Day 240 - Jaime (1st person I approached)
August 28, 2014 - Jaime was partaking in one of my all-time favourite pastimes. Sitting on a bench, at the side of the road, watching the world go by. When I sat down next to him and asked him to chat, his first response was to ask what kind of questions I would be asking. When I told him it would be about his life, his reaction was,
“Really?” Asking to take his picture was the easy part. He said I could have five minutes.
“It’s J-A-I-M-E. Jaime (high-me). It’s Filipino but here in Canada it’s easier to say ‘Jamie,’ so that’s what I say,” he tells me. Jaime was born in Negros Oriental, a province of the Philippines. He is the youngest of three children, with an older brother and sister.
“I was close to both of them when I was growing up. Sure. But now, I’m only close with my brother. He lives here in Vancouver as well,” he said. Jaime completed all of his education in the Philippines.
“I really liked school. I did ok, I mean I passed everything, but I did just ok. I liked World History. I like knowing about all the different people and all the things that have happened around the world. That was my favourite subject,” says Jaime.
After finishing high-school, Jaime went to a vocational college and studied to be a radio technician.
“I did that for a couple of years. On-air and everything. Radio was very popular in the Philippines then. It still is today, but television is also popular now. Then everyone had a radio and listened to it. After I did the radio technician course, I continued with radio production. Operating the sound board and all of the technical equipment. I was much better suited for that. I did not want to be on-air, no, no. I liked being behind the scene,” he said with a smile.
In 1975, Jaime’s brother sponsored him to come to Vancouver.
“My brother had been here since 1965, and he told me I would like it here, and he helped, so I came to Vancouver,” he said.
“The thing I had the biggest problem with? That was definitely the weather. So cold in the winter. The first year I went home to the Philippines for three months to be in the sunshine,” he said, shivering as if just the thought of it made him cold.
“I got used to it, but I like when it is warm, like today. I also found that there weren’t so many people here.” At first I asked if he meant Filipino people, and then realized he meant people, in general.
“There were not so many people anywhere here,” he said. I understood then, he was comparing Vancouver’s population to that of Negros Oriental (close to one million in 1990).
When Jaime first arrived in Vancouver, he got a job as a janitor in a local hospital. He and his wife had both come here in 1975. His wife was a computer analyst.
“I worked as a janitor for about seven years. Then I got a job at CKWX (News1130) radio station as a technician. I worked there for oh, let me think. Twenty-seven years,” he says.
“I was there until I retired. My wife is retired now too. I retired in 2000.”
I asked Jaime what he does with his time to keep busy.
“I like to get out and walk. That keeps me young and healthy,” he says. I started to think that he had retired young and so I asked if he minded telling me his age.
“I am seventy,” he says with pride. He was wearing sunglasses and I was sure he was teasing me. He removed them and then I asked if he was teasing me about being seventy.
“Yes, I really am seventy. I walk lots every day. Staying active, it keeps you young. And I go home for winter every other year. To the sunshine.” #notastranger