Day 283 - Amanda

Day 283 - Amanda (5th person I approached)
October 10, 2014 - Amanda was sitting in a mall, just outside a coffee shop. She looked like she might have been waiting for a bus. She had a hard, shiny green instrument case on her back while sitting at a table. Next to her was a suitcase on wheels. I explained my project to her and asked if she would chat with me. She agreed and I took a seat next to her. She wasn’t drinking coffee, just water.


Amanda was born in Seattle, Washington (USA).

“I’m the middle child. I’m also the only girl so I don’t think I had any middle child issues, things kind of balanced out. My older brother is two years older and my little brother is three years younger than I am. They occasionally would gang up on me, but for the most part, we got along. We’re definitely a close family," she said.   


“I started playing the piano when I was six years old. I’m Asian so of course it was my parents that wanted me to do it, they had expectations," she said using air quotes and smiling.

“My father used to play guitar when he was younger. I didn’t hate it, I just kind of accepted that it was what I was doing. Music has always been a big part of my life.”


Amanda wanted to have a broad range and experience of musical instruments.

“I experimented. I played piano, and viola. I tried the flute and piccolo. In school I was in the orchestra and band. I even played with the school jazz band as well. I liked trying different things,” she said.

“The viola was the second instrument I played, “ she said, gesturing to the instrument case on her back.

“My older brother was playing the violin and I didn’t want to do the same as him. So I chose the viola. It can be a little more difficult to play, there’s more wolf tones (sound that comes from vibrations). It also plays more in the mid range so it can be harder to distinguish the sounds,” she said, without making me feel foolish for not knowing.

“My older brother is playing the viola as well now, guess he’s copying my style. My younger brother plays bass and cello.” I asked if they perform together for family.

“Sometimes, but usually we like to play songs from the radio and jam to that,” she said, laughing.


After graduating from high-school, Amanda came to Vancouver (British Columbia - BC) to attend the University of British Columbia (UBC).

“I’m going to UBC in part because it’s more affordable here. I have dual citizenship, so that makes it easier,” said Amanda. She's studying Viola Performance.

“It’s focussed on the actual technique used in playing the instrument. I’m doing a Bachelor’s degree majoring in viola. It’s a four year program. I wanted to do a double major, but there were too many conflicting classes and they wouldn’t let me,” she said. 


“I’m considering going for another bachelor’s degree when I’ve completed this one. Right now I’m thinking of Nutritional Sciences. Possibly becoming a Dietician. It’s just a thought for now. That would mean another two years of university.” Amanda’s interest in nutrition came about in high-school.

“We didn’t always have the best food and meal selection at home or school. I became interested in the effects of diet on the health of the body,” she said. By diet, Amanda means the actual food consumed, and not a societal ‘body image’ aspect.

“I want to take care of myself.”


This is Amanda’s first time away from home.

“At first I thought it was great. It felt like such a relief to leave my family and everything behind. Venturing out on my own. I started school last month, and I’m living on campus, so I’m not alone or anything. But I decided I’d go home for the weekend. This is my first time going home since starting school. I’m just killing time here while I wait to go catch the bus to Seattle.” #notastranger