Andrea deLange

Aunty Andrea
Age: Happy to be coming up on 50.
Occupation: Helps kids who have challenges to learn and find success in a classroom.

I remember growing up and always thinking my Aunty Andrea was the coolest. She had the “grooviest” accessories and when we were wee kiddies, she would let us take her earrings out and put them back in (clearly we were very easily amused children).

A little while ago I went home to my parents house late at night looking for my mom. It was one of those nights when everything felt like it was falling apart and the only fix it would to simply be in the presence of Mama G.

I ran upstairs expecting to see Mom on the couch, curled up with a good read… I quickly realized she and dad went to the Island for the weekend.

They weren’t there, but Andrea was. She sat with me while I cried and was very much there for me. Present and gently letting me be sad for a while. She didn’t try and give advice, she let me feel everything I was meant to be feeling. She was comfort for me, simply in the fact that she was there.

She has been this way my entire life. From the awkward teenage years to the confusion of adulthood, I’ve always known that she is there for me. She is a very special woman and I strive to be as caring and present as she is.

•••

How would you describe our relationship in three words?
You are my “awe-inspiring niece”

Where is your favorite place on Earth?
Victoria- it has is all: arts, music, festivals, gardens, natural beauty, recreation, beaches, lakes.

What is the one thing that always makes you smile?
There are quite a few things, but in thinking about it I can sum it up in one thought: when a person shows me something they are proud of.

What’s your go-to work out song?
When I work out I like it quiet. It is one of the few times that I get to collect my thoughts. Any other time, bring on the tunes. I love live music.

How do you make the world a better place?
I try hard to lead by example. I make sure that I am a participant in my community, that I maintain fairness and personal responsibility, that my kids see me struggle and see me succeed and that I am a lifetime curious learner.

What’s one thing in your life that make you feel strong?
Looking at my girls and marveling at them becoming amazing and confident women.

If you had one day left to live, what would you do first?
Fly everyone I love here and have a picnic at Esquimalt Lagoon.

Who is the one person on Earth that knows you the best?
My fella. And I still have a few mysteries.

What is your favorite physical attribute about yourself?
This would have been a hard question to answer for most of my life. It took a long time for me to be comfortable in my body. There was always something too big or too small. As I swoop in on 50, I can finally say I like my body. It’s got me a long way. I know it’s aches and pains and know why they are there.

 

My favorite thing about me is my hair. I never had the guts to let it grow and always kept it short. I started to go grey in my thirties. I dyed it and kept it cut short. A few years ago, I thought what the hell- I’ve earned every grey hair. I let it grow out and feel a lot of freedom!

What is your favorite non-physical attribute about yourself?
My creativity.

Who inspires you?
There are some smart, strong and accomplished people in my life. People who have worked hard, contributed a lot, raised amazing kids. There is also a lot of young people with a lot of potential that they are exploring.

What’s something you’ve never done, but always wanted to?
The best things I have ever done have involved a small element of risk. I want the controls of a helicopter for just a few minutes. I’d fly like TC in the TV show Magnum PI.

What was the last thing that made you cry?
One of my students is a new refugee from Syria. He and I communicate using google translate. He told me in Arabic that he lived in fear every day of being killed and he was still scared here. Heartbreaking.

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I am the oldest kid in my family and I live with a great sense of responsibility. The craziest thing I have done is skydive. Pretty tame really.

What’s your favorite joke?
My friend drew a comic when we were 20. It was Moses standing on a car on a crowded highway. The text said, “Let my people merge.” It is just the right amount of his silly humor and irreverence for me.

What gives your life meaning?
I notice success in others. Watching kids I have worked with “get it” and seeing the changes those around me are enjoying. I like the feeling when I learn something new and “get it” too. I enjoy challenging myself and celebrate good outcomes.

What inspires you to be better?
I always thought that being an adult just came naturally. I am finding however that every day I am learning a bit more about how to be an adult.

There are two types of people in the world… what are those two types?
This is a trick question because my science brain knows that there is only one- we all have 23 pairs of chromosomes.

As you get older, what are you becoming more afraid of?
Both my parents died too early. I admit that I am afraid of the same thing.

Change is becoming harder. I am looking forward to a change of job but the process is scary.

My memory is starting to fade. The other day I could not remember the word “ladder”. It was hard to laugh about.

What do you take for granted?
That everyone shares my concern for doing the right thing. I forget that everyone defines that differently.

What makes a good life?
Having people to love and who love you, and cats in the house.

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Give up the idea that you will be ready for every change coming your way. There are many things that cannot be controlled nor anticipated.

What are the top three things you want to accomplish before you die?
Watch my kids launch out into their world and find some success.

Travel with my favorite guy. I want to see as many museums as we can.

Go back to school to learn a little more. Take some course in music appreciation, art, astronomy, science.

What is your favourite quote?
When I was 18 I bought a postcard that said, “Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. ‘Pooh?” he whispered. ‘Yes Piglet?’ said Pooh. ‘Nothing’ said Piglet taking Pooh’s hand. ‘I just wanted to be sure of you.’” A.A. Milne. It reminds me that trust is earned and we have responsibilities to each other.

 

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