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

Bios

My Life

Author: Michael M.
Level: 3
Instructor: Adrienne R.
Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

I was born in Manzhouli in 1973. We moved to Hubei province in China, because my parents changed their jobs. My family is in Hubei. This province is right in the middle of China. Like Saskatchewan, Hubei has lots of lakes. I have an older brother and a younger sister. My parents are well and are healthy.

I went to college in 1990. We had English class everyday, but I think I studied English only to pass the exam. I have a daughter and she studied in Vancouver in 2012. She is studying at the University of Toronto. We wanted to go to Canada together. We moved to Tisdale in 2019. I live here with my wife. My daughter studies online at home now.

I own a bowling alley. This is a small business, but it makes everyone happy. My goal is to learn English well and travel around the world for 5 years. I want to live quietly by the sea 10 years from now.

My hobbies make me happy. Before, I worked every day in China and I had no hobbies. I learned ice fishing this winter in Canada and it was very fun. I enjoy my life in my small town.

 


Canada

Canadian Seasons

Author: Nhung L.
Level: 6
Instructor: Rachel A.
Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

Canada is a country with four beautiful and distinctive seasons. 

Winter is very long and cold with a long time of white snow, spring is still chilly and very short, summer is warm and beautiful, and autumn is not long but very beautiful.

My favorite season is summer. Summer in Canada lasts about 3 months. In the summer, weather is very cool and fresh.  There are so many trees which can make a colourful shade for all the roads and all over the country.  I love the colour of the leaves, so it's great for me to see when I walk every afternoon and early morning.  There are many beautiful flowers with different colours in the gardens in my neighbourhood and all the streets.  I can look at them to enjoy their beauty.  There are many kinds of birds as well, they sing throughout the day from early morning until late at night.  I can feel peace when hearing birds singing everywhere, even when I am working indoors.

In the summer, people like outdoor activities, so everything becomes livelier and people can connect and make new friendships. I can go camping with my family and with other families and stay overnight.  In the past we have made campfires, sang songs, and sailed on the river. I also enjoy fishing, it is such a pleasure to feel the peace of mind and it can be done in the summer because it is too cold in winter.

I like to wear nice clothes to go for a walk in the summer because my body feels so heavy wearing huge coats in winter. That's why I don't feel interested to see myself in the mirror during the cold winter.

The summer in my memory is the most beautiful thing in life.  I remember the beautiful memories of the moments of relaxing outdoors with my family when I was a child and I feel that I love myself, my life in the summer more than any other season.

  It helps me feel excited and have full energy every day and helped me love myself and my life so much.

Summer is great!

 


Driving Experience in Canada

Author: Angelica W.
Level: 6
Instructor: Inara M.
Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

When I arrived in Canada, I wasn’t allowed to drive. I had to have a driver's license. I had never gotten my license back in Mexico. But I had been driving since I was 13 years old. I got frustrated so many times because I had no friends and always had to stay home. I started the process by studying the handbook. Once done, I completed my written exam. I would’ve passed that day, but I failed the eye test. I had to make an appointment to get an eye examination. The doctor gave me a lens prescription and I took it to Optical in Walmart. I picked out the frame and they had them ready in 3 days. Once I got used to the lenses, I rescheduled my eye test. Finally, I passed. After nine months of waiting and taking courses, I booked my road test. I passed on my first try. In the beginning I thought driving in Canada would be different than in Mexico. But it wasn’t. Just the difference is that I have an actual license. I hadn’t driven in big cities before, so the first few times were stressful. I am driving in bigger cities one by one. The biggest one has been Calgary and the first time I drove there, I only had my learner’s. My friend had her license though. I didn’t think there was more to learn about driving when we arrived, but I was wrong. I have learned much more already and will keep on learning every day.

 


Hockey and the Spirit of Freedom

Author: Sergii G.
Level: 4
Instructor: Moninder G.
Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

Canada is probably where hockey and ice skating came from. At least that's how it feels when you get to Canada, especially in winter. When I got to Canada, that’s what I thought. Everyone was rooting for hockey teams and on weekends playing hockey or just skating. Looking at how great people skated when I first arrived here, I also really wanted to skate like that but, until that moment, I did not know how.

So, I went to my friends and asked them for skates and a couple of tips. On the first day, I skated near the handrail, but gradually I began to succeed and become inspired and learned how to skate very quickly.

