Report Cards will be available on the Parent Portal as of 4pm on Friday December 7th. Hopefully this will be a good weekend to review the feedback and discuss how to move forward. Term reports are simply snapshots of how students are doing at this time in relation to what is expected to have been learned and thus demonstrated to date. We hope that you take the time as a family to discuss plans necessary to continue to improve results and ultimately improve learning. This is also a time to reflect on what went well and not so well in term one. If you have any questions about what you see in the report card, please contact the school.
Basketball is back. The Winter Season of Play is now underway. If you have anytime, check out our game schedules on our website (under extracurricular) and come out and cheer on our Strikers.
Changes in Transfer Policy
The Richmond School District is updating the school transfer application process for the 2019/20 school year. All Richmond students who want to apply for a transfer to a school that is outside of their residence catchment area MUST APPLY TO TRANSFER. This includes students who have a brother and sister currently at a secondary school and students currently in Grade 7 who attend a feeder school but live in another catchment area. Students who are already attending a secondary school out of their catchment area and want to stay, do not have to reapply. The Round 1 Transfer period will be from February 11 - 28, 2019. These applications will be for the 2019/20 school year. For best chance of transfer approval, students should apply during the Round 1 transfer period.
RCMP Youth Academy
This week, three of our students attended the graduation ceremony for the RCMP Youth Squad. Meeting weekly in the evening, these students learned many aspects of policing and the role police play in our society. They also learned many skills that will aid both themselves and society as a whole. Congratulations Angel, Jack and Nini.
Mentors Breakfast for Grade 8's
Though a bit of an earlier start for most, the Grade 8 Mentors organized a fun and filling breakfast for our grade eights. Pancakes, hot chocolate, some draw prizes, and some time with friends. A great way to start the day.
Looks Great, Tastes Better
Students in Ms. Tsang's class learn that it is not just making tasty treats that is important in cooking. Making food look good is also important. Today, Ms. Tsang's students tried their hand at piping. It is much harder than it looks... I can attest with first hand experience.
Recently back from the North American Youth Chess Championship, the Richmond News caught up with the amazing exploits of one of McRoberts own.
Reprinted from the Richmond News.
Life, as 13-year-old Richmondite Sherry Tian puts it, is “like a game of chess, changing with each move.”
And the Richmond chess champion should know, given that she and her seven-year-old sister, Eliza, stormed the podiums recently at the 2018 North American Youth Chess Championships (NAYCC) in Baja California, Mexico.
“It was the moment of our lives,” she told the Richmond News.
After nearly four years of hard work and perseverance, Sherry, a Hugh McRoberts secondary student, earned the prestigious WFM title (Woman FIDE Master; FIDE is the French acronym for World Chess Federation).
At age nine, Sherry started learning chess at a local chess club called Vancouver Chess School and could only dream of becoming a chess grandmaster one day.
She practiced chess every day for at least three hours to inch closer to that dream and can now beat strong adult players, as well as getting into the top five of the Canadian Junior Girls leaderboard.
And earlier this year, Sherry became the BC Women’s Chess Champion and the 2018 Canadian Junior Girls (Under 20) Champion.
Eliza, meanwhile, was competing in her own U8 girls section in Mexico, despite only taking up chess a year ago, and the tournament was her first foray onto the international arena.
“I am so proud of my daughters not only because of their accomplishments in mastering the skills and mentality to win those key tournaments, but also, the most important, the grit, courage and audacity both of them, especially Sherry, managed to have in the face of difficulties or even failures,” said their dad, Alex.
“For most people, those qualities are hard to be understood or learnt from books or teachings and real-life lessons are often very costly.
“I am glad my kids were able to learn something from the game of chess before they face many real challenges in their life.”
The News reported two and a half years ago how a 10-year-old Sherry, a B.C. champion at the time, was beating adult women players and was en route to representing the province in the U.S.A.’s most prestigious girls chess tournament.
Back then, she was ranked number one in B.C., after rising through the chess ranks when her Grade 2 teacher noticed she had a talent for math, before placing her on an accelerated math program.
Striker by for a Visit
We introduced Striker last week... this week Striker was introduced to us. Rescued with love in small part by our own Animal Rescue Club, Strker (the new name for this amazing dog), is being trained as to be one of multiple service providers for someone in need. Though she is just a pup, Striker has already demonstrated so much growth. Though only at our school for just over half an hour, Strker touched the hearts of all in the club and all those who just stopped by to see him.
