Day 59 - Vicki

59 Vicki.jpeg

Day 59 - Vicki (2nd person I approached)
February 28, 2014 - Vicki has been following The Stranger Project 2014 for a while now. She told me immediately,

“I have been hoping I'd get to meet you someday!” And then she offered to buy me coffee. We went to a coffee shop and talked for over an hour.

Vicki is third generation, born and raised in Vancouver. She went to one elementary school, and one high school.

“I can’t imagine what it would be like to have had to change schools and meet all new people. It was daunting enough going from elementary to high school. Even though most of my classmates were also making the same switch to a new school, it was a feeder school for three others, so there were a lot of kids that I didn’t know,” said Vicki.

 

After high-school, Vicki went to the University of British Columbia (UBC) where she got her Bachelor’s degree in Education.

“I was training to become a teacher. I was fortunate to be at UBC when the school board ran an experimental program. It allowed me to spend an entire school year in a classroom as a teacher's assistant, and I did all my University classes in a portable building on the school grounds. It was a very valuable learning experience, but the program never continued,”  Vicki told me. She then went on to study for her Undergraduate degree in special education and psychology, telling me,

“I didn't really know what I wanted to do. But I’ve always loved the social sciences and particularly social psychology. I was exploring the idea of going on to get my doctorate in psychology. But I ended up changing paths altogether, and started studying architecture.”

About two years into her architecture studies, Vicki started having vision problems, and her spacial ability was effected. She withdrew from University.

 

“I got a job at one of the first Keg Restaurants in Canada that had female servers at night. The atmosphere in those days was crazy. It was like a party. A lot of hard work, but I really enjoyed it. I worked at the downtown (Vancouver) location, and became good friends with the manager. I started to learn other things, like doing the books and learning more about the management aspect of restaurant operations. Not only was it good to learn new things, I really enjoyed the food & beverage side of things, the costing, the staffing and the actual operation side of running a restaurant,” Vicki explained. Through her experience at The Keg, Vicki went on to be an instrumental part of opening the outdoor deck at Granville Island’s Bridges restaurant. Then it was Isadora’s Restaurant, also on Granville Island, followed by Cafe New York.

“Seating people and getting tables is like a game of chess, I like the challenge of it.” Vicki then changed direction again, this time working for Squirrel, one of the first in-house computer point of sale terminals geared towards the service industry. Within a year, Vicki says

"I was offered an opportunity to essentially become a technical writer. I worked on the instructional manuals, from concept to completion, illustrating a ‘how-to’ of the complete operating system. I did that for 20 years. I’ve been very lucky, I’ve done a lot of different things throughout the years,“ said Vicki, with a big smile. She has one daughter, Laura,

"the absolute light of my life."

About two years ago, an encounter with a group of musicians busking outside a transit station, would have a huge impact on her.

"It was a local group called Sons Of Granville. I was mesmerized. I hadn’t been struck by music like this for years. There was the Sergeant Pepper album, Lenard Cohen, and Jethro Tull. But since Jethro Tull, there hadn’t really been anything I listened to. Until Sons Of Granville. I bought their CD, and then I sent a friend request on Facebook. I had never done anything like that. We’ve become good friends since then. I’m now learning to play the guitar again. I’ve actually bought three guitars and I’m taking voice lessons. My goal is to become a busker, and the money I raise, is all going to go to St James Academy of Music.” St James teaches classical music to children, at no cost, who live in the Downtown East Side, one of Canada’s poorest neighbourhoods.

Vicki has a saying that she shared with me. She first heard it back in her early days of studying architecture. It was some text on a presentation, and below an image came three words that have stayed with Vicki, and been her guide in everything she does.

“Do everything you do with care, craft and elegance.” #notastranger