If you learn to skate, you will have a lot of fun. By the way, the last time I was gripped by the spirit of Canada, my skates slid across the ice, overtaking the wind. It was great until I fell and broke not only my foot but also a stranger’s.  In any case, the foot is not the main thing.  Most importantly, it is the spirit of freedom.

 


My Favourite Season in Canada

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

My favourite season in Canada is the summer. I can go anywhere in the summer and plant different types and colours of flowers in my garden. I can sit outside in my backyard, enjoy nature and the beautiful weather. In the summer time the sun rises early and sets at 9:30 pm. I can travel anywhere I like, relax, take a walk on River Park, go to the beach and see the rainbow come out after it rains. In the summer driving is safer than winter. I hope this summer is better than the summer last year.

 


My Life in Canada

Author: Shuhua X .
Level: 5
Instructor: Zareen R.
Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

My family came here from China yearning for freedom and democracy. We landed in Saskatoon, Canada in July 2017. After three months of hard work, we found a business we wanted to start in Melville, and started our life in this small city.

Now, we have lived here for nearly three years and we have met many friendly people. We are now used to the slow-paced life here. The climate here is not as warm as in my hometown, but the people here are very warm. May be this little city is not as prosperous as my hometown, but the life here is simple and fun. My family has learned bowling, fishing and skiing. We also actively take part in regular church activities. Our two children really like the school here and always come home full of interesting stories about their day at school.

Before we came to Canada, everyone told us that Canada has few people, and life there would be unprosperous, boring and slow. However, I think this is probably because, in China, most people are accustomed to busy and fast paced environment in the cities that does not let them focus on the real meaning of life. Here, we have a chance to work and enjoy life’s simple pleasures at the same time. Life is not as fast-paced as it is for people back in China!

I am very happy living here. I want to learn more about the western culture so I have started reading books to study Western history, Christianity and western culture. This really helps me understand the land and people I live with right now. I feel my biggest problem now is that my English is not very good but I am working on it. I hope that with all this, I can integrate into the mainstream culture, get a job and do more things for our community .I hope that one day I can do something to help Chinese people back in my hometown understand Canada and Western culture.

 


The Seasons of Saskatchewan

Author: Liping J.
Level: 4
Instructor: Moninder G.
Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

babys hand

I live in Saskatchewan. Today, I want to share a story about the seasons. The weather was so strange this year in Saskatchewan. Wintertime is usually cold and snowy but, this year, there was not that much snow or ice outside. A few Sundays ago, I took the kids to the park to go biking, play volleyball and enjoy the sunshine. There was no more snow on the ground and the temperature was up to 20 degrees Celsius, just like the temperature we usually get in the summer, but by Monday it had started snowing again! There were 6 inches of snow on the ground, just like in winter! People used to tell me before that in Saskatchewan you can see all four seasons in one day. I never believed it before now. If you can’t believe it either, welcome to Saskatchewan in winter!

 


COVID-19

Hopeful

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

If COVID is finishes, I want to go Korea. It’s been three years since I couldn’t go to Korea. I miss my family and I’m going to travel to other provinces in Canada. We stayed at home almost two year while COVID-19, so I want to travel with family. Lastly, I want to take off the mask.

 


Hopeful for the Future

Author: Sanja S.
Level: 4
Instructor: Kara M.
Photo Credit: gajus2020 / 123RF Stock Photo

kids greeting eachother with elbows

After the end of COVID-19, I am excited about free movement. Since the pandemic around the world has made a lockdown. People are living in the trauma that has befallen us in life. All this has affected the economy, politics, ecology and human health. All pandemics are coming to an end. And this one will. I hope we can move on freely and without prejudice.

 


Entertainment

Vikings

Author: Melba C.
Level: 7
Instructor: Nodira I.
Photo Credit: Fair Use / History Channel

Jacque Fresco

One of the best TV series that I have ever watched is “VIKINGS”. The genre of this series is a fusion of historical fantasy drama, action, and romance.

Vikings was created by Emmy award-winning British screen writer and producer - Michael Hirst. The storyline incorporates historical fact with Norse myths and legendary tales.

Apparently, Vikings is set in the 8th and 9th century in different parts of Scandinavia like Sweden, Norway and Denmark. England, France, Mediterranean countries, Russia and other locations where Vikings made raids are also depicted.

One of my favourite characters of this TV show is Ragnar Lothbrok played by Travis Fimmel. Ragnar Lothbrok, king of Denmark, is ferocious, frightening and barbaric. Yet, he is also inspirational, playful, loving and caring. He was the most significant Viking warrior and remarkable leader who led many raids on France and England.

