HOK #98: Jens-Michael Schaal

KT---HOK-Jens-Michael-Schaal-001Meet Jens-Michael Schaal.

“I was born in Germany 45 years ago, and I lived and grew up in Frankfurt, and I wasn’t expecting that ever to change. I was really happy where I was. I had a good life and I had established myself in Germany and I worked in the financial services sector. In 2004, I moved to Canada, and the reason for that was because I met a Canadian woman from Quebec and we moved to Montreal. We met in Cape Town, South Africa, in language school, both taking English as a second language. We are both self-adventurous, which took us individually to Cape Town instead of studying in our own countries. I am eternally grateful for her choosing something out of the norm because that’s how we met. I chose South Africa because I had been there the year before, I liked it there, and my work agreed to send me there for the training. We went there, met there and the rest is history.

“We moved to Montreal, lived there for a while, and then I decided to go back to school. I earned a B.A. from Concordia, and then did a master’s at Queen’s. Afterwards, we decided to move to Ottawa. Then our nomadic journey started. We moved to the U.K. and started with a company which is based out of Ottawa that helps to bring skilled workers to Canada. Then we moved back to Ottawa for the second time. Then the company I had worked for in London wanted someone to start an office in New Delhi, India, so we moved to India. I stayed there for four years, and after the first year there changed jobs to work for the Ontario government there. Then we came back to Ottawa. I only stayed for about two months and then moved to my next job in New York City. We have now moved back to Ottawa for the fourth and final time. We want to build roots and have our daughter make a circle of friends. We love the city, and we love the neighbourhood, and are thrilled to be back. Three times we have lived in Westboro (and once in Hintonburg). We kept coming back because it is a lively and diverse neighbourhood. It’s a neighbourhood where you can still do a lot on foot, and that is what we love. There are amazing coffee shops here; there are amazing restaurants. We can get all our shopping done on foot or on bike. It’s just a neighbourhood that has everything we are looking for.”

Collected by Ellen Bond

Humans of Kitchissippi is a special street photography project designed to introduce readers to some of the people who live, work, and play in Kitchissippi. Each instalment of HOK contains three elements: a photo, a name, and a quote from the subject that reveals a little bit about who they are. View our collection of humans right here.

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