Writing Students Can Write
Ms. McKenna's Writing 12 students were hard at work creating an open ended writing piece designed to captivate. With the permission of the authours, we have included the stories (as well as their cover art) below.
The Midnight Bus
The lightbulb illuminating the bus stop was flickering at uneven intervals, often times going out for five, six seconds at a time and leaving James in complete darkness. James glanced at the watch on his wrist, and groaned quietly when he saw that it was only 11:47pm; two busses had been scheduled to come during the entire twenty-five minutes that James had been waiting for, but neither had shown up, so now he was forced to wait for the last bus of the night: the midnight one. James shoved his cold hands deep into his pockets and buried his face in the collar of his coat, trying to preserve as much heat as he could while he waited for the bus. However, the rain (that seemed to be coming down harder and harder by the minute) was making that quite the challenge.
James liked the rain. He enjoyed listening to it thundering off the street and the cover of the bus stop; he loved the petrichor that came with the rainfall. However, as the water pooled under his feet and soaked through his shoes and socks, and as he had to wipe the mist from his face every minute, his fondness for the rain began to slowly dissipate. He looked down, trying to hide his face from the raindrops coming from all directions, and he watched the water build up at the curb in front of him, waiting for it to inevitably overflow.
So concentrated on the miniature dam in front of him, James didn’t notice the bus he had been waiting so desperately for arriving, until it pulled up at the curb and splashed the build-up of water at his feet. The wave of rainwater washed over his already-sodden shoes, but a wave of relief passed through his body as the bus doors opened and he finally stepped out of the miserable downpour. James finally untucked his nose from his coat collar to give a quick nod to the bus driver and pay his fare, then he faced the rest of the bus; to James’ surprise, it was particularly full for a Wednesday at midnight. The other passengers were sitting in such a way that in order to have a seat, James would have to sit beside someone else instead of alone- the way he preferred. Nevertheless, after standing in the cold for thirty minutes, he felt like he couldn’t stand for a minute longer. He began to examine the other passengers as the bus began to move along, but after only a few moments, James parked himself just in the seat closest to him.
The man he sat beside looked like the monsoon outside.
He wore black clothes which were drenched, and James could see that the black hair poking out from the man’s pulled-up hood was also dripping wet. And yet, the man seemed so unbothered; he was leaning against the window, staring blankly ahead as water drops rolled off of his hair and down his face. James didn’t think he had been staring at the man so intensely, until the man shifted his gaze from directly ahead of him to James.
The first thing that James noticed was his eyes. The eyes staring at him looked tired; they were bloodshot and unfocused, with heavy eyelids threatening to shut. Dark circles lined his under eyes, so deep it seemed as if this man hadn’t slept in days. Pale skin harshly contrasted against his bold eyes, a snowy sheet that covered deeply hollowed cheeks and a sharp, defined jaw. There was something about this man that sent an uneasy feeling through James, but he just couldn’t seem to look away; whether it was the man’s eyes or his soaked clothing or his state of indifference, there was something that kept James enticed.
The bus drove over a speedbump, shaking the whole vehicle and shaking James out of this trance, who finally realized that he had been rudely staring at this man.
“Got caught in the rain?” James asked with a timid smile; he then immediately mentally groaned at the stupidly obvious question he had just asked. The man didn’t reply right away. He held James’ gaze for a moment longer, before slowly turning his head and looking out the window into the darkness.
“The storm washed away my tent,” the man finally said. His voiced mimicked his appearance: bleak, dreary, sullen. “Nowhere for me to go; I only had two dollars left, thought I’d hop on this bus and see where it takes me. Hopefully somewhere better than here.”
James stared at the man, his eyes wide in astonishment, but the man continued to peer out the window as if he hadn’t just lost the closest thing he could call home. James reached into the deep pocket of his coat, but before he had even taken his wallet out, the man said flatly, “I don’t want your money.” James froze with his hand half in and half out of his pocket, caught by surprise at the words of this man. Once again, he slowly turned his head towards James, and James stared into alluring, fatigued eyes. The man raised his hand in a weak “shoo” motion for James to put his wallet away; as he waved, James noticed that the man’s hands were scarred, with long, slender fingers covered in bumps and bruises and dirty fingernails that were chewed down to the skin.
