101 Days, 101 Strangers, 101 Stories: Day 47

This evening, I was at a dear friend’s birthday gathering. Great food, great company, and a great opportunity to meet strangers.

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Meet Jenny. She’s studying economics at Simon Fraser University. Any party where I can geek out about economics with someone without them leaving is a good party. She’s entering her fifth year of undergraduate studies, not attached to the idea of finishing a degree in an arbitrarily distinguished amount of years. She’s being practical about it. I appreciate that.

Jenny spent some time in a co-op program, working at a mortgage brokerage and learning about the way that side of the economy works. It gave her a renewed perspective of debt and how scary it can be. She’s also involved in the Young Women in Business program up at SFU.

She used to be a big fan of social media, with accounts on multiple platforms and with a pretty decent chunk of followers on Twitter. But, she told me, “it didn’t feel authentic –erm, the word authentic doesn’t even sound authentic.” We both smiled because it was true. It just felt like the connecting wasn’t real or personal through social media, she explained. She realized that she much prefers one-on-one conversations, not one-on-hundreds. That’s not conversation. She eventually deleted her accounts, only now coming back to them for new reasons and new endeavours. But she still doesn’t have Facebook.

Jenny has a very gentle presence — bright and brilliant but not blinding in an in-your-face kind of way. It was lovely to meet her.

As the night went on, we sang and played instruments together. Two of the guys from the world music store I talked about on day 29 were there, too. In fact, I got a ride home from my stranger from day 29. They say you shouldn’t hop into a car with a stranger… but if you start a project and write about their story first, then it’s okay.

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