played by: nina agdal ▸
journal: ~afterthoughts ▸
aim sn: insloanemotion ▸
contact: screened post ▸
scenes: threads / ftb or adult friendly▸
coding Â© kuerten with edits by dazy
Minnie grew up in Rochester, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Her father, Danny Brandt, was a fairly known local musican and a sound editor for Detroit's television station WXYZ. Her mother, Harmony, was a local middle school teacher. She was the middle child of three, right in between two brothers. Her childhood was a happy one. Her family was upper middle class, providing all the needs for the three Brandt children but also having their share of financially tough times over the years. A strong emphasis was put on family time and building a close bond, sentimental over material value. Minnie's memories are peppered with plenty of family vacations, elaborate birthday parties and traditional holiday celebrations.
Her parents also believed in letting their children express themselves creatively and emotionally. The Brandt household was a very hands on and open learning environment. Minnie found that she enjoyed singing with her father the most of any of her creative endeavors. He would let her make up the words to random melodies that he would strum. Her mother was also a big influence on her playtime as a young girl. Even before she was old enough to attend, Minnie loved to play school. She was always the teacher, just like her mom. As she got older, her playtime grew even more elaborate with handdrawn assignments and curriculums. When her dolls and stuffed animals were no longer responsive enough, she began roping her brothers into playing with her, though neither particularly were agreeable to being her students.
Minnie was always a favorite of her teachers. As a child, she was well behaved and kind. While she was friendly and charming, she wasn't overbearing or rowdy. She was content to entertain herself but enjoyed a familiar group of friends that she stuck with even up into high school. She was somewhere in between extroversion and introversion, balancing pretty easily. Minnie was social enough but not to the point where it took her attention away from school. She was an honor roll student, involved in choir and musical theater, volleyball, french club, and was the senior class secretary.
Getting accepted to her top three college choices was something that made both her parents and Minnie very proud. It wasn't such a hard decision to choose Michigan State University, one of the best schools for education majors. Becoming a teacher, like her mother, was something Minnie had already decided she wanted to do. She majored in Elementary Education and minored in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Minnie graduated from Michigan State University in 2011.
After graduating, and considering her teaching options, Minnie decided to pursue a certification in Montessori Education. It had been something she had been thinking about during her student teaching sessions. Seeing how public school systems worked and didn't work, Minnie spent a lot of time thinking about her own philosophies on how children learned best and she seemed to really connect with the beliefs of the Montessori system. She took the next school year working and training at a Montessori school in Ann Arbor.
The summer following her graduation was not only an important time in her life for her career but for her love life, as well. Minnie was married to her long term college sweetheart, in the summer of 2011, at the age of 21. The wedding had been planned for quite some time but the pair wanted to wait until both were graduated. The ceremony was lavish and beautiful, a traditional elaborate outdoor wedding. It was one of the happiest days of Minnie's life.
Though Minnie had jumped into taking more courses and continuing her education, the couple didn't slow down or stall on starting their new lives together. They rented a home in Ann Arbor and settled right into their new careers and married life. Having a family was a dream of both of theirs and they began trying almost right away. But it was not as easy as the newlyweds had anticipated. Months went by, and though Minnie was disappointed that it wasn't happening yet, she knew that it could be normal to take this long. But after a year had passed, and nearly two, without a plus sign on the pregnancy test, Minnie's gut feeling told her that something was wrong. After visiting a specialist who consulted with both Minnie and her husband, it was confirmed that there were definite fertility issues and they were coming from Minnie's side. Lots of emotionally draining visits to the doctor to test possible reasons and conditions still provided inconclusive results. The doctors couldn't quite pinpoint or treat her infertility with 100% certainty.
