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


Canadian vs Ukrainian Sports

Published: April 2018
Author: Serhii P.
Level: 6
Instructor: Mona B.

My teacher gave me a playlist on YouTube to choose one or two videos from to write about so that I could experience the excitement of the Winter Olympics.

I chose to watch a video about hockey because I have enjoyed this sport since childhood and find it the most exciting for me during the Winter Olympic Games.  I like hockey because I played it in the past and I know how hard and difficult this sport is. From my perspective, the Canadian hockey team was the strongest during these Winter Olympics but the sport is unpredictable every time.

In the video I watched, the US won against Germany but Germany beat Canada 4 -3 in the men’s hockey game.  It was very exciting to know that the Canadian women’s hockey team won gold against the US team.

The Ukraine is usually not very good at winter sport activities.  Despite this, the Ukraine got a gold medal in skiing acrobatics. Winter sport activities are not popular in the Ukraine because our country does not have the opportunity to train for the winter games.

In the Ukraine, boxing is very popular and the Ukrainians have won a couple of world championships.  Football is also very popular in the Ukraine but the Ukrainians are not very good at this sport. The Ukrainians are 9 time world champions in the strongman competition.  Vasyl Virastyuk was one of our most famous competitors.  He won many championships.  We also have many famous Ukrainian boxers, such as, the Klitschko brothers (Wladimir and Vitali), Oleksandr Usyk (who has held the World Boxing Organization’s cruiserweight title since 2016) and Vasyl Lomachenko (who has held the World Boxing Organization’s super featherweight title since 2016).  In the past, we have also had some famous swimmers from the Ukraine.

As for me, I like to watch all the Winter Olympic Games because they are always interesting and all the sportsmen show their strong physiques that are indicators of a healthy lifestyle, which is very important. 



Published: April 2018
Author: Jorge B.
Level: 3
Instructor: Mona B.

Curling is a precision sport with special equipment and some similarities to the English Bowl. It is played with two teams of four participants who compete with each other. They have to slide eight granite stones, weighing 20 kg each, on an aisle made of ice and 45 metres in length. After the launch, the members of the team need to brush the ice to help the stone move along but always without touching it. The points are given depending on how close they are to the center. It's a team sport and is very fun. It's been considered an Olympic sport since Nagano 1998. There is no age limit for curling. Everybody can play.

Playing Ping Pong

Published: April 2018
Author: Sambhu V.
Level: 7
Instructor: Ana G.

 I did not have much regard for table tennis in the beginning. I was more of a badminton guy. I liked badminton very much. I used to play pretty much every single day with my friend in my former school. He is a pro. Since he got some formal training I usually tried to learn the basics from him as well.

I always made sure that my body got the necessary exercise. So, in this winter season when my badminton buddy had a newborn baby he stopped coming to play badminton. I got sick of going to the gym as they have only limited parking space and I hated to walk in the bone chilling Saskatchewan winter - may be an excuse to avoid the gym.  

It is about this time that one my other friends bought a ping pong table and set it in his basement. One day when I was visiting him, I accidently played with him for a few minutes. At my surprise I not only was able to play way more than I thought, but I instantly liked it as well.  Ever since then I have been playing table tennis at least four days a week, which is truly helping me to keep my body in good shape.

What I am trying to say is that everybody likes to play something. Some people like badminton like me, some others like football or soccer. It does not matter what you play. But what does matter is that your body gets ample exercise to keep you fit. Some form of exercise is vital for our body as well as our mind. So, find something you might like, something that keeps you motivated enough to go back to play and live a healthy life.

My First Hockey Experience in Canada

Published: April 2018
Author: Sung-il J.
Level: 6
Instructor: Mona B.

As many people know, hockey is more than just a game to Canadians. At school, many conversations start with hockey news. You can easily see people wearing the jerseys of their local teams everywhere. However in Korea, which is my home country, hockey is not a popular sport and it is hard to experience things related to hockey there.

Fortunately, I got a chance to see my first ever hockey game. It was a match between the Moose Jaw Warriors, which is the team of my town, and the Regina Pats. I was accompanied by my wife and her English teacher. Before watching the game, we had to study the rules. Therefore, I searched for the basic rules of hockey and the backgrounds of the teams and the league.

