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

Arts

Arts

Author: Viktoriia P.
Level: 5
Instructor: Tanya B.
Photo Credit: Viktoriia P.

Until very recently, I did not even dream that I would paint here in Canada. For over a year, I’ve been living with my family in Canada. I paint since my childhood, but there are all the possibility for this art, inspiration is not necessary to look for. The wonderful sunset and sunrise, the richness of colors of leaves, field, flowers. All this leads me to delight. I am building a picture in my imagination, picking the right colours, sometimes mixing pigment occur spontaneously. I mostly paint watercolor paints. It’s like two elements of water and colored pigment; they are mix and give the amazing shades.

I like to draw with children, see their admiration, joy. It’s very developing for children and in the future they will be creative people.

In my art, I use special paper, mostly 100% cotton, it does not soak, does not absorb the paint, remains bright and it gives me the opportunity to apply two and more layers of paints.

For me, art allows one to receive the world differently, think creatively and see beauty. I am glad when my picture gives someone a good mood and a smile.

 


Canada

Canada

Author: Liping J.
Level: 5
Instructor: Mona B.

I like Canada because it is a beautiful country. The people are nice and very polite. The weather is nice too. Canada has so many small different cities you can choose to live in. Some people like living in a quiet, gorgeous village, while others like living in big cities. Most Canadian people like living close to nature. Canada is a magical, wonderful place where there is no war, no sickness, no hunger and we respect all cultures, religions and people, as long as those cultures and religions respect equality between people, especially women. I think lots of people like living in and taking trips across Canada.

 


My City

Author: Navdeep B.
Level: 4
Instructor: Zareen R.

Martensville is a small city located in Saskatchewan. I love to live here because it is not crowded. I know all my neighbors. We have a park near our house. What I really like about Martensville is that I can walk to every place, even in winter. We have lots of activities all year round for kids and adults. I feel it's a safer place for kids than bigger cities. They stay active and healthy as they are always in touch with their environment. They enjoy gardening, biking on trails and going to parks with the family. They also play different sports all through the year. We are actually really happy that we chose Martensville as a place for our family!

 


Driving

Driving in Canada

Author: Irene R.
Level: 5
Instructor: Jacqueline A.

Learning to drive in Canada was challenging and expensive too. At first, I attended a six hour in-class lesson followed by six hours in-car. I knew to myself that that's not enough to do the road test. My husband and I decided to have practice after work for at least one hour. I knew it was hard for him because he doesn't have his own brake on the passenger side. I am so grateful and thankful to my husband because he had a lot of patience. When I did my first road test it was not successful. I was so sad, and my husband told me that I will pass on the second time, and he was right! I did it!

Driving in winter is so scary because it's slippery. I remember one day I needed to go to work early in the morning and that day there was too much snow. When I was driving my car stopped and got stuck in the snow. I was panicked, good thing I remember my husband always told me that I need to be calm if something happened, especially in the winter. I was so relieved because I overcame that situation.

Learning to drive is not easy, but if you have enthusiasm and endless determination nothing is impossible.


My Story about Driving in the Winter

Author: Raul P.
Level:4
Instructor: Jacqueline A.

December 02, 2016. My family and I planned to go to Regina, Saskatchewan, to buy our children's Christmas toys while there was no snow predicted.

We left Shaunavon Saskatchewan at 8:00AM and we passed Gull Lake without problems taking Hight way # 1, passing South West Terminal (Sale and Purchase of grains) to pass a semi truck, I lost traction on my X – Terra (Nissan) and just shouted "Hold On" and we rolled over three times, until the X – Terra finally stopped.

That day there were four other accidents near by, it was because of the black ice on the pavement.

Thank God, my whole family wore their seatbelts and we all left without serious injuries. This experience made me reflect on using a

4X4 in the winter time and buying some winter tires and driving with more caution in the winter.

I lost my Nissan, but I feel blessed by God for having my family.