“No,” said James, continuing to take out his wallet. “Please, take-”
“I don’t want your money,” the man repeated in the exact tone. “I won’t be needing it where I’m going.”
James wanted to ask the man where he was going, but before he could muster up the words, the man got up from his seat, stumbled past James, and stood by the back doors as the bus slowed to a stop. The man spared one last glance back to James with his uneasy but captivating eyes. “See you,” he said, before pushing the doors open and stepping out into the downpour.
James stared as the doors closed and the bus pulled away from the curb and sped away. He craned his neck to try and get another glimpse of the mysterious man, but it was too dark and the rain was coming down too harshly for James to see anything; it was almost as if the man had vanished into the darkness. James slowly turned back around, sinking back into his seat with the feeling of unease building up in his stomach and the image of the man’s eyes engraved into his memory. However, as the bus continued to drive and more time elapsed since the man had gotten off, James felt that strange feeling begin to slowly fade away, until eventually the man was just a memory in his head and the thought of him no longer gave James that sense of discomfort.
The sound of footsteps approaching, then stopping beside him woke James from the trance he hadn’t realized he had fallen into. He looked to the source of the footsteps, to see a stout elderly lady standing beside him, firmly gripping onto her walker with both hands. James immediately began to stand to offer the woman his seat, but before he was even completely out of his chair, the woman raised a shaky hand towards him.
“Oh, no thank you, dear,” she said politely. “My stop is coming up soon enough.”
“Are you sure?”
The woman smiled, her lips a thin red crease across her face. “Quite sure. Besides, you youngsters need to save your energy for when you’re ancient, like me.”
James returned her smile, hesitantly sitting down. The woman’s eyes narrowed as she focused on James, her lips changing from warmly smiling to tightly pursed, and she tutted quietly. “My dear, you really should be wearing a heavier coat in weather like this,” she said, nodding towards James’ thin rain jacket, which was only just beginning to dry off. “Don’t you have a bigger coat? Or even an umbrella to keep you dry?”
James smiled sheepishly, avoiding eye contact with the woman. “I wasn’t expecting the rain to come down this hard,” he admitted.
The old woman shook her head, but her caring smile grew back, and she peered at James from over her rectangular, frameless glasses. “You jump in a hot bath as soon as you get home,” she instructed, “or else you will catch a cold, what, with your hair and clothes as sopping wet as they are. And feed yourself, dear, you’re all skin and bones!” She took a hand off of her walker to point a plump finger at James’ wrists poking out of the sleeves of his jacket. He tugged at his sleeves self-consciously, but also couldn’t help but smile at the old woman’s demands; she reminded him immensely of his own grandmother, who was always pushing him to eat another serving at dinner and wear an extra layer when leaving the house in even slightly chilly conditions.
“I will,” James said, nodding once, before looking back up at the woman, “thank you.” The woman looked proud, as if her only goal of the night was to make sure that James was healthy and warm and well-fed, and she had just accomplished that goal.
Once again, the bus began to slow down and pull over to the side of the road. The old woman smiled down at James again, giving him one last look over, almost as if she was making sure that he was alright to be left.
“This is where I get off,” she said. Then, very softly, “Don’t forget to take care of yourself, alright, dear?”
“I will,” James repeated, and it wasn’t a lie. The old woman gave an approving look as the bus came to a complete stop, and she turned around and began to humble away towards the back door of the bus, and joined a wave of other passengers exiting the bus.
Unlike the man he had talked to earlier, the elderly woman had left James feeling warm- despite his lack of a warm coat and his cold, damp hair plastering to his forehead. Even just her words made James feel like he was relaxing at home in a warm bath, the smell of a freshly cooked dinner wafting through the house as it sat on the kitchen table, waiting for him; any bad feeling he had had earlier was now gone, or at least overpowered by the immense feeling of love.
That is, until James looked up at the person sitting in front of him.