When I arrived at the stadium, there were many spectators. I could feel the enthusiasm of the people in the atmosphere around me. Many parents came with their children and I can understand why. Hockey has been the most beloved sport for many Canadians for generations. The game was exciting and much faster than I expected. Every spectator was totally devoted to every single play of the players. My wife and I also enjoyed this. Although the Moose Jaw Warriors lost 3 - 5, the 4000 people who fully filled the seats of the entire stadium and their passion to hockey still remain in my mind.

Why is Jackie the best teacher?

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

The hand is a mirror that reflects the past, present and future of person. The nature, potential, abilities and capabilities of a person - all this is reflected on his palms. The lines on the left hand contain information about the development and weaknesses that are inherent in a person from birth. These properties of the character open during life, when a person chooses one way or another. The lines on the right hand reflect the formation of personality. In addition, the right hand reflects the achievements for a certain period of time. Thus, the right hand represents the imprint of a newfound fate. In most cases, the dominant hand is the main one; therefore, if you are left-handed, the right hand will be the hand of the potential, and the left hand will be the hand of the newfound fate.  

On the photos of Jackie Angileri’s hand, found below, we can see a whole magnificent complex of character traits that lead to success. Let's go:) 

The line of Fate(1) is long! Jackie has a very long working capacity and is ready to work into her  advanced years. People with a long line of Fate have long lives, they do not have time to die.  From the age of 25 Jackie has the beginning of the Sun line(2). The line of Luck (the Sun) in literature is usually associated with creativity and luck. And I do not get tired of repeating: the line of Luck is a marker of optimism! People who have a line of luck are optimistic, do not whine and do not cry at failure. If they fall, they stand up and with a smile move on. Optimism is the reason for success. The connection here is simple: success in life in all areas in one way or another depends on other people. And people like the smiling optimists, rather than sour pessimists! The optimists are forgiven more, because they are willing to meet halfway. The reason is optimism, the consequence is luck. Do you not have a line of luck? Take Jackie for example! Everyone is interested in how to become a good teacher. My answer: here is a character for which you must have, that's how! 

The long finger of Mercury (3) also indicates intuition, ingenuity and enterprise. The long little finger looks like an extended antenna, which shows us the inclination and love for languages ​​and language communication, eloquence and wit and physical attractiveness.  People with long fingers of Mercury are wonderful speakers! We can see the difference between the little fingers on the right(3) and left hands(4). It is an indicator of her hard work. 

The long and straight line of the Head (5) shows us a clever and versatile person. A long finger of Jupiter (6) on the left hand shows us an ambitious person. On the right hand, the finger (7) is slightly lower than on the left, which is the indicator of character change after years 25-30. 

The hands of Jackie have the water elements - narrow, rectangular palms with long fingers. The water palm is graceful and tender. Narrowness of the palm indicates that the person is very susceptible to external influences. People with such hands are immersed in inner processes, sensations and feelings. Jackie is very responsive, attentive to the people around her and the environment. She likes to care, support, give advice and work with children. Jackie is happy to work on a team, because she is always ready for cooperation. People of Water palms are prone to self-sacrifice if the set goal deeply touches them. Water cleanses and soothes everything... I often meet educated and cheerful people but without an abundance of lines on their hands. These people can listen to you but their hearts are closed. On the hands of my teacher we see a lot of lines that show her deep and sensual soul.  

Also Jackie has the lines of Samaritans (8). These small lines are located on the ulnar side of the arm in the space between the base of the little finger and the heart line. On them you can determine the sensitivity and kindness of human nature. The owner of such a hand tries unselfishly to give to others all the best that is inside himself. People with these lines are excellent teachers, psychologists and doctors.  

Ring of Solomon(9) is an mark of a huge soul. I would like to advise Jackie to often visit the forest or stay near some water. She gives a lot of her energy for people so sometimes she may not have enough strength. In my opinion Jackie often wants to sit alone and think.  

