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


Raising a Child in Canada

Author: Liudmyla D.
Level: 7
Instructor: Adrienne R.
Photo Credit: lopolo | 123RF Stock Photo

Children being carried by their parents, waving Canadian flags

Before having a baby, you have to think about how much it will cost to raise a baby. It is a big decision!

For example, raising a child will cost $10,000 to 15,000 a year until the age of 18 in Canada. The maternity leave in Canada covers up to 18 months. After that, you should take additional parental leave for extended periods. Once you have dependents, you must have life insurance. You better not forget to have it because our kids depend on our income. Also, you should set up an RESP. You can get $500 free every year through the Canadian Education savings plan. Moreover, licensed day care in major cities cost up to $2,000. Unlicensed care is a bit cheaper. You should decide which care you want for your child and put their name on a waiting list as soon as possible.

Also, in Canada for raising a child we have the Canadian child benefit which provides up to $6, 639 per year for children under age 6 and up to $5,602 per year for children ages 6 to 17. If you have higher income, you might not qualify for this child benefit. You might use a calculator to see what you are entitled to.

In conclusion, having a baby is a serious decision. Therefore, you should divert all your savings towards your child and you had better not forget to contribute money for an RRSP to get money when retire. This will allow you to be independent from your children and they will not help you as they would have their own children. Good luck!



Author: Lyngate G.
Level: 7
Instructor: Rachel A.
Photo Credit: 5phonrf | 123RF Stock Photo

Chocolate in easter egg

Easter holiday is coming!

For Christians, Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the end of Lent. It is highly respected, lent is a time when Christians voluntarily deprive themselves of certain pleasures, including eating eggs. Around the world, the symbols associated with the event were eggs, lambs, light, rabbits and the bell. I know many people do not understand why we focus more on eggs, but based on online research eggs symbolize fertility, renewal and creation.

Now how is this feast is celebrated in Canada?

Good Friday (or Easter Monday) is a public holiday in Canada. Canadians can go to church, rest peacefully at home or celebrate with the family. The easter symbols in Canada are eggs, chicks, flowers and rabbits all indicating spring and the renewal of life after winter. In general, it is customary to celebrate this holiday by getting together with family, sharing a meal, going on an Easter egg hunt, or exchanging chocolate eggs and bunnies or small gifts. Children are keen on these easter activities, especially egg hunts. To be honest, for me, the most important part of this feast is to be with family members to glorify God for the life he gave to us around a delicious meal.

Easter this year is on April 17, 2022, enjoy as you can because it is a marvelous time for a reconsideration of our lives, share the celebration with others and some rest for those who can.

Women's Day

Author: Lesly M.
Level: 6
Instructor: Zareen R.
Photo Credit: angelinachirkova | 123RF Stock Photo

Vector image of diverse women for national women's day

March 8th is International Women’s Day. On this day, Women's Day is celebrated almost everywhere in the world. I am thankful to God for being born in a country where women have rights and where we can be free in how we choose to dress, what career we would like to have, and the basic right to make choices. On this day, I also want to pray to God for those who do not have that right to be free and have choices. I pray someday they will be able to raise their voices, and not forced or coerced into doing things they do not want to do. My heart goes out for especially for those women who have to go out alone, raise their children alone and who try their best to give them everything despite encountering obstacles on their way. This year the theme is exactly what I wish that all women have. It is to break the bias and try to create a world with where everyone is equal; free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. Therefore, I pray that one day we can break free of all the barriers and be who we dream to be.



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

Truck driving on country road

I love driving because the feeling of driving on the road makes me feel good. I always enjoy listening to the gentle and deep melodies of lyrical music. I feel great because I'm in control of my steering wheel.

No matter what mood other drivers are in, they may be in a hurry or upset about something in their cars, but the beautiful cars still flow in a rhythm like a stream in front of my face. It is a wonderful moment when my car is mingling with the bobbing cars on the street.

