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

Activity

Baseball: The most popular sport in Korea

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

When people ask, "What is the most popular sport in Korea?" nine out of ten people will say baseball.

The Korean Pro Baseball League started in 1981 with only 5 teams. Now, the league has expanded to 10 teams and has played 144 games. It was not the most popular sport in Korea when it started. However, after the Korean national baseball team created dramatic games and won a gold medal in the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, baseball has become Korea's national sport. Watching baseball games in a stadium has especially become part of the new wave of culture in Korean life. When baseball season starts, a lot of people head to the stadium not to just watch the game but also to enjoy the many foods, the cheerleading and all the excitement. Eating something while watching sports games seems to be common all over the world, however there is a special feature in Korean baseball cheering, which is singing songs for individual players. Every time a batter comes to the batting box, spectators sing songs dedicated to that player. Imagine almost 30,000 spectators singing together. That's why the Korean baseball stadium is called "the world's largest karaoke." It relieves stress from daily life and gives others the energy and motivation to go further.

 


Bios

My Story

Author: Serhii P.
Level: 6
Instructor: Mona B.

My name is Serhii P.  I was born and raised in a small Ukrainian town.  After I graduated school I entered Uman State Pedagogical University where I was studying for 5 years and got a diploma to be a Biology teacher and landscape designer.

From 2006 to 2007, I worked at a school for special pupils but, at that time, I realized that teaching was not quite the profession I wanted to be in and I decided to try something different.

After school, I got the chance to work for a couple of years in Sweden and Denmark.  Those were great years with new friends and good agricultural experience, which pushed me to start my own business in  Ukraine.  It was the best job that I ever had,  however Ukraine does not have good conditions for the development of small businesses and, after more than four years of owning a legal business in my native country, I decided to immigrate to Canada with my family.

Canada is a huge, beautiful country with friendly people and better opportunities for our future.  We have been living in Canada for 20 months and have already got our Permanent Residency.  We like this country and hopefully, with hard work, we can get the chance again to start our own business in Canada also.

 


Canada

Living in Canada

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

Canada is one of the best counties in the world. The country with lots of opportunities for all people around the world. I believe that is one of the reasons why there are lots of immigrants coming here to Canada. I also observe that most people are friendly and respectful, always with a smile on their faces. I have lots of things to be thankful for living here in Canada. First, we have free healthcare and free education from kindergarten to Grade 12. We also have clean air and a beautiful landscape. I will always be grateful, because we have lots of family and friends here in Canada. Even though, we are not family in blood, we treat each other as a real family. We always have a camping trip every year, lots of summer picnics and many occasions to celebrate such as birthdays and baby showers. Then, we also went to museums such as the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller, which boasts an extensive collection of dinosaur fossils and exhibits on prehistoric life. Also, the Saskatchewan Science Centre, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and many more. Last, there are lots of programs to help people, including LINC Home Study for people who cannot attend the classes. They have an amazing teacher (Jackie) who is always there to teach and willing to help others in her best. I will always be thankful and grateful for all the blessings!

 


Magical Canada

Author: Lidiane P.
Level: 7
Instructor: Rabia R.
Photo Credit: Lidiane P.

Ah Canada, you are one of the most beautiful countries in the world!

Before I came to Canada, when I thought about coming here, right away a cold and harsh weather came to my mind, but Canada is infinitely much more than that. Do you know that Canada has the most exciting summer? Let's talk about what people usually do during the summer time in Canada.

First, I would like to explain why I asked, if you know that Canada has the most exciting summer in the world; this is about expectation! In Canada, as we think the winter is much longer than in others countries, and Canadians or people who live here are very anxious to see the summer appear. As usual in May, this beautiful season begins to show its majesty. This year I wanted, so badly, to have a warm weather quickly, as for me the winter was too long. We got a lot of snow, a few winter blizzards and I was so tired, but, since this place is so incredible, when you do not expect, the summer comes up!

I got a new job just at the end of the winter. Luckily, this company is incredible and they want their employees happy. My boss gave me the news that I have 7 days off, at stretch, in the summer to enjoy the days, the sun and life! As soon as I had this news, I began to plan my trip to the Rocky Mountains. My husband and I decided to take a round trip that started from Regina to Edmonton, Jasper, Banff, and Calgary.