A long index finger (10) marks a person with exaggerated demands to himself. They are characterized by sharpened self-criticism. The thumb has only two phalanges: the first, or upper, is associated with will and performance, the second is connected to logic and the ability to reason. The two phalanges(11) of Jackie are harmonious. Her thumb is quite mobile in the upper joint. Jackie is a person of wide views, generous, tolerant and cheerful. Also, her the second phalanx of the thumb has a "waist"(12). This is an indicator of the flexibility of the character, and that Jackie thinks before she says something. 

Jackie's Heart line(13) branches in several directions at the end. The fork is indicating her ability to see the situation from two angles, and then, about her complex emotional nature. After classes with Jackie I always have a great mood. It does not matter if I made a mistake or not. I was always wondering why! That's the answer! She has a loop of Humor (14). My teacher as a "little sun" charges me with a positivity. I think her relatives are very lucky to have a "little sun" at home. Although some people do not understand this and do not appreciate it ...   

Her line of Fate(15) begins in the lunar quadrant, so we can say that other’s emotions have a strong influence on Jackie. Most likely, her work should be related to her ability to communicate, and personal relationship play a main role in her life.  People without a line of destiny accept life as it is. They accept it as it has developed for objective reasons, and do not show a desire to improve it, to succeed in a particular area. The Line of Destiny is the line of duty. The higher she enters the palm of the hand, the more serious and well-founded the person. The life of such people depends entirely on those around them, so they develop excellent communication skills and possess increased sensitivity. Jackie is able to adapt, perfectly understanding the deep internal (lunar) motives of other people.

My beloved teacher, I wish you great happiness in your life. On your palms you can see your path, choice and life priorities. However, we are the masters of our life.


My Favourite Hobby

Published: April 2018
Author: Viktoriia P.
Level: 5
Instructor: Tanya B.

I like arts, and I am glad that I have the opportunity to paint. I was fond of creativity and it brought me great pleasure from my childhood.  In my Ukrainian childhood, paint was simply something unattainable, because they were so expensive and my parents could not buy me paints and brushes. But I was an optimistic child, so I painted with pencils and pens. I could paint the cat for hours, the trees, sometimes birds. It was very interesting for me.

   It’s been a lot of time and now, being here in Canada, I started to paint again. It’s like a hobby for me, which brings great pleasure and joy. This is a rest from everyday affairs. I do not have a lot of free time, but often when walking or spending time with my children, I start pondering some ideas and picking up colors.

    Canada has an amazing sunrise and sunset, and incredible, rich nature. It’s all very inspiring to create new paintings. Drawing for me is like a rest for the soul. Drawing is very calming and you seem to be immersed in another world. I like painting flowers, create compositions from field flowers and draw them. I really love to explore the shades and mix colors.

   My children often love to paint with me, although after this, I have to wash everything, but kids are always happy and smiling. Drawing is very much about developing and enriching the person.

    Time is very fast, so you need to enjoy every day. Painting gives me the opportunity to stop and just relax, to create a beautiful one.



My life in Canada

Published: April 2018
Author: Albina S.
Level: 3
Instructor: Zareen R.

Canada is one of the few countries in the world which has a lot of people from different cultures. Canada is a country of immigrants with good standard of living.

Looking back, I never thought that I would live in Canada, because I never wanted to leave my country. But, we never know what the future holds for us. I came to Canada in 2016. When I came to Canada, I thought I would find a job very easily and make new friends; but, it was not that easy.

First, I could not find a job, because I knew very little English. I felt stressed, because people didn’t understand me, as they didn’t understand my accent. I was afraid to go shopping alone. Then, I thought that probably a lot of newcomers go through the same problems as me so I motivated myself to learn English.

As time passed, I found work, and became comfortable speaking with people. Now, I attend English training in my town, and I also study English online. The life seems to be getting better than what it was when I came to Canada. My advice to people who are newcomers is that, in the beginning, it is a little difficult; but, it is surely worth it as it is a beautiful country with beautiful people who are kind and always ready to help!


