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Writer's Block is a quarterly publication of Online English Stage 1-2. Funded by the Government of Saskatchewan.

Arts

Serene

Published: September 2017
Author: Mira J.
Level: 5
Instructor: Samuel M.

We walked into a deep ravine.
The atmosphere was so serene
The breeze was soft upon our backs.
Up the hill we made slow tracks.

The grass swaying on the side.
The trees bowing on the street
The leaves are crunching under the feet
My friend and I have a good laugh.

 

 


Bios

Biography

Published: September 2017
Author: Marie-Louise B.
Level: 7
Instructor: Jacqueline A.

My name is Marie-Louise. I am from Côte d'Ivoire, in West Africa. I was born on December 30th. I live in Regina, Saskatchewan with my husband and our two teenagers. I have been living in Canada for almost 20 years. One of my passions is cooking. I realized that people in our province do not have a proper understanding of African food and culture. So, I decided to promote my culture and African food in my city. It has been five years since I organized this successful event which brings around 700 people every year. Now, they are starting to know our music, dance, food, and more about the 55 countries in Africa. That is wonderful!

My second love concerns children and especially education, since it goes back to my teenage years. I am a single child in my family. At the age of fifteen, I took care not only of my cousins, but also of two children whose parents could not take care of them. This passion was confirmed after the birth of my first daughter and when I worked in an early childhood center in Montreal. I worked at the center for seven years. I discovered a vocation there. My sensitivity, my love for children and my professionalism were recognized by parents and my supervisor. It was not difficult to make a career choice when we moved to Regina. I worked in the Francophone Early Childhood Center. Children love me. It was with pleasure and joy that I took care of them. My work was noticed by employee of the Monseigneur de Laval elementary school (francophone school), who referred me for a position of teaching aid. For eight years, I have been working at the Monseigneur de Laval school. I was responsible for helping students with special needs to build a good foundation. I work mainly with an autistic child, a hyperactive guy, a young blind girl and a hyperactive child. My job was really exciting, even if there are challenges. I am currently in the BAC in education and I seek to be a teacher for children with learning disabilities in the future. I also love spending time with my family and cooking. So, I can share it with my acquaintances. Sharing is a very important value in my country.

 

Biography

Published: September 2017
Author: Olena M.
Level: 3
Instructor: Samuel M.

My name is Lena. My surname is M. I'm 35. I was born in Poltava of Ukraine. Poltava isn't a big city. There live 300,000 people. It's a provincial city.

I finished school and I attended music school. I can play piano. Then I did a degree. I studied engineering for 5 years. It wasn't important for me, but it was free for me. Then I studied accounting for 1.5 years.

I have a small family: husband and daughter. Her name is Liza. She’s 7. My husband’s a businessman. He has restaurant. He makes beer. All my time I give to my daughter. I want to give her a better education. She can swim, play piano, and speak a little English. She has dance class too.

Now I am in Canada. I like here. I would like to live here. I love my country, but Ukraine is very “corypzioner” [corrupt]. My husband doesn’t want to live in Canada.

Now I work in Canada and learn English. I do it not very well. It’s bad for me. I really don’t know how to learn English. I hope my teacher helps me.


English

My experience with the Online English Stage 1 & 2 program

Published: September 2017
Author: Olesia B.
Level: 7
Instructor: Jacqueline A.

The most important value to date is time. People who value their lives try to spend it as efficiently as possible. One way to reduce time is to participate in distance learning.

The main advantage of online English language lessons is their mobility. Anyone who wants to learn English can choose any place and time convenient for them. You can master the spoken English course in the new country at work, at home and in many other places where there is access to the Internet. The Online English Stage 1 & 2 program is easy to use, with high quality design. All grammatical and lexical material is provided in an accessible and understandable form. Thanks to this program, I met a great teacher. The quality of teaching depends half on the teacher. The program is not hard for me because Jackie is very easy to communicate with. I look forward to our lessons. The key to successful learning is a positive mood. The main source of positive emotions in the learning is an incredible number of new and exciting opportunities that will definitely be made possible by the free teaching of English.
  