The shock of finding out she was infertile was nearly devastating to Minnie. Having a family had been something she had always dreamed of. She knew she could love any child, an adopted child could easily become hers. But she craved the entire pregnancy experience, and the idea of the bond between not only her and her husband but between her and their biological child. Though Minnie is not prone to negativity or depression, there were some dark days that followed after she heard the news. And some tough decisions she made on her own. Her husband had been supportive, perfect through it all. But she felt like a failure, like she would be letting him down, and not living up what a wife should be able to do and be for their husband. Minnie knew he would never tell her those things, and that he'd insist they weren't true. But she felt selfish to drag him along in what would be a long struggle of fertility treatments or adoption. Minnie knew that he wanted kids of his own. She knew that he felt the devastation and disappointment along with her but also that he may have the chance to have a child with another woman if Minnie wasn't standing in the way of all of that. So, in her mind, she set him free for his own good, for his future happiness. It wasn't easy. And it broke her heart to do it. But the couple separated and divorced in late 2013.
The time following the divorce was a struggle, emotionally and financially. She moved out of the apartment that they had shared and had been so happy in, because it was just too hard to stay. Instead, she rented an apartment closer to downtown Ann Arbor. It was not the most ideal place. It was safe enough but everything about it was outdated and not particularly comfortable. But she made it work for as long as she could, knowing that there weren't a lot of other options on such short notice. Her life changed drastically. And in a way she felt she was backtracking. But it had to be done. Once her aunt stepped into the picture and began to help her out, things got a little easier, and she was able to move into a much more desireable place. Minnie was so much happier, even if that meant she would need a roommate.
After losing everything in her personal life that she had ever wanted or hoped for, Minnie threw herself into her career. It was rewarding to work with all the children and to watch them grow and thrive. With all of her free time now, being reluctant to date and rarely wanting to go out, Minnie began to really put together a plan for opening her own Montessori school someday. It wasn't something she saw happening in the near future though. Money was definitely an issue. There was so much to work out. Where would the school even be located? She couldn't hold a classroom in her apartment. But it was a dream that could someday be obtainable. And it kept her going.
After hearing Minnie passionately talk about her dream of owning her own school, her Aunt Rhiannon stepped in to help Minnie reach those goals a little sooner. Rhiannon Brandt was quite successful in her own rite, having invested in properties and businesses all of her life. She had done it all on her own, without a husband. Minnie's Aunt had never had any children of her own either. But had always been very involved with Minnie and her brothers. Aunt Rhiannon was happy to step in and financially back Minnie's endeavors. Once she became involved, things really started to come together.
By summer of 2014, a property had been purchased, renovated and set up for Minnie's classroom environment. It was an old church, full of personality and plenty of space. Soulshine Montessori School was becoming a reality. Her curriculum and school was accredited and certified and by the fall of 2014, Minnie was teaching her first class as the lead teacher of a school she owned and operated. Though the class was small, the experience has been rewarding. And Minnie hopes to enroll and welcome more students into the fold for the 2015/2016 school year.
Minnie tries to keep a positive, upbeat attitude in her approach to most things in life. She was taught not to complain but to do something to change your situation if you don't like it. She believes everything happens for a reason, even if it's hard to see the reason while you're in the moment. She loves making other people smile and the idea of random acts of kindness and the pay it forward gestures. She tries to keep a level head and to be realistic in things. Of course, she cannot help her tender heart and her emotions but she doesn't necessarily believe that all of her decisions should be made based on these emotions.
In keeping with her idealistically positive thought processes, Minnie tries not to dwell on some of the unexpected and hurtful things that have happened in her adult life---like her divorce and the fact that she cannot conceive and carry her own biological children. She does worry and wonder what her love life will be like and if she has made the right decisions in her life. But she keeps these thoughts to hersef. Once in awhile, she has a private breakdown, something she doesn't like to share with other people. In fact, no one has ever seen it happen. She just continues to hear how people are so shocked and inspired by how adjusted she seems and how positive she stayed throughout everything.