Between this round trip, we had our “Cherry on the cake” to visit. The first one it was the World Waterpark at West Mall in Edmonton. We had an incredible day with a lot of fun. We turned into children again! The second one was the David Thompson Hwy from Edmonton to Jasper. In my view, the Abraham Lake is more beautiful than Lake Louise, and we were able to have the beautiful view of this lake from the highway. I am speechless about the impact when we had the view of the lake from the road. I was mesmerized!

The third place was Emerald Lake in BC. Oh my God!!! I have never seen this color of the lake water. The lake is something that I cannot explain; it is actually emerald green! You should just go and check this place out; it is the place to have on your bucket list.

Last but not the least it was the Two Jake Lakes. My husband and I spent all afternoon there, just enjoying the fresh air, the silent song, the people’s happiness and the pleasure of the opportunity to live that time.

Finally, I have just to say, I am a very grateful person for everything: my life, my family; the chances that I get, and every single and small thing that I have in my life. Travel, it is one of the things that I like to do in my life; and Canada has introduced it through the most exciting ways to me, such as traveling and enjoying during the magical seasons, the chance to have a real and warm weather. This is the real life!

 

My Impressions of Canada

Author: Eugene C.
Level: 7
Instructor: Adrienne R.

When I first came to Canada, all I knew was this country is huge and is next to the United States. As I learned more about this country, I noticed that it is actually the second largest country in the world next to Russia.  It is subdivided into regions and provinces. There are five regions of Canada: The Atlantic Provinces, Central Canada, The Prairie Provinces, The West Coast, and The Northern Territories. I am going to tell you about three of them.

The Atlantic Provinces are composed of the Provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. These provinces are joined together by fisheries and forests. Newfoundland and Labrador is a whale-watching mecca, with numerous species, including humpbacks, blue whales and orcas migrating most of the year. New Brunswick has different kinds of birds like the gorgeous puffins, bald eagles, and terns. There is lots of lobster in Nova Scotia. Hiking, climbing, and coast-line walking are the things people do too. Beautiful beaches are found on the Prince Edward Island shore. It is the smallest province among the other Atlantic provinces but it is able to produce 30 percent of  the potatoes for the whole country.

British Columbia is the western most province of Canada. Its capital is Victoria, named after the Queen. It has a population of about 4.6 million people living mostly in cities and metropolitan areas. It is one of the most different places to live because half of the population speaks a foreign language other than English. British Columbia is squished between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky mountains. Half of the province is home to birds, bears, deer, and elk. The weather in the province is warmer than any province in the country. The temperature doesn't drop to the freezing point in the winter but there are rainy days during the summer.

 The last area I researched was the Northwest Territories and it is found in the north west of Canada.. The Northwest Territories is a huge area of forests and tundras. It is known for the northern lights, rivers, fishing, mining, and exploring beautiful, rugged mountains. Most of the population are Aboriginal. Life is hard in the Northwest Territories. The cost of living is high and the climate is cold. Transportation is more expensive than in other places because people use planes. The weather is extremely cold during winter and you barely see the sun for a quarter of the year. Overall, It is still a beautiful and interesting place to visit.

Now that I have researched these three areas of Canada, I think that I would love them all. My favourite place is British Columbia because of its climate and beautiful scenery.  I would settle there without question. It would be good to go to the Northwest Territories during the summer, but not in the winter. It would be too dark. I would like to just visit the Atlantic provinces too. I heard a lot of good things in that region like the beautiful beaches and their local foods.  Overall, I can say Canada is really a good country to live in. 

 


Celebration

My Favourite Holiday

Author: Aurora C.
Level: 5
Instructor: Dragana B.

Christmas in the Philippines is one of the longest celebrated ones in the world. Christmas songs are played very early in the morning of the first day of September. You can hear Christmas songs almost everywhere. Families will start putting up Christmas decorations. Some Christmas trees are made up of whatever materials the family can afford. Christmas lights make the street so bright that you will love to go around seeing the different designs they make. Kids will start forming groups to go house to house carolling. Youth or adult groups are also the best carollers. Most Filipinos are Catholics so one of the best practices during Christmas is the midnight mass that starts on December 19th and ends on December 24th. Christmas Eve is full of fun. Best food is served, singing and party is everywhere. Fireworks are always a part of the celebration.