Coming to Canada

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

I arrived in Toronto on June 11, 2015.  It was a sunny day. When I first flew into the Toronto airport, I was scared. The airport was so big that I was afraid I would not find my connecting flight to Saskatchewan. In Toronto,  I was surprised  at how many different nationalities live there.  My husband met me in Saskatoon and we stayed there for two days. In Saskatoon I saw large,  wide streets .  Then we drove to our town of  Eatonia. It surprised me that Eatonia was such a small place and still called a town. Compared to my city where I lived in Ukraine, it looked very small. For me, it was very strange that I did not see people on the street and children did not play outside. I was wondering how people wore summer slippers in the winter  time.  I really like  the roads and highways in Canada. In Canada, I like the people, they are very friendly, polite, everyone smiles, and at a meeting ask “How are you?”

I’m lucky enough to have been to 3 provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario). I feel like there is only more to explore. Canada is a pretty awesome country. I am homesick because my daughter and my parents stayed back in Ukraine but I hope to see them soon. I talk with them every day for an hour. My husband does not let me be bored. I have met good Canadians. The employer of my husband and his family were the first people I met in Canada. They are very amazing people.  They became my friends.  And also I have a wonderful English teacher by Skype, her name is Andrienne. I really love her lessons, but sometimes I'm lazy about doing homework. I am very glad that these lessons help me in learning English. Thanks a lot  Adrienne!!!.  Canada is one of the few places in the world where you can walk into someone and they will apologize first. I like that all of the regions of the country look so different from one another. I like that Canada has wonderful nature such as forests, lakes, fields, mountains, rocks and also a lot of wild animals. And I also feel that in Canada the air is very clean unlike in Ukraine.


Prince Albert

Published: April 2018
Author: Binh H.
Level: 3
Instructor: Mona B.

Prince Albert is a small province but it's easy to find jobs here. Most people are farmers. They like to go fishing and hunting. In the summer, people like to go to the beach to enjoy the sunrise and sunset and BBQ on the sandbank. The farmers bring fruits and vegetables to sell. People usually go out less in the winter because the roads are very slippery.






Learning English

Published: April 2018
Author: Hamid K.
Level: 7
Instructor: Dragana B.

English is the language of communication. Imagine the world without a universal language like English. Everyone would need to learn many languages to communicate with other people from other nations. Now ,  using English as accepted international language ,  we need to learn only one language. Expressing yourself in a new language is tricky and everyone needs to learn it well. There  are many different approaches to learning English, and  here I will try to compare learning English in my home country, Iran , and Canada, and then I will point to how English was useful for me. 

In Iran English is taught in schools but not early enough. Legally ,  teaching English in primary schools is forbidden,because  some education experts believe learning a new language at an early age will have negative effects on the process of learning other subjects and also it will harm the native language, as children will try to speak English more. On the other hand , some researchers believe Iranian children are missing the best age to learn the most influential language in the world. Nowadays parents decide that child should start learning English, and  most of them register their children in private English institutes so they compensate for government`s wrong decisions.

However, English is taught in high schools in Iran, but  the teaching method is missing the most significant part, productivity. After learning 6 years of English, students are only good readers, they are not able to speak and write properly.

In Canada English is the official language, so children will learn English as their mother tongue, so comparing education systems between two countries is not fair. But investigating how newcomers learn English in Canada will aim to understand advantages and disadvantages. Unlike the method used in Iran, in Canada teachers focus on all four skills. Speaking, writing, reading and listening are  equally important, but I believe the education process should be customized according to the student’s abilities, in some cases a focus on one of the skills is required.

Personally, I learned English in a private English institute. I  started learning English in a professional manner when I was 20 years old. However , it was relatively late but it helped me in different ways. It made me able to read the  latest books in English so I didn’t have to wait for the translation. Later in job interviews for most of the companies,  being able to communicate in English was a plus so I could find a good job. Right now I’m working for an international company, and  one of the reasons that  I was qualified for this job was my proficiency in English.

Studying English for people whose   mother tongue is not English is an ongoing process and it won’t finish. Everyday there is something to learn to sound more natural. LINC  home study program is one of the best options for learners like me, who don’t have enough time to study in a classroom. This program is great for keeping you on the right track.

Learning English in Canada

Published: April 2018
Author: Sultana R.
Level: 7
Instructor: Adrienne R.

