Sunday, 24 June 2012


I have been a blog slacker! But I have finally done something that feels worthy of blogging about and hopefully it will kick start my writing again.

The team - Ice Crew Bears (say it out loud, you know you want to)
This weekend, I travelled to Whistler with 2 friends to compete in the Tough Mudder. Visit and check out the video to get a taste of what this is all about.

It is the most challenging event I have ever heard of, and definitely the most challenging thing I have ever taken part in. It was a 12 mile course, through Whistler mountain, with over 20 military-style obstacles. Luckily, I convinced my friend Veronique to join with me. She, in turn, convinced her boyfriend to join the team. He is military and has done many obstacle courses similar to this one. Except, they are usually about 7km long, with the obstacles 500-700 m apart. This one was 12 miles long with some obstacles more than a couple mile apart! Going from one obstacle to the next you are running up a gravel mountain rd, down a rock mountain road, down a 'trail' in the forest, through snow, or all of the above!

By far the most painful obstacle - frozen lake!
There were about 5 water stops along the course, which also offered bananas to eat. We were smart and took advantage of the first banana stop. Others wanted to keep going and regretting this later. At around mile 8 the sides of the trails started clogging up with participants who were in severe pain due to muscle cramps. One guy even had to lie on his back in a river of mud (approx. 1km trudging down river of mud), so that another guy could stretch out with calf cramp - he was going no where until the spasm passed!
Everest! I made it over!!

Right at the start line, you and the other 700 participants who started in your 15 minute time slot (700 every 15 minutes until all 14000 participants of the day were on the course - that is NOT a typo!), were told that `This is NOT a race! This is a Challenge! These are your teammates and you need to help each other out!` This was the spirit of the entire event and it was amazing.Going over 8 and 12 foot walls, guys were there to give you a boost. Swimming across the frozen pond, guys were there to pull you out. Running up Everest - a huge quarter pipe - guys are hanging off the top ready to catch your hands as you sprint your fastest and leap for their outstretched arms. You continually hear war cries of HOORAAH! And you reply with one of your own. You cross the finish line and are brandished with the coveted orange head-band. You wear the head-band with pride and fellow mudders cheer as you walk by. Only about 75% of participants finish the course. I saw many wounded and exhausted people. I did every challenge. I am quite proud to have completed this event. It definitely inspires me to continue to push myself past my limits. This is what I work out for! This is why I want to be strong and fit and mentally strong as well.
I almost made it!! Damn wet hands..
Death March - just a little hill

Amazing event, amazing venue (my first time in Whistler), amazing experience!

All for the glory (and free headband, tshirt & beer!)

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A new (school) year

30 Sept.

I miss my blog! Though I do know that there are some lovely people out there who enjoyed reading my blog, I think that the blog is really just an outlet for people to feel important. Here I was, a self-proclaimed “small town girl” traipsing around London like I owned the place. Jetting off to countries all over Europe like it was no one's business. And at the end of each week I could sit down and write a blog all about ME. Because I was so important and interesting that of course people would want to read about me!
As grateful that I am for those who took the time to rad my stories, and for having the opportunity to do so many exciting things over the past year, I still think I can write something to feel important. Or even just to share the stories of teaching that so many of us teachers have – we just lack to time to share them! So, while this blog will no longer be about exciting worldly adventures, I hope that it will still bring a smile to some faces and brighten a day. I know that I always love to read something that can lighten my day.
Some examples of how kids say the darndest things:
A boy in my class was swinging between two desks in the aisle of my classroom. I asked him to stop and got that look that says: “You are such an adult. Just let us kids have some fun!” We all know the look, it's the same look we used to give our parents when they told us not to stand up on the swings. Seriously, what's going to happen?
Well, then I explained to him the reason that I asked him to stop. At my last school a young boy in grade 1 was swinging between two desks when one of his hands slipped off and on his way down to the floor his head hit the side of the desk. Might not seem too bad, except that it was his ear the hit the edge and basically tore away from his head requiring several stitches.
Now my students were looking at me with looks of disbelief mixed with slight disgust. At this point one of the girls close by me turned to her friend and said, “ I sure am glad I have ears.”
Oh, couldn't have said it better myself!

A couple days later we are doing learning some vocabulary words for our science unit on habitats and resources. This would seem like a simple task, except when you are teaching in French and this becomes more than an hour long lesson because not all of the words are in the junior french dictionary and this seemingly simple lesson slowly spirals toward disaster. Toward the end students are looking words up English and translating them into French. We are trying to come up with a definition for pollution and decided that it is something bad and unwanted in a habitat that doesn't belong there. To which one of my, let's say “challenging”, students says, “I am pollution.” I just can't help myself so I respond, “Why? You're bad and not wanted in this environment and don't belong here?” Sometimes they just make it too easy...

As long as I don't actually lose my mind reminding kids that we start writing at the pink line on our paper EVERY time, I will try to post more examples of why I love my job. The kids are pretty much the only thing that makes teaching worthwhile. We are currently in job action, and luckily are still directed to do anything that will benefit the kids. They are why we are here. But we do still need to be supported and to be compensated for the work that we do. Please support teachers, read up about what we are asking for and how our province compares with others in Canada, not to mention other countries around the world. After having been in the schools in India, I am not going to say that we are hard done by by any means. However, I do think that in a country full of prosperity, teachers are very undervalued.

That is my spiel, back to my Friday night of 'adult reading' before a weekend full of student writing, planning and class novel reading :)

Friday, 26 August 2011

Pacific Time

It's funny how once you are back in your "home" time zone everything feels less exciting. I guess that is because I know that 98% of the people who have been faithfully following me this year can also step out their front doors and do all of the same things now.
I have been back in the homeland for 2 weeks now and it feels great! Because I came home at almost exactly the same time of year as I left, it sometimes feels like I haven't gone at all. Then a small child walks by and I realize that the last time I saw that child it was a new born, or not born at all! Kids are definitely the give-away of time. I cannot believe how much my cousins have grown up this year.
Otherwise, I have been doing all things West Coast. Beach fires (with hotdogs, s'mores and cruise ship watching, of course), backyard fires, trips to the lake, hiking the trails, biking the trails, playing beach volleyball... Taking full advantage and packing my days right full.
Monkido! Nice tiara Sophie :)
Last weekend we also had Sophie's stagette. Her wedding is in France in a few weeks, so we took her to the Monkido course in Nanaimo and then had a BBQ at Rathtrevor beach. We had great weather for the obstacle course and lots of delicious food at the beach. Tis the season for weddings, I am heading to one tomorrow of a good friend from school. Then next week is back to work! I have all of my paperwork sorted for the new job, now need to find a place to live in Courtenay. Hopefully will get in to set up my new classroom this weekend or the beginning of next week.