The best Christmas I had was when my family and I went home in 2014. We had not spent Christmas with our families for six years. We really missed spending Christmas with them. My sister organized a family reunion. My brothers who were working in another country went home. Some relatives were invited for the holiday get-together. There was so much food. My nephews and my nieces prepared entertainment. There were games for both kids and adults. My sons had best time with the family member they had not spent too much time with. Reconnecting with relatives whom we had not seen for so long made the day so memorable. Coming home this Christmas will be another holiday to spend with family members, relatives and friends. 


Diwali, India's Festival of Lights

Author: Jigisha P.
Level: 4
Instructor: Ashley J.

People of the world want to get joy and happiness through celebrating traditional events like marriage ceremonies, religious functions and festivals. I am from Gujarat, India, and believe in Hindu culture. There are many communities that live in India, but Hinduism follows a very old culture. We enjoy many festivals in Gujarat, but Diwali is celebrated by many clusters in India, like Christmas in Canada, I guess!

Diwali is the festival of light and is five days of celebrations with some rituals. Chronologically, on Dhanteras we worship Lakshami Devi first who is a goddess of wealth.  The second day is a day called Kalichudas. Next is Diwali which is the last day of year and is a favourite day for all! The next day is New Year’s Day and at last day is Bhaibij, which is a ceremony honoring the relationship between brother and sister. All of these days are a worship to God for prosperous new year.  Children have a mini vacation in school and three statutory holidays for others. That's why family, friends and relatives enjoy a lot with each other. We decorate our houses with “Diyas” (Homemade candles with oil and cotton in a small pot) and draw a colourful “Rangoli” at the main entrance. Usually women make different kind of sweets and arrange the get togethers at their home.  At night, fireworks are the main attraction for all ages. Elders give many gifts and blessings to the young and help those in need.

Traditional functions are the best relaxing social activity to get break from routine hectic life.  Mostly traditions come down from generation to generation. Most often people don’t like to discuss in public about subjects like religion or politics but love to wish each other ‘Happy Diwali’ during this festival. I have experienced that donations and sharing things are a part of some Canadian festivals, and Indian people also believe in charity as well. In this fact India and Canada stand on the same page. This kind of activity gives us internal happiness.

Me and my family like to follow each and every tradition of Diwali. Nowadays, there is a large immigrant community from India in my town. This year, we organized a very memorable gathering on Diwali with our special Canadian friends as guests.   Also enjoyed delicious food and folk dancing. It was an amazing party time on the land of North America!


Kite Flying Festival in Guatemala

Author: Manuel R.
Level: 7
Instructor: Nodira I.

November is marked by the beginning of spring in Guatemala. The days usually get windy which makes them perfect for flying kites. Building a big kite is not an easy job, so sometimes it takes 40 days of effort. First of all, people collect all the materials they need: bamboo canes to make a frame, a glue (a mixture of yucca flower, lemon peels, sugar and water), rope made from maguey plant (this plant can also produce tequila) and woven cloth or tissue paper to make a kite's tail. Usually families get together and make kites. Sometimes they even compete with other families to see whose kite flies higher on the Day of Dead.

The Day of Dead, one of the most popular tradition of Guatemala, is celebrated on November 1st each year. The tradition of flying colorful kites on the Day of Dead has been celebrated for around 3000 years and is recognized by various religions and sects. Almost everyone flies their colorful kites on their way to cemeteries. Local people believe that flying kites can help maintaining communication between their deceased loved ones. Others honor them by bringing flowers or even food to their graves. While some people consider death as sad, there is a sense of joy and peace on that day in Guatemala.


Driving

Driving

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

Canada is a very large country.  It is inconvenient if you can’t drive in Canada.  Before I moved to Canada, I had already learned that the Canadian driving test is one of the hardest in the world, especially for the Chinese because there are some different traffic rules between the two countries and some people have bad driving habits so getting a driver’s licence is more difficult for them.  A friend of mine took eight tests to get her driver’s license.

When I arrived in Hudson Bay, the most important thing for me was getting my driver’s license.  Even though I had a licence in China for more than 13 years, I still had to take the test in Canada.  Firstly, I went to the SGI to make an appointment for the written test.  Then, I surfed the Internet to do some practice exercises.  In addition, I read the driver’s handbook to study safe driving rules.  After careful preparation, I passed the written test successfully. Next, I had to take the road test.  I went to the SGI again and inquired about some information about driving training.  I practiced on the road with my instructor for several hours.  I passed the road test and finally got the license I had dreamed of for a long time!