Learning English in Canada is an important goal for everyone. There is no achievement without English. Without English, we can't manage our daily life in Canada. English is really important for those who are new comers to Canada. They have to learn English in any way to develop their life and also to have citizenship in Canada. The Canadian government also encourages people to reach their dreams. So many people are learning English in different places in individual ways and some are taking online programs. As an immigrant my journey also wasn't easy. First, I came to Canada on the 19th of July, 2011. Then I was four months pregnant with my first child. I was a little upset physically and mentally. There were so many changes in my life, totally new traditions, culture and feelings for the first time. But I knew that I had to study to improve myself. English is the only way to communicate and express myself with others. After that I decided to go to the Open Door. This is an institute which helps newcomers. First of all, they assessed me to figure out which level I was at. They put me in level four. I continued my level four class for about two months. Few days later, I had to stop my class because of some physical problems.. Then, On January 9th, 2012 my son was born with so many physical problems. That was my new struggle and a huge challenge for our life. We were mentally depressed. Meanwhile, my husband also had some physical. For those reasons, I had to speak in English with the doctors and nurses. It was a big deal for us, we were faced with many things. Still, I think it was the most horrible experience of our whole life. New people, a new country, culture so we felt very helpless. Day by day we got used to it. My English improved a lot by communicating with the doctors and nurses. The government approved a home nurse for my son; she used to come once a week for about 3-4 hours. I had to explain to her about my son's physical condition and doing this progressed my English skills. The best thing is we never gave up and some- how we believed one day everything would be perfect. Later on, I went back to school again. The institute's name was SIAST. Now it is the Saskatchewan Polytechnic. After that, I got a level 3,4,5 certificate. Suddenly, my son's health got worse.. I kept calling in sick. But it was too much for a full-time student. One day my teacher advised me to apply for an online program. As a result, I left my full-time class again. A few month later, I applied and continued my online program.. Then I lost my son. After he passed away, I got pregnant again. During my pregnancy we applied for our citizenship. My second baby was born and then a few months later we got our citizenship. I wanted to go back to the online program once again. But I heard that I was not able to do this because it wasn't a free program anymore for Canadian citizen. Luckily, I found this new program that the government just opened for those who got citizenship. I was the first student for this program from the province of SK. I believe that, to learn English we have to keep practicing. Also, we should converse in English then we will realize how much we have progressed. One of the ways is listening to English news on FM radio, it really helps to learn English. Mostly, we ought to follow whatever we learn. Reading newspapers and magazines is a great habit to speak fluent English. Nowadays, there are so many websites to learn English. Working at a job is a great practice. Watching English movies and cartoons is a progressive step. Finally, I can say that we should never stop until we reach our final target. I know it's really hard to learn a different language. But nothing is impossible; we have to be patient. We are lucky tolive in the province of Saskatchewan; the government helps a lot here. That's why I got an opportunity to learn English in Canada. I hope everyone has the same inspiration to develop their English skills.


Ukranian Divination Traditions

Published: April 2018
Author: Masha P.
Level: 7
Instructor: Adrienne R.

On New Year's Eve everybody wants to believe in miracles. Almost everyone becomes a little child again and thinks  about their dreams coming true. This belief was shared by  our ancestors, who, just like us, thought that this night was special, that it "opens the sky", and you can ask for happiness. Never mind that while the New Year came on the night of the 13th to 14th January. It was New Year's Eve and then, just as now, it was magical.

Actually, all Christmastides were unusual  days from Christmas to Epiphany, or  the Baptism of the Lord. For the world at that time still lived unbaptized, so people thought spirits roamed freely as did even evil forces, with whom you could communicate. Particularly active evil happened on the night of Basil and Epiphany Eve, so then you had to sing Christmas carols, repel the enemy of the human race and his minions by wearing bizarre outfits.  People often participated in divinations.

Divination was carried out in different ways. One of the most popular divinations was divination with wax. In the evening young girls would melt the wax and pour it into cold water, then pull out of the bowl frozen lumps and by the fire, gazed at strange shadows on the wall, wondering and fantasizing what these contours are looked like.  The Quivering flame of a candle, changeable light on the delicate faces, warm house and twilight blue night outside the windowall created a unique atmosphere of  the expectation of a miracle.

