave. So I left,” she said. Sandrine wanted to travel, and decided to come to British Columbia (BC).
“It was the west coast, it was still in Canada and wasn’t Quebec. I wanted to explore. I drove out here to go to the Okanagan area to work. I picked cherries for three months. Then I drove down to California and got a job working on a farm. I did that for a while and then decided to go back to Montreal to get my dog. I had left him in Montreal because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I wanted to stay in California. I spent a few weeks in Montreal and then headed back to California with my dog. I travelled around that area for a while, just me and my dog, but I worked at the farm for about six months,” said Sandrine. Sadly, her dog died while she was in California.
“I’m glad I went and got him and that we had some time travelling around together. After he died, I decided to take off to Central America,” she said.
Sandrine boarded a bus and headed to Nicaragua.
“I travelled around for about three months, by bus and hitchhiking. After Nicaragua I went to Guatemala and then to Mexico. It was an amazing experience. My parents wanted me to go to school, but this was my school. I learned so much through traveling and meeting other people,” she told me.
Sandrine headed back to California to collect her car and then drove back to Montreal.
"I went back to spend some time with my friends and see my family. I was there for about month and then I drove back to BC. I’ve certainly put some miles on my car, that’s for sure, yes!” She spent the late spring working just outside of Prince George, in the Mackenzie area, tree planting.
“Everyone said it would hurt my back, but it didn’t. I was surprised. It did though really hurt my hands. They’re a mess now. But it was so much fun and I’m going back again for the rest of summer,” she said. Sandrine just had a week off, some of which she spent picking cherries, and was in Vancouver for a short break.
“I’ll be heading back up north in a few days and will stay there for the summer,” she said.
I asked Sandrine what she had planned or thought she might do after the summer season.
“I haven't completely decided yet. I might go back to school. I want to learn to become a mechanic. Fixing cars. Or I might go traveling again. I would like to get out of North America, just go far away. I want to go to Europe. Not western Europe, no,“ she says with a bit of a snarl on her face.
“I want to go to eastern Europe. To really see it while I can. Before it all changes.” #notastranger