Day 270 - Devonna (5th person I approached)
September 27, 2014 - It’s often said that you get back what you put out. I had some hesitation today about going out, period. I had a bit of a stomach ache, but I needed to get some stuff done, and meet a stranger. I’m committed to this. I wonder though, if my apprehension translates into people’s hesitation and ultimately non-interest in speaking with me. The first two people seemed to ponder it for a moment or two before telling me no. The next two flat out said no. I went for a good stroll before approaching Devonna. She told me she was waiting to meet her mother, but we could chat while she waited. Note to self: fake it ’til you make it.
Devonna is the youngest of four children, born and raised here in Vancouver.
“My brother who is closest in age to me is thirteen months older than I am. Then my oldest brother is twelve years older and my sister is fourteen years older than I am. My father was married and had the two oldest kids, before getting divorced. Then he married my mother and had my brother and me. Even though we have different mothers we all grew up together and got along well. The age gap between the oldest two and my brother and I meant they were doing their own thing as we were growing up. But we’re a blended family and everyone is very close, especially as adults,” she said.
“I went to elementary school and high school here in Vancouver. I was into the social aspect of school, but not so much the academic side. I was always involved in sports, baseball and things. Not competitively, just for recreation. I loved art in school. Anything in the arts really,” said Devonna. From the age of twelve she started working in her family's hotel and restaurant business.
“I’ve always worked since then, all through school,” she said.
After graduating from high-school, Devonna started applying for university.
“I joked that I wanted to live someplace warm where there was sunshine everyday. So I applied to the University of Hawaii, and I got accepted! My parents where quite happy because it took me away from the guy I was seeing at the time. Totally the wrong guy,” she said laughing.
“I took general studies for that first year. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do. I had only intended to be in Hawaii for a year. It was definitely a slower pace of life there, and I missed home. After my year was up, I transferred to UBC (University of British Columbia) and continued my studies there,” said Devonna.
“I declared my major as Sociology in my second year. I was also taking one class in Art History. Then I started to take more and more art history classes. I ended up doing a double major,” she said. Four years in university and Devonna had a double major undergraduate degree in Art History and Sociology.
“When I finished at UBC I went to BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology) and took a diploma program in Interior Design. I didn’t really like the program though. It just wasn't what I was looking for,” she said. Devonna had travelled to Europe on family vacations while growing up and had an appreciation for the art galleries and architecture that she saw.
“I went on a vacation with a group of friends while in university, and we spent some time in London (England), and I fell in love with it. After leaving BCIT, I decided to go to London and study there,” she told me. Devonna studied Interior Design and Architecture. After completing the year long diploma program, she returned to Vancouver.
“I could so easily have stayed there. It was hard coming back home. I had a good group of friends there. My brother lives there so I stayed with him in Clapham. I really enjoyed my time. It’s a tough city to live in though. And I needed to get home and tuck into things and get started with my career. I had spent so many years in school, it was time to work,” she said.
“I work in the family business. I have a team of five people that work with me, and I do all of the interiors and design for our hotels and restaurants. We have locations across Canada and two locations in the UK (United Kingdom), so I still get to go to England for work,” she said, smiling.
“I only work for our company. I don’t have time to take on other clients. And I don’t really want to work for anyone else. I’m pretty much the master of my own domain. I’m able to do my job the way I see it. Sure working with family can have it’s own challenges. We are all different people, but when we do have differences, we resolve things with respect. We work very well together,” she said.
I asked Devonna what she see’s for the future.
“Well, I’ve got the career all in order now. I see myself always working. I’d like to start thinking about having my own family. I definitely want to have kids. I’m in a great relationship with a wonderful man, so we’ll see.” I mentioned that she seems to like where she’s at, with what she’s doing now.
“Yes, I’m extremely happy. I love what I’m doing, and I'm passionate about it.” #notastranger