The other one was divination with the dog.  People would lure a street dog into their home.  For him, the girls baked small sweet donuts they held the donut not in a bucket or pot, but in their own mouth. The owner of the treat that the dog ate first would  get married first, the others had to wait one more year Therefore, cakes were made of different shapes or fasten with colored threads to discern whose were whose. However, this divination usually was made a month before the new year – on the holiday of St. Andrew

There are divinations now also. However, hardly anyone now will lead a street dog to their home. The number of tools for divination has expanded considerably - it can be done even with a computer. Of course, most of those who try on a January evening with the help of grandmother's secrets to discern their future, say that this never works. But, I confess to myself, that I want to believe in miracles, well, at least at Christmas and New Year! Let's make good predictions and believe that they will come true!

Special Event in My Life

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

I have experienced diverse significant events in my life, but what interests me most to write about in this exercise is my Diaconate Ordination. Diaconate Ordination is the first Stage of the Sacrament of the Holy Orders in the Roman Catholic Church.

I was ordained a Deacon for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Konongo – Mampong on Saturday January 9, 2010. It was so significant to me because it marked the beginning of my clerical life, and I was fully incardinated into the Diocese.

After several years of seminary formation into the Catholic Priesthood, I was privileged to be conferred the Order of Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. I was ordained together with two other candidates by His Excellency, Most Rev. Leon B. Kalanga, the Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana.  Since it was a Historic Visit of the Papal Nuncio to the Diocese, coupled with the ordination of Three Deacons, the event was well attended by great number of Clergy, Religious Brothers and Sisters, Seminarians and Aspirants, Families and Friends, as well as many Christ’s faithful of the Diocese and beyond.

The entire celebration lasted for three hours in the context of Holy Mass. The interesting part of the celebration was the point where the Principal Celebrant handed to me the “Book of the Gospel” and said, “Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you now are. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach”.  This communicated a great message to me since I believe it is a summary of my entire ministry. It spells out the core duty of a clergy as a herald of Christ to his faithful. As a Deacon, I am called to carry the Gospel of Christ to his people on earth. In order to carry out such a mandate, I am first and foremost called to read the Gospel and come to a deeper understanding of it. When I am able to grasp the meaning of the Good News of Christ, I am required to believe it. I also have the mandate to teach people about what I believe by a testimony of life in practicing what I teach others in my preaching/teachings.

On that faithful day, my status was changed from a state of lay faithful to a clerical state, and my faith was deepened by this memorable event in my life. I felt deeply loved by God who has called me from my humble state to serve His people in His Holy Church. I was also overwhelmed by the huge attendance of people who expressed deeper affection and encouragements to me. It is a day I will never forget in my life.


A funny experience as a parent

Published: April 2018
Author: Tamara P.
Level: 7
Instructor: Ashley J.

When a couple starts planning to have a child they are sure that day of his or her birth will be the best day of their life. Obviously, it is true because kids make our life profound and happy, but as a future parent you can't imagine how much trouble you will have after the happiest day of your life. I mean, for example, if you think you will never sleep properly again, it is probably true! When I was pregnant with my daughter all the time everybody told me, “Take your rest and sleep as much as you can because you will miss it”. I didn't believe them, unfortunately. During the same time nobody warns you that you will never be calm anymore. From the first second of your child’s life you will always have him or her in your head, heart and in focus of your attention. I understand now it's not so easy peasy.

I have two kids; my oldest girl is five and my son is two years old. With my daughter, it was not easy even though she is a good girl. I was always using my full attention.  I watched her every step and forced all of my family to do the same. With a second child it should be much easier now that you know what you should do and what can you expect, I thought so. In Ukraine we have a joke: “With your first child you are always careful and everything should be right and clean.  With your second child though, if they eat from dog’s bowl they are a dog’s problem.”  What can I say, my son did it tenfold and more.