Benefits of the program:

  • - the home setting can be relaxing
  • - convenient: no need to go anywhere, spend time on the road, adjust to the schedule of courses or pay for a tutor
  • - the help of audio and video materials makes it possible to remember the correct pronunciation from the first lesson
  • - there is control: a personal teacher who will guide the process of your study

I'm deeply convinced that all teachers in my life were of great importance. I had absolutely different teachers, but one of them has a special place in my heart. Her name is Jacqueline Angileri and she is my Online English teacher. Jacque cracks lots of jokes when she teaches. Jacqueline makes sure that I understand the subject very well. I think that she is the best teacher I've ever had. Jacqueline is a nice and very polite woman.  I felt a great change in myself. "Learn from those who love," said the great Goethe. Not every person can be a teacher.

Now I can speak with everybody. I can talk to my friends; I can communicate with my teacher in English which means that I can speak with everyone. My written and communication skills are better now. I'm glad to learn English with this program.

Online English Stage 1 & 2 helped me to expand my horizons, learn about the new culture, desire to work and improve as a person. Jackie gave me one piece of advice - do not be afraid to talk! I'm glad to learn English with her. I will get so many opportunities from the Online English Stage 1 & 2 program in my future. 


General

My Favourite Board Game - Chess

Published: September 2017
Author: Osmundo T.
Level: 4
Instructor: Dragana B.

My most favourite board game is chess. I started playing chess when I was 9 years old. My late older brother taught me how to play this board game. My favourite chess master is Robert "Bobby" Fischer (March 9, 1943 - January 17, 2008). He is an American chess grandmaster and the 11th world chess champion. After a couple of weeks since my brother taught me, I was able to play the game much better and nobody among my childhood friends could beat me. When I was at the age of 10, my brother who taught me could not even win a game and my father could not win too.

One day my father’s friend visited our house and he saw me playing chess with my childhood playmate. He saw how I beat my opponent. I didn’t know that he was a chess fanatic and he was not just a wood pusher. Right after I checkmated my opponent, he challenged me to a game. My father was so proud because I had won the game against his friend.

In 2007 I won the chess tournament which my company organized. My strongest opponent was my department manager.


Health

Healthy Habits

Published: September 2017
Author: Masha P.
Level: 7
Instructor: Adrienne R.

My short essay is devoted to healthy habits. In few paragraphs I would like to share with you some helpful ideas about a healthy way of life. To be healthy does not mean that you have to spend 5 hours a day in sport gym and eat only fruits and vegetables. It is just a few habits that can make you feel better every day; increase your potential and energy.

I would like to start with what we eat every day, our gastronomic and eating habits. Our everyday meals should be healthy and wholesome. The best way is to cook your food by yourself. Salads, shakes, soups are our best friends. You can feel better and save some money by being a chef! It sounds incredible, but this advice is one of the best ways to stay healthy and young.

Another idea is to be devoted to our body. We're living in a crazy world. Work, family, home – take all our time and we can not visit sport gym as often as we would like to. The solution can be found in videos on DVD with exercises. Nowadays you can find lots of helpful videos with different kinds of exercises that can help you to gain a good shape. You can devote 30-50 minutes everyday to workouts in the comfort of your house.

Be more active! Start riding a bicycle, invite your friend to play tennis, run in a park, swim, go hiking – do everything to be active during the day. Buy smart watches that can track your active minutes and number of steps. Set new goals for yourself and share them with your family and friends.

Make a plan for your weekly shopping. Start with the vegetables and fruits, then to whole grain food, than meat and fish. Avoid sections and shelves with cookies, candies, chips and pop.

Don't be too strict to yourself. Once a week eat everything you want: ice-cream, pizza, hamburgers. Visit your favorite restaurant, café or bar with your family or with your friends. Make these simple ideas a part of your everyday life and soon you will see the changes! I wish you all a good mood and a healthy body!


Homeland

Naming Ceremony in Ghana

Published: September 2017
Author: Augustine O.
Level: 7
Instructor: Samuel M.

Names are very significant in all cultures and societies since they give unique identity to people, things and places. Every society has its own way of naming people when they are born. It is in the light of this that I would like to write about the naming ceremony among the Akan people of Ghana, West Africa. The naming ceremony in Akan is 'abadinto'.