Education

Why I Am Interested In Lifelong Education

Author: Sung-il J.
Level: 7
Instructor: Mona B.

Recently, people say we are living in the centennial times. With the development of medical care, food supply, etc., we can enjoy longer lives than in any other era. However, it means we need to prepare really long retirement plans. Nowadays, everything is changing more rapidly than ever. Sometimes, it is hard to survive such a rapidly growing society with just one profession or knowledge for one career. We need to develop ourselves continuously. It will definitely lead to better lives and futures.

Fortunately, now we have lots of ways to get an education. In the past, many people associated learning with formal education at school, college, university, etc., and referred to that as "getting a good education." However, the development of the internet has broken these rules. Nowadays, many educational centers provide quality learning programs online. Sometime these are free. Now you can acquire higher level knowledge anywhere, anytime. Learning can enhance our understanding of the world around us, provide us with more and better opportunities and improve our quality of life.


English

A Wonderful Program for Newcomers to Canada

Author: Xiuzhuan M.
Level: 6
Instructor: Jacqueline A.

I became a student of Online English of LINC in May. It is a wonderful program for non-native English newcomers. I can study online during any free time after my work, so it is convenient for me. The materials in the program are so rich from living to education to employment, which are so useful for me to settle in Canada. And there is a nice and qualified teacher instructing me once a week. After almost 2 months of learning, I am becoming more and more confident in communication in English. And I have succeeded to finish my volunteer work as a Community Coordinator in the youth awards program. I appreciate very much the opportunity to attend this program. By continuing to study in the future, I hope to eventually conquer the language barrier through the LINC program.


General

The Mechanic

Author: Manuel R.
Level: 7
Instructor: Nodira
Photo Credit: Manuel R.

A highly skilled mechanic, who had grown old, was ready to retire! He told his employer about his plans to leave the company and live a more leisurely life with his family. He will miss the paycheck of course, but he needed to step down.

The employer was sorry to see his good worker go and asked him if he could build one more vehicle as a personal favor. The mechanic agreed to this proposal, but he made sure that this will be the last project. Being in a mood to retire, the mechanic was not paying attention to building this vehicle. His heart was not in his work! He resorted to poor workmanship and inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the job was done, the mechanic called his employer and showed the new vehicle. The employer handed over some paper with a key and said: "This is your vehicle, my gift to you''. The mechanic was in a shock! What a shame! If he had only known that he was building his own vehicle, he would have made it better than any other vehicle that he had ever built.

 


My Dog

Author: Binh H.
Level: 4
Instructor: Mona B.

My dog just turned eight. He has big ears. When I go shopping I always buy snacks and toys for him. He eats a lot of dog food. He hates the snow falling in the winter. We put him in the backyard and lock him in his shed with a key so every time we bring him for a walk he never walks and always runs.

 

 


Swimming

Author: Furong Z.
Level: 6
Instructor: Mona B.

Swimming is my favorite sport. When I was a little girl, I had a dream to learn how to swim. At that time, there was no swimming pool in my hometown. People usually went to swim in the river.

My brother often went to swim with his friends. I wanted to follow them. I even begged him to swim with me, but my brother still did not agree. He said that it was too dangerous for me to swim in the river. When my son turned six years old, he was old enough to learn how to swim. I found a coach to teach both him and me how to swim. After ten days of courses, I can finally swim at last. Since taking the courses, I have practiced my swimming almost every day and enjoyed it. When you swim, you don't need a partner. You only need a pool of clean water. Don't worry about sweating or if your body feels sticky. Swimming can exercise almost every muscle. It is a very good sport.

I am living in Hudson Bay now. There is a little swimming pool outside. I am not used to outdoor swimming and summer is short here. I miss my indoor swimming pool in my hometown.

In swimming, there are four styles: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly stroke and freestyle swimming. I enjoy watching freestyle swimming most because my coach only taught me how to do breaststroke. The fastest type of swimming is freestyle. I want to learn how to swim freestyle.


