Day 299 - Leeanne

Day 299 - Leeanne (5th person I approached)
October 26, 2014 - There’s a state of being that I refer to as ‘post-event let down.’ This happens after a major event, project or exam. There's the almost instant feeling of relief that something is over. For the next day or so, it can then be almost as challenging to hold it all together. Sitting reading a newspaper for example. Taking of your glasses to see something on the television, then going back to the newspaper and wondering why you can’t see. Spending a minute or two wondering where on earth your glasses are. Right there in your lap, next to you on the couch, or the worst one - on your head. Welcome to my world. TEDxRCW was yesterday and it was elating, humbling, inspiring and exhausting all in one. I left the house by noon today with the intention of getting today’s story, sitting in my favourite coffee shop to write this, get it posted and melt for the evening.


Leeanne was sitting outside at a little table eating her lunch on a break from work. I approached her, explained what I’m doing and asked if she would chat with me. We bantered back forth a bit about timing and whether not eating lunch while we chatted would be okay. We made it work!


“I have one little sister,” Leeanne told me, with love and affection in her voice, and a big smile on her face.

“I was born in North Vancouver (British Columbia - BC). We lived there until I was five years old. I do have some memories of moving, yes. I liked that we had such a large forest in our backyard when we lived in North Vancouver. I was going through a faeries fascination at the time. So when we got to Quesnel, my little sister and I were enchanted to have a forest, with a creek running through it as our own private backyard. There was a even a pond for the dog to jump into in the summer. We ran around looking for faeries and it was like utopia. There was even a ski hill nearby called Troll Hill. Amazing!” she said, smiling at the memory.


Her father was a teacher and they had moved to Quesnel when he started at a new school.

“I loved school, and I liked learning. I’m sure my father being a teacher had some influence on that. Growing up I always thought I would become a teacher. It just seemed like the natural thing to do. I also liked that every summer we went on road trips and explored the west coast of Canada and the United States. Who wouldn’t want to have a job with every summer off? I realize now of course how much work actually goes into teaching,” she said.

“One of my favourite memories during elementary school besides the bear alert du=ills we had, was going on an Easter Egg hunt with our local ski club. It was called The Rabbits. Whoever had planned the event didn’t seem to think it through because all the chocolate was buried in the snow. I’m not sure we found it all. I just hoped no animals were harmed due to any unclaimed treasure,” she said with all sincerity. 


“My father didn’t teach at my school. I went to another school when we lived in Quesnel. My parents wanted me to graduate from a school here in Vancouver (BC), so we moved back down here and I graduated from Grade twelve. I was happy to be in the city. I appreciated that there was so much more available and accessible to do as well. I mean they even had an Amnesty international group at school. There certainly aren’t those kinds of opportunities in smaller communities. It was great,” she said. 


Leeanne went directly to UBC (University of British Columbia) right after high-school.

“I studied History and African Studies. I figured I’d take classes I had an interest in. I have always enjoyed history. I like to know where we’ve all come from before. I enjoyed learning about revolutions and suffragettes. Those who stood up to bring about change,” said Leeanne.

"I figured it was better than spending four years studying general subjects that I wasn’t particularly interested in.” At the end of her four year program, right after graduating, Leeanne had a short opportunity to test out her teaching skills.

“I got into a program through UBC, and spent a month in Tanzania (East Africa),” she said.

“I was teaching and while it was a relatively short trip, it certainly helped me to appreciate what we have in our lives. And also to understand what others don’t have, and how they live. It was an incredible experience,” she said.


“I definitely have an interest in Reuse, Renew, Recycle. I am a vegan. I’m drawn to organizations and causes that stop to consider our planet, and animals. I wouldn’t eat someone’s dog knowing it was a pet. Just because an animal isn’t someone’s pet doesn’t mean that it shouldn't be respected. Plus, we don’t see daily what happens with farmed animals for meat production,” she said. Leeanne didn’t present her viewpoint in a manner that was preaching, it was clearly her own guideline and code.

“I alway bring my own utensils to eat my lunch with. I use a water bottle and pack my lunch in containers that I take home, wash and use again. The fact that we as a society are still thinking it’s okay to throw away a cup after every drink is ridiculous to me,” she said.


Leeanne works in the healthcare section of a large grocer whose mandate is to source and provide locally sourced (where possible), organic and environmentally sound goods.

“I work in the supplements and healthcare department. I’m also back in school, studying holistic nutrition. It’s popular amongst my coworkers and our customers, and it may be the direction I’m going to go into. It would result in becoming a Holistic Nutritionist. We’ll se what happens,” she said. Leeanne hopes to stay working where she is, telling me it’s feels good to work for a company that has a similar vision to her own.


Her break was over and I took her picture. We stood up and I thanked Leeanne for her time. She asked if we could hug. Of course I said yes - hugs are vital to our well-being! "Thank you so much for talking with me," she said.

"I think your project is great. It was nice to think about some of the things that I did as a child as well. Things I haven’t considered for some time!” #notastranger