Among the Akans, a child is given a name on the eighth day after his/her birth. Until the eighth day of birth, the child is given a name based on the day that he/her was born, that is, 'kra din', which means 'soul name'. The Akans believe that the day on which a person was born is so significant since that day has a connection to his/her destiny. For instance, when a male child is born on Saturday, his 'kra din' or 'soul name' is Kwame. The child will be called by his/her 'soul name' until the eighth day when he is finally outdoored and named.

The outdooring and the naming ceremony take place on the eighth day after the child's birth. Members of the extended family gather in the home of the nuclear family where the ceremony takes place.

The head of the extended family, 'Abusuapanin', leads the ceremony by pouring libation to invoke the spirits of their ancestors to be present at the event and share in their joys since they all form part of the family. After the libation is poured (traditional prayer), the 'Abusuapanin' asks the father to first announce to all present the 'soul name' of his child. The father then announces the name to all present. The head of the family asks the father again to announce to everyone the 'earthly name' of the child. The father therefore officially announces to all present the name(s) given to the new born child. The father therefore continues the ceremony by introducing the person whom the child was named after (usually a family member or a friend).

The mother then hands over the child to the 'Abusuapanin' who may in turn bless the child. After the blessing, he dips his finger in water and places it on the tongue of the child. He again dips his finger in wine and puts it on the child's tongue. He then calls the child by his/her name and says 'you have tasted water and wine, make sure that you are able to draw their distinctions. When you taste water, admit that it is water; and when you taste wine, admit that it is wine'. This act is a symbolism of truth and honesty. It is to help the child to draw distinctions between water and wine, truth and lies, good and evil, as he/she grows up. Simply put, the child is taught from the beginning of his/her life to be truthful and honest.

The 'Abusuapanin' then invites all the family members gathered to clap their hands in praising God for the gift of the child to the family. After thanking God and their ancestors, food and drinks are served to all members. Their eating and drinking together are signs of their unity and love, as well as their joy to welcome a new member of the family.

The final stage of the ceremony is presentation of gifts to the new born child. The 'Abusuapanin' first invites the one whom the child was named after to do his presentation, then follows the child's parents and other members. The gifts are usually memorable items that may be kept for the child's future.
The entire celebration is concluded with a traditional prayer, that is, pouring of libation. They give thanks to the Almighty God and their ancestors for every good gifts they have received in their family.

The child would then possess two names: soul name and the earthly name(s) in his entire life.


Parenthood

Parenting

Published: September 2017
Author: Sun Hwa J.
Level: 5
Instructor: Jacqueline A.

To be a parent is the biggest change of life. The change is sometimes hard for parents, but at the same time it brings a big happiness to them.

The first thing is the changing of main interests. After I became a mom, everything has been changing to me. When I go shopping, my eyes always follow the stuff for kids. In addition, I'm getting interested in animated movies and shows for my kids.

The second thing is that I have a responsibility for someone else. I've never been responsible for other people before becoming a mom. Responsibility makes me feel stressful and pressure on my shoulders. Some Koreans give up having a baby because of this problem. However, these are a driving force for my life. I think it is becoming stronger as a mother.

The third thing is that I have a chance to think about how to thank my mom and dad. When I was little, sometimes I didn't understand how my parents thought and talked to me. Now I realize how much my parents loved me after I became a mom. I'm really happy to feel the same way with my mom.

Some people are afraid of changing. To become a parent is the biggest change of life. However, if you take this change of life positively, you will be able to feel a great happiness through this.


Recipes

Cheesecake

Published: September 2017
Author: Biljana D.
Level: 4
Instructor: Adrienne R.

For making cheesecake I use:

-Graham wafers
-Philadelphia cheese
-Melted sugar
-Whipping cream
-Butter

First you need to mix graham wafers with butter and sugar.

Then you press it onto the bottom of your pan.

Heat oven to 325 degrees and bake for 5 minutes.

After that, beat whipping cream and add sugar. When it’s done, add cheese again, mix and put over the crust.