Employment

My Dream Job

Author: Biljana D.
Level: 4
Instructor: Adrienne R.

If I could have my dream job, I would be a hairdresser. This job is very interesting and exciting I would like to make costumers look amazing. I would like to work in a big city.I would work with my old friend, maybe in Toronto. My work duties would be to make nice hairstyles.
I would be colouring hair, perming, straightening also cutting and curling. I would use chemicals to straighten or curl hair and apply extensions to lengthen hair. I would like to recommend a style or service.  I would be working in a salon to create a variety of looks for the hair of my clients. I would make people happy and satisfied. I would find this job satisfying. The average hairdresser salary in Canada is $14 per hour, but with a lot of experience it is $24 plus tips. They are looking for assistant hairdressers in Canada.


Employment Tips:

Author: Beatrice T.
Level: 7
Instructor: Zareen R.

My personal story about finding a job in Canada

After spending almost five years at home taking care of my daughter who went through several health problems, I am now ready to look for a job as health care aide. You might be curious to know how I am going to explain that big gap in my resume.

I would like to tell you that during those five years I attended English classes in the evening at Parkland College where they offered free daycare for my daughters during my class hours. I completed my level 5 there and then I continued with online English classes. I started working part time as volunteer in a Veteran’s club and in a home care for a total of six months. I also worked as an enumerator agent for Saskatchewan Elections Census for a month. I chose that job because it offered me flexible hours.  I even worked as a polling officer during 2016 Saskatchewan elections.

To help find work, I got help from Saskatchewan employment centre to update my resume and prepare myself for my interviews. I have been already called for two interviews during which I emphasized on the tasks, responsibilities and keys duties I performed at my volunteer positions. My trainings and workshops at the employment centre has helped me become more positive and confident during these interviews. All of them have been promising and said that they are going to contact me as soon as possible. I am eager to start with work as, soon, my daughter will be attending preschool and that gives me time to work.

What advice do you have for other newcomers looking for a job?

I would like to say to newcomers that they have to be realistic in their goals. As soon as you arrive in Canada, you have to be aware of the realities of the job market and to read documents, newspapers, and websites or TV programs to find relevant information. They should also to get in touch with others immigrants who are in Canada to share their experiences so they can save time, energy and money.

While waiting to get your credentials to the required ‘Canadian’ level, you can either start with casual jobs if you are in financial need, or attend English or French classes according to your needs. At the same time, it is a good idea to target three different trainings which match with the real job market or field of study. It is also makes sense to take courses to get ‘Canadian’ education or upgrade in some way in Canada because foreign degrees are hardly taken into consideration when looking for a job. Don’t be afraid to change your field of study and sometimes you might even have to move from one province to another for better opportunities.
You should have in mind that Canada has 13 provinces; big cities are nice but they are oversaturated with people. The competition there for a position is very stiff. For newcomers, it is often advisable to move to smaller towns or cities which offer a better job opportunities and better quality of life. You have to go where jobs are, so don’t choose in advance where you want to live. And during all of this, you have to be patient and willing and ambitious. Only this way, you will successfully integrate into life in Canada.

My life motto has always been this: “Always keep in your mind that winners are not people who never failed but those who never quit!” and this is something I would advise all newcomers to live by. Good luck job hunting!


Working at Walmart

Author: MD M. R.
Level: 7
Instructor: Adrienne R.

Today I would like to teach you how to work as a teller at Walmart. When you get a job as a teller at Walmart through an online application and interview process, first, you have to finish two full days of the orientation program. This orientation program consists of computer training, called CBL and then you must attend a group training program. Second, in this training program, they will teach you what are the visions, missions and beliefs of Walmart, duties and responsibilities of cashiers, and Walmart policies.

Next, on the third day, they will send you to the till operation area to work with other senior tellers and to watch how they work. During the training time, you will get a list of jobs which you have to learn. When you work with others at the till, sometimes you have to match with the list of jobs and make check marks on the list. If you have any questions, ask the trainer and they will clear up your questions. You will get three days to learn from the tellers. After that, you will work independently at one till but if you need any help, you can ask other tellers or the customer service manager (CSM), your floor supervisor.
To be a success as a teller quickly, you have to memorize the codes of produce items and some common procedures. Then within 15 days you will feel comfortable to work alone.  Good luck!


