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

Bios

Autobiography

Published: January 2018
Author: Amanda N.
Level: 7
Instructor: Tanya B.

My name is Amanda and I am from São Paulo, Brazil. São Paulo is a big city, with a population of about 1 million of people. I also have a 4-year-old daughter, but unfortunately, she had to stay in Brazil with my parents. I came to Canada about one year and a half ago. I got an opportunity to have training as a postdoctoral fellow at University of Saskatchewan. I am a veterinarian and my postdoctoral training is in my area. I have more 6 months of training and after this, I am thinking of staying in Canada. Canada is a beautiful country, with friendly people, a lot of opportunities and very safe. I love my home country, but now the economy is not going well, and I do not feel safe there. My future goals are to get my veterinary license in Canada and to have my daughter live with me. I hope in the near future, I can get everything that I dream of.

 


My Autobiography

Published: January 2018
Author: Alla M.
Level: 4
Instructor: Tanya B.

My name is Alla. I was born in Cherkassy, Ukraine in 1966. I grew up and studied in a very green, beautiful city, bigger than Tisdale (where I live now), but smaller than Toronto. It almost looked like Saskatoon. My childhood was happy and carefree. I studied well but was lazy and forced to do homework. I really loved reading, sewing and knitting. Nowadays, these are my favourite hobbies.

I graduated from high school in 1983, and started studying at university. I studied Precision Instruments Mechanics and Engineering. I studied for two years, but I realized it was not for me. In 1986, I quit the university and started working at a garment factory. From 1991 -1992, I lived and worked in Budapest, Hungary. It was one of the best and unforgettable years of my life.

In 1996, I opened my own tailoring shop. In 2007, the last year before coming to Canada, I taught students how to cut and sew suits and garments. In 2008, I came to Canada with my family. At the present time, I work at a grocery store. I learn English and enjoy every new day.


Myself

Published: January 2018
Author: Romel V.
Level: 5
Instructor: Tanya B.

My name is Romel and I am from Latacunga, Ecuador. In Latacunga, I went to elementary and high school. It Is a quite small city compared with Quito, which is the capital of Ecuador. Most of my classmates from high school live in Latacunga.  I try to visit them every time when I go to my city. Latacunga is a commercial city. Most of the people from surrounding areas go to Latacunga to buy groceries or other things.

Back in Ecuador, my family has a farm and they still live on the farm. They raise chickens as a specialty. We have a couple of barns of 3000 broilers. Be raise in a Farm makes me, since I was a young kid to be an agricultural specialist. I chose to be a swine professional because we used to have had a small operation of hogs. I know for some people they could think that is a bad job or a job they don't want to do but for me, I really enjoy the time I spend with my pigs. On our family farm, we had 20 sow and we were raising 100 pigs to market.

I am working for a Genetics company. The farm I work on is Isolated because in this way can be fewer diseases around for disease prevention. I like to push myself to do things and now I have to do the job of selection. Selection is a hard job because I am in charge of making sure the right gilt goes to the right place. Every single one costs a lot of money and I need to make sure to follow every protocol we have in the company.

In the future, I will be a swine specialist and do my Master Degree as another step to be closer to get to my goal. There are many good projects running in the Canadian and American universities but I chose Alberta. I know Alberta has a good program in swine production and my goal is to be a part of that research program they are doing.


English

Learning English

Published: January 2018
Author: Asia I.
Level: 5
Instructor: Dragana B.

Today my topic is learning English. In our homeland, our mother tongue was Urdu, so we did not speak English in our everyday life. We did not learn English in a primary school. I started to learn English in grade 6.  We learned it as a subject in grade 6. Mrs Sughara was our English teacher. She was a very strict teacher. We started English by writing ABCs.  We also learned weekday names and month names. After one or two weeks we had a test about it. We did stories and exercises. We did not speak English at home, and our school was not English grammar school where people spoke English all the time. I learned English from my father who taught English classes, grades nine and ten.

My brother learned English from Gujranwala Academy and he wanted to teach me but I did not want to learn. I was a good student in class. I completed my Master in History degree and I learned English until I had a bachelor`s degree.

I got married in 2004. I came to Canada in March 2005. I had a difficulty to speak English in everyday life. I took English classes. I was good in writing but not in speaking.  After four months I was pregnant and I did not continue my study. I did not hear about Online English and LINC Home Study yet.

We moved to Saskatoon in 2012. We heard about LINC Home Study program last year and so I kept learning. It was the best experience for me to learn English at a distance. A nice teacher called me every week on Skype and teaches me still. I have to say thank you to my teacher and LINC Home Study program.

Now I have confidence to speak English in my daily routine; like if I want to make an appointment or I want to speak with my kid`s teacher, I am trying to speak English appropriately. My kids are helping me too.


General

Automation of an Elevator Plant

Published: January 2018
Author: Eugene
Level: 7
Instructor: Adrienne R.

In the olden days, all of the jobs in an elevator  were manually done. A worker who received grain from farmers had to move a big pipe or pull a rope to place the distributor in it's designated bin and do the sampling by hand. All of the drags that move the grain were to be switched on or off manually. When loading railcars, they had to load one or five at a time. A lot of paper work had to be done too in recording files.

With the help of computers today, all of the manual jobs have been almost eliminated. Programs have been made in the computer that make work so easy by just a click of the mouse. As an operator, you can turn on the drags and point to a bin where it goes without any hassle. Capture the gross weight and prepare the receipt as soon as the grain is dumped and the truck is empty. When loading railcars, you can open up a lot of bins at the same time, depending on what variety of grain you are loading. Sensors are also a big help because they capture the railcar number, which then appears on the computer for file purposes.  A Sampler takes samples from the bulk weigher before it drops to the railcar being loaded. We have fifty car spots in our plant. Other elevators have a hundred or more.