He was a boy- couldn’t have been older than nineteen, and he looked to be in worse condition than the first man that James had sat next to. The boy was wearing tattered jeans and a black T-shirt, both drenched from the rain, as was his shaggy hair that covered part of his face. The boy was shaking, but James didn’t think that it had anything to do with the cold. On his bare arms, James could see small, circular bruises that freckled the skin- with a large cluster at the crook of his elbow. The boy’s skin was patched with scars and scabs, some of them appearing as if they had just been picked at. If the elderly lady had been shocked at James’ weight, she would have been completely appalled by this boy; his arms were twigs, his face hollow and gaunt- it had clearly been a while since the boy had last eaten a proper meal. His eyes were sunken but wide, with dilated pupils and pink sclera. The boy’s eyes were darting nervously from side to side, to each individual passenger, until they landed on James; James flinched slightly when they boy barked, “Wh-what do you want?”
James shook his head quickly, sitting up straight and regaining his composure. “Nothing,” he said quickly. He knew the polite thing to do would be to look away, but he couldn’t seem to pull his gaze away from the boy’s.
“Then don’t stare at me,” the boy said, his leg beginning to shake aggressively. The boy looked from side to side, and over his shoulder, as if he was watching out for someone.
“Are you alright?” James asked, with some of the care that was still leftover inside of him from the elderly lady.
The boy chewed on his chapped lips as he looked back towards James, his face full of dread and nervousness. “I messed up,” the boy mumbled, just loud enough for James to hear over all the other noises on the bus. “I messed up. I always do, I always do this.”
James’ eyebrows pinched together in confusion as he leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “Do what?” he asked.
The boy began tapping his foot against the ground, his eyes still darting around like a hummingbird zipping from flower to flower. With a trembling lower lip, he muttered, “He’s going to kill me- God, I’m dead. I’m dead.” He aggressively pulled at his hair, as if he was trying to pull it out by the roots. James went to ask again what the boy had done, but before he could form his question, the boy shot up from his seat, his entire body trembling.
“I’m an idiot,” he said, his voice almost a whisper. “I deserve this.”
James had a hundred questions, but he wasn’t able to ask a single one, because the bus began to pull up to the curb, and stopped a second later. The doors opened, and the boy, terrified of someone that would continue to be a mystery to James, rushed off the bus; James didn’t even have the time to call for the boy to wait before he was gone.
James stared ahead of him, at the now-empty seat, feeling a sense of guilt begin to build up inside of him. The boy seemed so scared, and James wanted to help him, and the fact that he wasn’t able to began to poke at his heart. He tried to shake the feeling off, but all that James could think of for the rest of the ride were the boy’s words.
However, James only had to look at that empty, taunting seat for a few more minutes, because soon enough the bus pulled over to the curb once more, and a voice rang through the bus, indicating that it was James’ stop. He slowly stood up, and with one last look to the seat in front of him, he made his way to the doors of the bus, yelled a quick “thanks” to the bus driver, and James himself left the bus.
Gwen sighed in relief as she slumped down into her favourite chair in the breakroom, a styrofoam cup filled to the brim with burning black coffee- exactly what she needed after a night like this one. Not a few minutes later, her co-worker, Steven, stumbled into the room, shrugging off his jacket and laying it across the back of the chair across from Gwen.
“Rough shift?” asked Gwen, taking a sip from her coffee. Steven rubbed a hand over his eyes as he sank into a chair as well, kicking his feet out in front of him, and Gwen took that as a “yes.”
“I hate driving the 314 route on the night shift,” Steven groaned. “That’s when all the psychopaths get on; tonight I had to physically throw two drunks off the bus for getting into a fist fight in the isle.”
Gwen rolled her eyes, setting her coffee down on the table. “At least on that route you get some action, something that actually happens. I just get all the weirdos on my night route.”
“Yeah? Who’d you get tonight?” asked Steven, leaning back and resting his arm on the back of his chair.
“There was barely anyone on my bus all night,” said Gwen, shrugging. “Just this one guy, who rode for, like, thirty, forty minutes. He sat all alone, and talked to himself his entire ride, as if there was someone beside him the whole time. I don’t know, those-what are they called, schizophrenics?- always make me feel uneasy- especially when we’re the only two left on the bus.”
The Secret of Anonokan
When the Mother of the Ocean began to show all her deep blue mysteries and secrets, Anonokane suddenly woke up. It was a foggy, rainy night and she could feel a salty taste in her mouth. Dreams like this usually happened during nights of Full Moon and she always ended up feeling that Nature spirits wanted to tell her something. She pursed her rosy lips and yawned, moving her body to the edge of the bed in a way she could be able to observe the Sky trough the window of her cozy room. “At least she is still there”, she thought, as she looked to the Moon.
