Day 62 - Catherine (6th person I approached)
March 03, 2014 - Catherine was born in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England. She spent most of her schooling years there, with the exception of one year that she spent in Ireland. Catherine’s mother’s family are Irish, and Catherine visited Ireland regularly as a child. When Catherine was about 14 years old, she and her mother moved to Ireland and lived with Catherine’s grandfather. As Catherine tells me about this, it becomes apparent it was a memorable year!
“My mother had raised me and she was fairly progressive. Her family were conservative and very religious. I was heavily into the gothic style of dress (all black) and listened to Nirvana (the band). My grandfather didn’t understand me whatsoever. I just wanted to sit in my room and listen to music all the time. We lived in a small village, it was remote and I really had a difficult time. I would ask questions and raise points about religion and talk about how I felt. They thought I was some kind of witch. That lasted for about a year, while my mother was building a house there. I went back to England to see my friends and relatives, and just didn’t go back. My mother was devastated. But I just couldn’t go back to Ireland.”
After completing secondary school (high school), Catherine moved to Sheffield to study criminology for her undergrad. I asked where the interest in that field of study came from. Catherine told me,
“I had always had an interest in crime, murders and mysteries. From about the age of eight, I can remember there was a program on television called ‘Crime Watch’ and it would tell details of criminals and unsolved crimes, and ask for any information from the public to help solve these crimes. I have always read newspapers stories relating to crime. The psychology of crime. I find it fascinating.”
Throughout her post-secondary education, Catherine had worked at Starbucks.
“It’s one of those jobs that you can travel around with, if need be. So when I moved for school and such, it was convenient,” says Catherine. It was while working at Starbucks that Catherine decided she wanted to leave England for a while, and she was considering a move to Canada. One of her coworkers told her that if Catherine did move, and chose Vancouver, that she would move with her. They booked flights and Vancouver it was! Catherine lived here for year, “I just wanted a year of having a job and having fun. I loved it. It was fun and easy and a great experience.”
Upon her return to England, Catherine moved to Southampton, and went back to school to get her post-graduate degree in Social Work.
“After getting my degree I worked as an addictions counsellor. Helping people to find treatment, and getting back to a healthier lifestyle, where possible. It was hard work, but I loved it,” Catherine told me.
Last May, Catherine decided to come back to Vancouver, and is currently working as a vocational counsellor in the Downtown Eastside, an area of great poverty and strife, yet full of possibilities and hope. Catherine has a one year working visa, and is looking at getting an extension, then later this year plans to apply for permanent residency.
Catherine shared with me
“I really like it here in Vancouver, I have a good life, and a good circle of friends, and my sister lives here now as well. I like what I’m doing, but I’m looking at getting back into social work. There’s only so much I can do in the position I have now, there’s limited resources and limited facilities. In social work, I really get a chance to make a difference. That’s really what I want to do.” #notastranger