In Saskatchewan, almost every town has an elevator slowly becoming computerized. This is a big help to both farmers and grain buyers due to recent technology, especially because most of the population in the province works in agriculture.


An Important Story

Published: January 2018
Author: Olena A.
Level: 3
Instructor: Samuel M.

Hi. My name is Helen and I want to tell you the story that has affected my life. I have always been helping parents caring for their sisters and in a family business. I have never worked for anyone.

When I got married my parents gave me part of the family business.  It was 2007. I was doing business but I constantly felt that I did not have enough. I was constantly looking for other ways of earning money. In 2011 I opened a cafe.  It was a very popular place. But I'm very tired because I was doing everything alone. Two shops and cafe was a lot of work. When I closed the cafe I started looking for other ways to make money. Then I met my friend who was doing network marketing.

I would like to know more about this kind of activity. I met many interesting and rich people who make simple things and get a good money. I started doing network marketing and I understood what the difference between network marketing and the financial pyramid scheme were because earlier these concepts were identical for me. So I began to communicate with people who had a positive influence on me and read a lot of interesting literature. I began to rethink my life, register for educational training and meet good people. I began to build a better life.  I found new friends and new opportunities. Today I choose how to live my life and what to do.

So I recommend if you do not like your life you just need to change it. A better understanding of what to do is found in literature. You can communicate with good people and learn how they were successful.

I recommend to start reading from these writers: Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Anthony Robbins, Randy Gage, Brian Tracy, Robert Kiyosaki and other great writers.


Never say Never

Published: January 2018
Author: Svitlana C.
Level: 6
Instructor: Rabia R.

I want to share with you how English became very important in my life.I believe every thing, in our life, happens for a good reason.

I began to learn English at school when I was in the fifth grade, and by coincidence, it was the only class in school with in-depth study of English. I did not show much interest and enthusiasm, and  one day, in class, I told my teacher that I  would never live aboard. I wasn’t sure if I would ever use English in my life. I thought there were more important subjects such as Mathematics, Ukrainian and others to learn.

Time passed and the class of in-depth study of English did its job. I studied but didn’t put a lot of effort into it. I still want to pay  tribute to my teacher. She gave us good knowledge and skills, and it helped me a lot when I was in college. After that, my study and use of English ended. And it seemed that everything happened as I expected that I will not use English in my life. But fate had other plans for me.

Thirteen  years later,  my husband, our daughter and I emigrated to Canada.  Here, the moment of truth in my life had come. English became vital for me. It was hard to count how many times in my thoughts I looked back to the school years and thought about what my teacher said: ‘’ You have to study because you never know what you will need in your life.’’ Unfortunately, I didn’t take her words seriously. The time to begin to study English language consciously had come.  After arriving to Canada, I began English language classes for newcomers we had in the city, and started all over again. A few months later, my English teacher offered me to take online English courses. This is how my new way to learn English began. Environment in which I live now helps a lot, of course. Now English is with me always and everywhere. I listen to the radio, watch TV, talk with Canadians, even chat with my daughter in English. Of course, my English is not as good as a native speaker, but I continue to work on this. I hope that the day will come when English will be for me as my native language.

This is the lesson my life has given me.  Never say never.


Palm Reading

Published: January 2018
Author: Olesia B.
Level: 7
Instructor: Jacqueline A.

A hobby is what a person likes to do in his spare time. I want to write a little about my hobbies. These are palmistry, chirology and fingerprinting. Nowadays these sciences are used in a criminology, secret government services and espionage.  The basic principle of the treatment of fate: if we are able to see in the person's future lot of dangerous risks in different areas of life, we have to learn carefully about his character and think logically - what exactly leads him to such risks? Almost always that reason can be found in their character. Work on the character takes from several weeks to several months. If a person works hard enough on himself, his destiny changes dramatically for the better. The picture that we see on the palm shows us the state of the human brain at this time.

I want to make an overview of the photos of the hands of the American TV presenter, actress, producer, and social activist Oprah Gail. Forbes named her the ninth most influential woman in 2005 and the first - in 2007, the most influential person in show business in 2009, the most influential celebrity in 2010 and 2013. Her wealth is about 3 billion US dollars. Interesting facts of her biography: as a child of 9 years old she was raped and became pregnant at 14, giving birth to a child who died shortly after birth; like many teenagers in the late 60's, Oprah rebelled and fled from the house to the street; at 17 years old, Oprah was the youngest reporter, working in local media. 

Now we actually begin the analysis of Oprah Gail’s hands:

  • On her hands are two obvious signs of an independent character, this strongly pronounced hill of Uranus and the separate beginning of the line of life and mind (picture 1). Planet of Uran gives our heroine a brightness, eccentricity, and unpredictability of actions.
  • The type of hands can be defined as fire (activity, ingenuity, sociability).
  • Despite the low landing of the little finger on the left hand (this indicates problems in the family at an early age, complexes from childhood caused by difficult circumstances like violence at 9 years old and a difficult childhood in general). The finger of Mercury is of good length and strong enough, the upper ideological phalanx is most pronounced. The remaining phalanges are not inferior in length, which indicates that a person knows how to make her ideas into reality (2nd phalanxes) and embodies them (lower phalanx). The right little finger has a normal fit: Oprah coped successfully and developed her talent. Very pronounced hill Mercury - again sociability, good speech, intellect.
  • Strong main lines, equal in strength, long enough indicate activity, good vital energy supply, mental potential, spiritual potential, ability to express emotions. The thumb is very strong, which indicates to us a bright personality, a person's desire for self-expression and to have personal achievements like her show( long phalanx of will and logic).
  • A strong Fate line from the hill of the Moon is directed towards the hill of Jupiter showing purposefulness and ambitiousness. 