It seemed that the city with its propagandas and streetlamps constantly wanted to compete with the powerful light of the Stars. It was an age of murkiness: the year of 2056. The result of the incessant Nature destruction and humanity’s disconnection.
There were only a few trees left on the whole world; violence, hunger and homeless people could be found at every corner; pure Water in the cities was really rare; big companies were polluting the Oceans and the Air; people didn’t know the meaning of the word “spirituality” anymore; books were being burned; the youth were constantly caged on a virtual reality; medical industry was the richest; society was interacting the whole day with TVs and robots – it was common to find people selling their own organs, their homes or even their children to consume technology and remedies.
Surrounded by this atrocious chaos, Anonokane, a twenty-year-old woman, was watching each day passing by with an ever-creasing agony in her chest. Her deep black eyes were tired of seeing so much pain; her short legs were able to keep her close to the ground so she would never get lost on her pathway; her long black hair kept the healing drops of the rain on her way back home; her brown smooth skin carried the color of what she missed the most: Earth.
Within her dreams and thoughts, Anonokane wanted to take backward steps while the world was walking towards the abyss. Whenever she felt weak and alone, she was reminded of her mother Iamani wise saying: “dance with the slow-moving Wind and feel the sacred Water fulfilling your heart, Anonokane – into the woods you will find peace”.
How can I go to the woods if only a few trees exist? How can I dance in the Wind if that contaminated oxygen don’t even let me breathe? She kept asking herself what her grandma didn’t had time to answer.
Anonokane’s spirit came from the sacred territories that her grandma used to call Abya Ala, “the land of vital blood”, which people know today as America. Her ancestors travelled the Waters on their traditional wood boats to escape the massacre of progress, which scholars call today “neo-colonization”. During the voyages a lot of them died of hunger, loneliness and diseases brought by the exploiters. But sometimes, they were caught by the evil spirit of the Ocean: Umungá.
In the year of 2035, Anonokane’s grandma and her pregnant mom, Iamani, were on their traditional old boat, trying to escape death. During the night, they could hear the whispers of magic and enchantment of sacred beings that lived under the Sea. They were trying hard not to sleep because grandma have heard the dreadful stories of Umungá, the evil spirit of the Ocean that arises during dark nights of New Moon to capture the kindhearted souls.
The salty Wind comes, the salty Wind goes and both of them had their eyes closed. Suddenly, a heavy breeze pushed away the boat, soaking everything inside and making all their calm go dry. “Give me a clean spirit, a kind heart, watch me leave and I will set you free”. It was Umungá begging for a soul. Iamani began to cry, feeling the pain in her womb and the fear in her heart. The more they waited, the more Umungá blew a freezing breeze.
“It’s my time, Iamani. During my whole life I left all my teachings, roots and traditional knowledge with you – this is and will always be our strength. My granddaughter will be a strong woman and she must be called ‘Anonokane’ – the slow- moving Wind that travels around sacred lands. Before you leave, tell her that in the night of New Moon, when she turns twenty-one years old, she will have a dream. Now it’s my time to leave and to return to the Ocean like our ancient ones did. In this Abya Ala full of mysteries I completed my mission as a secret keeper.” Anonokane’s grandma jumped inside the cold Ocean and surrendered her heart and soul to Umungá.
Iamani’s tears merged with the salty Water of the Sea. The rendition of her mother left a deep wound in her soul. Her body got so weary with sadness and loneliness that she fell asleep for three days. She woke up on the shore of a beach. A woman with sunkissed skin and shell necklaces showed up in front of her, covering the Sun.
“Name Pará’úi, sacred Sea smog. Me see you here. Beautiful womb. Welcome to Odoyá!”. Iamani was still trying to understand the situation, but her heart was calming down. She felt comfortable around Pará’úi. Her mother used to say that “women take care of women because we are caregivers and sisters”.
Even though Pará’úi didn’t speak English that well, she knew enough words to communicate with Iamani. She prepared a fish soup and a place for Iamani to rest.
