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


My Childhood

Author: Li Hua T.
Level: 7
Instructor: Jacqueline A.
Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

Today I would like to tell you about my childhood.

I was born in China, in the province of Guangdong, and in the city of Kaiping. However, I was raised just outside of the city in a small town called Sunhe. I had a very happy childhood with my one older brother and my parents. My family was very poor, only my father went out to work. At that time, he only got paid 50 dollars for a month. My mother farmed rice and helped raise me and my brother. We harvested the rice crop twice a year. The harvest time was in July and November. We did not have machine, we worked hard during the harvest. My earliest memory of my childhood when I was 6 years old, I had to go out and help my mother hand wash the clothes in the pond and feed the farm animals. Also, I gathered rice straw for fire to cook meals every single day. I still remember when I was cooking in the summertime, I would be drenched from head to toe in sweat because of the heat in China and the flame from the stove. My brother did all the heavy jobs. He usually watered the garden by pail twice a day. In the garden we grew eggplants, carrots, cucumbers, Chinese cabbage, and white radish. So, we had enough vegetables for our family all the yearlong. We did not have a fridge in our house. Every second day, my mother walked around 20 minutes to the supermarket to get some fresh meats and fish. Those were my childhood chores in my memory.


My Friend

Author: Hafizul I.
Level: 8
Instructor: Rachel A.
Photo Credit: Antonio Guillem / 123RF Stock Photo

Friendship is a really valuable asset for humans, we will always remember our closest childhood friendships. I would like to share this story with everyone because as much as it is sad it is also a reminder to be grateful for what we have in life especially at these difficult times.

Growing up, in my early years I had a very close friend who was also my neighbour. Although, I had many friends during my school life, I will always remember this particular friend because he had a terrible life experience. He has been very close to me, we went to the same school from kindergarten through University.

When my friend and I were in middle school, his father died suddenly and his family were shocked. After his father passed away, his family wasn't financially happy because they lost their main source of income that the father was providing. After his father died, he, his younger sister and their mom had no income. When their father was alive, their mother was a home maker and she was educated, that is why she did not stop her kids from studying after their father had passed away despite that there was no assistance available for them.

We finished school, college and graduated together which allowed me to know my friend and his family so well. He had a dream that he would complete a higher degree and he was very intelligent but he could not because he was not financially capable during that time. His family needed extra support especially then because his younger sister was also planning to continue her education as well. Then he decided to stop his studies and tried to find any job to provide financial support for his family quickly. He desperately tried to find a job, going from door to door looking for any opportunity, but it was hard to find a job in our country at that time. Many days later he found a job but it paid a very minimum wage but for him it was better than nothing. It was also not related to his background education, but his priority was to support his younger sister's education and help his family survive. Their family was barely making ends meet with his income. When I think about my friend terrible life, I get really upset.

My friend’s life story does not end there, a few months later his mom got sick and he couldn't afford to get her medicine or proper medical help because he did not make enough. A few days later his mom was getting worse and after a few days she passed away.

Everyone has some good and bad things happen to them in their life but I cannot remember one good thing that happened to him, his life was always like a dark jungle. As I remember my friend’s story I become very grateful for everything in my life and hope no one has to go through the same life experience.



Summer in Canada and China

Author: Wang W.
Level: 6
Instructor: Jacqueline A.
Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

After the long winter here in Canada, it is getting warmer. Spring and summer will come soon. People are looking forward to warm weather. Undoubtedly, summer here is a comfortable season, while in my homeland-Shenzhen in south China, it’s hot and humid.

Located in the far south, Shenzhen always keeps hot and sometimes the temperature is even over 40 degrees in Summer, which can last half of a year, so every house has their air conditioner on the whole Summer. Because it is also surrounded by the ocean, the air is full of moisture and often rains. It is controlled by (the) tropical ocean climate. Occasionally there are huge typhoons which can carry heavy wind and rain. Sometimes typhoons can damage houses, roads, or even blow down the trees. During Summer, few pedestrians can be found outside in daytime, but people would go to the beach to enjoy a cool time at dusk on the weekend.

The summer here in Canada can be described as winter in Shenzhen: dry and comfortable. The temperature is seldom over 30 degree. Because it is in the Arctic area, the daytime of summer is so long that it will be bright even at 10:00pm. People are willing to go outside to meet friends or work out. You can have opportunities to see splendid aurora if you choose to drive out of the city in a clear night.

Nature is amazing! I have experienced two different areas with two different summers!



Grateful for my Teacher

Author: Hyun Ju (Joy) L.
Level: 3
Instructor: Kara M.
Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

I'm very grateful for having my English teacher. My life was difficult because of the language. I didn't know what to do and I couldn't think of anything. I meet my English teacher and then I felt confidence here. She's encouraging me always even though I have made mistake, so I always felt confident that I could do well. I am grateful for my teacher's effort.




