Day 22 - Lagrimes (4th person I approached)
January 22, 2015 - For many years, I’ve had issues sleeping. I have no problem falling asleep, it’s staying asleep that is a challenge for me. I decided as a way to combat my latest slow dance with insomnia, that I’d got for a good, long vigorous walk. Turns out it may have helped. Last night I was ready for sleep hours before I normally would be, and slept pretty much through the night, only waking once. It’s a walking miracle!
I noticed Lagrimes (la-greem-ess) was charging her phone outside a large home-goods store. It usually takes at least thirty minutes or so, to get some life in one’s phone. I went over and told her about my project, asking if she would chat with me. Without a moments hesitation, she agreed to let me keep her company for a bit and chat with me.
Born on Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines, Lagrimes is the fourth of eight children.
“Oh yes, there was a lot of helping with my family and the younger children. It's an obligation in the Filipino culture, to help one another,” she told me.
“I don’t have anything interesting to tell you about school. I knew I had to do it, and I wanted to get my certificate when I completed it,” she said, with resignation.
“I did like gym class though. I liked to be active, and gym was my favourite thing in school.” I told Lagrimes that I never liked gym class. I went to high-school in Scotland and gym class felt like a mean, competitive thing. I got picked on for being small, amongst other things.
“Oh, that kind of behaviour is not tolerated in my school. You learned to respect one another,” she said.
After finishing high-school, which was Grade ten when Lagrimes went to school, she went to university.
“I had to move to another town, so I lived in the dormitory at school. It was just as noisy as home, so it didn’t feel too hard to make the move away from family,” she said. Lagrimes studied to become a radiology technician.
“My oldest sister had said that it would be a good qualification to have if I wanted to live in the United States (America). My sister had moved to America and was working in the medical field. I took radiology for that reason,” she told me.
Lagrimes parents paid for her education.
“It is an obligation for the parents. You pay for your children's education. My two older sisters had both finished university and were working, and they helped our parents to pay as well. Each child in turn helps the family to pay for the other's education,” she said.
“There are seven out of the eight of us all working in the medical field, and everyone went to university.” Lagrimes graduated from university with a Bachelor’s degree in Science and Radiology.
“I worked for three years in radiology. It was ok. It’s what I was trained for,” she said.
“Then I got a job as a nanny. I worked for a family living in Athens, Greece. They didn’t speak much English, and I didn’t speak any Greek, so it was hard for me. I did that for two years, and then left Athens. I got another job with a different family, and moved to Paris, France. I stayed with them for four years,” Lagrimes told me.
“The family were moving to Moscow (Russia) and I didn’t want to go there, so I asked them if they could help me find work in Switzerland.” They helped Lagrimes get another nanny job, and she spent six years living in Geneva.
“I have a relative, I’m not sure how to say it. She is my god daughter? And she was living in Vancouver. I applied to come to Canada, and with her help, I came to Vancouver. That was, oh I’ll give this to you, to do the math. 1988,” she said. We both sat there counting and looking up at the ceiling.
“Twenty seven years ago,” we said in unison.
“I took a job as a nanny at first, and then I was offered a job as a caregiver, working with elderly people. There was an agency that was helping me find work. I liked being a caregiver more than being a nanny. I felt like I was at least using some of my education, working as a caregiver,” she said.
Lagrimes considered going back to radiology.
“I looked into it. I would have to go back to school to get (Canadian) certification. This meant going to BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology). It was too far away for me. So I went to VCC (Vancouver Community College) and got my certification to be a caregiver. I wanted to have that,” she said.
“That's what I have been doing ever since then.”
“I have never married, and I don’t have any children,” she told me.
“I am the only one out of the eight children to not marry. I’m happy with that. I’m too busy looking after other people. This is something I learned from the older generation. My grandmother. Everybody helps everybody.” #notastranger