Day 262 - Josh (6th person I approached)
September 19, 2014 - It was an early evening of people willing to chat, but not so willing to have their picture taken. One kindly gentleman even proceeded to tell me his father’s life story. I admit it was fascinating and all the more difficult to break in to say thanks, and continue on my way.
It took me about an hour to find Josh, sitting in a delicatessen eating, and alone. He was in one of my reliable spots for meeting people. Josh told me he had finished work for the day and was grabbing something to eat before going off to meet his girlfriend. He had the time, was willing to chat and let me take his photograph.
Born in Wakefield, England, Josh grew up in Rotherham, a large town in South Yorkshire, England.
“I have one sister who is three years older than I am. She was born profoundly deaf. I learned to sign before I could talk. We used to have arguments and I’d yell at her, but just in the same way I’d yell at anyone. I didn’t make it different because she was deaf,” he said.
“She went to boarding school, so I only saw her on the weekends. The school was for deaf children. They encouraged the students to learn to use their voice. The teachers refused to use sign language. So even though my sister couldn’t hear her own voice, she learned to speak and lip read. Sometimes she’d speak loudly and I’d have to tell her to speak quieter,” said Josh.
“I didn’t really like school, but I had fun while i was there. I went to the same school my father had gone to. Some of my teachers had also taught my Dad. He had a reputation for being a bit of a rogue. I think I got painted with the same brush before they even knew me. But I managed to live up to the reputation,” said Josh with a large grin and a sparkle in his eye.
“After I finished secondary school and got my GCSE’s (General Certificate of Secondary Education) I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I went to college and studied law,” he said. Josh spent two years in college.
“I didn’t really like law, but I went to the University of Leeds and continued studying it anyway. I figured I might as well continue with it.” After another four years in university, Josh got his law degree, but wasn’t sure what he wanted to do.
“I think it’s quite common in England because education is free, so students go to school because that’s what everyone does,” he told me. While in university, Josh lived away from home.
“Leeds is close to Rotherham, so I would go home and see my parents every other weekend. After university I tried moving back home, but it just didn’t work,” said Josh.
“A friend of mine from university was moving to do a report as part of his degree. He decided he was going to write about Vancouver, and asked me if I wanted to come along. In the end, there were six of us, all friends from university who came to Vancouver. We all got a house together at first, but eventually we all moved to our own places. Everyone is still here though,” he said. That was over a year ago.
“I started looking for a job right away, and got hired as a glazier. I’ve been doing that ever since. I really like Vancouver. It rains just as much in England. The only difference being the intensity. In England is just kind of showers a bit. Here in Vancouver, the rain seems more intense, almost torrential at times,” said Josh.
“I do really like it here though. I’m going to be applying for permanent residency. I like the security of that. My parents have been here to visit and they think it’s wonderful. They miss me, especially my Mum, it’s tough for her. I am a bit of a mummy’s boy. My auntie and uncle were here for a visit a few weeks ago and they said I’d be mad to leave,” he told me.
Josh has been dating his girlfriend for almost a year.
“We met through a friend. It was a blind date and we hit it off. She was working as an art instructor,” he said. As I took Josh’s picture, he mentioned to me that he wanted to follow my project on Facebook.
“I think it’s great that you speak to people. I wish I did that more. I tend to live in my own bubble,” he said. I told him that with his lovely English accent, I was sure almost everyone would enjoy talking with him.
“Really? Most people here seem to think I’m from Australia. I even met an elderly British lady the other day. She’s been here for almost thirty years, but she’s still British. She thought I was from Australia as well.” I said that I knew immediately he was from England. We shook hands. “Thank you,” he said.
“It was a pleasure talking with you.” Absolutely charmed. #notastranger