After that, chop strawberries and put on the top of the cheese. Next, boil the dressing for strawberries .

When it’s done, mix Dream Whip for filling   the cheesecake.


Seasonal

I Like Fall

Published: September 2017
Author: Jing H.
Level: 3
Instructor: Samuel M.

I like fall better than other seasons. It means harvest. It means the bugs will disappear very soon. I hate bugs. I like to walk during the fall, when the leaves have fallen. I like fall weather. I feel it is very comfortable.

My children like fall too, but their reasons are different from mine. The school starts in the fall. They like to go to school, and Halloween is in the fall. They love it very much, because they can wear their costumes and they can get a lot of candy and chips. We would carve pumpkins faces together, and put them in our doorway, then I put all kinds of lights and decorations outside.

During Halloween, we leave our house early and go trick-or- treating together. When we leave our house, I will put a lot of candy in a basket and let the kids get the candy by themselves, but when they take candy, there will be a loud ghost shout at our door. The kids will be afraid. It's very interesting. When we get enough candy, my children will come back and put the candy in the basket at our door, because I don't like they eat too much candy. They just enjoy the process of trick-or treating.

I love fall! Because winter is coming, we can go skiing, we love to ski!


Settlement

Swift Current – to Ontario – and back again

Published: September 2017
Author: Svitlana A.
Level: 5
Instructor: Adrienne R.

This summer we tried to move to Ontario. Our trip was interesting but not easy for us. We tried to drive 6-8 hours a day. Each night we stayed in hotels or motels. A prerequisite for us was having breakfast there, so that we did not want to waste time. We tried to do a long stop to get lunch and to have the opportunity to play with children. A shorter stop was for supper. I was sitting in the backseat with the children all the way. I tried to feed, play, cheer and even fall asleep with them.

We lived in Oakville for 3 days and the same in Burlington. We wanted to see the city nearest to Toronto, so that we could decide on a place to live For us, it all failed. All attention was focused on finding housing. We traveled a lot to different areas of Toronto, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, and Mississauga There were some houses we did not like. Also, it was necessary to sign a contract for at least one year. And then the housing that suited us was not available for a few months and was too expensive. We signed a contract to rent an apartment in Burlington, but later the owners refused us. They asked to wait 4 more days, because they needed to choose between 4 more willing families to occupy this apartment. Life on the road played us a cruel joke. We were all tired. And the constant traffic jams and active traffic of the big city were just tiring. Therefore, we decided to return back.

If we once again we decide to move, then only separately. First, my husband will go and he will find job and an apartment, and only after that I will come with the children. If had done this first, who knows, maybe we would have succeeded.

Unfortunately, we did not manage to walk in the above mentioned cities. We were exhausted, and children wanted to play or eat, or indulge. I really wanted to go to the downtown of these cities. I remember how much I liked in Toronto a few years ago.

Most of all, during this trip I loved the province of Ontario with its beaches, lakes and forests. I saw a completely different Canada. Some places in Ontario reminded me of Ukraine. In any case, it was an unforgettable trip for my family, even with a bitter experience.


Travel

Banff

Published: September 2017
Author: Lesia G.
Level: 4
Instructor: Dragana B.

In October we went to Banff. The weather was beautiful and also we had a weekend free, but the main reason was our wedding anniversary; we have been together for 5 years. So we celebrated that big day in the mountains.

The road was long, because we live so far away, so we had to drive almost 9 hours one way. Anyway, it was so interesting as we saw some new places and it was cool.

Our motel was like from a fairy tale, all was ready for Christmas. That is my favourite celebration; everything looked as if it was made especially for me.

We could go up in Gondola and see this incredible landscape...that was amazing. The mountains have many different colours and are so large. Inside we had dinner in the restaurant and we enjoyed the scenery. Also there was a Santa in there and I went back to the childhood and took a picture with him.

In the evening we were at the Christmas market and my husband bought a lot of interesting things for me and we met with interesting people there.

We walked around the city every day, so for us that small paradise became like home. That small burned wood always brings me back to Banff and such a happy weekend, when we just forgot about any problems and just relaxed and enjoyed every second of our beautiful life.