At the age of 32, the age of the creation of the leading "Oprah Winfrey Show", we can observe a very interesting combination: the fusion of the main Fate line with the line of Effort from the Life line, making a triangle. After the Fate line becomes stronger. At the same age, we see the formation of a monetary triangle with the Mind of Line, The Fate line and Mercury's line. Starting from this age, the line of Mercury is directly clearly to the hill of Mercury, which combined ensured the success and growth of capital in the field of the TV presenter.

Also I want to write about my favorite line of Apollo (Sun). The Sun Line or Apollo Line is one of the important lines in palm reading.  This line on the hand (picture 2) is called the line of Happiness, or the Luck line. It expresses the satisfied state of a person with her life, and is the marker of a happy and successful person. When a line appears on the hand, a person considers himself to be happy, because life is illuminated by light. The person can achieve goals, satisfaction of one's own ambitions, successful promotion of the career ladder, or even the birth of a child can make one happy. According to my observations, all long-livers have the line of the Sun. If the line has defects and damage this indicates too fast large gusts of a person, reveals a non-patient person who desires an instant result, which is not always useful. Such people can be advised that you do not need to run where you can move safely forward.

I wish everyone to build their Sun line and be happy!!!


Assiniboia Zoo for Seeing Polar Bear!

Published: January 2018
Author: Hwa J.
Level: 5
Instructor: Jacqueline A.

Last winter I saw the Assiniboia Zoo in Winnipeg on a Korean show. This show is one of my favorite Korean shows. The show was about how to protect polar bears in the Assiniboia Zoo. One person who is a curator said there are seven polar bears in the zoo and they came from Churchill and all of them were orphans. She explained how they came here and how to take care of them. It was so interesting for my family, especially my son, because my son is very interested in animals. After we saw the show, my son always asked me to take him to the zoo to see the polar bears. That's why we decided to go there although it is five hours away from here.  Actually, this was my family's first trip since we came to Canada.

When we got there, it was a more amazing place for my kids than I thought.  Animals in the Assiniboia Zoo looked freer than in Korea. We hurried to see the polar bears and we could watch polar bears playing outside behind a glass of wall. Plus, there was a special place to observe the bears swimming. The place looks like an aquarium the undersea tunnel. However, when we got there we couldn't see the polar bear playing in the water. I asked the staff there. " When can we watch the polar bear swimming?". She said " You can see it when the polar bear wants to swim.". This answer is a little shocking for me, because I had never thought about what the animals in the zoo want to do. In addition, it has been easy to see animal shows in a zoo whenever I want to. If the Assiniboia zoo were in Korea, Korean people might make the polar bear swim into the show for commercializing. 

After coming back from that place, we talk about how to protect animals and which way is for animals. Plus, I'm so happy to hear from my son. " Mom, I will never forget going there. " Actually, my son who loves animals wants to be a vet. I hope he becomes a vet in the future as he wants. 


Health

New Stage

Published: January 2018
Author: Iryna I.
Level: 6
Instructor: Lindita T.

At first glance, my story may seem like another motivational piece for a sporty and healthy lifestyle, but this is not entirely true as maybe some of you will see yourselves here. I remember how during my childhood I watched Hollywood movies and entertainment serials, in which the luxurious and carefree life of the heroes was very beckoning. I think back then somewhere far away the subconscious, the idea arose to live in a distant country.

And so, years later this dream came true as I live in Canada for almost 10 years now.  I have everything I dreamed about: my husband and my 17-year-old son, a house, three cars and a dog.

I am now thirty-seven, and the 40th anniversary is just around the corner. Despite of the saying “all your dreams come true”, I couldn’t explain and understand the feelings of sadness that settled in me. Once it started to torment me with the question, and then I realized that I was not happy with myself anymore; the outfits that I bought were not sitting beautifully on the blurred sides and the wrinkles could not be hidden under the makeup.
I did not want to talk about my anguish with my husband because he would tell me I like to overthink problems for myself. My grown-up son who did not need maternal care anymore was busy with his life, work, friends, and his girlfriend. Calling my old mother to talk about these things was not a good idea since I did not want to upset her once again.

Real friends of childhood remained at home and new friends who seemed hypocritical or envious. Feeling of uselessness and dissatisfaction continued to arise inside me. Among a whole bunch of people, I felt lonely. I closed my eyes and saw myself in a scorched desert blown away by cold winds of loneliness. Then I realized that only I can help myself and I will share as follows:

All books on psychology write that happiness should not be sought in the external world, but it should be inside us. So where should we find it inside? And now let's digress from the spiritual and talk about physiology. For females body hormones play a very important role, and three of them are responsible for the feeling of happiness: endorphin,  serotonin, and dopamine. Here they are three whales on which feminine happiness rests. Below is a list of items noting how to make them actively produced in the body:

  1. Performing physical activity for at least one hour in the gym.
  2. Consuming special food: strawberries, grapes, bananas, oranges, black chocolate, Dutch cheese, fish, eggs, chicken, beef, veal, lamb, nuts, beans, peas, soybeans.
  3. Taking walks in sunny weather.
  4. Doing your favorite things.

This is what I did:

  1. I enrolled in the gym with a personal trainer.
  2. Watch over healthy eating.
  3. I read books on psychology and motivation.
  4. I sleep not less than 7 hours.

And as it is known, small happiness breeds great results, and the results did not take longer than three months. Not only have I developed a thinner figure that pleases my inner self, but I also fit my new leggings better. The husband, between fishing and hunting, began to notice that he has a wife. As well, the son proudly says to his peers that yes, she is my mom, and not my sister. Now I understand that it is better not to apply makeup, put manicure, or make eyelashes, but save time and money and go to the gym. If you believe the books on psychology, there, lives a little girl inside all of us despite the age, so I want to address this specifically to her.

