Born San Jose, Costa Rica |
Before going to the United States for university, Jason’s Canada-born mother had visited her father who had recently moved to Costa Rica. It was on this visit that his mother bumped into one of her father’s employees – a stock room guy. They ended up dating and this man soon became Jason’s father! They described it as having been “love at first sight”. The only problem was that neither of them spoke each other’s language – so they both had dictionaries and managed to have a conversation and to express themselves by smiling and pointing at words. After growing up in Costa Rica, Jason decided to move to Toronto to pursue his undergraduate degree and now he calls the city home for many reasons. He enjoys the city’s many modes of transportation and his ability to feel comfortable, supported, and ‘out’ in regards to his sexuality. Also appreciated is the availability of an incredible variety of food.
“Where else can you have an Iranian-style brunch, Sushi for late lunch and an Ethiopian injera dish for dinner?”
While Toronto was supposed to be just a ‘layover’ en route to another destination, he decided upon graduating with a degree in Political Science that his roots were growing here.
Toronto as Home
Since arriving in 2004, The University of Toronto’s New College has been an incredibly important community for Jason. When he was a student he was heavily involved in campus life and served two terms as President of the New College Student Council (only the second person to have done so since New College opened in the 1970s). He even launched a “hotly contested” yet ultimately unsuccessful campaign to serve as president of the St. George Campus - losing by less than 200 votes. A year after graduation he was appointed as the New College representative on the Governing Council’s Alumni College of Electors and then went on to join the Governing Council Secretariat as a staff member working in academic discipline.
“I have always wanted to make tangible and impactful contributions to the university community and have spent thousands of hours in volunteer service. I feel as if the University has given him back so much more than he has been able to give.”
Connection with the Past
Jason sees the banana as a metaphor for his own life. Like the banana he travelled 3000 miles from Costa Rica to build a life here, he is “sweet”, and he gets along with “just about anyone”. He says one of his favourite desserts is “deep-fried bananas”. As an avid reader, he also enjoyed Dan Koeppel’s “Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World”, a book that illustrates “the mighty and often unnoticed cultural, social and economic impact that bananas have made in our lives.” He hopes that someday someone will write about him, and how he also changed the world.