Daejeong, le 14 avril 2021
I am the very proud father of five daughters. Jaya is 37 years old; Jessica is 35; Annie is also 35; Alexandra is 30; Simone is 24. All five are beautiful and very smart and most importantly, have fabulous senses of humour.
When my wife Stephanie and I met, she was 26 years old and I was 33. We each had two daughters. She had Jessica and Alexandra, I had Jaya and Annie. Together, we later had Simone.
Jaya is the oldest of the five. She also is the shortest and is often teased by her sisters about that. Jaya is the mother of Rébéka, 14 years old. She is also the step-mother of Alec, 13 years old and son of Jaya’s partner, Pierre-Luc. They all live in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, an hour and a half drive north-east of Montréal since the summer of 2020. Previously, they lived next door to us in Montréal. We were neighbors for eight years but they had wanted to move away from the big city for a while. Jaya is the most serious of my daughters. She always has to think things over and over, sometimes overthink, which brings her to find problems where there should not be any. We talk about something that I see as very simple and quickly she sees potential problems and is looking for solutions. She wants to help. She is a very generous person. She also is very social. She has many friends that love her. She is a very good musician. She can play most wind instruments though her main instrument is the baritone saxophone. She has been a member of a big band that often plays in public. The band has even played twice in the Montréal International Jazz Festival. Professionally, Jaya is a self employed massage therapist.
Jessica is Stephanie’s oldest daughter. I consider Jessica and Alexandra as my own daughters since they were little. Jessica is a Scandinavian beauty. She is very tall and wears her blonde hair very long and usually high on her head. She is our most intellectual child. She is one of the smartest people I know. She also is a single mother to Félix, my seven year old grandson. Since last summer, they have had two roommates: a father and son duo, Yannick and Damien, nine year old. Jessica and her troup still live on the second floor of our house, over where we lived until we left for South Korea in 2019. Besides taking full time care of Félix, who is more than a handful, Jessica is very successful as a part time student in a bachelor’s program in sexology at Université du Québec à Montréal. She is also involved in serious volunteering in an intervention Center fighting alcoholism and substance abuse after fighting dependencies herself. She often does not recognize it but she is a very strong person.
Annie is our middle daughter. She is now living in Vancouver with her partner of ten years, Shammah Mikhaël (Sham). Before that, they were living on the third floor of our house, over us. Annie is a very happy and easy going person. She is also one of the most organized and solid people I know. She is a big time traveller. She has travelled with her family, with her partner, with friends and also on her own. She has visited parts of Central America, South America, North America, Europe and Asia. For the last couple of years, she prepared a tour of the world. She and Sham left their jobs and apartment on February 5, 2020 to start a three years trip around the globe. Two weeks later, the world began closing. They had decided to start in South Eastern Asia especially to come visit us in the autumn of 2020. They landed in Cambodia. We were to meet in Thailand in March for a week vacation on a beach island and meet again in April in Lao during a short school break. They went to Thailand but Stephanie and I never made it because of travel limitations due to COVID-19. After a couple of weeks in Thailand it became obvious that travelling the world would not happen nor immediately nor in the near future. Because they no longer had a home in Canada and because going back was far from their dream plan, they decided to accept our invitation to come to stay with us on Jeju island in South Korea for a while. Sham stayed two months and Annie five. It was the best time ever for Stephanie and I. They are now in Vancouver, both working in different French schools as social workers with students. Annie is meanwhile finishing her university degree.
Alexandra is our second Scandinavian warrior. Like her sister Jessica, she is very tall and blonde, quite a beauty. Alex is our English girl. While all our daughters are perfectly bilingual, Alex is more comfortable in English. She has inherited and loves the Western Canadian culture. She has recently moved to suburb Toronto to continue her dream of becoming a reptile breeder. Her love for animals has taken her towards dogs, horses, birds and now reptiles. School was not particularly good to Alex. She had difficulty functioning within the confinements of traditional schooling so we found her alternative schools where she did much better by being able to be more herself. With no more than a high school degree and, of course, hard work, she is accomplishing herself in putting together a self made business that seems to have great potential. I personally am slightly uncomfortable with snakes and lizards but am so proud that she has found a calling that she is holding on to despite great difficulties in this non traditional field. She is also still fighting health problems since a car accident some years ago having her go through ups and downs.
And then they were five. Simone so wanted to be one of the girls. When she was little, she would so often hear: “OK girls, let’s go, you don’t want to be late for school.” “Girls, your friends are at the door.” She wanted to be a girl like her sisters. On the first day of Pre-Kindergarten, she finally got to be a girl. Her sisters’ school was now also her school. Simone is our artist. She has talent in so many fields. She is a musician with a wonderful soft singing voice. She can play the flute, the guitar and some piano. She paints and her talent for fashion is remarkable. She has a way with colors and styles. She has a degree as a professional make-up artist earned from a French school in Montréal and Paris. Simone also wants to travel and we are eagerly waiting for opportunities to join her in far flung destinations. She has a serious work ethic and a loyalty to and from friends that I admire.
Have I told you how proud I am of my “girls”?