Tell me about something you love to do
I really enjoy creating art, especially with black ink. I love playing around with lines to create dimension and texture in my drawings. I usually draw pictures that relate to my cultural backgrounds, Métis and Ukrainian. I also love taking photos! Even simply wandering around and documenting my everyday life brings me joy.
Share a story about an experience that's shaped who you are
When I was ten years old, my mom passed away from breast cancer. I had been living with her in B.C. at the time, and had to move to Saskatchewan to live with my dad. Raising a daughter as a single dad must’ve been difficult, but I think he did a pretty great job! I also continue to feel my mom’s presence and guidance with me every day. She’s the guardian angel that keeps me safe.
What topic of interest are you currently exploring?
Lately, I have been most interested in my career, working as an EAL (English as an Additional Language) Teacher. Every day I get to work with students from countries all around the world! I love learning about other cultures and find it so rewarding to work with these students and help them develop their English language proficiency.
What book, song, movie, or speech has influenced your life the most?
The book, A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki.
It’s about a sixteen-year-old girl named Nao, who experiences a lot of ridicule and bullying. She feels out of place everywhere she goes. Her great-grandmother becomes her greatest friend and role model and she ends up spending most of her time documenting her great-grandma’s life in her diary. Her great-grandmother is a Buddhist nun who is more than 100 years old. She is also a feminist, a revolutionary, and a poet. Nao’s great-grandmother slowly teaches Nao about her family, history, and culture. Over time, Nao learns about what it means to be Japanese and to be part of the Japanese culture. It’s a powerful book based on the theme of identity.
This book really resonated with me for many reasons. I think everyone experiences a loss of identity at varying points in their life. It’s so inspiring to follow this girl’s journey in finding herself and her true identity. Japan is also my favourite countries to learn about. I went on a trip to Japan a few years ago, and still catch myself daydreaming about it regularly. I have a similar relationship with my grandma as Nao has with her great-grandmother. I’m actually writing a book about her too; all about her life, hardships, accomplishments, and wisdom that she’s gained over the years. She also teaches me a lot about my Métis culture!
If you had the opportunity to inspire a large group of people, what would you talk about?
I would talk about my culture, my upbringing, my struggles in life, and how I stay happy!
Anything else you'd like to share?
Here are some of my favourite quotes:
“Focus on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.”
“Wabi-sabi” - The Japanese art of appreciating beauty in our naturally imperfect world.
“Remember that when you struggle, you grow.”
"Happiness is the highest form of health." - Dalai Lama