Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer...Sweet Summer

As I lay in my backyard catching up on some much needed vitamin D, I can’t help reflect on what it was like to have a summer vacation. As of yesterday at 1:45 pm I am officially on summer holidays until July 28th. Yes, on July 28th I return to the class room, but in the mean time I am face to face with the blades of grass that I usually despise because I have to cut them. I went this morning to the grade 5 class and it was just oo much for me to handle on a hot day like this...I mean desks are being cleaned out, bulletin boards are being taken down and instead of a math lesson and homework they are playing math games...Those were the last days of school as I remembered them to be...tomorrow they will even have a substitute teacher! Some of the fondest memories as a kid came from our summer vacations...camping in Bon Echo Provincial Park, soccer tournaments, pool parties and who can forget being allowed to stay up later...now that we’re all out on our own those things seem so trivial and everyday. This past weekend I spend the days studying hard for an anthropology exam I wrote yesterday, but the nights were full of what real university students do...heading downtown with a bunch of friends and hitting 3 or 4 bars in the market. I have to say I missed out on a part of my life with my school career and working career overlapping...but I’m well on my way to making it up now! I do have to admit that 4 am is late and then 8 am is a little early...in the same day. But you do what you have to do to be a university student! I’m looking forward to having Marc on vacation with me next week...the weather looks like it’s going to be ok and we’ve got plans to build a deck in our backyard...no more laying on the grass to catch the vitamin D! We felt a little behind the times when our neighbour Bob put up a deck and shed earlier in the summer and the neighbours beside him did it last year...apparently we’ll even have a fence by the time I go back to school...it’s all way toooo exciting around here! I leave you now with a little hope that you will get some well deserved vitamin D intake soon and once my deck is build you’re more than welcome to come test it out.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thanks for the Questions Grade 5!

Thank you to Mr. Mayo’s grade 5 class at Our Lady of Wisdom School for the excellent questions about my vacation...I’m going to try and answer them the best that I can... During our trip we have been in 2 different countries that speak different languages...in Barcelona, Spain where we started our vacation and will end our vacation their first and most popular language is Spanish. Spanish is similar to French in a few ways so even though I don’t speak Spanish I can slightly understand the locals and they can slightly understand me when I speak back to them in French. A lot of the people that work in the port (where the boat is docked) speak French or English as it is a popular tourist spot with people who are not from Spain or speak Spanish. While we are in France, the first language is French. I am able to speak with the local people a little bit, but Marc and his family are fully able to have a conversation with them. Even though we all speak French, the French in France and the French in Canada are slightly different. I find that there is a little more slang in the Canadian French than there is in the French French. Marc and his family are able to help me with translation if I need it. Marc has 2 brothers and a sister that are fluent in Spanish so it helps when we order a taxi to take us somewhere and we can’t tell them where to take us! I have meet a few interesting people, mostly the employees on the cruise boat that we’re on. Most of the employees are from Asian and south American countries. The employees on the boat work 7 days a week for 12 hours a day. They are on the boat for 10 months of the year before they are able to go home to their families for 2 months. Everyone is extremely happy to be on the boat and serving the people who are on the cruise. We see one employee every day in the cafeteria who greets EVERYONE with a Good Morning...Happy Happy in the morning and at lunch time it changes to Yummy Yummy, Happy Happy...he is like a Walmart greeter that absolutely enjoys his job and the people be greets. Many of our taxi drivers have been very interesting people...they are very knowledgeable about their cities and the history about landmarks. We haven’t meet any famous people as in Brad Pitt or the Pope, but everyone is interesting or has an interesting story in their own way. The best tourist attraction for me so far is visiting the Vatican and Vatican City in Rome, Italy. Being a Catholic, I never imagined that I would be able to visit the Vatican once in my life time but I have been fortunate to visit it for a second time. When you walk into St. Peter’s Square and see the Vatican and the Basilica, it is just like any pictures you have seen. Since I am studying Religious Studies at university it is especially special for me to take everything in and understand the meanings behind some paintings and the history of the buildings. Second to the Vatican is the leaning tower in Piza. Like I said in my last blog post, the tower is still leaning! It is an amazing structure that continues to stand even though it is leaning at 3.99 degrees. There are 294 steps on the inside of the tower that tourist can pay to climb and see an amazing view of the City of Piza. We wanted to visit the beaches in Cannes, France, but the weather was a little too cold for us to get in the water. The waves were about 4 feet high and the wind was gusty, so instead of being cold on the beach we went back on our cruise boat and swam in the heated pool there. The pool is at about 104 degrees F and the hot tub is close to 100 degrees F. Here is a picture of the beaches in Cannes, France, pools and hot tubs as well as a picture of us enjoying the sun beside the pool... Here are some pictures of the Coliseum...Maybe Mr. Mayo will allow me to show you more pictures and describe to you what is in them when I return... The chocoholic festival was not very impressive...I was a little disappointed actually. There was a chocolate fountain that we were able to dip our pieces of cake or fruit in. We actually visited a chocolate store in Nice, France a couple days later and got some REALLY good chocolate there...there was milk chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate with pistachio nuts and many different kinds if truffles (fancy chocolates). We bought some chocolate to bring back to Canada, but it didn’t make it home...there was a little late night snack that ate it all! Thanks Pascal for the advice not to drink the salt water at the beach...the water in the pool and the hot tub was salt water directly from the Mediterranean Sea and I have to admit that I got a little bit in my face. I don’t make too much of a habit of drinking the pool water so don’t worry about that! Once last picture, here is the boat that we travelled from city to city on...there were 2500 passengers and another 2500 employees working on the boat. I look forward to seeing all of you when I get back to Canada. Please keep sending me questions and I will show you more pictures when I’m back at Our Lady of Wisdom! Mrs. Ranger