English

Learning English

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

I am learning English in the Online English program. Learning English helps me talk more with people in English and build my confidence, read more books in English, and read ,write letters in English. It also helps me understand how to write short paragraphs. I am very honored and happy to learn English in this program.







The Largest Language Barrier

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

I have been struggling with English for a long time. It has been my largest barrier in my life since I lived in Canada.

Can you imagine how anxious I am as I cannot express myself exactly in English like I am dumb? It has brought me bundles of grievances.  I am working as a property manager with the duties of account payable, account receivable, payroll, financial statement and part of Human Resources. Therefore, communication is one of the most important abilities for me. However, it is becoming my nightmare because of my listening and speaking comprehension.  It is well known that the base of communication is a high level in listening and speaking comprehension.  I am unconfident to communicate with coworkers, leaders, customers and vendors for my disadvantages in both of them. I cannot express my own opinions in native normal speed in special situations, so I bore lots of criticism which were not fair for me because they were not my fault.

As a result, I am becoming less confident and overcautious and sinking into a vicious circle.

I am trying to change the situation. I started my Online English study on May 18, it has been for six months up to now, I can’t feel the big change. Thinking about how to make obvious progress in English, I consider that the most important part in language study is listening comprehension. The reason is if you can understand what a native is saying, you can learn how to speak by imitating what you hear. The challenges for me are words and the word order. I am afraid of phrasal verbs with different prepositions and the order in a long sentence. The first mentioned of the two is too various to master all of the different word groups meanings, the latter often makes me lose myself in the communication. I am looking forward to overcoming these two problems as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, in our country, the teachers focused on grammar and vocabulary when I studied English as a subject. I started to take listening classes in my university.  So, we often say what we studied is dumb English. A proverb is that ”Haste makes waste”. I decided to make changes from the foundation, such as pronunciation, phrases and grammar, and practice the one resource repeatedly until I can speak as a native English speaker.
Let’s see what will happen.


Parenthood

Parenting

Author: Maria R.
Level: 7
Instructor: Rabia R.

It’s not the same when you are a parent in your home country with your own native culture than becoming an expat parent in another country with totally contrasting culture and child upbringing values. I became a parent and gave birth to my daughter in Canada so I don’t have personal experience how to raise a child in Canada, but these things are based on how I saw my nieces, nephews, and how I viewed child care during my childhood. There have been so many changes since then. So, here I want to share with you my humble views about parenthood in the Filipino way.

Parents support their children in decision making and in life skills. When we make plans to go to our friends’ we need to ask permission from our parents and if we make mistakes we need to take responsibility of what we do wrong without having any regrets. Parents always let the children make choices and learn from them. When we are getting education our parents help us enroll in courses of our choice.They talk to us and listen to our points of view. They also support us in building life skills. My family, back home, always supported me in everything that I did to take care of my daughter but here in Canada it’s very hard without them.

In Philippines, there is no such thing as off-limits zone for children. We live closer to our family even when we are grown up. Filipino parents are totally hands-on and attached to their children. They love to carry their child in their arms. My parents taught me love and care. For example, for preparing our food: breakfast, snacks, lunch, and supper and everytime we get sick our parents act like doctors. They keep medicine in the house but if they can’t heal it, they will take us to the hospital right away. Our parents teach us the proper hygiene and we cannot go outside if we are not totally dressed up for the occasion or going to school and in church. When we make mistakes they talk to us first before they get upset.

When it comes for education, such as, preparing to study in college, parents start saving money when their children are still  young so that when the time comes they can support their child’s schooling.

Generally, parenting in Philippines is pure hands-on and personal. Being born and raised in Philippines, my observations were from my personal experiences and the way I see the Filipino way of parenting. Filipino parents are very supportive; taking care of their children and plan for their better future.

 


Pets

My Cat Tom

Author: Oleksandra B.
Level: 3
Instructor: Dragana B.
Photo Credit:

Animals are very important in our lives. Some of them may become good friends to us. This is especially true of pets, and I have this friend - my cat Tom. He is only one year old. He is light brown with dark brown stripes. He has yellow eyes. Tom loves to play with his toy mouse and eat my houseplants. And his favourite toy is a dishcloth. But even though Tom is doing harm, he is still the best cat for me.