They were not alone. In Odoyá island lived kids, teenagers and elders. It was a rhythmic and graceful community. They sang songs and spoke beautiful words, laughing around the bonfire – they were sons and daughters of Earth, brothers and sisters of light.
In the night of Full Moon Anonokane was born, with the work of an Odoyá’s midwife elder. As Anonokane was growing, everyone could recognize she was a special and gifted girl. Her connection with the Water worried Iamani, who still had nightmares with Umungá.
Days were passing by and the community was growing healthy and strong. Every night they honor the gods, goddess and spirits for their strength and sacred lives. When Anonokane was seven-years-old, Iamani got really sick. The community tried everything but they couldn’t find a healing herb for her illness.
Lying in a thatched bed, Iamani asked her daughter to come closer. “Hold my hands, Anonokane. Before I leave, there is something I need to tell you and give you. On the night your grandma surrendered her soul to Umungá, she told me that at the age of twenty-one, in a night of New Moon, you will have a dream. I don’t know what secret this mysterious Abya Ala is saving for you but I need you to be strong. Always remember, my warm slow-moving Wind: your eyes are your clarity, your blood is your strength and your ancestors are your guides. I love you.” Her hand softened and her eyes closed. She left a purple shell on Anonokane’s hands and passed away in a night of Full Moon.
Over time, pollution from the distant cities began to spread out many diseases and problems in Odoyá’s islands: animals began to die, food stopped growing and the kids and elders were dying. This situation made Anonokane really mad. Her community was living a traditional way for years. For years they recognized that life was a full- circle and everything was inter-connected. Not a single animal died and not a single plant stopped to grow because of their culture.
At the age of twenty, Anonokane left her community to share her view of the world and raise her voice all over Abya Ala; to show the world the existence, resistance and resilience of native communities around the lands of vital blood. With a traditional wooden boat, she navigated the Sea carrying her purple shell of protection.
Within five days learning the secrets of the Ocean, she reached the Northern lands of Abya Ala, which people usually call North America. Anonokane found herself lost and alone in a dystopia. She had never seen a world with so much pain, dirt and lack of spirits. She had never felt like this.
When she arrived, she was labelled as an “outsider”, an “immigrant”, even though she couldn’t figure out the real meaning of these words. “Maybe I will never understand”, she thought. Her community always welcomed every being with love and respect, honoring all differences and similarities. “How could someone be an outsider in a world without barriers?”, she wondered.
Everywhere Anonokane walked, she carried her ancestors and her purple shell of protection. Her spirit was also her blood and strength. She visited the few trees of the city every week and she always looked at the Moon, comprehending that her life was also cyclic. When she visited the dirty beaches around her house, she stored a small cup of Sea Water to remind herself of Odoyá’s community, her mother and her grandma – beings of the Sea.
On lonely nights of crying, she wondered if all this was really her mission; if she was walking on the wrong path. At the end of the day, she was a spirit full of alive trees and flowers among halves, destruction and non-sense. Iamani’s words echoed inside her head reminding her that she could never forget where she came from and where she will go from there.
There were days of hurry that she forgot to look at the Skies, feel the Wind – even if it was dirty – passing through the gray tall buildings; pray for the Stars and whisper words of love for the few birds that passed by. Sometimes, she even forgot about the alive earth under the concrete, like every one else.
It was getting dark and this was one of the nights Anonokane did not look to the Moon. Coincidently, it was finally the night of the New Moon’s dream. She rested her tired body on her bed, gently closing her eyes after a healing cold bath.
Between the end of the dark and the start of the light, Anonokane saw her grandma. She was inside the Ocean, which looked like a starry and shiny underworld Sky full of mysteries and creatures Anonokane had never seen before. Her grandma whispered sweet caring words.
“Although time in the Water gives me patience to wait, I missed you, my granddaughter. Umungá took me from you, but I got your back. Wisdom is in your spine. Be the Wind, Anonokane. Be the slow-moving Wind that sensitively draws waves above me. Protect me, Anonokane, because the Mother of the Ocean is our creator and this is where we live. Tomorrow you must pay attention to the sacred signs and listen carefully to the voice of the ones you can’t see. Go into the dance of the enchanted forest. Go into the dance of the enchanted Water. We are alive and you can feel us. Embrace this gift. We are here for more than zillions of years, a time you can’t even tell or imagine. Recognize that you are Star dust still learning the mysteries of Nature; realize that you are a young apprentice of the Nature and everything within. By realizing that, you can set this world free with only a small gift of this Earth.”
