Day 260 - Katelin (1st person I approached)
September 17, 2014 - I saw Katelin sitting by herself in a coffee shop. I went in, walked over and introduced myself. Katelin has very good eye contact, and never once looked away from me while I told her about my project, and asked if she’d chat with me. She told me that she didn’t mind chatting or having her picture taken.
Katelin was born in Richmond, and has lived in Surrey her entire life.
“I’m an only child. I really don’t mind not having any siblings either. I’ve always gotten along with my parents, so it was okay just being the three of us. When I wanted peace and quiet, I knew I’d find it at home. I liked being the only child. Except when I got in trouble and wished there was someone else there to take some of the attention away from me,” she said with a laugh.
“When I was in Grade six, my parents enrolled me in French Immersion school. They felt that I would be more challenged and that learning another language would benefit me later in life,” said Katelin. She continued going to French Immersion schools for the rest of her elementary and high-school grades.
“I started swimming lessons when I was very young, and then started competing when I was about ten years old. Through the swimming club, I got into water polo. I became an elite competitive water polo player. I travelled all around Canada and the United States competing. I never made the (Canadian) national team, but I was on the provincial team,” she said. By Grade eleven, the water polo training and competing was beginning to have a negative impact on her schooling and grades.
“It was difficult to keep up with all the training and school work. I didn’t really care for school that much, but I knew I wanted to graduate, so I gave up water polo,” said Katelin.
When Katelin was about fifteen years old, she remembers hearing George Harrison (of the Beatles) singing on the radio.
“I’m sure it was probably my Dad listening to it on the radio in the car. But I liked the music. I started to look into George Harrison’s work and the lyrics. He had an interest in the Hare Krishna movement, and I did some research and became interested in Krishna Consciousness myself. I went and visited a temple and it just felt right. I knew that there was something there for me,” she said.
“I’ve been practising Krishna Consciousness consistently for about four years now.” I asked Katelin what her parents thought of her religious convictions. She smiles and looks up toward the ceiling, telling me that her parents just want to make sure that she is ok.
After graduating from high-school, Katelin started studying psychology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (formerly Kwantlen College).
“I’m in my fourth year now. I’m looking to become a counsellor. I want to help others and offer support and guidance. I’m thinking about going into couples therapy. I want to help regular people as well people who are also involved in the Hare Krishna movement,” she told me. Katelin works part-time as well as going to school.
“I work for (an airline) as a customer service agent. I sometimes have to speak French in my job and I wish that I had kept it up. I feel like I’m a bit rusty because I don't speak French regularly, but I can usually make it through,” she says.
“I have to tie my hair back when I’m at work, but otherwise, it’s not an issue.”
Katelin has travelled to Austin, Texas a few times in the past few years to attend Krishna gatherings.
“It’s usually a lot of chanting, singing, prayer and meeting people. I had been watching some videos about Krishna online, because everything is available online. I came across one video and I knew that the man I was listening to is my Guru (spiritual guide). I wrote to him and we began corresponding. He lives in Germany and only travels to the US once a year. So I’ve gone down to Austin, Texas to meet with him,” she said. Katelin also met her current boyfriend while in Austin.
“He’s an English teacher and is also practising Krishna Consciousness. The long distance is definitely tough. I’ve been down to Austin to see him a few times and he has been up here to visit me as well,” she says. We talk about the challenges of dating someone with a different belief structure.
“I’ve tried it, but it just didn’t work,” she tells me.
Katelin will have completed her undergrad degree next summer. I asked if there is any conflict for Katelin making a living as a counsellor while practising Krishna Consciousness.
“No, I don’t think so. I want to be a counsellor because I want to help. I’ve always wanted to help others. Materialistic things aren’t important to me,” she said.
“I’ve been looking at continuing my studies and going on the get my Master’s degree. There’s a program at Saint Paul University in Ottawa that is focussed on Counselling and Spirituality. I’m considering doing that. Of course it’s hard for anyone to say what the future holds, but this is the direction I’d like to go in.” #notastranger
*Fact Check - Saint Paul University http://bit.ly/1pkaFyJ