 


Recipes

Recipe for Pickles

Author: Viktoriia P.
Level: 6
Instructor: Tanya B.
Photo Credit: Viktoriia P.

As I remember, I have always liked to prepare some type of food. In the summertime, I made jam and pickles. I like to experiment, and it’s interesting for me. It is with pleasure that I treat friends with ready-made meals. I want to share the recipe of pickles.

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 cucumbers of small sizes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 25 grams of fresh dill

     

    These are ingredients for one jar with a capacity of 1 liter.

    Step by step instructions:

    At the bottom of the jars I put dill, two cloves of garlic, pepper peas, two bay leaves, then I put cucumbers. After all the jars are filled, I boil water (for one jar I need 250 ml of water) and pour it into the jars of cucumbers. It’s easier to say to scald the cucumbers. Leave to stand for 15 minutes and drain the water. After that, I cooked marinade.

    For the marinade, I need 1 cup of water, 100 ml of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt. I put all of these things in a pan and need to boil the marinade for 3 minutes. I fill the jar with the marinade and cover them with lids. Then, the jar needs to be turned over and covered with a towel, so it still keeps warm. Leave it until the morning. Pickles will be extremely delicious and crispy.   


Seasonal

Autumn

Author: Roksolana D.
Level: 4
Instructor: Mona B.

Three months ago, I very comfortably waved my farewell to the summer. The next day, I made ‘first day of school’ pictures for my children and, after that, day by day I held the door of my joy open for all of autumn's beautiful things.

I love autumn.  It's my special source of some special kind of energy.  I feel like everything around me just calms down, and I do the same.  Evenings in my home become more cozy: flowers in the vase on the table are not so colourful but still beautiful, children make some comfortable spots for themselves for reading or drawing, there are apples and tea with different tastes and smells all around the house.  I just look through the window of my warm house and see the rain or morning fog, or the amazing trees which, every day, become more colourful.

My favourite thing about autumn is the trees.  It was only here in Saskatchewan that I realized how important trees are in the fall.  If you have  trees, you have a beautiful fall.  If you don't have them, you just get  colder weather, puddles, dry grass, a sad mood, and nothing wonderful. The colour yellow sits along the road when you drive to work, or just go for a walk.  I'm lucky to have them in the town where I live now. In the country where I grew up the trees are everywhere.  They are real evidence of seasons changing.  They stay in the same place for many years, pushing  their roots down deeper.

When I look out my window, I see different views that I saw everyday of my childhood.  I think about how far from home I am.  I'm not like a tree.  I don’t  stay in the same place for many years.  I came here.  I brought my children with me, and now the question is: What happened to my roots?

I read somewhere that "there are two gifts we should give our children: one is roots, and the other is wings."  I make the wings for my children from my love, hugs, and words every day, but I'm not sure about the roots.

This world is so huge, and it's so easy to lose yourself when you try to find your happy place.  I don't know what kind of roots I can give my children when I'm not sure what's going on with my own.  I remember that fall in my parents’ and grandparents’ houses always smelled like apples, so I bring fresh apples from my backyard to put on the table; it’s like connecting the rope from my roots to my reality today.  I try to remember who I am, and from where I came.

I have big hopes that when my children are grown up, they will remember the smell of autumn from their childhood.


The Winter of December 2017

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

I have been working in Fauser Energy for 5 years, but one day I was sent to do a steamer job (which is a truck with a boiler that had a hose that shoots steam).
I was given the location for the job.  I had to take highway #37 and then take a gravel road and I had to be at that location at 7:00am so I left at 6:00am. The conditions of the weather were heavy snow and it was dark, when I was driving on the gravel road there was a curve. I slowed down my speed but before getting close to the curve, I lost traction in my tires. I did my best to make the left turn to follow the curve but the truck would not turn and it kept going straight. When I noticed that the truck would not turn, I slammed on the breaks and the truck was able to stop. I got out of the truck to check where I had stopped and I saw that where I was, was one foot away from a ditch that was very deep and had a few trees.