Because Minnie is a teacher, her friends expect her to be the responsible, motherly one of them. And while it's true, that she does consider her reputation and tries to remain respecftable, she is not the type to coddle her friends or deter them from making their own life decisions. Her advice comes sparingly, saved until it is most needed so as not to seem overbearing. She also believes that it's best if people can come to their own conclusions and solutions. But she is a great listener and doesn't mind helping people find their way to said solutions.
Minnie is far more social now than she was in high school. Going to college and being apart of a sorority brought it out of her. Within her group of friends, she is quite social and maybe the glue that keeps her friends together. She very much enjoys and is now known for hosting elaborate dinner or slumber parties, often times with themes and costumes as part of the dress code.
Minnie knows how important her reputation is, since she is a teacher and especially now, owning her own school. She is very mindful of the image she puts out and tries to live honestly. She doesn't often drink excessively or party in public. But she will indulge in wine occasionally when she is out. She can't resist it entirely. She's doesn't smoke and has never touched any kind of recreational drug. Minnie is proud and adament about her healthy habits. She feels better when she keeps to her routines and schedules and is known to always be on time.
She tends to have an awkward love life now. Minnie's never fully jumped back into the dating pool. She's gotten her feet wet, a bit and has waded through the shallow end. But she's not sure how deep she wants to go. Her friends have a hard time getting her excited about dating though they continue to try. And while Minnie tries her hardest to stay open to it, she can't help feeling there's always a black cloud looming over any potentially long term relationship. She doesn't want to get too attached to someone or something that might not have a future because of her condition. She doesn't want the pity party or for boyfriends to stay with her out of guilt either. Her experience in discussing this with anyone that might be around long enough to form any semblence of a relationship is non existent as she's always backed off long before the topic was relevant. She does love the idea of romance and family but appreciates it from afar now. Or she lives vicariously through her friends. The men she has dated recently, have all been a lot older, and less likely to want to have children. Or they already have children from previous relationships.
She adopted two kittens, Lulu Belle and Clementine. The kittens are sisters and she often refers to them as the twins. It's sort of a joke that she has become an "old" cat lady way before her time.
▸full name: Minnie Augustina Brandt
▸birth date & age: 09/12/1989 + 25
▸current residence: The Arboretum, Ann Arbor, MI
▸occupation: Soulshine Montessori School Owner/Teacher
PARENTS: Danny (57) & Harmony (56) Brandt
SIBLINGS: brother (24/25), brother (31)
HOMETOWN: Rochester, MI
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and TESOL, Michigan State University
LANGUAGES: English, French, Spanish
Which apartment complex do you live in?
I live in the Arboretum on Main.
When did you move in?
I moved in last year when it was new, right after I opened the school.
Where are you originally from?
Not far, really. I grew up in Rochester, Michigan. I decided to stay in state for college because the Michigan State has such a great teaching program. So I lived in East Lansing during college.
Why did you move here?
After I graduated from college, I got married and life sort of took us both to Ann Arbor. I've always been in love with the town anyway. So it was such a perfect fit for the lives we wanted. After the divorce, I wasn't ready to leave the area but I wasn't ready to stay in the place we had been sharing by myself either and be reminded of all the memories, either. I had to find a smaller place because I just couldn't do it by myself and I was on too short of notice to find a roommate. I had this really terrible place for awhile. But I finally found The Arboretum and it seemed like somewhere I wanted to be. And that's when other things were really coming together for me. It was just above my price range, so I knew I'd have to have a roommate but I was okay with that. I usually try to be independent but I did need the support and companionship, especially at that time.
Who do you live with?
I live with my roommate and my two cats, Lulu Belle and Clementine.
What kind of neighbor are you?
I try to be really considerate of my neighbors, especially because we're above them. So I don't usually play music too loudly and I don't do the cleaning and the vacuuming late at night or anything that's too disruptive. I've had neighbors that I've cooked for or try to share things with. I would hate not being on friendly terms with my neighbors.