Day 60 - Avi

60 Avi.jpeg

Day 60 Avi (4th person I approached)

March 01, 2014 - Avi was born and raised in Ottawa, and is the second of three children. His older brother lives in Toronto and has three daughters, and his younger sister lives in Jerusalem. Avi’s parents still live in Ottawa. 


After high-school, Avi moved to Montreal to attend McGill University, studying Environmental Sciences.

“I was always interested in physics and math, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I continued studying, and got my Bachelor of Sciences degree,” Avi told me. After graduating, Avi took a job teaching in Bogota, Columbia.

“My girlfriend at the time also got a job in Bogota, so we traveled there together. We were teaching in a private school. All the students spoke English. It was great experience, and we actually travelled well together. We spent a year there, and then I returned to Ottawa. My girlfriend moved to upstate New York, and we tried the long-distance relationship for a while, but that’s tough,” he said.


Avi got his teaching certification, and his next adventure took him to Japan, this time teaching English in the Japanese public school system.

“That transition was a bit harder, getting used to the culture and way of life. But I had friends there in Japan, that were teachers as well, so I wasn’t completely alone.” I asked Avi if he felt it was true that the more languages you speak, the easier it is to learn new ones. (Avi speaks English, French, Hebrew, Spanish and Japanese.) 

“Yeah, I think it is,” he told me. “I was learning Japanese and Spanish isn’t one of my strengths, so occasionally I would trip up and use Spanish instead of Japanese. It’s funny how the mind can switch things around.” Avi stayed in Japan for two years. He was dating a Japanese woman, who was considering a move to Australia. Avi suggested perhaps she could move to Canada, and together they made the move to the west coast. Avi tells me that relationship and move didn’t go as well as his previous experience. 


Avi has lived in Vancouver for close to five years now, and considers this to be home. He teaches in a Francophone elementary school, which is a part of our public school system. I learned about Section 23 of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, (a part of the Constitution of Canada) which guarantees that any student with a parent who is French Canadian has the [positive] right to be taught in either of our official languages, English or French. The entire province of British Columbia is administered by the Francophone school board as one district, with about six French-speaking schools in the Lower Mainland, a few in the interior of the province, as well as locations on Vancouver Island. When I first approached Avi, he was busy marking Grade 07 science exams.

“I enjoy teaching, but like anything, it has its difficulties. It can be stressful. And then there are the other challenges, or influences, between parent teacher advisories, school boards, and between the teachers and government.”


I asked Avi if he considered Vancouver to be his home and if he’d be here for the foreseeable future. He smiled and said,

“Yes. I just bought a house here. Yesterday, I actually took possession of it. I’m now a homeowner and landlord. It’s one of those big lifetime purchases. My mother and I are invested in this house. We’re a close family and we had a longtime family friend as our broker, and my cousin is our realtor. I haven’t moved in yet. My mother has seen it, but not in person. She saw what was available through Google Street view.” #notastranger