Day 249 - Mïa (1st person I approached)
September 06, 2014 - Mïa was sitting in a park, reading what appeared to be a text book, in the sunshine. I asked if she minded if I were to intrude upon her solitude. She listened while I explained my project, and told me that she had about ten minutes left of her lunch break. She was happy to chat for the few minutes she had left before returning to work.
Mïa was born in Lasalle, Quebec.
“We left Lasalle when I was about one and a half years old, so I really have no memory of it. My parents were both teachers and we moved to Cranbrook (British Columbia - BC) because they were offered jobs there. My two younger brothers were both born in Cranbrook,” said Mïa.
“I liked Cranbrook, especially when I was younger. It really was a small town experience. We lived there at a time when it felt safe. I could walk to school, and go out and play and my parents didn’t have to worry,” she said.
“Of course, when I became a teenager, I didn’t like it so much because there was nothing to do!”
With both of her parents being fluent in French, Mïa grew up being able to speak French.
“I went to a public school until Grade four, and then I went to a French Immersion school. My parents wanted me to learn to read and write French as well,” she said. When Mïa was fourteen, the family moved to Eritrea, a country in the Horn of Africa.
“My parents wanted to travel, so they took volunteer teaching jobs in Africa, and we moved there. I did my Grade nine schooling in an African public school. They used to be under British rule, so everything at school is taught in English from Grade six. The rest of it was all a huge culture shock. Living in a third world country, with no running water or electricity. And the country was run under a dictatorship. I certainly became aware of just how much we take for granted here in Canada,” she said.
“For Grade ten, I was home-schooled. My parents wanted me to be able to graduate in Canada, so in order to maintain my grades, I home-schooled for that year.”
In Eritrea, when youth have reached Grade eleven in school, there is automatic mandatory military service.
“We came back to Canada at that point. But all of the kids I had become friends with at school, they were all taken away to serve in the military. Or they tried to flee the country,” she said.
“Looking back, it definitely has influenced my outlook and viewpoint in life. My youngest brother didn’t like it there, but my middle brother did. I think everyone should travel and experience something different. It certainly puts things into perspective,” said Mïa.
Once the family returned to Canada, Mïa completed and graduated from high-school.
“I went to SFU (Simon Fraser University) right after graduating. I took a bunch of different things because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” she said. Mïa studied Linguistics for her first year, Archeology for the second year and then moved into Psychology for her third year.
“By my third year in university, I realized that I didn’t like it. I don’t do well in a structured classroom type of environment. I’m reading a text book right now, because I chose to read it. But if I was told I had to read this textbook for class, I wouldn’t do it. So I left university,” she said.
“I’ve spent a couple of years working since leaving school. I work at (an outdoor supplies store). It’s a good job,” she told me. Since leaving SFU, Mïa has taken some training in personal and group fitness, to become a trainer.
“I’m thinking that I’ll probably go into health care and fitness at some point. I’m just not sure exactly what yet,” she said. Before her break ended and she had to return to work, I asked Mïa what the book she was reading was about.
“Oh. It actually is a textbook. But like I said, it’s one that I want to read. It’s about autoimmune diseases.” #notastranger