Day 324 - Jimmy (1st person I approached)
November 20, 2014 - I have a friend in from out of town, so I wasn’t sure what time I’d get to go looking for today’s story. My friend’s jet lag worked in my favour. After wandering around downtown all afternoon, we decided to pick up something for dinner and head home. Groceries in hand, my friend headed back to my place while I went off to search for a stranger to chat with. I didn't have to go too far. Jimmy was sitting at a coffee shop I frequent. He was studying for an upcoming exam, but seemed happy to chat for a bit.
Jimmy was born in the Punjab region of India.
“I have one brother who is five years younger than I am. We've always gotten along pretty well. The age difference didn’t effect that. My father was a Professor in agriculture before retiring, and my mother works in a hospital as a dietician's aid. We grew up close, with a good family relationship. We talked about politics and world events. My father in particular was big on education and awareness of things that were happening,” he said.
“We learned English in school from an early age. Because India was once part of the British Empire, all official documents and things are in English." Jimmy started playing cricket at an early age. The sport of cricket is like a national pastime in India, and taken very seriously.
The family moved to Canada when Jimmy was fourteen years old.
“My parents had both travelled before. We have relatives living here in Vancouver (British Columbia) as well, so we knew what we were coming to,” he said.
“I finished elementary school in India and started high school when I came to Vancouver. I found it hard to adjust at first. I missed my friends back home, there was all new cultural references to learn about, and making new friends. My brother was able to assimilate faster, I think because he was younger. It took me a couple of years to feel like this is home,” he said.
“It made me appreciate the best of the two cultures though, and bring the best of each of those together for myself.”
“I did fairly well in school once I settled in. I liked science. When I was a young child, I wanted to be an astronaut. What kid doesn't think about that, looking up at the night sky. After moving to Vancouver, I started to become interested in how things were built. Looking at the different structures and the methods used. I knew I wanted to become a structural engineer,” he told me. Jimmy went to UBC (University of British Columbia), right after high-school.
“I was studying seven subjects each term. I lived on campus, in residence. I learned to cook for myself and do all the things I needed to do to look after myself. It was a good experience,” he said.
“I was still training for cricket, and playing as well. I joined the Canadian National team right after graduating from UBC. I had gotten a call to join the team earlier, but I was just too busy with school. I couldn’t take time off to train at that level then. Once I finished school, I became a professional cricket player, and did that as my job for two years. While Vancouver is home, the team's base is out of Toronto. There was lots of travelling involved during that time,” he said. Jimmy has travelled extensively with the team, playing in the 2011 World Cup and many other international tournaments. Cricket has taken him to Scotland, Dubai, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates, to name just a few of the countries he has played cricket in.
Jimmy has put his Bachelor’s degree to good use.
“I’ve spent time working as a Structural Engineer. I just joined a new firm and I’ve moved into Project Management. Overseeing projects from start to finish. I’ve been taking a course to get my designation as a Project Manager, but I’m already working in that role,” he said.
“I’m the Captain of the Canadian cricket team now," he told me.
"I’m looking forward to joining the team when we start training in January for the next season.” I couldn’t help but comment on how busy Jimmy’s life must be with being an engineer and a professional sportsperson.
“I tend to think of it like I'm massaging my brain during the day by working. And I'm massaging my body in the afternoons and evenings through sports. It’s all about the balance in life.” #notastranger