There are many useful lessons that one can learn from this film. My favourite quote is by Ragnar Lothbrok giving advice to one of his sons, Bjorn Ironside: “Power is always dangerous. Corrupts the best and attracts the worst. I never asked for power. Power is only given to those who are prepared to lower themselves to pick it up.” The quote is true at all times. I agree that power gives us big responsibilities, so one should be careful not to abuse it. Having power does not necessarily mean being a king or a queen. In our daily lives, we have the power to choose between the right or wrong, be miserable or motivated. In other words, in any circumstance you always have a choice to be good or bad.

Last but not the least, the cinematography of the TV series is sublime. I loved the special effects, costumes, setting, and sound effects.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this film to everyone, especially to people who love historical and action TV series.

 


Family

A Story About My Son

Author: Furong Z.
Level: 6
Instructor: Moninder G.
Photo Credit: minianne / 123RF Stock Photo

Tokyo

My nephew and my son are the same age. My sister and I decided to take them to see the world when they were three years old. The first place we chose was Beijing because Beijing is the capital of our home country and not very far from my hometown. There are many historical sites, museums and theme parks there. Since they were young, and summer is extremely hot in Beijing and, after reading many travel diaries on the Internet written by people who had come back from Beijing, we thought that indoor activities would be better for our young children. Among the places we decided to visit was the Children’s Science and Technology Park. This park lets children perceive the world in games. The main exhibitions are a virtual farm, scientific maze, water world and hand-square.

The nightmare began when we stopped at a huge model of a plane. Children were requested to take off their shoes and come into the plane by the side of the stairs. After they visited the inside of the plane, they could get out via a slide. Adults had to wait at the front of the plane. The stairs and slide are on the same side, so parents could see how their kids got in and out of the plane but couldn’t see their kids’ activities in the plane. My son went in the plane for more than ten minutes and never showed up on the slide. I felt nervous and asked my nephew to check if he was still in the plane. He couldn’t find my son. I was about to cry. Have I lost my son? I left the plane immediately. I called his name and looked for him everywhere. Suddenly, I heard a cry coming from behind the plane. Thank God. I recognized it as my son’s cry. The plane had a back door. My son came out from there. That ws why we couldn’t see each other when he came out.

I almost lost my son because of this design failure. This is a terrible memory. Twelve years have passed, and I can still remember it as clear as day; the panic starts to set over me again. I don’t think I will ever forget it!

 


Favourite place

Author: Iryna M.
Level: 4
Instructor: Kara M.
Photo Credit: karelnoppe / 123RF Stock Photo

hong kong

My best place in the whole world is the house of my grandparents. This house is located near the firth. There you can always feel fresh air and the smell of grandma’s food. The house has 2 bedrooms, and vineyards growing in the yard. It is a very small house but very cozy. This place always will be my favourite in the whole world.





 


Summer Time

Author: Maryna B.
Level: 5
Instructor: Zareen R.
Photo Credit: yarruta / 123RF Stock Photo

summertime, flipflops on sunny beach

What a beautiful season it is, especially in the countryside! You can admire sunrise and sunset, listen to the birds singing, and observe the wildlife and the natural beauty around.

We all have our own reasons to love summer. Kids like summer holidays. They enjoy playing out in the sun, going swimming in the pools and lakes and going camping with friends and family. It is probably the most exciting and happiest time for them. For the adults, summer is a time to go on long-awaited vacations and spending this time with their family.

Our family has a tradition to go to the seaside twice a year and relax there. Even, in winter months, we usually try to take a flight to a warmer country and feel summer cozy again. Any place near the Red Sea is our favorite spot. We like to go diving and explore the sea world. It is always a time full of adventures for the kids. One of our most memorable time was when we celebrated our Christmas in country where there was no snow. There, we saw Santa flying over the sea in a hot air balloon waving at the kids. Later, he landed and gave presents to all the kids. My kids still remember it as the most amazing experience in their lives!

We really love to enjoy every moment in the summer and hope we can do the same this year as well!

 


The Importance of Family for Immigrants in Canada

Author: Lyngate Emy G.
Level: 7
Instructor: Rachel A.
Photo Credit: kasto / 123RF Stock Photo

hands protecting family - illustration

The Importance of Family for Immigrants in Canada

Traditionally, a family is a group of persons closely related by blood or marriage such as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins. Taking part in this group requires providing love, support, and respect to each other and sharing the responsibility. In this group, a member needs to feel safe, should be able to depend on someone, as well as share joys and sorrows. Being an immigrant in a country like Canada means a sacrifice in terms of the family because most of the time, migrants leave behind this beautiful gift from God; the family. To be in a new country without family means being alone, feeling all the consequences of the loss of this unique support system.