For the first two years he was such a nice boy.   Every time he listened to me and, what's important, he understood. But now he is in his “terrible twos”.  Now I understand the meaning of “not an easy child”. I must watch him all the time: if he runs, he will probably fall down and injure himself; if he plays, with 98% probability, he will break something; if you are sleeping he could run away from home. The worst part is when he is quiet. In this moment you should run as fast as you can, because now he definitely finds a way to make you scream.

I don't know why but boys genetically should be always busy with something that is dangerous or easily broken. During one week my son bit my new cellphone, broke my husband’s laptop and almost left me hairless.

Somehow, I feel that it is just the beginning and it will continue. He is a very smart boy with a great imagination and a big desire to act.

I honestly hope that we will survive during his “terrible twos”. It's a lot of damage, but also it's a lot of fun and a big experience. I know that it will not be easier with time, but I'm so happy that I have my children.   I'm sure I will love them all of my life, even if they will make me poor and a little bit crazy.


What advice do I have for newcomers looking for a job?

Published: April 2018
Author: Beatrice T.
Level: 7
Instructor: Zareen R.

Finding work in a new country is often very difficult and very frustrating as everything is new. Newcomers come with dreams for a better life and they are happy and excited to make this new place their home; but, often, they are faced with many challenges when trying to adjust to their new life in their new country.

First, when newcomers come to Canada, they must be realistic. As soon as they arrive in Canada, they have to be aware of realities of the job market by keeping themselves up-to-date using newspapers, online websites or TV programs. They should also get in touch with others immigrants who have been in Canada for some time and talk to them about their experiences so that they can get insight about the situation. All this will help them save some time, energy and money.

Usually, they have to get their educational credentials assessed. While waiting for that, they can either start a casual job so, at least, they are making some money, or attend English or French classes to improve their language skills. At the same time, they should target different trainings which match the real job market and are related to their educational background or area of work. Often times, it is disappointing to find out that they either have to re-take the program of study again or upgrade their skills in Canada. This is usually the case because majority of Canadian academic institutions and workplaces do not recognize the degrees from another country. It puzzles me that when you are applying for immigration to Canada, you are selected based on your foreign degrees, but, when you get here, most of employers don’t considered them to be up to the Canadian standards. In most cases, people decide to take some courses to upgrade their qualifications based on the requirements for the specific occupations.

The last point that I want to make is that newcomers should also consider the fact that Canada has ten provinces and three territories and every province has a different job market. The competition is always intense in bigger cities, even though, there might be more job opportunities. Therefore, it is a good idea to launch their career in small or middle-sized cities where chances are better. They have to understand that they might have to relocate to where the jobs are and not to be resistant to moving if they have to. They must have a lot of patience, will and courage to stand up to all challenges. Only in this way, they will successfully be able to integrate in Canada.

My best advice to all newcomers is to always remember that “Winners are not people who never failed but those who never quit!”  

My Journey

Published: April 2018
Author: Oleksandr S.
Level: 6
Instructor: Mona B.

In this short story, I would like you to join me on my travels while I tell you about my life in Canada.  To begin with, I want to introduce myself.  My name is Oleksandr S. and I am 25 years old.  I have a nice family, which consists of my mom and two sisters.  Also, I got married two years ago and my family keeps growing.  While I was studying at university, I heard about an exchange program between students and I decided to take a chance by moving to the USA.  That was my first experience travelling abroad and I will never forget it.  To keep it brief, I will just tell you some pros and cons of this program. 

There were a lot of pros, such as learning a new language (English), which was so difficult for the first few months, but also I made a bunch of friends and I still keep in touch with them.  I loved to find out about towns and found some new ones to visit.  One of these cities was Chicago where I traveled with my friend.  He showed me the beautiful skylines downtown. 

Of course, there were cons too.  I worked for a large pig company with good co-workers, but I will probably never forget the smell of these barns.  Almost every day I came back from work and showered for a whole hour, but I don’t want to complain about it because overall it was a great experience for me.  To sum up this part of my life, I’d like to say that people have to have a change scene as often as they can, which leads me to the next part of my story. 

