Day 73 - George (1st person I approached)
March 14, 2014 - George was walking towards me while looking at his phone and in my mind, came across like he was in a hurry. When I attempted to stop him to ask if he’d talk to me, he didn’t really come to a full stop, but I knew I had his attention because of his eye contact. So I walked with him a bit while I told him what I was doing, and asked if he’d talk with me. He came to a stop, told me he was going to meet a friend, but said he’d talk if I could make it quick.
George was born in Mexico, not far from Guadalajara. He spent all of his youth there, and after high school, went right into college to study computer engineering.
“I made it about half way through the program. For some reason a group of students suddenly dropped out from the class. The Principal told me that the school couldn’t afford to run the classes for just three students, and that I would have to wait until the class that started after me had caught up, then pick up with the new larger class, in about six months time. That's when I decided to come to Vancouver,” George said.
A friend of his had been to Vancouver a few times and had suggested to George that maybe he should consider moving here.
“At first my family were concerned. I was only 21, and didn’t speak any English, and I only knew one person. I didn’t have a job either,” he says.
“As soon as I got here, I took whatever work I could find, mostly as a labourer. I then got into learning how to pour and work with concrete, and I’ve been doing that ever since. It’s a good job, and a skill that I can do anywhere in the world.”
I asked George about his ability to speak English so well. He has a thick Mexican accent, but I had no trouble understanding him at all. I wondered if he had gone to school for English classes.
“No, as you can probably tell my English isn’t so good (‘not true,’ I told him). I had a girlfriend for three years and we lived together, she helped me a lot with my English, and I’ve learned from working with others. I’ve been here in Vancouver for eight years now.”
George has one younger brother. His brother came to visit last year, with an idea to relocate to Vancouver permanently. George told me,
“My brother had just finished University and is an architect. He stayed for a while, but he decided that he really didn’t want to live here. He would have had to go for more schooling and that really wasn’t what he wanted to do. He didn’t like the idea of starting again from zero. For me, that wasn’t a problem. Soon I will get my permanent residency.” #notastranger