On one hand, this institution allows them to adapt themselves emotionally, socially, and financially in the host country. At first glance, emotionally, the family helps migrants feel less lonely, gives them a shoulder to cry on, without forgetting a group where they can share joys and successes experienced in the host country. Next, as a social factor, family supports the integration. for example, a family member can easily give you advice on what to do, where to go and also how to behave in the new country. Then, financially, the family can be a pool of monetary resources, which helps its members cope with the financial aspect in their host country. In general, the family helps to cope with the stress caused by the phenomenon of immigration.

On the other hand, building a family is a way to recreate that environment that gives us confidence. For migrants raising children in Canada or sponsor certain family members such as parents, siblings or children is a way to recreate the background of where we come from for cultural reasons have a progeny but also for social reasons as a united and supported family. These positive aspects of being a member of a family while being an immigrant can just procure a lot of satisfaction and security.

 


General

David Suzuki

Author: Andrii D.
Level: 6
Instructor: Adrienne R.
Photo Credit: Holger Motzkau / CC BY-SA 3.0

babys hand

I would like to speak to you about a famous Canadian .  His name is David Suzuki.

He was born in British Columbia.  His parents came from Okinawa, Japan. He has two sisters and one brother.

He studied zoology in University in Chicago.  

He was a professor of genetics.  He made documentaries and radio shows starting in the 1970’s.

He has written books about climate change. He is an activist on this subject.  He has criticized the government about the problems in Canada with the environment.  He speaks about how we use too much carbon and how we need to use wind and  sun, and water energy.

Carbon energy is a problem because it raises the temperature of the planet and the ice melts more and more every year in the Arctic.

David Suzuki’s TV show, the Nature of Things, is watched in many countries.  It talks about environmental issues. On the show, he talks about different methods of living on the planet.  He discusses animals, fish, forests and climate in our world.        It is a very popular show.

Suzuki also believed that the use of genetically modified organisms is very bad.  When we create these, they can have a lot of mutations.   And scientists who say the opposite either do not understand or they are lying. 

Suzuki was on a show on Australia's ABC TV network in September 2013. On that show he criticized the conservative government in Canada

Suzuki has won many awards, like the Order of Canada. 

He is a very progressive man and he is very wise about how our natural world works. He is a man of the future. They should make him the Minister of the Environment.

 


Dog Walking: Prep for Pet Ownership

Author: Alla N.
Level: 8
Instructor: Ivan J.
Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

smiling dog on bed

I saw one funny statement a couple of months ago. One girl posted it on the Facebook page. She wrote, “My good morning looks like this: kids are yelling and hungry, I and husband are hurrying to work and hungry, cat is meowing and hungry, dog is barking, jumping, hungry and wants to go outside.” I recognized that my mornings are almost the same, we just don’t have a dog. It looks a little bit crazy, but I can truly say that I can’t imagine my life any different. I love my family to the moon and back, like my daughter likes to say.

But what to do if you don’t have kids, a husband, a cat, a dog and even a hamster, and you are not sure about having a pet at all because you don’t have any experience.

When my daughter started dog walking this spring, I thought that dog walking was a good second step before having her own pet. Why the second step you want to ask me? The first step is learning all the important information from books, internet sources, chats, friends, etc. Then you need some practice, and a very good chance to get the practice is through dog walking. Many people will allow you to walk their dogs and will pay you for that. If you have friends who keep dogs, ask them to wash their dogs, cut nails, feed them, and comb fur.

It’s not necessary after dog walking to get only dogs. Of course, get the pet you like most of all. But all these practices can give you invaluable experience in everyday routines that are part of caring for a pet. And be sure that even the pet caring routine will bring you pleasure. You will get tons of fun and happiness with your pet every day!

 


My Experience with the Online English Program

Author: Irene R.
Level: 7
Instructor: Moninder G.
Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

learn english on laptop

Online English is one of the amazing programs funded by the government of Canada. First, you need to do a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) test at an assessment centre to be able to check your English levels in the following four categories: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Then, they will determine the level of your English language abilities. LINC classes are offered as a combination of in-class and online modes of teaching.

I have been learning English for three years. When I did my English assessment, I chose e-learning because I have kids that I need to take care of.  Being part of this program is really helpful. I can communicate with others and find more job opportunities. The benefits of online learning are flexibility, accessibility and cost effectiveness.