Spread your big and strong wings my dear, soar high and illuminate your universe with a light, and I will look and smile. Now I can definitely determine where this sadness came from; this is the end of one stage in the life and the beginning of another no less fascinating.


Homeland

Traditional Marriage among the Akans in Ghana

Published: January 2018
Author: Augustine O.
Level: 7
Instructor: Samuel M.

The man and the woman who have agreed to establish marital union first introduce each other to their families as it happens in most cultures. This therefore helps the families of each side to get to know the future couple. In this case, the families begin to observe the two parties intending to marry.

After a period of observation, the man’s parents accompany him to the family of the woman to officially declare their son’s intention to marry their daughter, and so request that the woman’s family give them the opportunity to marry from their family. This first step of the marriage process is called, “kokooko”, literally means “knocking”. This therefore means that the man’s family is knocking doors of the woman’s home to seek entry for a special request of their daughter’s hand in marriage.  This is done by a presentation of drinks (schnapps) and other gifts to the woman’s family.  Acceptance of the drinks and the gifts means that the doors are opened for the man to marry their daughter.

Upon agreement from both sides of the families, a date is fixed for the actual celebration of the marriage. It should be noted that the celebration of the Traditional marriage takes place in the home of the prospective wife, usually in her father’s home.
The program commences with a prayer of thanksgiving and a request of blessing from the Almighty God and their ancestors.  Official welcome is given, and each family selects their spokesperson, called in Akan language, “okyeame”.

The okyeame from the side of each of the families leads his family in self – introduction. This is so significant that it helps people to know the witnesses and those involved in the celebration. The Abusuapanin then asks the okyeame to ask of the mission of the visiting family, and their spokesperson in turn announces their purpose of gathering.

The actual ceremony begins with presentation of drinks and gifts (dowries) to the bride’s family. These items usually consist of Drinks (Schnapps) for prayers to the ancestors, Clothes, and Cash. It should be noted that these items are not meant for exchange of the bride. They are given as token of appreciation to bride’s family for taking good care of her.  These items are spread out to the father, the mother, and the brothers in law, and part of it goes to the Abusuapanin and other members of the family.

The bride is kept in a room all these while until the presentations from the groom are fully made to the family. She is therefore brought out to the show and introduced to the families. The groom is asked to confirm if she is indeed the one he intends to marry, and upon his confirmation, the entire ceremony continues. The okyeame from the bride’s side gives briefings to the bride about the proceeding of events.  The Abusuapanin interrogates the bride to ascertain her love for the groom. He begins by asking the bride of her deeper knowledge of the man who intends to ask for her hand in marriage. This is to lead the girl to officially declare that she is freely entering into the marriage with a man she knows already, and for that matter she is not coerced to marry someone she doesn’t know.  She is therefore asked on three occasions to confirm if she willingly accepts to marry the groom, and it is expected that she gives affirmation to all the questions. After the public declaration of her love for the groom, the entire families give applauds in thanksgiving to God and their ancestors.  

The bride and the groom stand together to exchange their love for another. A ring is put only on the bride’s finger, and a Bible and a Hymnal are presented officially to bride, if they are Christians. A prayer of blessing is said by any designated person for the couple. The bride sits by the groom, and optional speeches are given to them. This could be advice, encouragements, and well wishes from the people gathered.  Two experienced couples are selected from each side of the families to mentor the young couple in their marital journey.

The final part of the celebration consists of eating, drinking, dancing, and socialisation.  Vote of thanks is given to all who contributed in diverse ways to make the program a success. Final prayer and blessings are given to conclude the ceremony. This could be a traditional prayer (pouring of libation), or Christian prayer if the family is strictly Christian. 

Among the Akans of Ghana, marriage does not only unite the couple and their nuclear families, but rather unites the extended families, clans and tribes. It should be noted that Traditional Marriage is required for all other forms of marriage in Ghana.


Kushari

Published: January 2018
Author: Hazem A.
Level: 6
Instructor: Samuel M.

Kushari is the name of the most traditional dish in Egypt. Some people said that it was first prepared hundreds of years ago. You can see Kushari specified in restaurants in every street of Egypt, even though other non-specified restaurants serve the Kushari dish as one of their food list. You can even find it being sold from street vendors who cook and sell it in a mobile cart in different Egyptian streets.

This dish consists mainly of rice, macaroni, lentils, chickpeas mixed together and topped with spicy tomato sauce, vinegar, and fried onions. The vinegar and the very hot spicy tomato sauce are usually filled in bottles on the table beside the dish. You can request an additional smaller dish of Kushari which is called kimala with a lower price. Restaurants usually serve such dishes in different sizes with different names and prices. Some of them call the dishes according to their sizes as small, medium, large, special, king or even jumbo dish.

It is considered to be one of Egypt’s nationally most favorite street food dishes due to its massive filling, dense of nutrients and of course delicious taste and health benefits, in addition to its cheap price. 

In my opinion, it could be the safest Egyptian street food from a hygienic point of view because of the destroying effect of vinegar on bad harmful bacteria that might be contaminating any of the dish contents.

I am very sure to say that if you can try it once, you will be curious to eat it again and again.


Sham El-Niseem

Published: January 2018
Author: Hazem A.
Level: 6
Instructor: Samuel M.

Sham El-Niseem (which literally means smelling the breeze) is one of the traditional Egyptian festivals with an original ancient Egyptian nature. So, we as Egyptians have been celebrating this day for thousands of years and this celebration continues today. The pharaohs celebrated this day as it meant the arrival of Spring. This day is the following Monday which immediately comes after the Coptic Easter Sunday and is considered a national holiday.

