It’s the halfway point in the Live@YVR project and contest winner Jaeger Mah wishes it didn’t have to end.
“This is a fantastic experience and it’s going to be hard to leave here when I do,” Mah said.
In August, the Vancouver Airport Authority announcement Mah as the winner of its Live@YVR contest. His assignment was to spend 80 days at YVR finding stories and shooting short documentary films about them.
On Monday, May just wrapped up shooting on day 41 of 80.
He’s posted more than 20 story clips and 30 blog entries. “My goal was to post more than 40 story clips and I’m on track to accomplish that,” he said.
Mah’s greatest challenges so far involve trying to cover the vast array of stories by himself.
“I put in a 20 hour day one day and edited all night, my brain is still recovering — it feels like I was at a 24 hour rave.”
Even though he covers a lot of ground every day there’s an endless amount of ground to cover yet. “I’m a one-man show and there’s so many stories to tell that sometimes it feels like I’m just scratching the surface,” he said.
Mah’s favourite story he’s done so far is about the reunion between a fighter pilot and a girl that met in Saskatchewan during the Second World War.
The couple dated and fell in love but were separated when the man was re-stationed in England.
They stayed in touch by letter then went their different ways as time went on.
Now 91, the man came to Vancouver to see his former sweetheart, who is now a widower at age 86.
“Sixty years later and I was there to see it,” Mah said. “He was dressed in best clothes and you could tell that he must have really rocked those clothes back in the day.”
The employees of YVR are a close-knit community unto themselves and were reticent around Mah when he first started looking for stories.
The infectiously upbeat Mah eventually warmed them over though, and they now consider him one of them even bestowing gifts on him.
“They gave me some pretty trippy Hawaiian shirts for my collection,” he said.
Mah’s boyhood friend Dallas Dalziel spent the day with him at YVR and brought a little taste of home with him. “He brought a box of doughnuts from the Donut Shop in Port Alberni with him,” Mah said. “The crew from CNN that interviewed me went nuts over them.”
Mah has met a few people from Alberni and often gets e-mails from them. But he doesn’t get to see or speak to people from home as often as he’d like.
But that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten them.
“This is a life changing experience and I wouldn’t be here without the people of Port Alberni.”