Day 37 - Alzbeta (3rd person I approached)
February 06, 2014 - Alzbeta is relatively new to Vancouver, having arrived some three weeks ago, from Slovakia. She was born and raised in the former Czechoslovakia, now Slovakia, and worked in the Front Office for a cruise ship line, travelling frequently, on one week cruises. “My job was very busy, so I didn't always have time to go off ship to see the places we sailed too, but eventually I had seen most cities, over time. We sailed to places like Paris and Prague.” Alzbeta is currently looking for a job in Front Office in local hotels, but recognizes it’s a tough time of the year for hotel jobs in the city.
An adventurous spirit, Alzbeta has traveled a lot and decided that now was the time to try living somewhere other than Europe. On a trip that took her to Miami, she met a man who she became good friends with, who was from Vancouver. “He always spoke about how beautiful Vancouver is, and what a special city it is. So when I got my visa to travel to Canada, I didn’t do any research to find the most prosperous location for jobs or anything. I just knew I wanted to come here.”
Alzbeta has one sister who “is older than me, but not as mature.” We spoke about the shift in perspective that happens when one has traveled away from home, or traveled frequently. Her sister has not traveled much, and their views and perspectives are quite different. Alzbeta doesn’t know anyone in Vancouver, and I told her how brave and admirable it was to land in a foreign city, alone, not knowing anyone. “I’m finding that people in Vancouver are polite, but it’s harder here to strike up conversations. I mean, if I’m sitting in a coffee shop, and you’re sitting next to me, why shouldn’t we talk?”
Alzbeta’s friend, the one originally from Vancouver that she met in Miami told her “This is how straight men in Vancouver flirt - watch,” and his eyes went from looking directly ahead, to quickly glancing to her at his side, then back again. “There, that’s it!” Alzbeta tells me that she does notice lots of sideway glances, but has been told before that men find her intimidating. Her English is flawless, with a rich Slovakian accent. She was waiting to meet a friend she had met while travelling who is from Toronto, here on business, and he had invited Alzbeta to have dinner with him and a friend of his, that lives here in Vancouver. “How else will I do that? I know how to take care of myself, and to be safe, and I like to meet people.”
As we were saying our goodbyes, I asked Alzbeta what was the funniest or oddest thing that has happened to her in the three weeks she has been in Vancouver. “Well, I’ve never done this before, but you know, life is short, and so I signed up for this website called ‘Plenty of Fish’ (a very popular, local based dating website). I wouldn’t normally do anything like that, but, I’ve certainly met a lot of fishes already!” #notastranger