I say that it's wonderful because when we have control over ourselves, lead our lives on the way we have chosen and go for the right goals with a good soul and always be calm even with the pressures and difficulties of life. We will drive unsafely and not reach our destination at the right time if we do not know where we are going and we drive the wrong speed, either too fast or too slow. We will easily cause an accident when we lack concentration or are too stressed because of certain life pressure.

On the road of life, if we don't know what to do and where to go with the goal that we have chosen or if we already have a goal and a destination but we are too hesitant we might not reach our goal. If we do not seize the opportunity or act, it will be very difficult to achieve the set goal.

On the other hand, if we are too stressed by the pressures of life without building a calm state of mind to solve the problem, it will be difficult to control our lives.

What if we are going at the right speed and are in control of the steering wheel but unfortunately someone has caused an accident that affects us? It's just an accident and people have to accept the mistakes from their unsafe driving behavior. With this, we still have to move on and solve the problem afterwards. In our lives too, if someone accidentally or intentionally injures us, let them bear the serious consequences of that wrongdoing and pay the price with lessons of life that they have to learn. Even if that happens to us, we still have to walk leisurely on the path we have chosen, avoiding stumbling with a state of readiness to reach the goal...

I don't know why I think about this when I'm driving sometimes. I always remind myself to live in a calm and relaxed state, not to be hasty or too slow to lose opportunities and to keep moving forward. I always remind myself to forgive others and keep moving forward to find the right destination in life...


Education and S Korea and Canada

Author: Younghwan P.
Level: 5
Instructor: Carmen I.
Photo Credit: imtmphoto | 123RF Stock Photo

Group of happy elementary school students in uniform

Education in Korea is similar to Canada. The educational system has six years of elementary school, three years of middle school, and three years of high school. These are compulsory education for every student in S Korea.

After that, students who want post-secondary education can go to college or university. In particular, the difference between Canada and S Korea is that 9 out of 10 Korean students go to university to get a better job.

Similar to Canada, in S Korea students have to pay for their college or university studies and if they do not have the funds, they can borrow from the bank. After they finish their studies or schooling, they will get a job and pay the loan back to the bank.

Education systems of Canada and Vietnam

Author: Minh M.
Level: 7
Instructor: Nodira I.
Photo Credit: twinsterphoto | 123RF Stock Photo

Female teacher happily helping student

"Parents take main responsibility for educating their children", a message from the Ministry of Education in Canada. It is the most important difference of the educational system between Western and Eastern countries. Canada and Vietnam are two systems I am going to compare and analyze.

In general, both of them have the same educating structures such as students are required to attend school starting from the age of 6. They all have 12 years to graduate high school. Students can pursue their further studies in a college, university, master’s degree, PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) which may take several years to complete.

In Canada, there are no pre-defined coursebooks for school students across the country. Each province has their system of education that is suitable for the province or territory. Teachers exercise their professional judgement teach skills and knowledge for each grade. Besides, as mentioned above, parents play the main role for their children study and school are the one to support and direct students to achieve their goals.

It is totally different in Vietnam. Vietnamese students all study with the set study materials. Furthermore, school aged culture is one key point need to be mentioned here. In Canada, student independence is developed from their very young age, and pupils need to do everything they can do themselves. For example, Pre-K children need to eat themselves during their snack time. Then, equality and respect, teachers will squat down when they talk to their young students. They will shake students’ hand like friend and say "sorry", say "please" and so on. This is the aspect that, I think, Vietnamese teachers must learn and change their attitude towards their students.

In conclusion, education is affected by traditional culture. It is hard to say which one is better. However, kids are our future, so we should try our best to educate and train them to be more independent and confident even facing what troubles. Parents and teachers are their guide to help them gain enough wisdom and knowledge in order to stand steady and strong in their life journey.


