Day 279 - Marcia

Day 279 - Marcia (1st person I approached)
October 06, 2014 - Marcia was the first person that I saw that I considered approaching. There were two other people sitting nearby on their own as well, but for some reason, it was Marcia that I was drawn towards. As soon as I told her about my project, she agreed to chat. As we started chatting, I thought she looked familiar, but I was certain that we hadn’t met before. 


“I was born in Victoria (British Columbia - BC), but we moved when I was six years old, so I don’t have many memories of living there. I maybe remember some friends that I had, but that's about it,” she said.

“I have one brother who is ten years older than I am. The age difference meant that we weren’t so close as kids growing up. By the times I was six, he was sixteen. No sixteen year old boy wants to hang out with his six year old little sister,” said Marcia. Both of her parents were born in Indonesia.

“My father is Dutch and Chinese, and my mother is Indonesian,” she said.

“We moved from Victoria because according to my father, my brother was getting involved with a bad crowd. He was sixteen at the time. We moved to Surrey, of all places to getaway from that bad influence.”


“I enjoyed elementary school. I struggled with high-school. Mostly because everyone who was there didn’t want to be. I likes the arts, but not the other subjects. The social aspect of school was important to me. I didn’t even care what school I went to. The catchment areas changed at one point and my friends were all in a different school. So I changed schools to be with my friends. That was important to be. I was in band as well. I played the trombone for a little bit, and then saxophone for three years,” she said. After graduating Marcia didn’t know what she wanted to do. 


“I spent the first year out of school working in a grocery store in Surrey, as a cashier. After about a year I knew that I wanted to go to college. I started applying for anything that I could get in to in order to be able to go to school. I took a marketing course at Kwantlen College in Surrey. I really didn’t have any interest in that field. It was kind of a course in how to run a small business.  I couldn’t tell you what I learned from the course. But I did do a report, like a case study, on a small business called the Reptile Refuge. They rescue and care for reptiles that have been abandoned or mistreated. They give them a home and look after them. That got a lot of interest,” she said. 


Marcia continued taking other classes and got into a Liberal Arts program.

“I was studying English and Humanities. I did that for three years at Kwantlen, and decided I wanted to get an undergrad (Bachelor’s) degree,” she said. A friend of a friend had just done a degree program at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. She recommend the program to Marcia.


“It was my first time away from home. I was useless with money, I didn’t speak French and tended to be rather shy. Plus, not being caucasian presented it’s own challenges. I took some classes to learn french, and spent four years there. I got my Bachelor of Arts degree,” said Marcia. She stayed in Montreal for another two years after graduating from Concordia.

“I was in a long term relationship, so I stayed. When that ended, I decided to come back home to Surrey. I felt I had really changed since moving away, but my parents didn’t seem to want to see it that way. They thought I was the same person who had left six years ago. It was frustrating. I tried looking for work, but of course an Arts degree doesn’t open every door to employment,” she said. 


Marcia went into a depression.

“It runs in the family. it wasn't the first time I had been depressed. My brother had mental health issues for a long time, even though he was never diagnosed with anything specifically. He was working in a graphic design and running his own business by this time. He tried steering me in that direction. I did do some work for him,” she said. Marcia took a one year design program through the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

“After that, I got a job with an entertainment company, which is what they called it. Really though, it was online gambling. I stayed there for two years but I just didn't like the job. It wasn’t for me. I wasn’t into sitting at a desk and trying to be creative,” she said.  


Marcia was in another relationship at this point.

“We had bought a house with a friend and had a mortgage. We were looking at starting a family. I became depressed again and then didn’t want to have children. The relationship ended. I had a little money left from the sale of the house and I spent some time trying to figure out what I was doing and work through the depression,” she said. 


“I wrestle now with the fact that I’ve spent all that time going to school and getting a degree, and that I’m not using my education. I feel like I should be doing more,” she told me. I asked by what yardstick or standards she felt she needed to do more.

“Well that’s just it. I don’t know. I know I shouldn’t feel this way. It’s not how we should be looking at things," she said shaking her head and smiling softly.  

“I work in a grocery store now as a cashier.” That’s when I knew I had met Marcia before. I’ve shopped where she works. #notastranger

*Fact Check -