Author: Iryna M.
Level: 3
Instructor: Kara M.
Photo Credit: rawpixel / 123RF Stock Photo

I am grateful for support and faith in me, for love and care, for the kindness my grandmother and grandfather give to me. From when I was 14 years old, I didn’t live at home. From the beginning I studied at a Lyceum in a neighbouring city, then I left in Czech Republic. I was in many countries, all times I looked something and maybe only they, my grandparents believed in me, and believe in me now. They are my soul, I really miss them. My grandma taught me how to love and forgive, my grandpa taught me to value time. I think that it is most important thing in our lives. I am grateful to my grandparents for what they are.



Author: Sanja S.
Level: 4
Instructor: Kara M.
Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

I am most grateful to my mother for giving birth to me. She was a brave woman. I have never lacked anything in my life. She is no longer alive. I miss her a lot. She will remain in my memory forever. I love you, Mom.


My Brother

Author: Yuliia D.
Level: 6
Instructor: Adrienne R.
Photo Credit: Nadezhda Prokudina / 123RF Stock Photo

babys hand

My brother is four years older than me. We spent a lot of time together when we were kids because he took care of me when my mother was at work. He loves kids very much and loves playing with them. He lives in Ukraine, near my mom. He has a wife and three daughters. He sells agricultural machines for a living. He influenced me in three different ways.

Throughout my childhood, he helped me to understand many situations in my life. He explained about what I could do in different ways concerning my teenage problems. He has stayed close to me all my life and helps me even now.

I was number one in his life, until he had a daughter. He always created some surprises for me. I missed him all the time when he was at university, and when I went to the same university I lived in the same hostel as him. He encouraged me to study. However, I missed him as he was always busy and away. He gave me lots of his love. I never was jealous and I wish him the best in his life.

My brother traveled to Great Britain, and brought home a lot of photos, stories, new emotions, and new friends. As a result, this was my goal also. I did what he did and more. I wrote my exams and started to study at his university where they sent students to study abroad. I passed my courses and went to Scotland. Then, a year later, I went to Denmark to work for a year. Finally, 5 years later, I came to Canada with my husband and 4 kids.

I love my brother, he is very important person in my life. He helps many people. Many people miss him all time. He can settle any dispute with conversation and no fighting . He is smart and funny. You can't stop laughing at his jokes. I don’t know anyone who does not like him.

I miss him very much. I hope to see him soon.



Financial Planning for the Future

Author: Nhung L.
Level: 5
Instructor: Rachel A.
Photo Credit: Mr.rapisan Swangphon / 123RF Stock Photo

Saving money in Canada is really difficult, because the wages are low and the expenses are high and there are too many bills to pay!

We have to start saving money when we are young if we want to have a secure retirement. To be a rich person who has a lot of money in the present is not easy. However, it is not hard for anyone who has a good habit of managing finances well. When we are still young, earning money is not too hard if we try to work hard and think of some smart ideas to earn more and learn how to save. If we start to save money when we are still young, we will have a secure retirement in the future. These are some ways we can be future smart!

Investing your money for retirement:

Secure retirement in the future does not only come from saving money when we are still young. It depends on so many things we do to save at an early stage in our lives. For example, we can think of an investment and make a plan to learn about how we can make our money grow by opening an RRSP account-Money makes more money if you have an investment from this option.

Saving money in a TSFA:

We can save money in saving accounts without taking it out for a long time if it is not necessary to use it... There are so many ways to save and make money to have a secure retirement. However, saving money is important, so when we are still young, saving money is necessary. We can control ourselves and avoid wasting money from our account when the spending is not necessary. Opening a TSFA account will help you by locking the money contributions you make for a long time.

Avoiding unnecessary spending:

We can avoid extra spending by not buying anything which is unnecessary such as expensive furniture, clothes, car or dining in a restaurant..... We should only spend money on something that is important such as rent/accommodation. We should also try to save money when we shop for food by looking at the flyers and comparing prices and becoming a smart shopper.

When we try to earn money and save it in the right way that will help us have a secure retirement in the future.


My 2020 Year

Author: Reeta R.
Level: 7
Instructor: Kara M.
Photo Credit: gajus2020 / 123RF Stock Photo

2020 dice

2020 was a year I’ll never forget. In 2020 my family and I went back home for a visit. My children went for the first time to India and they were very happy to see their grandpa, grandma, uncles and aunties. Everyone was very excited to see them. We attended my brother’s wedding and some other parties. The children realized everything was different from Canada. We saw other famous places in India and showed our kids about famous parts. Suddenly, one day we heard about Corona disease in the news. We had a week left to come back to Canada but we came early because of Coronavirus.

