Sarah John


Sarah John’s ‘Andit Dzen (Day)

For starters, I live at home in Saik’uz with my Mom, Dad, Uncle, Sister, Nephew and Niece (this is an average household). I’m 26 years old and absolutely adore the fact that I live a little different than mainstream society. I enjoy comparing the notion of individualism versus communal and kinship systems. I belong to the world of the latter two. In my mind, how can anyone survive without one another?

For example, I woke up this morning, drudging my way toward the coffee machine, before hearing an uplifting voice singing, “Bears-y Wears-y has risen from her Den at 7am! Holy smokers it must be snowing outside”. And it was; darn April snow. As routine, the sluggishness turns into a prance as each family member takes a turn at teasing and cracking jokes about my, what I call, early awakening. Before I knew it, I was reaching for the water jug instead of the coffee mug and I would call that reaching for the start of a good day (besides the April snow I brought).

I patiently wait for my turn to the bathroom while reading the day’s issue of the PG Citizen and discussing hot subjects with my Mom and Dad. Today’s point of interest was the planning and creation of BC’s first Aboriginal Choice School. This is so exciting and by no means is it exclusive. I also read to my family excerpts from the ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ and it’s hilarious! I plan to write the ‘Diary of a Dakelh Kid’. Speaking of kid, what is my nephew doing in that bathroom? He’s so excited this morning because he just got back from Disney World last week and now him, his Mom and baby sister are going on another trip – to Cancun those lucky ducks. “I’m just brushing my teeth Auntie Sarah, remember patience, and I’m getting ready for Mexico”. Right, I got patience, but Soo ‘A (hurry up!), not all of us are going to Mexico!

Once ready, I come up from my ‘Den’ to a yummy hot breakfast my brother-in-law prepared for all of us; ‘the whole gang’. What a nice surprise when I sit down at a table full of extended family (which in Native culture is really your immediate family), “Hi Uncle Pete, Uncle Dunning, Uncle Leaf, OH! And Uncle Richard!” and with them are a couple of my first cousins (which in Native culture are my brothers). So there we are, updating each other on our lives and catching up over a nice breakfast while also enjoying the entertainment happening outside the window; as ‘Goosbai’ (Piki-Poo), ‘Mator’ (Shihtzu) and ‘Spike’ (Pomeranian) run circles around ‘Olaf’ (Rotti-Lab).

We continue to talk about the ‘big issues’ (family wellness, finance, community hardship, travel, keyoh, etc) until near exhaustion before surrendering to the idea of, “it’s not where we live, it’s how we live”. We share stories of each other’s highlighted moments of wusdlo (I am laughing at you) because we all know how much we love each other so let’s boastfully LAUGH at those moments – it’s refreshing!

HONK HONK! We have the usual drive-by visits as Dad runs out to get fresh oven baked bread from my Aunty. We tone down the stories and share our plans for the day and we’re off to the races – but first I got to feed the horses.

Dad’s going to PG for new glasses and he’s dragging along his nephew for some company and to visit a good friend who’s not doing well in the hospital. Uncle Dunning, who came to pick up his tools he left here from when he painted the house, is bringing Uncle Bill back to PG to visit his kids. Uncle Richard figures he better measure the roof while he’s here so Mom can go and buy the new shingles for him to install. Uncle Pete brought Uncle Leaf to pick up his work stuff because it’s now break-up; while Mom’s trying to get everyone out the door so she can have the house to herself to write her paper.

I peel off to work, talk to my colleagues about College stuff and bury myself away to write, write and write some more! I stop at Neighbourlink for scrapbooking but today I have no time to visit because my study group is waiting for me at home.

I get home to the smell of moose stir-fry (YUM!) made by my brother-in-law. There, sitting at the dinner table with papers strewn all over, is my Mom and my Aunt with their laptops open, typing away their thoughts. We are writing up our final project for school. The door opens and we hear a big “Hadih?” and in steps our final study partner, my older Sister. Before we talk about homework together, we catch up on each other’s day (education, work plans, etc.); telling stories of culture and practice which enables us to unveil our brilliant ideas onto paper.

As we unwind from the level of brilliance, Dad walks in the door as he’s just getting back from PG. He says him and “baby” (the littlest sister) went to the auction after she got out of her class. “I bought her a new car… [silence settles in]…I’m just kidding; but it sure was nice!” and he shares his ‘Tales at the Auction’. “What time is it anyways?” he asks. “It’s 10 Dad”. “Oh, I want to go see how Tiger done” as he hurries downstairs to the TV Den (most often he has his ‘reasonable programs’ to go downstairs for – yeah right!).

I grab my pup and head to the ‘Den’ myself. Tonight I’ll continue reading and reflecting on the “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paulo Freira; providing me with lots of Critical thought for bunde (tomorrow). Meaning I just might need a mug of coffee for what the morning’s conversation may bring to action!  Until then, Sarah Naningo’.

5 responses to “Sarah John

  1. Michelle Miller-Gauthier

    Sarah, you are an amazing writer! I was sitting on your shoulder throughout your day as I read! Thank you for explaining how first cousins are actually like brothers and sisters in many First Nations cultures. It articulated the interactions I see between many first cousins at the Neighbourlink scrapbooking group.

    I can’t wait to see who shares their ‘day in a life’ next!

    Michelle

  2. Snachailya Michelle! Narrative and descriptive writing is my FAVorite! I enjoy thinking and reflecting on the Narrations of our lives. I also like writing emotion for the reader (which is definitely a learning process) … the (e)motions of our body/mind as an attempt to allow the reader to ‘feel’ the words; whether it be Humour, anger, fear, loss, Love, etc … I’m so happy you enjoyed a day in the life of Me 😉

  3. Very nice writing and description of events as they unfold. I guess you never really begin to appreciate what you have until you really sit down and reflect on your day and the “nuggets” that is presents in terms of the important things in life.
    I can relate to the bathroom scenario. I have clear memories of our daughter Danielle in that regard as it was a daily source of angst for me as I watched steam billowing out from under the bathroom door as she emptied our hot water tank every morning and then set up shop in front of the mirror to prepare as her “public awaits”
    Its funny how you come to miss those things now that she is not living at home.
    Great writing! You really should tackle your moms story.. serious!!

  4. Thank-you for sharing your “day in a life” as I really felt as if I was there experiencing it all with you. Wonderful writing and storytelling.

  5. Debbie Anderson

    relaxing, enjoyable read, thanks Sarah!

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