An Enjoyable Job

Author: Sanja S.
Level: 3
Instructor: Kara M.
Photo Credit: lopolo | 123RF Stock Photo

Young physiotherapist doing physio therapy with patient in bright office

I want to tell you what a physiotherapist is. A Physiotherapist helps sick and injured people to increase mobility, alleviate pain and prevent and mitigate the permanent consequences of illness and injury. I really enjoy helping people in their recovery.

Hobbies & Work

Author: Anh T.
Level: 4
Instructor: Kara M.
Photo Credit: lenetssergey | 123RF Stock Photo

Man preparing delicious and healthy food in the home kitchen

I have a hobby of cooking, so when I decided to immigrate to Canada, I took a culinary course. I am so lucky to have found a job that matches my interests.

My current job is cooking for retirees. I started my shift with the selection and preparation according to the menu prepared by the chef. Next is to cook dishes according to the menu including main course and dessert. After the cooking is done, I will share the portions with the waiters and they will serve the meals to the diners. Next I have to wash the cooking utensils and clean the kitchen before the end of the shift.

I Love My Job

Author: Sadia A.
Level: 7
Instructor: Kara M.
Photo Credit: stockbroker | 123RF Stock Photo

Female teacher helping black pupil to make shapes at wooden table in montessori school

I love and enjoy my current job because I’m privileged to be part of my student’s life stories. I’m working as an Educational Assistant in an elementary school in Saskatoon since 2012. My work is based on different age groups, like preschoolers to elementary grades. Since I was a child, it was my passion to become a teacher because as a teacher you are nurturing young minds and being a part of their holistic growth, so I decided to earn my bachelor’s degree in education.

In my current position, there are a variety of tasks that I must accomplish daily. From morning messages and routines to the implementation of ideas during the day is always crucial. I help co-workers in planning tasks to enhance our students’ learning process, which is challenging and at the same time rewarding. I plan different curricular and extracurricular activities which help students to work for community projects and become better citizens.

Loving my job is very important to me. I play a crucial role in maintaining their wellbeing as well as making sure that they have a memorable learning experience where they grow mentally and physically. Being educator is a dynamic position in education field where we initially plan ideas on daily basis according to student’s needs. A good teacher is molding the lives of students, is caring, and loving, inspiring their learners and transform students’ lives so they become good citizens of society.


Author: XianJuan Y.
Level: 3
Instructor: Kara M.
Photo Credit: xixinxing | 123RF Stock Photo

Portrait of a sales assistant

I am currently working in a small town grocery store. I work from 10am to 8pm, five days a week. It’s a bit hard work, but I love my job. It’s a pleasure to serve the people in town. I can meet and communicate with them every day, and learn the culture. I love my job.


Life Expenses Rise

Author: Aneela C.
Level: 5
Instructor: Rachel A.
Photo Credit: lightwise | 123RF Stock Photo

Rising food cost and grocery prices surging costs of supermarket groceries as an inflation financial crisis concept coming out of a paper bag shaped hit by a a finance graph arrow

I live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I have recently noticed that the grocery prices in Saskatoon and all over Canada have increased so much because of COVID-19.

Now, when I go grocery shopping I see things more expensive day by day, I used to normally buy groceries for around $200 a week for my family but now it has increased to more than $300 per week. I have to buy less groceries now because the price is so high and I am trying to compare the grocery prices at different stores and also plan what I need to buy.

I read somewhere that the prices have increased because of inflation. Many people needed assistance in the last two years as they lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Besides groceries, the gas price has also increased so much... oh my God it is unaffordable. COVID-19 and other reasons have made prices in our city and country become very expensive and hopefully, it will end soon.


My Battle

Author: Svitlana T .
Level: 6
Instructor: Adrienne R.
Photo Credit: milkos | 123RF Stock Photo

Happy Diverse Supportive Women In Pink Awareness T-Shirts Giving High Five

The most stressful time in my life was when I got diagnosed with breast cancer. This happened three years ago, in 2018. I needed to do surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. This was emotionally stressful for me and my family.