Anonokane suddenly woke up, crying sweet tears just like the lakes in Abya Ala her mom used to tell her about. It was morning already. This dream took the whole night to happen. She could be sure her spirit was waiting more than twenty years for it.
As she opened the door, the Wind blew the direction she should follow. Without thinking twice, she permitted her ancestors to be her guide, like they always did.
Anonokane walked for so long that she didn’t even know where she was at. The slow- moving Wind showed her way and she danced during her pathway. She felt sacredness just like all energies and lives surrounding her; she felt the power of the good spirits as she walked to her destiny. Anonokane ended up in front of a purple shell, just like the one Iamani left with her at Odoyá’s islands, years ago.
She could breathe the clean air and listen to healing sounds; she could feel protection all over her body and spirit; she could smell the salty days of her community and the warmth of the kid’s laughter and bonfires in days of storytelling and traditional dances; she could feel what she really was: a drop of every piece of the Earth that travelled all lands with the strength of a slow-moving Wind.
Anonokane crouched to reach the other side of the purple shell her spirit waited for so long to touch. When she looked inside it, her heart beat in harmony with the waves, as she felt herself a whole part of the world she always belonged to.
Inside that purple shell of protection, there was a seed.
Elyhien XYZ’s Book of Daily Reports
This book contains top-secret information regarding the progress of Mission 297-Earth. If found, prepare to be abducted by a spacecraft and be subject to brainwashing. Read at your own risk.
October 22, 2024
Elyhien XYZ, alias John Wilson reporting. Today I carried out my mission at the education institution assigned to me. During my assigned location of observation, Class 12 of Biological Studies, I have recorded the following data:
- Mark, avid lover of Hawaiian pizza, observed to have rubbed his nose on multiple occasions before sneezing for a total of four times. Sits two seats to the left of me.
- Thomas, aspiring astrophysicist and thus a future potential threat to the secrecy of our existence, seen covering his nostrils through the use of his non-dominant right hand for a significant duration of class, namely, 138 minutes and 23 seconds. Sits directly to my right.
- Hannah, juvenile delinquent known throughout the neighborhood, heard making the following comment, “My god, what’s that smell!?” at precisely 11:48 AM Pacific Time. Based on the lack of reaction from the other students, I have concluded that her comment was what a human would call, a “rhetorical question”. However, I noticed some giggling around the room. Hannah sits in front of me.
October 23, 2024
During the Biological Studies course today, we were to form groups of four in order to review for an upcoming test. I turned my head to invite Thomas but realized he had already scrambled to the front of the room, glancing nervously in my direction while hiding behind his peers. In less than a minute, groups had already been established, leaving me, Hannah, a boy named Josh, and a new student named Maya standing awkwardly around the room. Mr. Smith, furrowing his brows, called out to us and said, “You four! Josh, Hannah, Maya, John! Form a group now!”
I exerted ordinary Homo sapiens behavior by obeying, though against my will, and noticed that Hannah was scowling. Once gathered together, Josh only looked down at his feet. I could not figure out what was interesting about his ripped, gray sneakers. As for Maya, she was twirling a strand of her hair around her fingers while blinking rapidly at Josh. I think she had some dust in her eyes. As I opened my mouth to introduce myself and assert my dominance as the rightful leader, simultaneously all three of them covered their nose.
I pretended to be unaware of this unusual synchronization. “Greetings, Hannah, Josh, Maya. I am Elyh– I am John Wilson, and you shall have the honor of following my orders for the duration of this– “
Hannah exploded into a furious fit of coughing! Her usual pale complexion was turning bright pink at an amazing rate of four shades per second. Josh was frantically waving his hand, fanning his face despite it only being 10 degrees Celsius in the classroom. As for Maya, a pink embroidered handkerchief had appeared in her hands and she was in the midst of tying it around her nose. It did not go well with her neon green vest.
My fingers itched to grab my notepad and fountain pen, but no! Doing so would certainly raise suspicions. Making a mental note of the bizarre circumstances, I decided to record data as soon as I found myself in a safe, isolated space.
I glanced sneakily at the palm of my right hand. “Is everything alright?” I read aloud.
