It’s mid-February. And on supermarket shelves, the red and green of a now-distant holiday has been displaced by swaths of pink hearts and cheery cherubs. Ready or not, Valentine’s Day is here.
Discovering the source code for love
Chris Wood had been working at BCIT for years after earning his Computer Systems Technology Diploma when he met and fell in love with his IT Services co-worker Yvonne Hopkins.
How did you meet?
Chris: During the summer, there are food trucks across the street at BCAA, and I invited Yvonne to come along. We were also both taking part-time studies [Yvonne in applied web development and Chris for his Bachelor of Technology in Computer Systems], so we hung out a lot. We were friends for awhile, first.
Yvonne: I think we were chatting on Slack when I told him I liked him, and he said, “I like you, too.” Then we found an empty study room and just sat there, holding hands and blushing (laughs).
Was it love at first sight?
Chris (protesting): That suggests it’s all about the physical relationship and it’s not just about that. It’s about personality, how we interact as a couple. It’s how I look at her and how we make each other better people.
Yvonne: We’ve both been in relationships before. But after a couple months of dating, I knew I didn’t ever want to search again. Everything felt so right. We wanted the same things. There was no hesitation. It happened very quickly.
Chris: We were spending more time together than the average dating couple. We also worked in the same department, had lunch together, went to the same meetings, and played lunchtime soccer and Ultimate (Frisbee) on campus.
Favourite place to hang out on campus as a couple?
Yvonne: We hung out a lot in the Great Hall. We had great conversations there. Or we’d order Uber Eats to the library.
Chris: Our colleague, Ash, worked nights, and he’d always see us in the Great Hall and snap pictures of us sitting together and send them to us! He didn’t know we were dating.
Yvonne: I think I still have one of those photos!
Favourite thing about each other?
Yvonne: Chris is the most selfless person I know and most genuine. He always thinks of others before himself, and he’s also very smart.
Chris: Her bright, positive attitude and personality, even though she might not think it. She goes out of her way for her family and me, literally dropping everything. The closeness she has for the people who are important in her life.
Were there any hurdles to overcome in the early days?
Chris: Nope. Easiest relationship. Ever.
Yvonne: I’ve never met anybody where everything just aligned: our views on life, fitness, health, work. We feel like a team. There’s not a single part of my being that doesn’t think he’s The One.
Cue the heart emojis! We’re so glad you found true love at BCIT.
Engineering a lasting partnership
When Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology alumni Fahimeh Ranjbar and Vladyslav Chekanovych got married, they blended two cultures together (Fahimeh is Iranian and Vlad is from Ukraine). But when it comes to their work, this couple definitely speaks a common language.
How did you meet?
Vlad: One of our classmates introduced us. Fahimeh had just finished a co-op at the library and joined our class in my fourth semester. She had started the program before me. But with classes, library, and work on the weekends, we hadn’t noticed each other before then.
Was it love at first sight?
Fahimeh: I’m not sure about love—we were too busy with school! But I noticed he was a very calm, quiet, and patient person.
Vlad: Our feelings developed over time. As we found more and more in common between us, we became more attracted to each other.
Where was your favourite place to hang out as a couple?
Vlad: Back in 2009, the Burnaby Campus Tim Horton’s had just opened, and we liked to take short breaks there from studying. We had busy schedules, so we chatted more on the way home from BCIT.
Fahimeh: The only “us” time we really had was walking up the hill to get to my home near Metrotown.
What was it like dating as BCIT students?
Fahimeh: We didn’t date much until after we finished school and started working. School was very intense. But we made so many good friends and memories at BCIT. We still keep in touch with everyone, and that’s something special in our relationship.
How do you support each other’s careers?
Fahimeh: We both work in the same field—sometimes even on the same projects but with different companies. And we help each other out with work issues.
Vlad: It helps that Fahimeh was also a student at BCIT in the same program. We completely understand each other.
We agree! Common ground is a beautiful thing.
Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of our Alumni Love Stories