When I was diagnosed, I started to think about what is really important in my life. Usually, we think about the future and our retirement. I started living just in this moment. We started travelling and renovating our house. We didn’t want to wait to do these things.

I got a lot of support from my friends and the hospital. The doctors and nurses started doing the best they could. This helped with my stress. They moved my surgery date so I didn’t have to wait so long for it. I joined a group called, "Look Good, Feel Good." It was a group of women who showed me how to wear scarves and wigs and makeup after the chemotherapy. This support group was great.



Author: Yuliia D.
Level: 6
Instructor: Adrienne R.
Photo Credit: mackoflower | 123RF Stock Photo

Pierogi or pierogi chop with fork and knife. Authentic greek eating in polish cuisine

I am going to tell you how I make my own special perogies. This recipe makes 6 dozen perogies.

First, Measure 2 cups of flour in a big bowl.

Then, Measure into the cup 2 table spoons of salt, 100ml oil and add very hot boiled water till you have 1,5litres of water . Pour the wet ingredients into the flour and mix them together by wooden spoon until firm. Put the dough on the table that has been sprinkled with the flour, and knead the dough into a ball.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll it into 4 long sausage shapes Then cut the dough sausage into small pillows as big as your finger prints when you are holding the dough. All pillows need to be dipped into the flour and pressed a little bit .Then roll the pillows into the circles .Place the stuffing in the center, fold the dough over it and pinch the edges.

The Stuffing:

Peel the potatoes and put them into a pot of water on the stove. Add more salt than usual, as lots of salt will drain away with the water.

The chopped onion should be fried till light brown color. Chop the dill.

When the potatoes are cooked, drain the water and mash the potatoes, then add the onion and dill.

The dough that is almost cooked will boil faster than usual. Put the perogies into boiling water and gently stir to prevent them from sticking to the bottom and to each other. Add some salt to the water.

Stir one more time after the water starts to boil. Wait 1 more minute after the perogies pop up and transfer them immediately to the bowl with the fried onions. Mix them with oil with no spoon by shaking the bowl in a circular motion. Do this one more time in 2-5 minutes to prevent the sticking .

Then the perogies are ready to eat. You can add sour cream, ketchup or gravy if you like!


My Family Trip to Alberta

Author: Artur S.
Level: 7
Instructor: Lindita T.
Photo Credit: rmnunes | 123RF Stock Photo

Panoramic view of banff lake in jasper national park near maligne spirit, alberta during sunset

Canada is a great country and rich in beautiful, natural places. Together with my family we love traveling across and exploring Canada. We try to see as many places as possible. We have visited seven out of ten provinces so far and this summer we decided to explore Jasper National Park in Alberta.

We started our trip from Humboldt in Saskatchewan. Driving to Edmonton, where we planned to stay for a couple of days, we stopped for a while in Elk Island National Park, located 35km east of Edmonton, to see bison. Edmonton is a big city with many attractions such as West Edmonton Mall or Muttart Conservatory. Leaving urban vibrations, we headed straight to Jasper, which is one of the most beautiful places in the Rocky Mountains. This charming small town is located amid amazing hills, lakes and rivers. This was our base for many trips, hikes, boat tours and walks. Being full of great experiences, we left Jasper and caught the Icefield Parkway to Banff. This is the most beautiful scenic road in Canada. This is something that everyone must see. Fabulous! We didn’t stay in Banff too long as it was our fourth time in this enchanted town. We explored Johnston Canyon Waterfalls and kept going to Calgary for another stop. I am not surprised that Calgary hosted the winter Olympic Games in 2010. This beautiful city mixes modern downtown with quiet residential areas surrounded by green parks. I truly recommend Calgary Zoo and the new Public Library located downtown. The last place we planned to visit was Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park split between Alberta and Saskatchewan in the South. Great place for hiking, canoeing and night sky photography.

It was a very busy time for us, but we came back full of positive energy, new experiences and great memories.

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