I tried to back up the truck but I had no traction and it ended it up in the other ditch that wasn’t that bad, but the truck was stuck. So, I called my supervisor and I told him what happened. I gave him my location with my cellphone and after that I just had to wait in this bad weather.

My supervisor called a tow truck and soon they arrived to my location and my supervisor told me to spill 2000 liters of water from my steamer truck, they got me out.
Fortunately the only cost was the tow truck, there was no damage to the truck or any injuries to myself.

This left me with a good lesson that no matter how careful you are, there can still be an accident if the conditions are bad.


Saskatchewan's Winter

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

The winter in Saskatchewan is quite severe with low temperatures, strong wind and heavy snow. Locals have skis, sledges, and snow mobiles.  Parents have fun with children, even in a blizzard. All buildings are decorated with New Year's lights, the streets are as if in a fairy tale. I tell everyone if you want to see the Canadian winter, you are always welcome in Saskatchewan.

Before coming to Canada, I was told by many people about the harsh winter in Saskatchewan. I was surprised that the high frosts are not as terrible as they are warning about. I am very rarely ill and I like our winter. Some colleagues laugh at me and do not understand why I love the winter. Winter in Saskatchewan lasts more than five months, many residents travel or spend time at home with their families. Every day I see children, who are not frightened by frost and snow playing in the yard.  Lastly, in the winter we have a lot of stars in the sky, and snow shines with different colors. 

Despite the large amount of snow in SK, it is regularly cleaned. Not only on highways or main streets, but also in courtyards and parking lots. A generous amount of salt is put down, so the roads are not dirty, but just like asphalt.  In winter, you always can attach yourself - a lot of indoor and outdoor skating rinks. Even large ice arenas are required to allocate a certain number of hours for public skiing. Also, very popular in the winter is hunting and fishing in Saskatchewan. The temperature in SK easily drops to -40 degrees. By the way, it is very easy to distinguish Canadians in the winter - they walk down the street in shorts and T-shirts, even when a thermometer reads +5 Celsius.

Winter in Saskatchewan is similar to an ideal winter. :) Every day in the winter, I can listen to the snow crunching when I walk and that's wonderful. It does not matter where you live, it is important with whom and then you are not afraid of frost. You can be happy even in cold weather.


Settlement

My Early Years in Canada

Author: Wilma M.
Level: 6
Instructor: Zareen R.

Ten years ago, my family and I came to Canada in 2007. It was really tiring and exciting journey as it was the first time I was in a plane and kept on thinking it was not real. We arrived in Regina airport at 10 pm where my husband’s friends picked us up and drove us to our hotel. The following day, we continued our journey and drove seven hours to reach to our new home. I remember that I was very nervous and it seemed liked the longest journey because I didn't know what was going to happen in the future or if we were going to survive here or not. I soon realized that I couldn't speak my language here and that I would have to learn English in order to communicate with others. This place where we lived was a small town consisting 100 to 300 families. There was one gas station, one grocery, a motel, a restaurant, school, and a library.  A few months later, I applied for a job in a motel and they hired me us a kitchen helper. This is my first job in Canada, and I remember that I was very excited to start working. 

Then, came winter and we saw our first snowfall. My kids were happy to see the snow and they had fun playing in snow. We enjoyed the snowfalls all winter long and have some good memories of that time. Then, I got my pregnant with fourth child. This time was a very difficult time for our family because of my pregnancy and the youngest one of my children was not ready to accept another baby brother. She was angry that someone else was going to take her place, but, slowly and gradually she came to terms with it. After the baby was born, the baby suffered from several health issues which made it very difficult for us as we were running back and forth to the hospital all the time. I remember that to be a very difficult phase in our lives but after several months of treatment, my son was finally okay. Things were finally getting back to normal!

Now my kids have grown up. The youngest is in grade 5 and couldn't be happier. My husband found a good job and we ended up moving to another town called Humboldt which is just an hour away from Saskatoon. We love it here, and have made some new friends and are really enjoying our life here. My children and I have accepted the Canadian culture as our culture. We love our Canada and this is my true story about moving to Canada!


Travel

Family Camping Vacation

Author: Veronika V.
Level: 6
Instructor: Rabia R.
Photo Credit: Veronika V.

Do you and your family need a relaxing getaway? If you think you deserve a break, a family camping vacation is the best for you. You might be wondering : why go camping?

