Dan and I met when we were 16 years old and we were instant best friends. Not without our ups and downs, mind you.
Dan came from a very tumultuous background. While mine was very simple. Neither of us born or raised with anything remotely close to a silver spoon.
From the very beginning we both knew that if we ever wanted anything in life, it would be us that would have to go and get it.
At 16 years old, while still in high school, we were already showing signs of how we enjoyed working together to get what we wanted from life. In order to fund our desire for recreation, fashion, and in Dan’s case… the basic needs of life, we got jobs.
One of our first jobs was together, slicing meat and sweeping floors at a local deli.
Once Dan was able to find a more stable living situation, our ability to aim higher became a little bit easier. We set our sights on a long dreamed of tropical vacation. At 18 years old we again took together took a job at a local telemarketing center doing phone surveys. Our primary objective: sun and fun!
We taped up pictures of tropical resorts all over our little phone cubicals and worked tirelessly to save the money we needed. And believe me, (us) phone work is not fun! But we did what we had to do to get what we wanted. Once we had raised enough money we put in a request for a vacation. Which was completely denied. But we didn’t care. We knew what we were after and we were going to have it. So we quit. We were resourceful. We would figure it out after we enjoyed our reward. And we did. And life went back to normal.
We finished high school with dreams of big things, although just not too sure what they were yet.
We eventually got an apartment together. Dan tried to further his training through organizations that had helped him as a youth in need while I worked full time at a call center. Knowing the difficulty of that, I eventually left and began work at London Life. An organization my Mother spent 38 years of her life with. I knew I wouldn’t do that forever, come hell or high water. But it would do for now. Dan searched for work at a temp agency and secured a position in an auto assembly plant. We were chugging along as more things began to happen to make it appear that things were falling in to place, in the traditional sense. But as you have seen and will come to see, Dan and Rachael are NOT traditional.
Then came Mia. Dan and I always giggle because throughout our careers as Realtors we have always joked to our first time home buyer clients, “new home, new baby” and it almost always comes true. As it did for us. We purchased our first home, a small affordable condo in South London just two days before we found out we were expecting Mia, our first born child.
At 22 we were scared out of our minds, but knew deep down that it would be OK. We had each other and together, we were always OK.
Mia was born December 5th 2004. Which we both say is the day our lives really started.
Within the year we had upgraded to a larger home and were fortunate enough to find opportunities to purchase investment properties due to income we had made fixing and selling homes in the interim.
On my first day back to work after my maternity leave I sat at my desk and cried. I knew that this wasn’t our life. Cubicles, assembly lines… traditional life.
When Dan called me on his lunch break I told him I couldn’t do it anymore. He said he couldn’t either but we needed time to plan our next move.
Now why would we do that? Like everything else in our lives, let’s just jump two feet first and don’t look back. And that’s exactly what we did.
Back then most of the real estate licensing courses could be taken by correspondence. This worked well for us considering we needed to keep our full time jobs to feed our small family. All but one course that required 2 weeks of in class.
Since “go big or go home” was becoming a trend in our lives, we decided to get married smack dab in the middle of all of this, which worked out well because the vacation time we banked for a honey moon came to good use. While most newlyweds celebrate their love on a beach, we celebrated ours in a classroom together.
Our intentions were to complete the courses, become licensed and trade as Realtors part time until we could establish enough business for one to go two feet in, and the other would follow later on. But the universe had other plans… Literally 2 days after the final licensing came in, the plant Dan was working for announced they were shutting their doors. Dan became the chosen one.
On his first real full day as a Realtor Dan told me in the car as he dropped me off at work, “If I can make $xxx,xxx in my first year, you can leave this place and work full time in real estate with me too, ok?”
Just shy of that one year anniversary Dan came home with a cheque tipping the scale over his goal by $1000. My turn for two feet had come. And we never looked back.
We spent the next 8 years growing as professionals as well as a family. Our vibrant son Jakub joined us just one year after and things couldn’t have been any better. We were able to meet and help hundreds of people in this time and we learned so much.
Then the time came for us to decide what was next. New and exciting things are always in our sights. So on our daughter’s 10th birthday our 3rd baby was born. Only this one wasn’t human.
Like many dreams created by Dan and I, The Agency was formed through tiny, (or big I suppose) conversations at dinner or while passing time driving together to and from appointments for work or in whispers together after the kids had gone to bed.
As much as we love the real estate industry and the work we did we were missing something. Not of course in our business. In that we were gratefully thriving.
It was something more internal. A sense of a connection to something. Just like our guts had told us many times before. It’s time for something more.
It’s time to jump. Two feet first. Don’t look back.
And so we did, and here we are.
What’s next for us? We will continue to build our dream and create a story for our children to tell their children. We’ll make friends, and we will be together.
Until next time…