May 11, 2015 - Isabel

May 11, 2015 - Isabel (2nd person I approached)
In my efforts to be fully self-employed, some days I feel busier than when I worked full-time. A friend arrived from out of town this afternoon, and is staying with me for three days. I wasn’t sure I was going to get a chance to go out and meet a stranger today. 


However, my friend made plans to meet another friend of his for dinner, and I was able to head out to find a story. It’s really gotten to the point where if three days go by and I don’t meet someone, I feel like something is lacking. It was wonderful to walk out of my building this afternoon with the sole intention of chatting with a stranger.


The first woman I approached told me she was a private person and would be happy to chat with me about anything, but wasn’t into having it published. It was still a nice exchange of more than hello.


I saw Isabel not far from the first woman I had approached. I said hello, and was met with an extremely cheery and outgoing “Hi,” from Isabel. Her genuine pleasantness was worthy of compliment, which of course, I followed through on. She wanted to know why I was doing this project and a little about the project itself.

“I’m heading to a class, and don’t have a lot of time,” said Isabel.

“But how about you walk with me to the train station and we’ll talk.” I explained The Stranger Project, and clearly did well enough that Isabel told me, “Ok, I get what this is about. It's great, let’s start talking about my story, so we can do this!” Perfection.


Isabel was born in Ontario.

“I’m from a place called St Catharines,” she said as we walked to the train station. "

I have two sisters and a brother. We grew up as a very close family. Going on vacations and road trips. The whole family. My childhood was a lot of fun. I’m closest probably with my younger sister, we’re only a year apart. Everyone is older now and we’re all spread out across the country, but we try to stay close,” she said.


“I was really into sports when I was in elementary school. Track and Field, sprinting was my thing,” said Isabel, in a clear voice, that has a hint of excitement. Isabel knew what she wanted to do when she graduated from high-school.

“Well, I went to Grade thirteen in school. That’s how it was in Ontario back in the day,” she said.

“I went to college right after graduating from school. I was interested in marketing and advertising. It had just always appealed to me. I took a three year course in Business Administration - Marketing,” she said.


After completing the program, Isabel went to work.

“I was working right of of college. I got a great job with a very successful company and gained experience in the field. I realized that if I wanted to go anywhere with it, I would have to go to university. I didn’t want to spend years in school. I found a program at Royal Roads University, (Vancouver Island, British Columbia) that was twelve months long. They only accept one hundred students. I was able to transfer my credits from college for the application. They also took into account the industry experience I had. Most of the students that get accepted have worked in the industry, and then there are a few that get in right from high-school,” she told me.


I asked Isabel how she felt about moving across the country and being away from her family. “I loved it,” she said, with no hesitation.

“I firmly believe in taking risks. If you’re not taking risks, your lacking in self-confidence, and I guess I was fairly confident to make the move,” she said.

“The program was twelve months, full on and no breaks.”


Upon completing university, Isabel got a job that took her to the east coast.

“I went to work for a video company in mid-town Manhattan, in New York,” she said. One of my favourite countries as I like t call it - there’s no place like NYC!

“I was in New York for a couple of years. I sort of developed a love hate thing for the city. I moved here after my two years in New York,” she said.


“I got married and my husband was a grad student at the time. We headed back to Ontario in 2012 so he could go to school. We just moved back to Vancouver last year,” Isabel told me. He works as a software engineer. 


Isabel's now working as a recruiter for an Engineering company. “It’s a bit of a departure from what I’ve been doing, but I like the people connection,” she said. 


When we had first started chatting, Isabel had mentioned that she was going to a class, and I asked her what the class was for.

“I’m learning to speak Farsi,” she said, with a big, proud smile.

“My husband is Persian.” Isabel has been in this class for twelve weeks.

“I’m learning to put sentences together now!” And then it was time to head to school. #notastranger