In the morning of such day, Egyptian families usually go out for picnics in gardens, along the bank of River Nile, at the zoo or even sitting on any space of green grass. Some people ride Nile boats and take a trip in it.

The first thing we usually do in a such day is eating colored boiled eggs with green onions, ta-amiya (falafil) and foul (bean) in the breakfast. Children usually paint and decorate these eggs with different water colors and then leave them in the sun to dry for a few days before Sham El-Niseem.

Moreover, the most closely associated food with such a day is Fiseekh, which is fermented salted fish stored in cans for long periods. It has a specific smell that not everyone can withstand and sometimes some people suffer from signs of food poisoning after eating bad, unhealthy fiseekh.

During the day, children usually play different games, such as hide and seek or play soccer, while adults on the other hand usually enjoy the fresh air and pleasant weather of this day. Most families go to gardens in groups of many families, especially relatives. 

Really it is a great day with a fun time for all Egyptians.


Parenthood

Raising a Child in a New Country

Published: January 2018
Author: Viktoriia H.
Level: 4
Instructor: Adrienne R.

I’m at the age now when my daughter can have a child and raise him in Canada. The cost of raising a child in Canada is expensive! Licensed daycare in major cities can cost up to $3,000 a month. Unlicensed home care is a cheaper solution and is worth checking out. There are limited places so put your child’s name on a waiting list as soon as they are born.

With the cost of childcare so high, it might even make sense for one parent to stay home for an extended period. I think my daughter will prefer to stay at home with the child until he is 2 years old. After that, possibly I'll help her take care of the baby. When the child is 6 years old he will be go to primary school. After primary school, he has to go to high school. I would like the child to also combine study and work together while he studies at high school.

Then, when the child graduates from high school, he will go to the college or university. The higher education in Canada is expensive too. If my daughter does not have enough finances for the education of the child, the child can go to the bank and will get a student loan to help him through. But, I still think it would make sense for him to take a course at college. I also think if he has a college education and good experience, he will have a better chance in the job market.


Recipes

African Donuts

Published: January 2018
Author: Marie-Louise B.
Level: 7
Instructor: Jacqueline A.

African donuts are very popular in Africa. Every family has their own recipe. These donuts are sold in the street by brave women who sell them to take care and provide for their families. The names of the donut varies according to the region where you come from, for example in the Ivory Coast they are called Gbofloto, Botokoin in Togo, Mikate in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Puff Puff in Nigeria and Cameroon and Bofrot in Ghana, etc.

But what they all possess in common are the similar ingredients used to make this delicacy with each family having their own special recipe. So, I am going to give you a simplified recipe for the donuts that is also easy to make.

Ingredients

  • 500 g all-purpose flour
  • 100g sugar
  • 400 ml warm water (not hot)
  • 3 tablespoons Fleischmann’s instant yeast (Quick-rise)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Vanilla
  • Frying oil

Steps

  • Mix in a small bowl warm water and add the yeast plus 1 tsp sugar. Keep aside.
  • Pour the flour in a large bowl. Add sugar, vanilla and salt mix well.
  • Pour the water plus yeast mixture into the big bowl. Mix until the batter is smooth and elastic.
  • Cover the dough and let it double in size (1 hour)
  • Heat the frying oil
  • Dip your hand or spoon in water and take the dough in your hand or in a spoon.
  • Let the batter escape between thumb and forefinger into oil in the form of a small balls or you can use a spoon
  • Regularly dip hand or spoon in water. Let cook and brown on both sides
  • Drain the donuts on a paper towel

All my family and friends from everywhere love them. These donuts are eaten at breakfast as well as for afternoon snacks. A good recipe for the holiday season.

Bon appetit!!!


Recipe for my Samosas

Published: January 2018
Author: Ayan M.
Level: 4
Instructor: Adrienne R.

First, make the dough:

  • All purpose flour -200 gm
  • salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Cooking oil-4 tbsp

Next, make the filling:

  • One pound ground beef
  • Add salt
  • Add garlic , chopped green onions,  a green chilli , a little black pepper, and  turmeric

Instructions:

  • Fry all the ingredients together.
  • Mix the flour with warm water and salt.  It makes a dough. Roll out the dough. Cut it into triangles.  Put the meat mixture inside.  Then you fold it.   Deep fry each piece in boiling oil for about 2 minutes.  Enjoy!

Classic Ukrainian Borsch Recipe

Published: January 2018
Author: Veronika V.
Level: 5
Instructor: Rabia R.

I am from the Ukraine.  I moved to Canada seven years ago but I still cook traditional Ukrainian borsch for my family because this is my husband and my children’s favourite food.

Borsch is the most popular soup of Ukrainian cuisine and got its name from the most important ingredient, beets (called borsch in old Slavic).  There are numerous recipes for making borsch, but I have inherited my recipe from my grandmother,
and I want to share the recipe of Ukrainian borsch with you.  I love borsch and this recipe is delicious!  My grandmother taught me how to make it this way.  It’s a little time-consuming (at least 2 hours), but the taste is out of this world.

Ingredients for Classic Ukrainian Borsch:

  • Meat (beef or pork) – 1 kg;
  • Potato – 500 g;
  • Cabbage – 200 g;
  • Beetroot – 200 g;
  • Carrot – 100 g;
  • Onion – 100 g;
  • Tomato paste – 1 tbsp;
  • Garlic – 2 cloves;
  • Bay leaf;
  • Salt;
  • Pepper;
  • Garden herbs - dill and spring onion

Step by step instructions

  1. Prepare the broth first.  Put meat into the saucepan with 3 - 4 litres of water and boil it for two hours.  Take the meat out of the saucepan and cut it into small pieces or dice it.  Put them back into the broth.  If you want to cook vegetarian borsch you just skip this step and use 3 - 4 litres of water.
  2. Chop up onions and carrots.
  3. Cut cabbage and beetroot into sticks.
  4. Take frying-pan, add some vegetable fat and slightly fry beetroot.  Then add tomato paste and stew for 5 - 7 minutes.
  5. Take another frying-pan, add some vegetable fat and slightly fry onions for 2-3 minutes.  Add carrots and fry for another 2 - 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Dice the potatoes and boil the broth.  Put potatoes into boiling broth; season with salt.
  7. Add cabbage in a few minutes and boil for about 5 minutes.
  8. Add beetroot mixed with tomato paste and boil for another 10 minutes.
  9. Add onions with carrots, bay leaf, minced garlic, pepper, and garden herbs.
  10. Remove from heat, wait for 15 - 20 minutes and serve borsch.

