Day 251 - Leanne

Day 251 - Leanne (1st person I approached)

September 08, 2014 - Leanne was sitting in the sunshine, having her lunch on a break from work. She was happy to chat, and we seemed to have an instant connection. I have to admit, and I did tell Leanne, that her lunch smelled delicious. Her boyfriend had made it; an adaptation of cabbage rolls, using wild rice and shredded cauliflower instead of white rice. We chatted while I encouraged her to continue eating.


Growing up, her father worked for Tim Horton’s (known for it's coffee and doughnuts) and the family were constantly on the move.

“My father would move us around due to his work. His job involved opening new stores, training the staff and ensuring everything went well. We moved a lot. I lived in four different provinces while growing up,” she said. Her parents divorced and both remarried, which meant that she had half and step siblings.

“As a kid I thought it was cool. I had all these other kids around. I basically grew up as an only child, but there were also brothers and sisters in my life. I had multiple sets of grandparents, too. How cool is that? I loved it!” she told me. 


Moving between British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario, Leanne attended many different schools.

“It made it hard to establish long-lasting connections with friends, but I got pretty good at meeting people. I was involved in extra-curricular activities so I met kids from other schools as well. I played baseball, I did swimming with school and during the summers, I played volleyball. I was always active,” she said.

“My favourite things at school were Maths and Art. I liked all aspects of art, drawing, painting, it didn’t matter.”


When she was fourteen years old, Leanne joined the cadets.

“I did that for a few months but then we were going to learn how to shoot guns. I didn’t think that at fourteen I should be learning that, so I left,” she said.

“When I was seventeen, I started in the Primary Reserves (a part-time support role with the Canadian Armed Forces. *Fact Check - see link below). I liked the chance to meet people and learn different skills. I’ve always enjoyed learning. I did that part-time for a few years, before getting in full-time, and working in administration,” she said. Leanne spent sixteen years with the Primary Reserves in total.


“An opportunity presented itself and frankly, I was ready for a change. I was thirty-three years old. I got a one year working visa and went to New Zealand. It was a case of ‘now or never.’ New Zealand is the only country that offers one year work visas up to the age of thirty-five. I was getting close, and so I decided to go for it. I gave my notice with the Reserves. They asked if I wanted on to go Supplementary Reserve, which meant I wouldn't get any contracts until I said I was ready. But I was done, it was time to move on,” she said.


In New Zealand, Leanne went to school for a while and worked as well.

“I got a job working in a methadone clinic. Coming from the administration role in the Reserves, it was clear that I was qualified to handle sensitive information. I liked the chance to work in a role that allowed me to help others. I learned a lot about myself in that year, and was grateful for the opportunity. There is a difference between selfish and self-centred. For me there is nothing wrong with the selfish aspect of taking care of ones self and doing what it is you need to do. But I also think its good if it’s balanced with helping others. It's important to help out, to connect with people. Helping anyone, it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, it could be helping your mother at home. But I think that shows a part of one's character. I do what I can to help, to give back,” she said.


Leanne came to Vancouver upon her return to Canada.

“I went back to school and studied general arts for a while at Langara College,” she said. She was having some issues with allergies and intolerance with some foods. Leanne started looking into that further, through research.

“I thought about writing a cookbook, but wanted to have a certification behind me first. So I went to a naturopathic college and studied part-time while working. I considered staying at Langara as well, but it would have been too much,” said Leanne, shaking her head.

“After I finished school, I worked in a shop that had various alternative forms of care and healing. Dealing with the physical, spiritual and individual needs of the customer. There was tarot, crystals and stone work available as well,” she said. Leanne also worked in an integrated pharmacy. They used an alternative, naturalistic approach combined with traditional pharmacy services.

“Now I’m working in a sports medicine, supplements and healthcare type of role. It’s been a steep learning curve, but I like that challenge. I really enjoy learning,” she said.


With her lunch break coming to an end, I walked with Leanne in the direction of where she worked. We continued chatting. Leanne's boyfriend also has a keen interest in eating well and living a healthier lifestyle. We said our goodbyes and as Leanne headed back to work, I turned around and went back in the direction we had just come from. I was on a mission. I needed to go buy cabbage rolls. #notastranger


*Fact Check -