“Yes! Yes, everything’s fine,” Maya said. Turning to Josh and Hannah, she changed the subject. “Do you guys have any mint? Or gum, at least?”
Josh and Hannah shook their head.
“Seriou– never mind. So at the mall the other day, I saw a huge sale at Bubbly World. Apparently the perfumes there all have 75% off and a set of shampoo and conditioners cost only $5! What a deal, right?”
Josh’s eye widened for a second then he broke into a large smile. “Oh yeah… I know what you’re talking about! I think at SmellGood4Less, colognes were 75% off too! And not to mention, the body soaps…”
At this point, their words were entering my left ear and exiting through my right. Although I nodded at every moment judged appropriate, inside my mind I was crying from boredom. Humans really love talking about useless things, don’t they? Why is it that every time I approach someone, anyone, the only topics of conversation are either perfumes, shampoos, or conditioners, if not soaps and cologne?
Further research is required to determine the underlying cause of this irritating behavior.
October 23, 2024
At the end of Biological Studies today, I was one of the last two students to exit the classroom. It was just me and Thomas. Seizing this chance to inquire about the progress on his Intellectual Spatial Life Forms experiment, I called out to him just as he briskly walked past me. “Thomas! Wait!”
His body jolted before he turned around with lips curled back into a twisted smile that resembled a grimace. “Hey… John…what’s up?”
I walked toward him so I could observe his facial expressions in more detail. “About your Intelligent Spatial Life Forms project…how’s it going along? Made any prog– “
I paused and stared at Thomas. He was holding all of his textbooks with his left arm, a feat I never imagined his stringy, thin structure was capable of. His right hand was pinching his nose so hard that his fingertips were purple. His eyes met my gaze, then they flickered away.
“I’m sorry, it’s just that…” he trailed off.
All my suspicions were confirmed immediately. There was no other explanation. The unusual nose pinching, the reluctance to approach me, the bizarre comments...how did I not realize sooner?
Thomas had found something about the Elyhien existence – our existence. “Just what? Tell me. Now.”
Thomas opened and closed his mouth, pausing for a bit. “It’s just that… you really just…” His arms trembled slightly. He looked like a bean sprout trying to survive an earthquake. “It’s nothing personal, but you just…you smell really bad, okay!?”
My jaw dropped and I stared at him for a solid five seconds. Seeing my reaction, Thomas quickly bolted out the doorway and left me alone in the classroom, with Mr. Smith chuckling at his desk in the corner.
Elyhien XYZ reporting. Following the events of today, I have taken extra precautions to protect my identity. After school, I hurried to Bubbly World and bought a cart load of fragrances, then I
receded to my lair walked back to my apartment and performed the following hygienic ritual:
- took four consecutive showers whilst wearing my body disguise. During each shower, I applied two generous handfuls of shampoo and four pumps of conditioner to my wig
- applied six different brands of perfume. Spray and roll-on were both used
- saturated my hair with some scented styling gel
- used up five sticks of deodorant, even applying a generous layer on the palms of my hand and the soles of my feet
- doused my school uniform for the next day in a liter of detergent
- brushed my teeth with a concoction of multiple toothpastes mixed together. Afterwards, my mouth was subject to thirty minutes of mouthwashing
I sincerely apologize for my ignorance of human smell receptors and promise that such a mistake will not reoccur. Action has been taken to regulate this issue. You can count on me to continue gathering data on Homo sapiens in an inconspicuous manner.
October 24, 2024
Today is my first day as the brand-new John Wilson. I proceeded with the same hygienic ritual as yesterday and by the time I finished, it was time to catch the bus. Exiting my apartment, I walked to the bus stop where the bus arrived three minutes after. I kindly greeted the bus driver and made my way to the back of the vehicle. But out of the corner of my eye, I spotted not one, not three, but seven other passengers pinching their nose the same way Thomas did yesterday. A baby in the arms of a middle-aged lady started wailing, thrashing his arms as if something was horribly wrong. The lady shot an accusing glare in my direction while cradling her child and stroking its head.
I sat down on my usual seat and saw that everyone except for the bus driver was covering their nose. This was insane. I had spent four hours making sure I smelled nice this morning. Four hours!
Shaking my head and looking out the window, I came to a definite conclusion. Human beings sure are a weird species.