Ukrainians usually eat borsch with garlic bread and sour cream.


Seasonal

Winter in Canada

Published: January 2018
Author: Roger M.
Level: 4
Instructor: Dragana B.

Winter is one of the biggest times for the people that come from another country.  Because I am from Guatemala, there is a big difference in temperatures between these two countries. Here in Canada, we have four seasons and in Guatemala there are only two - summer and spring, and the coldest temperature in my country is 12 degrees.

One of the first things I thought it was how people can live here at -40C, and after my first winter here, I was ready to go back to Guatemala.  I thought I would not live here with this kind of weather. But I took a few minutes to think about it, and I realized that is not that bad and I just have to dress up better to go out and enjoy the snow.


Settlement

Canadian Symbols

Published: January 2018
Author: Mariia P.
Level: 7
Instructor: Adrienne R.

What images come to mind when people all around the world think about Canada? The maple leaf, weird animals like beavers or hockey? For many years Canada has accumulated a bunch of patriotic national symbols. Collectively, they can help Canada stand out as a distinctive country in a crowed world.

One of the most important symbols for Canadians is Royal Crown. The Canadian Crown is not referring to a physical crown, but to the monarchy (Queen Elizabeth II). Canada has been a constitutional monarchy since 1867 (Confederation), during the reign of Queen Victoria. Current queen, Elizabeth II, has been the Queen of Canada since 1952. We can see her portrait on  the twenty dollars bill, on Canadian stamps and other things. The Crown is also a symbol of government: Parliament, the legislatures, the courts, police services and the armed forces.

The distinctively-shaped maple leaf is the most common symbol of Canada, appearing not only on Canadian national flag, but virtually on every logo of Canadian corporation or charity, or any other organization that needs to make its “Canadianess” instantly known. The maple leaf is a symbol that’s been famous for so long that no one seems to remember exactly where it came from or how it got to be so popular. In one sense, the maple can be viewed as a tree that rewards labour and perseverance, and evokes the history of early Canadians. But for many others, it’s simply a pretty tree with  a pretty leaf and sweet syrup that has become associated with Canada.

The wildness itself may be Canada’s most iconic symbol. The beaver is the most famous Canadian animal. It appears on the Canadian nickel and is often been used by cartoonists to personify country as a whole. Less rich in specific symbolism are moose, the mountain goat, the polar bear, the black bear, the mountain lion, the elk, the Arctic wolf, the raccoon, the lynx and the bison, all which are common sights not only in the Canadian wildness, but also in Canadian airport gift shops.

Ice hockey is one of the most popular symbols of Canada in the world. It is a national sport and even a way of life. The parliament of Canada declared ice hockey as a national winter sport when it passed The National Sports of Canada Act on May 12, 1994. Perhaps it may seem ironic that a country known for being so peaceful is so deeply connected with sport where fights is not only accepted but even commented.

As we can see, Canada has many symbols that have special meaning. Together they help explain what it means to be Canadian.


My Life in Canada

Published: January 2018
Author: Roksolana D.
Level: 4
Instructor: Rabia R.

When I started to prepare for immigration to Canada, I listened many kinds of stories about how people live in Canada. I read many different facts about Canada, but actually, I was not sure  what to expect from the future. Everything that I thought about life in the new country was just an imagination.

When my family and I arrived to Canada, I realized that everything is different here. First time I really liked the environment, people, buildings and enjoyed everything. Then one day, came the moment when I asked myself: what I'm doing here? Am I really happy now? I left my home, my parents, friends, my favorite places which charged me with good energy, but I miss all those things because they still are part of me. But if I look at these changes from a different angle,  I can see that I got a new, clean sheet of paper and I'm free, now, to write my life how I want; I'm  free, and I really love this idea.

But always there is something difficult. I was born and grew up in a different world. I  know best how to be myself,  how to be a mom, and wife in my native country. While my mother educated, nurtured,and  raised me, she gave me experience and traditions from our culture. My personality mirrors  my ancestors. The history of my native country, and my family have created me as I'm now, and it is so difficult to save all those  inside me, while I’m part of  this new society. How to maintain the balance and the relationship between our parents, relatives who stayed in the country where I was born, grew up, married and gave birth to my children, and the world in which I live now, since it is completely different?

I feel different. My English is not perfect, so I can't express myself how I used to do it always, and this has changed everything. I have realized that English language is the key for everything, so I must to work hard to learn it in order to make my life exactly how I want.

Everybody says, that we need time  to start feeling comfortable in the new country. But nobody says how much time exactly we need for this. Based on my experience I can say  -  this time it's not about a month, or two, it's about years.

I'm happy now, because I have met a lots of nice and friendly people, who always ready help me, or give advice, or just make me laugh.  I found many opportunities to improve my English, so I can a get a job now. My children can easily use two languages, and feel free in two different cultures.

When I decided to emigrate to Canada, maybe I chose not the easiest way, but I'm sure it's a good one.


Saskatchewan, Why not!