There are some good things in 2020. First of all, a good thing for me was meeting my parents, brothers and sisters when I visited back home. Also we booked our return tickets to come to Canada safely. All schools started e-learning programs for kids. The government said that all employers can work from home. It will keep everyone safe. All provinces made guidelines for people who travel to other countries or provinces. Finally, a good thing is that the Scientists made a Coronavirus vaccine.

The bad thing was the 2020 Coronavirus. In the beginning, a virus started in China’s city name Wuhan. This virus was spreading very fast, every day. Also, lots of people lost their lives and lots of people got sick with this virus. It's increasing all over the world. All countries went into lockdown after spreading this virus. Some people lost their work and some were laid off. All businesses were shut down. Finally, 2020 year was a very bad year for everyone because everyone had difficulties.

I learned lots from 2020. In the beginning, I learned about remote learning for example and how I can study online, interview and work at home. Also, I learned that it saves our time. In addition, I learned how important it is to help people who need your help. In the last, when we’ll learn all these then everyone can be safe and healthy.

I’ll remember the year of lockdown and remote working. People who were suffering from a pandemic. In 2020, No one will celebrate their festivals. All businesses were shut down. It’s very hard to imagine forgetting these world events when we reflect on 2020 in years to come.


The Venus Project:

Author: Andrii D.
Level: 6
Instructor: Adrienne R.
Photo Credit: Maj Borg, Minttu Mäntynen, Andrea Miconi / Creative Commons CC BY 1.0

Jacque Fresco

The Venus Project is a new outlook and a fresh plan for our world in the future. The manager and founder of this project was an American futurist named Jacque Fresco. He died when he was 101 years old, in 2017. He had a plan for a better world. This Venus Project includes many different ideas. I will talk about some of them.

In the future, we will not have nationalities in the world. We will have one big community. We will have one universal language. We will have a one world government. We will not have money. In the future, we will use new technologies for all science, driving, farming, arts and many other things.

We will not use gas energy. Instead, we will use wind, solar, and water energy. The transportation of people and cargo will be made by means of vacuum tunnels or channels under water. The factories will be located directly near the location of the raw materials they use. Ninety-nine percent of jobs will be in technology, making robots.

The Venus project can be launched right now. However, the governments of many countries do not think about the future. They are using our natural resources today, without thinking ahead. I think that if we don’t follow this type of plan, man will die out as a species in the future. We won’t have air, soil, clean water, and clean energy. We need to act now.



Dream Vacation

Author: Yevhenii D.
Level: 2
Instructor: Rachel A.
Photo Credit: Noppakun Wiropart / 123RF Stock Photo


I am dreaming to visit Tokyo in the future.

I dream to see a huge city and tall buildings.

I would like to taste sea food.

I would like to enjoy seeing the cherry blossoms.

I am curious to know how people live in a big city.


My Dream Vacation

Author: Binh H.
Level: 4
Instructor: Rachel A.
Photo Credit: Anek Suwannaphoom / 123RF Stock Photo

hong kong

I would like to go to Hong Kong by plane. I will go with my husband to enjoy what we can. I would like to visit it because it has a lot of different foods and is a famous Asian country. My husband and I will try all different types of food there like Dim Sum, BBQ pork and Suckling Crispy Duck. We would like to try some street food that is sold on the road and go to see the old town centre. I would like to buy some souvenirs and take lots of pictures for memory. I hope we will be able to go there next year!



Author: Lyngate Emy G.
Level: 6
Instructor: Rachel A.
Photo Credit: kasto / 123RF Stock Photo

Jamaa el Fna also Jemaa el Fnaa or Djema el Fna or Djemaa el Fnaa is square and market place in Marrakesh's medina quarter. Marrakesh in Morocco, north Africa. UNESCO Heritage of Humanity.

It has been a year since the world first started facing a huge challenge due to COVID-19. Travel like all others sectors has severe restrictions that people have to follow. This situation has had a real impact on people who like traveling especially me. I hope everything will be like before the pandemic because I am already thinking about the first place I would like to go when all this will be behind us.

Yes, I have a dream destination in mind-Morocco!

The city of Marrakesh in Morocco has spectacular places to visit, I saw Marrakesh for the first time in a documentary on television two months ago, now it is my dream to travel there with my family.

There are places like the Medina which is a huge market square in the city. I can see musicians taste the street-food and explore museums to learn more about the city. My heart will be beating when I enter into the Majorelle Garden and indulge in nature. It is a beautiful, indescribable, colorful place where I could see a lot of different varieties and species of plants, trees and flowers. I will also shop there, get intoxicated by the scent of spices and perfumes while I buy some handcrafted jewelry as souvenirs. It is a warm place to visit, to distress after a terrible Canadian winter. The climate is hot and I could also visit the desert on a quad bike, I would love to do that.

I hope that this dream will come true!