It is one of the best ways to see the great outdoors. We live in Canada. Canada is a beautiful country for travelling. You can visit many beautiful places in Canada. You should go camping at least once in your life. Camping is a lot of fun; it’s cheap; it’s  a change of pace. It’s a different type of vacation. You have to try something new in your life and will get an unforgettable experience.

I think it’s very important to prepare for camping. I have experience in this area and I will share some important tips with you.

Wondering what to bring? You need to take the following things.
1. NAVIGATION. A map and a compass are good friends when you go camping. If you lose your location a map and compass will help you find the road to your camping ground .
2. FIRE STARTER.  You have to take a lighter or matches. They can easily build a fire for cooking and campfire.
3. UTENSILS. Sometimes it’s hard to cook in the woods, that is why you should always think ahead of time and bring cooking tools and utensils.
4. WARM CLOTHING. Canadian weather is unpredictable.Weather can change in seconds, it might get freezing cold or a thunderstorm can unexpectedly begin. So keep some warm clothing all the time.
5. GAMES & BOOKS. It’s always nice to do different activities other than swimming and sitting around fire. Cards, board games, etc. can surely make your camping more fun! At night time when the family gets together cards and board games can be good entertainment. Some people like to read books after a busy day.
6. BIKES. Bikes are perfect for kids. Bikes are good to explore the park without getting tired.
7. MOSQUITO COILS. That’s always needed while camping unless you like to be bitten.
8. PETS. Make sure the park you're going to allows pets and take them with you! Both you and your pet will enjoy some outside in the wilderness.

8. TOILET PAPER. Some parks might have public bathrooms but not each one, so it is important to bring accessories for hygiene.

inclusive resorts - your choice. Vacation can be active or relaxing. It is always nice to have different kinds of vacations and go to different places to enjoy your time off. Canada is rich with parks and pretty places like Banff, Jasper and Victoria, etc. Weather is probably the most important thing at any vacation. You’ve got to check it ahead of time. Best time would be in the middle of summer, so end of June till the end of July. I suggest to enjoy as much sun outside and when it’s rainy watch a movie or play games in the tent or trailer. And of course you’ve got to take your family with you! Family always makes your vacation better. You can talk about past fun moments together and about future. Nothing can make you happier than spending time with loved ones.

My Trip to Peaceful Lumbini in Nepal

Author: Bhisma T.
Level: 5
Instructor: Ashley J.
Photo Credit: Bhisma T.

In the southern part of Nepal there is a peaceful place called Lumbini which is a very famous place because it is the birthplace of Lord Buddha.  It is near the famous Himalayas in the Terai Plains. Lumbini is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautam who became the buddha and founded Buddhism.  Lord buddha was a prince who left his palace to search for peace and started meditation and finally achieved enlightenment.

Lumbini is one of the famous places for pilgrimage, where many people from all over the world come to worship, visit, research and study the life of Gautam Buddha and various other purpose. Lumbini has number of temples including Mayadevi Temple, Ashoka Pillar, World Peace Pagoda and Eternal Peace Flame. 

This past summer I visited the Lumbini. It took about 3 hours travel on my motorbike from my home in Nepal. I spent the whole day exploring there. When I reached the Lumbini gate, I started a tour of Lumbini Garden which is a 4 km area which starts from Queen Mayadevi Temple and ends at World Peace Pagoda. I also visited other temples and monasteries there including the Korean temple, and others built by China, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, Mongolia, Myanmar, Germany, Sri Lanka, France and other countries. I took a walk around the whole area on a hot sunny day. I entered and just sat for a while to enjoy the peace in some of the monasteries. I really enjoyed some peaceful moments during my short visit. If you are interested in meditation, you can even practice meditation every morning and evening in this peaceful environment. Among the sites I had visited, Eternal Peace Flame was my favourite one. This flame was set up to promote the peace and harmony. I really enjoyed with the tranquility and stillness of the peace flame at late evening there.

Lumbini is one of the famous tourist's destinations in Nepal now, which is covered by lots of temples and monasteries where many pilgrims around the world perform chanting and meditation from early morning and late evening.  Lumbini is also on the list of world heritage site on UNESCO. If you go to Nepal, I would like to suggest everyone to visit this place in their life because you can feel a kind of peace and calm when we are inside its territory.

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