Day 258 - Fraser (1st person I approached)
September 15, 2014 - I spent a few hours at the beach today. It seemed almost ceremonial; today might have been my last day of summer, so I went to the beach. I walked from Spanish Banks to Jericho and then to Alma St to catch the bus home. It’s a long walk and has become part of my solo-beach days ritual. There’s a small park at Alma and Point Grey Road - Hastings Mill Park, where another ritual takes place. Here I sit on the grass, remove my socks and shoes, and deposit the accumulated sand from from my shoes. I spotted Fraser sitting at the far side of the park and so made my way over to ask him if he would chat with me. He readily agreed to chat, and I left a good portion of beach sand in the grass as we spoke.
Fraser was born at BC (British Columbia) Women’s and Children’s Hospital. He grew up in Lion’s Bay, a small residential village, north of Vancouver, between Horseshoe Bay and Squamish.
“I have one sister who is three years older then me, and my little sister is ten years younger than I am. And no, my parents aren’t divorced or anything, that’s just the way it happened,” says Fraser, laughing.
“Actually, there’s a funny family story that goes with that. Our parents sat my older sitter and I down and said ‘You’re going to have a little sister.’ Apparently I was fine with having a little sister, but couldn’t believe that my parents had had sex. My mother said I thought that was disgusting. I remember parts of that conversation,” he says, smiling and shaking his head.
The three children were close growing up.
“I have a great relationship with my little sister. She’s ten now and is very competitive with me. I started doing Jiujitsu and Mixed Martial arts in high school. My little sister has taken it up and is close to being a black belt. She loves telling me about every new thing and move she has learned. Her goal is to become a professional martial artist,” he said. Then he looked down at his chest and stomach, and said
"Clearly I'm not doing martial arts anymore." I said that not everyone had to have a six pack stomach to be fit.
"Yeah! You're right, look at Steven Segal!" We both had a good laugh at that. Fraser is both very funny, and very charming.
“I was diagnosed as dyslexic when I was about six years old. I didn’t really like school, and of course that didn’t make it any easier,” he said.
“I also started to get anxiety attacks. In Grade six I went to a Waldorf school (*Fact Check - see links below). The teacher used to bring crystals to class and light a candle. That’s how we started each day. We did a lot of art in class. There was still school board standards taught, they just found unique and appropriate ways to deliver the content,” he said. Fraser went to the Waldorf school for three years, from Grade six until Grade eight.
“There were some days when there were about forty kids in the class and they’d be from Grade twelve down to Grade eight. It became a distraction for me. I felt that I needed to be in a more structured environment by then. So I went to a public high-school. It wasn’t any better. I did what I had to do to get through school, and graduate,” he said.
After completing high-school, Fraser wasn’t in any hurry to go to college or university.
“My older sister was in third year university and she had gone to Australia for a year long program. I went to Sydney to visit with her, and spent days at the beach. We took a trip to Tasmania and then when we got back to Sydney, the rest of our family joined us and we travelled around Australia. I was there for about two months in total,” he said.
“I came back to Vancouver and wanted to travel again. I had been taking scuba diving lessons while I was in high-school and was pretty good at it. I had all of my certifications except for the one that would allow me to teach scuba diving. My aunt and uncle live in the Caymen Islands, so I went there for four months and did about 100 dives with an intern program. It was a great trip, even though my Aunt was a little ‘out there.’ We went out one Friday night, she had gotten all dressed up and I thought we were going out for a few drinks. Turns out we were, but it was a wine tasting at a liquor store in the local strip mall. She was incredibly frugal. There were so many stories like that. But I survived,” said Fraser. He came back to Vancouver and got his scuba diving teacher's certification.
“I thought teaching scuba diving would be great. However, it was really hard to find a job doing that. Everywhere that I had applied to were only offering ‘on-call’ jobs. So that wasn't any good,” he said. Fraser had worked a few summers in Lion’s Bay doing his own landscaping business.
“Everyone one there has a yard and it’s a small community so I did really well out of that. I spent the summer last year doing landscaping and made a good amount of cash. As we got closer to September, my mother was asking me what I was going to do about going to school, or finding a full-time job. I told her I was going to go to Germany for Oktoberfest. She wanted to know how I’d pay for that. I told her how much I had saved,” he said. Fraser went to Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and France.
“I was backpacking and had an amazing time. All I could think of was how cool it would be to have a job travelling around like that!”
When he returned that winter, Fraser took job working Security at the shipping docks in North Vancouver.
“I got my security certification and worked nights on the weekend. At home, we hadn’t watched television since I was about fourteen years old. We just watched movies at home. So working nights in security, I got caught up on a few years of television programs,” he said.
“Sometimes I’d hear the radio calling “The ship at wharf whatever has lost it’s rope. And it would be ‘right, I’m working here,’ and I’d have to go and do something. I realized that I was going to have to go back to school, or come up with another game plan. There’s only so much television you can watch while getting paid,” he said.
Before Fraser put his game plan into action, he went to the Pemberton Music Festival.
“That was so good, and I met this girl there, we hung out and really just enjoyed the music and the atmosphere. Some of my friends had been talking about the Shambhala Festival. One night after coming home from being out late, I went online and bought tickets. I went with the girl I had met at the Pemberton Festival. It really is a very different experience. I can see why people go year after year. I definitely will be going again next year,” said Fraser. Shambhala Festival is a music and arts festival, that accepts no corporate sponsorship. It relies heavily on the community of festival goers and volunteers to pull it all off. This year, over ten thousand people attended the five day event. (**Fact Check - see links below.)
Two weeks ago, Fraser moved in with his older sister. They live in the Kitsilano neighbourhood, on the westside of Vancouver.
“I just started back at school as well. I had lived in Lion’s Bay all my life and commuting from there to go to school would be difficult. I didn’t get into UBC (University of British Columbia) so I’m going to Langara College. I’m doing general studies for now. Most of my classes are in history,” he said. I really don’t know what I want to do in the future yet, so that’s why I’m just doing general studies. I’m giving school a chance, but I don’t know if it will be something I want to do. Time will tell.” #notastranger