My day at Ronald McDonald House

Author: Luisabel D.
Level: 7
Instructor: Adrienne R.

On the 9th of June I went with a group of friends for a day to Ronald McDonald House in Saskatoon, SK. This place  is like a Lodge, and it's a non profit organization that gives a home to families with seriously ill children admitted to the hospital. The reason for our trip was to cook supper for the people who stay at the facility- all of them are mostly parents who have had children admitted to the hospital near to the house. The  idea of doing this started when we heard from another friend, who was there before, and she  told us about her beautiful experience. 

Before we went,  we contacted the house and enquired about our plan.  We needed to provide our criminal records because we were new.   

We formed a group of seven women and we cooked a nice supper for 86 people all from scratch. Our menu included: Ranch Potatoes, ham, apple sauce, coleslaw, from my own recipe, cream corn, and pumpkin plus apple pies. Everything turned into a delicious meal; but the most wonderful thing was the feeling of doing something for someone who wasn't in the best moment of their lives. 

Everyone was thankful for our supper, what a joy! In the middle of our day we toured the facility with one of the ladies who works in the House. The place was amazing, with very nice, clean, big rooms with even accommodation for those parents who have had  to take other children with them for the time at the hospital with the sick child.

The basement is an amazing play area for all age of children, from very small to a teenager, and for every child at the moment that they go to their home, they take for free, a toy plus a quilt, both of them are part of the donation that the house received. We also donated some toys and a quilt.

That day was one of my unforgettable days in my experience as a Canadian.  We enjoyed  it so much that we decided to do  it again, so  now we'll make a nice big brunch.   In the fall we will decide on a date to go back.


Recipes

Buscot Cookies

Author: Ayan M.
Level: 4
Instructor: Adrienne R.

I make these cookies for Eid. I like to have these in my home all the time because visitors come over and I can give them to them.  I don’t buy cookies from the store and the kids take these ones to school every morning. 

Here is the recipe.

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees

 

  • 10 eggs
  • 5 cups oil  or butter
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

Mix wet  ingredients first. Then add approximately one bag of  flour. I measure this with my hands and add the flour a little at a time and roll the cookies into balls.

Preheat the oven 350 degrees

Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. 

This amount of ingredients will make  8 sheets of cookies.  This amount of cookies will last me for 2 months.

If you don’t use a lot of them, you can store them in the cupboard and you don’t need to freeze them.


Settlement

Homes in Canada and in Ukraine

Author: Svitlana A.
Level: 5
Instructor: Adrienne R.

In Ukraine, because of the humid climate, houses are usually built of brick and stone. Such houses are durable and warm. Construction will take several months or years. There is good noise insulation. They are more stable in case of hurricanes or earthquakes.  There are virtually no pest problems (termites, proteins).

The houses have 3 bedrooms, and a kitchen. Very rarely in the Ukrainian house can you find a basement. Usually the basement and garage for the car is a detached building. In the backyard, Ukrainians like to break up a vegetable garden to grow vegetables and fruit and fruit trees and bushes with berries will usually naturally grow.

In Canada, a cheaper technology is a frame house. Such a house can be built quickly enough. The Canadians' house is spacious and often the living room has a large window. The house usually has several bedrooms, a basement and several bathrooms. In the backyard grows an even green lawn and many flowers. There are play areas for children, swimming pools or hot tubs. The garage is built either together with a house or as a detached building. Houses are rarely protected by a high fence, most often green lawns or a hedge. A lot of fir trees grow near houses. On holidays, Canadians like to decorate their homes, trees and lawns with various flashlights and decorations. This is not done in Ukraine. The most Ukrainians do is decorate the windows of the houses.

These are two countries with two different cultures.  In some ways the houses are similar, but in other ways they are different.


Moving to Canada

Author: Albina O.
Level: 7
Instructor: Adrienne R.