Published: January 2018
Author: Lidiane S.
Level: 6
Instructor: Rabia R.

Have you ever thought of living in one of Saskatchewan´s cities? We know most people say Saskatchewan is boring and just flat, however, have you been here or researched about it? Yes, the province is flat, but there are much more than that. Let´s talk about this beautiful and affordable province. Reading this statistical information and numbers, you would find it useful if you have decided to live in Saskatchewan.

I have been living in Regina since 2016 and my plan is to live here for all my life, because I know, here I will have the opportunity to grow as an professional, as family, as friend and part of the best community.

Saskatchewan became a province in 1905, and its economy is based on mainly agriculture, as well as natural gas and mining. Saskatchewan is known to be a really cold province, on the other hand, it is the province, which receives more hours of sunshine than any other Canadian province. In addition, Saskatchewan is putting a lot of effort to grow up and to become noticed as one of the best place to live in Canada. They are investing in immigration settlement program; the Saskatchewan government wants to bring 5000 immigrants every year to help in this growing process.

Did you know that, Saskatchewan has lowest unemployment rate? The unemployment rate in Saskatchewan is around 5.1%, and is one of the provinces that has the highest standard of living in Canada; the houses cost the lowest in Saskatchewan.

Do you know what is very important to me? People! Ah, Saskatchewan is the friendliest province in Canada. You will find many great people. They try to help you all the time and give you chances, such as, to have a job, to build your life and overcome your problems. Since I have decided to live here, my life has just improved and everything has begun to work out perfectly. I got a great job in my field, the government assisted me with my language studies, we do not need to pay for health insurance, and even the car insurance is cheaper.

Living here in Saskatchewan means a lot to me. Here I discovered a lot of about the Canadian Culture and how is to live in a place you really do not know anyone, but, at the same time is the easiest place to make friends. Thank you so much Saskatchewan to receive my husband and me and make me feel part of this land. I will do my best to help you grow too!


Standing Up Again

Published: January 2018
Author: Grace A.
Level: 6
Instructor: Rabia R.

I met my husband in the year 2004, and we decided to live together. It was the time when my mom and dad were not at good terms, and maybe I was looking for somebody who can comfort me in my situation. We had been together for many months, but my parents didn’t like him. Despite my parents disagreement we got married, because we loved each other.  That’s the biggest thing I have done.

It was not smooth relationship and my life got very difficult. My parents supported me in this difficult time. In the meantime, my husband and I had two girls. However, we decided to separate after a long period of ups and downs.

Then I decided to stand up for myself and took the decision to come to Canada and start fresh. I came to Canada in August 2013 on a work permit. I worked in Ponoka as a Food Service Supervisor. I was very excited because this was the first time I would see real snow; there is no snow in the Philippines. The first month of staying here in Canada, I was homesick, but I’m thankful to my co-workers who were always there to support me emotionally. For the first time i felt so great in my life, because I survived a great deal of hardship and trauma.

My first application for express entry was denied, so I needed to transfer to another province to apply again for my permanent residency. Before I moved to Saskatchewan, I met a friend, a soul mate. Every time we are together I am so happy, that I forget all my problems. He accepts me for who I am.
I hope everything will be good someday.


Travel

My Vacation in Cuba

Published: January 2018
Author: Seonsun K.
Level: 5
Instructor: Rabia R.

I went to Cuba in November for my peaceful holiday, I was extremely tired of the chilly weather in my town, as Saskatchewan has long and freezing winter but a very short, nice summer, I can’t enjoy the summer long enough, and I miss summer weather so much that I chose Cuba to spend a holiday,

Cuba has nice sunshine, warm weather, and the beautiful ocean. First time when I saw the ocean from the plane, I was excited. I wanted to dive in the ocean; feel the warmth of the sand and the sun. When I walked out of the airport, I felt warm air and could smell the sea. I took a taxi to the hotel which was by the beach, in Varadero. I could see the pool and the beach from my hotel room. I arrived at a very nice time so I quickly changed to my swimwear and went to the beach first, with a nice complimentary drink. I put my feet in the ocean water; I wanted to swim but wave was so strong that I couldn’t swim. I decided to go to the swimming pool; It was clean and quiet, so I enjoyed swimming in it.

After a few days, I went to Havana, the capital city of Cuba. I stayed 3 days in Havana, where, first I got a place to stay and then I decided to tour the city. There was no Wi-Fi or GPS, so I needed  to buy a city map. I checked street names and walked to look around city. Havana has old architecture, and you can hear Cuban music everywhere. I went to Hemingway's the most popular bar and had a mojito. I felt like I was in heaven. I ate a lot of Cuban food, especially seafood, but I didn’t like it because It was too plain for me- It was less spicy. I am a chef from South Korea and I use a lot of spices in my food.

After I came back, I regret a lot that I didn’t stay longer. It was a very short holiday and I wanted to do more. But one thing I enjoyed the most was Skydiving in Cuba.  


Tunnels of Moose Jaw

Published: January 2018
Author: Younghwan P.
Level: 5
Instructor: Rabia R.

My lovely daughter was born in September, 2017, so my parents-in-law visited my home to look after my wife and children from South Korea. My father-in-law had needed to go back to Korea, and we wanted to make good memories with the whole family so during the Thanksgiving holiday, we decided to travel to Moosejaw, which is not too far from my home and has good tourist attractions.

