Day 291 - Matt (1st person I approached)
October 18, 2014 - I was walking home from the grocery store when I spotted Matt. He was sitting on a bench outside an auto repair shop, reading a book. Waiting for a car to be repaired can be one of life’s longest waits, so I figured he might welcome a distraction. I walked over and explained to Matt what I’m doing and asked me if he’d chat with me.
“I’m just waiting five minutes and then I have to go inside,” he said. My mistake, assuming that because someone is outside an auto repair place, they’re is waiting for a car.
“I work there,” he said gesturing toward the restaurant next door. I told him I could make it work with five minutes. He said yes. Did I mention his accent?
Matt was born in a small town called Shrewsbury, near Worcester, England. Shrewsbury is a medieval town with some buildings in the town centre dating back over one thousand years. When Matt was two years old, the family moved to the south coast, settling in Worthing, about ten miles west of Brighton. Matt is an only child.
“I always wanted to have a brother or sister when I was growing up. My friends told me I was spoiled because I was an only child,” he said.
“I remember even asking for a brother or sister for Christmas one year. I think now that I’m older it would be nice to have as well.” Matt completed elementary and secondary school in Worthing.
“My father bought a video camera when I was thirteen, and I couldn't stop fiddling around with it. My friend and I used to make parodies of our favourite movies,” he said. When I asked if he could remember any, he didn’t hesitate to respond.
“Oh yeah! Predator, Arnold Schwarzenegger. True Lies, Arnold Schwarzenegger. We did almost every scene of Predator, I had watched that movie so many times. My friend that I made movies with didn’t live near me, so I would only see him every couple of months. It was like our hobby. You can see us aging throughout the movie. We started it when I was thirteen and worked on it until I was about seventeen. There’s a VHS of it kicking around somewhere,” he said, with a big grin.
Matt went to the University of Wales, to study film and video.
“I intentionally moved far enough away, that I wouldn’t be going home every weekend. I saw friends do that. They’d go off to school, but still come home every Sunday for their tea and get their washing done. There’s nothing wrong with that, I just wanted to be more independent,” he said.
“I took film and video. After two years, I felt that I wasn’t learning anything more. They’d say ‘go out and make a movie.’ I already knew how to do that. I wanted to learn things I didn’t know,” said Matt. He changed programs and went into Multimedia studies.
“I wasn’t sure that it was something I would even do, but it was new material and involved a lot of software that I had never used before, so it was interesting,” he said. Matt spent five years in total at university.
“I stayed in Newport for a couple of years after that, before moving back to Worthing.”
“I moved back to my parents place because I wanted to work and save money and move to Canada. A friend of mine was moving here and he said that Vancouver was the place to be. I got a job in a call centre and did that for a while, but it was soul destroying,” Matt said, shaking his head.
“Then I got a job working for a company doing search engine optimization. It was a great job. If I wasn’t coming to Canada, I would have stated there for sure. But I got that six months before coming to Canada, and my flight was already booked.” Matt got that job because of the skills he had learned in multimedia studies at university.
“We went to Toronto and Montreal before coming to Vancouver. I loved Montreal. I have a friend who moved there and she said that’s where she’s staying. But my friend that I had come here with kept saying ‘Vancouver is awesome, that’s the place,’ so we came out here.
“I needed to find a job when I got here. I looked on Craigslist and saw a job as a line cook here (at the restaurant we were sitting outside of). I came for an interview and they said they liked me but thought that they had found someone already. They told me if it didn’t work out they’d call me. I got just down the street and got a call. The other person hadn’t shown up, and they told me the job was mine. I walked back and started right then!” said Matt.
He has been here for two years and is in the final stages of applying for permanent residency.
“I’d like to get into film work. I’ve done a little bit of PA (Production Assistant) stuff. And some editing. But I’m working full time (at the restaurant), and have to keep doing that until I get my permanent residency. Then I can do other work.” I took his photo and thanked Matt for his time, telling him I hoped that I hadn't made him late for work. He stood up and walked five feet from the bench we had been sitting on.
“The doors right here, I’m fine.” #notastranger