Moving to Canada was the most incredible event of my life. We always knew that Canada was the best country in the world, and we chose Canada for the quality of life. We looked forward to it with excitement, even though there would be some sacrifices, leaving behind family and friends. We were optimistic about our success in a new country and we were making the move with great expectations. This was an absolutely amazing opportunity to change our lives for the better and give our children a brighter future. My family was very excited to start a new life in a new country.

The immigration to Canada is a very complex legal process and stressful situation for the family. It begins like a dream where many different and contrasting feelings come to your mind. Leaving your country, your culture, your family and friends is part of this meaningful situation, however, the challenge to come, find a job, new friends, a house, learn a new language and improve your standard of living, makes this moment more enjoyable. It took more than 2 years for us to get our immigration visa. We started by applying for a work visa through immigration program.

To have a job offer is the best way to immigrate to Canada. Foreign skilled workers and professionals are greatly needed in Canada. With a job offer immigrants will feel more safe and stable; they can see profits and discharges and plan their future in a new country. I have seen numerous examples of foreign qualified professionals struggling to re-enter their field and in some cases, being compelled to give it up due to financial pressures. Canadians are very accepting people and are very helpful. Canada has long prioritized bringing in skilled immigrants.

I think Saskatchewan is the best province to immigrate to and start   a new life in. It is a very peaceful and friendly place. It feels like just yesterday that I landed here in Saskatoon, with butterflies in my stomach and a glimmer of hope in my eyes. I am still proud to call Saskatchewan my home away from home. This is the place where my loving husband and I were able to put a roof over our heads, where we had our children and where we made new friends. Also, it is the least expensive province to live in. Living in Saskatchewan can help immigrants save money for important stuff like: paying a mortgage for the new house and car, paying back debt or taking out a loan. There are so many cultures here that we are like one world, we are all united by a common bond of being Canadian. Since moving here, my life has completely changed for the better and I'm a whole new person. I'm doing what I love and enjoying every moment of it.

I recognize the fact that moving to Canada was extremely difficult and included many sacrifices along with a stressful journey, but to this day I am thankful for the choice that I made to change my life. It takes quite a bit of gumption and quite a bit of confidence in yourself, because you are stepping out from what you're familiar with into the unknown. There's worth in that.


Travel

Jasper National Park

Author: Olesia B.
Level: 7
Instructor: Jacqueline A.

This summer, my husband and I were in Jasper National Park. It is one of Canada's largest reserves, located in Alberta, 320 kilometers west of Edmonton and 290 kilometers from Calgary. This is a very large park. In the park there are more than 200 species of birds, deer, moose, grizzly bears, wood porcupines and many other animals. The park almost entirely consists of beautiful coniferous forests. Jasper is one of the most visited reserves in Canada.
 
We got to Jasper on our own car. My husband and I lived in a tent on a campground near the very beautiful lake Maligne, by which we went boating and on an hour-and-a-half cruise. Indeed, the best nights are nights in the mountains. Near the lake there was a canyon Maligne, where we saw a waterfall. Also we took in another waterfall - Athabasca.  We traveled without a guide, as we walked a lot in the forests and mountains. Nearby there were parking, asphalted paths and places for picnics. We met a huge number of tourists of different nationalities there.

In the territory of Jasper there is a large number of glacial fields along which the Main Ridge passes. This is the natural line of the watershed on the North American continent. We visited the Athabasca glacier, by the same name as the river and waterfall. We liked to walk along the canyon of Malin, where there are lakes and underground rivers. Each of the rivers is of natural and historical value, and is under the special control of UNESCO. We walked and people could take canoes, kayaks, and rafts on them.

Many animals are not afraid of people there. Along the highways, along which cars constantly drive, we saw peacefully grazing deer, wapiti (or elk) and mountain goats. Neither in the city, nor in the park is there public transport, however, it is possible to move around the village by taxi. 

We saw Jasper in the summer, I hope to see it again in other seasons. I really enjoyed this trip. No matter where you go, the main thing is with whom you travel. Jasper is a thrilling place for tourists from all over the world. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine.

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