I always want to go back to this small paradise on Earth. I am so happy I saw Banff not just in pictures – but in real life and it was so amazing. I believe I will come back and enjoy it more and more…

Banff - I will go back to you…

 

My Travel Experience to Alberta

Published: September 2017
Author: Volodymyr D.
Level: 6
Instructor: Lindita T.

I had read a lot about Alberta and I had always wanted to go there. I had planned this trip for a long time, so my 8-year-old son and me decided to go there this summer. On our way to Alberta we visited my sister-in-law near Meadow Lake Provincial Park(Saskatchewan). We had a very good time exploring this Provincial Park, swimming in the lake and enjoying surrounding nature. Then, we drove for about four hours to the capital of Alberta, Edmonton. We stayed there for two days. We drove and enjoyed downtown and uptown. In the evening we decided to go to one of the biggest mall in the world, West Edmonton Mall. It is the largest shopping mall in North America and the tenth largest in the world. It was the world's largest mall until 2004. There are over 800 stores and services in the compound, and parking for more than 20000 vehicles. The next morning, we visited Fort Edmonton museum. It was one of the best museums I have ever seen in my life. They have a real railway station and a road following around the town with the real stream train from 1900. The employees were dressed in clothes from 1900s. There were real street cars, trucks and trams running within town as well. We also watched the movie Northern Lights. This movie was about Edmonton in first years of establishment. At noon, we had lunch in a real working vintage restaurant. We had an awesome day in Fort Edmonton museum. After two days exploring Edmonton early in the morning we moved south 150 kilometres to the green city of Red Deer. We visited Sylvan Lake which was about 20 minutes away from Red Deer. I had never seen in my life such a nice lakeside. This lakeside had nice grass, paths for pedestrians and for bicycles as well. Huge amount of trees and well taken flowers and bushes. Red Deer downtown was so green and with lots of flowers. The next morning, we continued our journey to the biggest city in Alberta, Calgary. Calgary Zoo was our first destination. We were really happy to see a lot of animals and we also liked the landscape of the Zoo. After that we went to the Calgary Tower. It was an amazing view from 160 meters above ground. You could see pretty much all the city from that tower. We visited downtown and on our last day of a 7-day trip we visited one of the most beautiful places in Alberta, Lake Louise. We made a lot of pictures and hiked all of way to the end of the lake and back. We were amazed at the nice blue lake surrounding by mountains and forests. After spending a day at this unforgettable place, we moved down to the small town of Banff. It was a very nice place with great views and lakes. City centre was so busy, and it was hard even to walk on the pavement because all places were full of visitors. We walked around and visited the local museum.  On our way back, we stopped in Canmore which is another wonderful town like Banff, but not very busy. Finally, we left this amazing province with amazing people and went back home to Swift Current. It was an unforgettable travel to Alberta. Myself and my son are happy that we visited Alberta. We made around 2900 wonderful kilometres for 7 days and next year we will go back to Alberta again to see some more places in this very nice province of Canada.

 

My Summer Holiday

Published: September 2017
Author: Albina O.
Level: 6
Instructor: Adrienne R.

This summer, in July, I went on a vacation to Alberta with my family. First, we stopped in Drumheller for two nights. We went to see the famous Royal Tyrrell Museum, climbed the Hoodoos. These are rock formations in a desert area. We went into the biggest dinosaur statue in the world. You can climb stairs and actually go into its mouth. There are drawings and paintings inside of it. My family had so much fun there. At first, my son was scared of it but he was brave and enjoyed.

Our next stop was Calgary, where we went up the Calgary Tower. It was a very extreme experience. There is a glass floor at the top. My kids stood on it and so did I, but I did not look down! The view was spectacular.

After that we went straight to Banff National Park, where we camped for three nights. In this incredible park we did lots of hiking on the trails in Johnston Canyon and at Lake Louise. We saw gorgeous waterfalls and went on a glacier. We were amazed by the beautiful views and unique animals. We saw gophers, squirrels, eagles and hawks. Luckily, we didn't see any bears. My family had an unforgettable time together and had an incredible experience. It was a great adventure for us all!!!

 

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