Currently, I live in Canada with my wife.  We are immigrants, but here I feel like a native Canadian.  I found out that in Canada people are much more polite compared to people in my country.  Maybe it’s because we live in a small community where everyone knows each other.  I am working on a mixed farm and my wife works in a restaurant.  I have had a busy time while harvesting the crops and I have been sleeping only five hours a day.  I keep my mind busy by entertaining myself with funny stories, such as the one I am about to tell you. 

I want to share a funny story with you which happened to me on Halloween.  I was on the  combine at the fields when my buddy called me.  He said that I had to go to his house for a few minutes.  Without hesitation, I left the combine out and went to his house.  I rang his doorbell a couple of times, but no one answered.  I decided to go in and check everything out.  Afterwards, when I turned the lights on, I was so scared when I saw a big monkey beside me.  Yes, it was my friend dressed up as a monkey!  After that, we laughed for a very long time.

Based on all these wonderful experiences and fond memories, I would like to advise people to travel to expand their horizons, experience new and wonderful things and create new memories.


My Vacation in the Philippines

Published: April 2018
Author: Eugene C.
Level: 7
Instructor: Adrienne R.

It was an exciting day on the 11th of December last year because my boss let me use my holidays to home. A good friend of  mine drove me to the Regina airport. I left my truck at his place in Kipling so that he can look after it too while I was away..

I enjoyed my first flight to Vancouver especially when we flew in between Alberta and British Columbia. The mountains are just beautiful with their tops covered with snow. I wasn't able to buy Christmas presents in Vancouver because the Duty free closed early. Good thing I had a longer lay-over in Taiwan and was able to buy everyone a gift.

It was already dark when I arrived at the airport in the Philippines. My cousin waited patiently for me. He was so happy to see me and helped me leave the place quickly because there are a lot of people returning home for vacation. I phoned my friend to pick me up from the airport and he drove me to the bus station. We had the chance to talk and eat at a certain restaurant while waiting for my trip.

I reached my final destination at 4:30 in the morning. I didn’t want to wake up anybody that early so I decided to have a coffee somewhere. My cousins, friends, and relatives were all surprised when they learned that I was home. I purposely did not to tell anybody that I was coming home for the holidays.

I started walking along Session road where I used to hang-out  a lot during my college days. It stretches from Malcolm square all the way to Luneta hill where the Shoe Mart Mall stands. I like to just stand, feel the breeze, and look out from the west balcony of the mall. It is overlooking the University that I graduated from.

I spent most of my time during Christmas and New Year’s with my cousins and relatives. I made sure I have to visit each and every one of them .It was like a family reunion when everybody gathered at my Aunt's place who hosted the food, drinks, and games. The party lasted until 5:00 in the morning.

Doing my re-entry visa ruined my vacation. I have to go to Manila a couple of times to apply for it. It was after New Year when I finally secured my re-entry. I knew I had a few left of my vacation so I pursued my plan to go spelunking. It was a bad timing though because the guides were all fully booked and I was not able to visit the caves.

I returned home to my cousin's place where I used to stay. I just continued going to places to reminisce about the past like the gym, church, wet market, and restaurants. I also had the chance to meet most of my high school classmates. My cousin prepared a big meal for me and her family before I left for my long trip coming back to Canada.

I didn't notice that I had a long stop-over in Taiwan when I booked my ticket. I had to wait for a total of 17 hours for my next flight bound for Vancouver. I had noodles and tea many times while waiting. I spent a night at my cousin's place in Vancouver before continuing my journey.  Then I flew to Regina where it was – 22 degrees. Two of my Co-workers in Moose jaw came to pick me up in the. I finally drove my truck home the following morning.

Going back home is a lot more fun if you plan for it. You don't want to be there when there's a lot of people and crowded everywhere. Traffic is a constant problem too. I never rode in a taxi or drove a vehicle during my vacation.. I like driving here in Canada where every driver stays in their own lane if there's a build up of traffic.

From a financial perspective, you can probably live in my country with no savings at all. Whereas, where I live in Saskatchewan, you can have your own vehicle and save some money for the future.

I gained weight when I was home. This shows that I do prefer the food in the Philippines. You can buy some here but with more money of course.    Overall I had a great time on my vacation!