The Tunnels of Moose Jaw are a representative tourist attraction of Moose Jaw and are operated by guides who perform unique productions of Canadian history theatrically to entertain and educate tourists and local people.  The tunnels were used to hide Chinese railway workers escaping persecution during theYellow Peril, which was a really difficult time for East Asians in Western countries who became weak and poor due to racism against them.  These Chinese railway workers were unable to pay the head tax that was forced on them by the government. Entire families lived in the tunnels and worked at above-ground businesses in exchange for food and supplies. The tunnels were also used for gambling and prostitution, all without interference from the corrupt police chief. There has been evidence that Al Capone, who was a famous American mobster, had visited Moose Jaw and possibly had interests in the bootlegging operations. Visitors can take part in the Chicago Connection tour, which lets them experience Al Capone’s bootlegging days.  They can also experience the Passage to Fortune tour, which allows them to see first-hand the hardships of early Chinese immigrants.  Visitors need to pay for these tours.  For the single tour, visitors need to pay $15.00 for adults (19-64), $12.00 for seniors (65+), $11.50 for youth (13-18), $8.50 for children (6-12).  The tours are free for children under 6. For both tours, the rates are $25.00 for adults (19-64), $21.00 for seniors (65+), $20.00 for youth (13-18), $14.00 for children (6-12).  Children under 6 can enter for free.

We only chose to do the Passage to Fortune tour, which is about the early Chinese immigrants, because we have two babies.  I felt somewhat cold but luckily we were bundled up nice and warm.  There were so many old artifacts there that we saw.  Because the Chinese workers worked in the tunnels primarily for business, we saw a lot of business-related artifacts.  For example, we saw beds for guests (because they ran hotels underground), clothes and some tables and furniture.  I felt slightly uncomfortable during the tour because the air quality was not great inside.  However, the experience was really eye-opening and I was very impressed by hard work of the Chinese immigrants during this time. 

I would highly recommend people experience this tour because I feel that it is a great way for people to see how hard the Chinese immigrants worked and all the skills they needed to use in order to survive.  It’s a very fascinating experience.  The price is very reasonable for the opportunity that people will get to be a part of.  It’s also very educational for both adults and children and an important part of Canadian and East Asian history. 


Trip to Morocco

Published: January 2018
Author: Reda E.
Level: 6
Instructor: Adrienne R.

My trip started out in Casablanca as that is the airport I flew into to. A couple of cool things we did there were to see the Hassan 2 Mosque, which is called the mosque on the water. It is right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. We went to the Mall of Morocco, which has a massive aquarium in the middle of it. You can pay for a ticket to go on an elevator in the middle of the aquarium, where you see the fish swim all around you. The mall was the probably the biggest mall I've ever been on. We didn't even see all the stores in it!

We did a quick stop in Rabat to see a famous mosque there as well the Hassan Mosque is the resting place of a couple of Moroccan Kings. It was there that I discovered an interesting sign that is a horn with a slash through it - a No Honking sign! in certain areas you can be fined for honking - such as around the embassy and some hospitals. 

After Casablanca and Rabat we headed to Fes to stay for a few days. We got to stay in a Riad called the Kassar Annoujoum. Not many people are able to stay there, but we were honoured by one of Reda's friends who works there to arrange for us to stay. It is a really old hotel that is also a UNESCO site. It was full of all sorts of art and artifacts. While in Fes we spent quite a bit of time in the Medina or old part of the city. The Medina is also a UNESCO heritage site, which means work is done to protect and preserve the buildings. There were some places were would supports would put up to help prevent the buildings from falling over! The Medina is full of paths lined with shops with all sorts of things. The streets are narrow, so most things are moved by small carts or donkeys!
Several cities in Morocco have palaces. The capital city of Morocco has changed depending on where the king lives. He currently resides in Rabat, which is the capital. Fes also has a palace. The palace at Fes is a hot spot for photos - people can take photos at one part of the palace in front of a set of beautiful doors. 
After Fes we headed to Chefchaouen - the blue city or the blue pearl. Most of the homes are painted shades of blue! We spent most of our time in the Medina or old part of the city here too. The medina is the most blue part of the city and people are sure to paint their homes to stay blue! This was the city where I think we saw the most cats and kittens hanging out in the city. In Chefchaouen we got to dress in some attire that is traditional to the area - there were several pairs of ladies offering to dress people and take photos! It was lots of fun. 

We spent some more time exploring Tangier after Martil. There we went to Cap Spartel, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean! Unfortunately, it was foggy so we couldn't see the water too well. We visited Hercules Cave. While at the Cave we got the chance to wear some more traditional clothes. A neat thing about Tangier, is that you can see the coast of Spain! People regularly travel between Spain and Morocco.

Finally we went to  Assila. We spent an afternoon there before heading back to Fes to do some more visiting and shopping before coming home. There we got to have a horse and carriage ride from guy with a fantastic and humorous personality! It was a fun way to see the city. 

It was truly an amazing trip!


Ready for summer holiday?

Published: January 2018
Author: Veronika V.
Level: 5
Instructor: Rabia R.

I’m really excited about my summer plans because my husband and I bought a travel trailer two months ago.

It is a 2004 Keystone RV sprinter, and it was my dream since the moment we moved to Canada, seven years ago.  My dream came true, and finally, we have a trailer and we can plan our vacation for the next summer. The travel trailer can slide out, so there is enough place for my family (me, my husband and our two children).

It is a very nice and clean travel trailer in excellent condition for this model. This camper has a lot of space for my big family to live like in a house. There is a lot of sleeping and moving around space with the big kitchen, patio, walk through bathroom and closet.

My favourite place for vacation in Canada is Banff (Alberta). It is a Rocky Mountain wonder, a place of electric blue glacial lakes, waterfalls, and abundant wildlife. When I was in Banff five years ago, I’d never imagine the nice view of mountains from my own trailer. Now I can’t wait to go back and enjoy the time in those beautiful places. We plan to go to Banff with the trailer next summer. It will be remarkable time for our family.

Canada is a land filled with fascinating places and amazing adventures. Canada is full of amazing outdoor wonders. We will travel around Canada with our trailer every summer and we will visit new places of Canada.

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