I am thankful for being part of this program, not only because it’s free, but also because I have learned about a lot of useful tools and resources for everyday life. Having a marvelous, compassionate, and supportive teacher is one of the reasons why I have been enjoying this program. I just need to keep learning and studying to enhance my English skills.

“The key to success is to appreciate how people learn, understand the thought process that goes into instructional design, what works well, and a range of different ways of achieving goals.”  - Tim Buff

 


My Future Goals

Author: Juan Sebastian V.
Level: 6
Instructor: Kara M.
Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

textbooks on keyboard - education

My principal goal now is getting a scholarship to start a Master’s Degree in Animal Science. It is really important to me so if I want to have success, I need to make a plan and follow step by step. One of the most important things is to have a better English level. According that the first stage is to improve my English and work in all of the skills (written, speaking, grammar and listening).

Following the steps, I need to start to look at the Universities and programs to find and chose one. For example the University of Regina, or the University of Saskatchewan. After that I will able to make an appointment to the director of the program and probably request for a scholarship for a foreign student. In conclusion, I need to work hard and never give up to achieve my goal. 

 


Technology

Author: Sergii G.
Level: 4
Instructor: Moninder G.
Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

people on phones

How does technology help or hinder society? Technology in society is like a traffic light for pedestrians, like planes for travel, or hearing aids for people with special needs; it is definitely vital. However, there are technologies that, over time, no longer seem exclusively positive. These include atomic energy, energy that people began to use not so that we could have light in the house. You may also recall the technology for confirming the DNA of the paternity of a child; before, women felt freer but now, men have become more cunning and can declare determining paternity through a DNA test. This makes life more boring for us and our children; you no longer need to guess in the future who your real father is. Some technologies have such miniscule differences in their positive and negative qualities on society that it is not always clear how it will all end. For example, take Artificial Intelligence. Can artificial intelligence make not only mathematical decisions but also human ones? This is a question for all of us. If you give AI free rein in making decisions, then mathematically, or even logically, it could fire someone like me from work immediately. What about all of us? Keeping in mind that payday is coming soon, I would say that maybe Elon Musk is right, and we need to be careful with Artificial Intelligence, and in general with certain technologies.

 


Hobbies

My Hobby

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

wooden letters spelling out english

My favorite hobby is to study English. I like to use different ways to do it. I like to watch movies to listen. That helps me to get better pronunciation. At the same time reading the closed captions helps me to learn the correct grammar and spelling. I like to improve my skills in English as my second language. 

The goal I want to achieve for my future is to have a better lifestyle. At the current moment, I have started working on it. I realized, that I needed to focus on my own dreams and fight strong until I really got what I really want and like. I am working hard on fears, frustration and myself. I am very optimistic about the results of sacrifices and difficult times.

 


Shopping

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

woman holding shopping bags

Last time I went shopping was on the weekend, I bought food. I do not like shopping because it takes a lot of time. I go shopping once a week. I spend a lot of money because I buy food for the whole week. My favorite place to do shopping is Costco, because Costco has good prices and quality. I can also refuel the car at a good price. I am saving money to buy a house in the future. I think it is a good idea for stores to be open 24 hours 7 days a week because it is very comfortable, especially if you work late. In my family my wife goes shopping the most because she has more free time.



 


The Benefits of Playing Sports

Author: Jilali A.
Level: 4
Instructor: Moninder G.
Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

playing soccer

I loved sports when I was a kid. I remember when I was a little boy, I did many activities because I felt free, especially having no responsibilities, and more energy and free time (although, I feel that having more responsibilities, and less energy and free time is not really a good excuse to stop practicing sports).

My favourite sports are soccer and basketball. My favourite activities are karate and running. As I am finding sports with a lot of physical activity much more difficult to play than I was expecting, these days I prefer to go fishing as I find it very relaxing.

However, I still really enjoy playing soccer for fun. For me, the most important thing is the social aspect. I don’t care so much these days about the actual game or who wins. I just like having fun with some good friends.

I suggest everyone finds an activity they enjoy because it can help you make new friends in Canada. What are you waiting for?

 


Tteokbokki

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

bbtreesubmission

First, prepare the rice cake.

Second, boil 500 mL of water.

Third, add 2 tsp of red hot pepper paste and 3 tsp of sugar

Then, add 2 tsp of soy sauce.

Next, add the rice and fish cake.

After, cook for 10 minutes.

Finally, add green onion.

 


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