Day 323 - Kimberlee

Day 323 - Kimberlee (1st person I approached)
November 19, 2014 - I was meeting a friend for a quick coffee this afternoon. Before he arrived, I saw Kevin from Day 317, who shared that he had a few friends send messages and comment that they had read his story here. My friend arrived and as we chatted, a familiar face appeared and it was Curtis from Day 159. We chatted briefly. I admit I had to look up what day I had met Curtis on. I wonder if the universe is conspiring to remind me of all the wonder people I’ve met. The stories I’ve heard and shared. The connections I’ve made with people reading the stories. As the year draws toward the close, I’m keenly aware of the incredible experience this has been. Each and every day.


Kimberlee was sitting alone, writing. She wasn’t typing on a computer. She was doing the old school pen and paper notebook writing. Kimberlee readily agreed to chat with me when I asked her. Born in North Vancouver, she is the youngest of three children.

“I have an older brother and sister. There’s two years between each of us. We’re brother and sisters, so of course we fought as kids. I was always the wing person, or side kick. It was either my sister and I ganging up on my brother who was the oldest, or him and I going after my sister. Because I was always the side kick, I won every time,” she said.

“We grew up in North Vancouver and when my family moved to West Vancouver, I continued going to high school in North Van(couver).” 


“Growing up, my parents were polar opposites. My mother was very outgoing and social. She was always chatting with everyone, talking to strangers. That rule for kids of ‘don’t speak to strangers’ was something we never heard. My father, on the other hand, was a quiet man. He didn’t engage in conversation much. He even brought a book to the dinner table. Occasionally he’d look up from his book to comment or reply to something, but he seemed content in his own bubble,” she told me. 


“When I was about, oh from age seven until around twelve or so, I was a fat kid. I was rather quiet myself. My father was the disciplinarian in our family. I think part of my being quiet was then I wouldn’t get into trouble, if I didn’t say anything,” Kimberlee said.

“Then when I was thirteen, my sister went to Army cadets camp, and I started to have conversations with my father. We’d go for drives and he’d talk with me. We started getting fit together. We went on a diet together and went to the gym, and exercising. I lost about twenty pounds that summer, and grew much closer to my father.” 


At school, Kimberlee became active and involved in sports.

“I was on the school wrestling team for four years. And I did lots of swimming too,” she said. And like her older sister, Kimberlee joined the Army Cadets.

“We went camping and did activities, which was all free. Camping, for free? Why not. I also got to go on a ten day exchange program with them. We went to Nunavut (northern Canada). The cadets paid for the trip. We stayed in a school gymnasium. Then the cadets from Nunavut came and stayed here in Vancouver. It was only ten days, but I’ll remember that trip for ever,” she said, fondly.


“I graduated from high-school and went to Capilano College (North Vancouver) and took general studies. I had made friends with a young girl one day, waiting at a bus stop. She was from Paraguay, and was here in Vancouver for a month studying English. We became friends and then kept in touch. Cards at Christmas and letters from time to time. She had moved to Curitiba, in Brazil, to study,” Kimberlee said.

“She invited me to go stay with her in Brazil, and eventually I did go. I went during the summer break from school. I stayed for a month. It was incredible,” she said. 


After two years at Capilano College, Kimberlee went to study at UBC (University of British Columbia).

“I was studying Wood Products Processing, through the Faculty of Forestry,” she said (*Fact Check - see link below).

“When I was in university, I worked every summer with the City of Vancouver, as a night-shift security guard. There was usually a gap between the end of the school year and my start date at work. So I went back to Brazil, and the second time I stayed for six weeks,” she said. 


“During the five years that I was at UBC, I did a few work co-op’s (placements related to the subject being studied). There was a wood processing company in Curitiba that was processing everything into particle board. I wanted to go and work for this company, and apply it to my schooling as a co-op term. The company told me on a number of occasions that they didn’t have any work for me. I had planned it out that I was scheduled into a six month co-op calendar at school, but I was in effect, taking a term off from university. I told the wood processing company that I was coming to Curitiba regardless. It turned out that they were in the process of buying a sawmill to better utilize the wood they were processing. They needed someone who spoke English to help coordinate the process. I worked there for the six months I was in Brazil. The university wouldn't accept the experience as a credit toward my course work. I still had this remarkable opportunity with an international company,” Kimberlee told me.


With all three siblings going to school at UBC, her parents decided to move closer to the university, making the commute easier for everyone.

“It was a five year program. I was in school a long time,” she said. Kimberlee graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Wood Products Processing.

“It was 2008 and the industry crashed. The financial crisis was in effect and lots of my friends were losing their jobs. I managed to get work with the City of Vancouver again,” she said. 


Kimberlee told me that she likes to write, especially since finishing university.

“I write about my day and things that I want to happen. I have a habit of writing in present tense. So I make lists of things I want to happen, but I write the list as if it has happened or is happening. I made a wish list for the things I wanted in a job. I wanted six weeks off per year to travel. I wanted a car with the job, and I wanted freedom to not have to check in with anyone too often. I also wanted to be in a situation where people were competing to hire me. In other words, i wanted to have a choice between different jobs,” she said. 


If you put things out to the universe, they often have a funny way of manifesting.

“I got offered three jobs, that I had found through people I knew, or people I had worked with before. One job was for a position that I didn’t fully understand the actual role, but I had all the qualifications they wanted. Another job involved travelling through the Kootney region (southeastern BC). I was driving a five tonne truck that was a mobile educational resource centre for children.

“I was also offered the chance to become a full-time security guard for the City. I took the education job, driving around the Kootenays. Children tour through an interactive display assembled in the truck,” she said. 


The job that Kimberlee applied for without knowing what the actual position was, contacted her for an interview.

“I ended up taking that job. It was working for the City of Vancouver. Inspecting property before construction happened, and taking an inventory of assets. Things like street furniture, lamp posts, that kind of thing. I took some courses and upgraded my qualifications. Now I’m going out and inspecting construction sites to ensure that the site is being well maintained. That anything related to the City is being done correctly. Ensuring for example, that the sidewalk isn’t being destroyed, that kind of thing,” she said. The job comes with a car, she visits various sites, and works independently.

“I get three weeks vacation. I have the chance to accrue additional time off by working an extra 30 minutes a day as well. Over the course of the year, that gives me another three weeks that I can take off,” she said, smiling.


“My parents decided to downsize, and we (grown kids) had to move out. Which was fine, they had moved for us, it was time we helped them. My sister and I lived together for a few years. I got into real estate as an investment, and bought a condo with the idea of fixing it up and selling it. The contractors I had, fell through. I learned how to do most of the renovations myself, still with the intention of it being for resale. When it was finished it was so nice, I decided to move in and live there myself. I love living alone,” she said. 


We talked a little bit about the power of writing things down and creating a path or plan based on those goals.

“The smallest ripples have always created the biggest impact for me. Every time.” #notastranger

*Fact Check -