tofino profile: keith crawford le shana

Tofino Profile: Keith Crawford Le Shana

by Shirley Langer, Tofino

the letter 'I' It's Keith's day off from his job behind the counter at Caffe Vincente. He welcomes me into his apartment with a fine view of the ocean, makes me a cup of excellent coffee, and sets out a piece of apple apricot pie which he baked himself. Delicious! He's new in town - he arrived in July - and comes from away—far away. Born and raised in Newfoundland, he lived in Australia for some years, but has spent the last twelve years in Indonesia, mostly in Bali. I hear traces of an Aussie accent, but would never have guessed he was a Newfie down homeboy. To judge from his appearance, he looks European. Though the day is cool and wet, Keith is dressed in light coloured trousers, dark knit open-collared shirt, a natural linen jacket, collar turned up Italian style, and on his feet, spotless white sneakers that look like shoes, not space ships. Very urbane indeed.

Keith shows me his C.V. His field of education and expertise is in English language training. In Indonesia he worked for Simon Fraser University as an English Language Training advisor, performing cross-cultural training for Indonesians planning to emigrate to Canada, mostly civil servants. After his name I see EAP Coordinator, then eiudp program coordinator, and others. At the bottom of the c.v. it says, "All original degrees and diplomas available upon request". Of course I'm curious to know what brought him to Tofino. I didn't expect his answer. The bomb planted in September of last year in a nightclub in Bali by Indonesian terrorists that killed over 200 people, mostly vacationing Aussies, "shook him up". Deciding to take a break, he opted "to spend a year being a Canadian in Canada to remind myself where I'm from".

Arriving in Tofino produced culture shock. After Bali, it always seems freezing to him, and the cost of living surprised him. "Have you integrated into Tofino life?" I ask. He answers with one-word-"Not". I ask why not. Besides working at Caffe Vincente, he has a second job to make ends meet, so hasn't had much opportunity. And then there are his general interests-reading, usually two books on the go, researching interesting stuff to do with fine foods. The books and magazines on his coffee table reflect this-and not one skin mag to be seen! This guy is a stay-at-home kind of fella, I think, and girls, he can cook! Not only pie, but he had home-made minestrone for lunch.

I tease him a bit about Tofino life. "Well, have you got gumboots yet?" The Co-op, it seems, does not have his size — size 12. "What about rainwear?" He goes to the closet and brings forth a new, bright yellow Helly Hansen jacket. "No fleece?" I ask, admiring his linen jacket. He assures me he has some. I assure him he's well on the way to being integrated.

While we talk, Keith Leshana sips beer from a thin-stemmed wine glass. "Your drink of choice?" I want to know. "Actually, my drink of choice is an Australian wine, called Jacob's Creek Claret." Then we chat about work. I ask him if he has favourite customers. He's reluctant to mention names, but finally tells me. "Jackie". A brief description and I know he's talking about Jackie Prescott. "And also Michelle," he says, whom I determine is Michelle Dimitrov, of Dust Bunnies. "And what makes them special?" I want to know. "Because they are always smiling and ultra pleasant," he replies. (I think I smile a lot and am ultra pleasant, so it must be still true that gentlemen prefer blondes!) I tell him that he himself is a gracious, smiling person behind the counter. "It's a good place to work," he says. "I enjoy the atmosphere, and besides," he says with a sly look, "it's always warm. I tell my bosses that's the real reason I work there."

The coffee cup is empty, the pie eaten, the rain has stopped, and the tall, skinny, nice guy who serves me a croissant and cafe latté Sunday mornings has now become a whole person—a cool, tall, nice, skinny guy reclaiming and rediscovering his Canadian roots among us. Welcome to Tofino, Keith.

Shirley Langer describes herself as a woman about town with a well developed civic consciousness.

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