Sunday, July 09, 2006

5,000 Years in 10 hours --- Orkneys

There is a thing that sustains a person longer and better than food sometimes. This thing, can be called by various names: unsatiable traveller thirst to see all, stupid Task A personality kicking in, awe at seeing new and wondrous sites...or whatever you want to call it.

From reading a ton of travel lit on the Orkneys, it supposedly holds Europe's oldest archeological sites. Now that I've personally held the skull of a 5,000 year old human being and seen tomb sites and living quarters from the same time period....I'd like to say that Canada, as a country, seems even younger than before. I used to think we might be a tyke in historical years, now it feels more like we're just newborn as a country.

Our first day in 'Keerkwull' (Kirkwall) was filled with brain rattling activity. I am not joking about my brains being rattled. Though it was April, I FELT the winds in this part of Scotland relentlessly pushing and shoving you irregardless of what month we hope it to be. There is a saying that stands true of this region. The winds DO blow sideways. Forget umbrellas if it's raining here--you won't need it. You need more of a body shield like what the SWAP team has. The rain ends up INSIDE YOUR coat sleeves because it never lands straight down. It comes down horizontally--that's how windy this place is. If you see my photos, half the time I was wearing a headband, a toque AND my rain hoodie to keep my brains and intelligence intact.

It was Easter Sunday weekend and I had big dreams of renting a bike and riding around the island. In my mind, I had romantic visions of a lazy, chillaxed ride by the waters admiring its flawless cerulean complexion.

What befell us was a town in Sunday dormancy. We discovered that apart from church and a couple of stores and restaurants, everything else would be closed. Thus, no bike. ;( However, it was amazing all the same. We attended an Easter service at St.Magnus Cathedral, the oldest on the island that dates back to the 1100s. A beautiful, ruddy building with spectacular hand-painted glass windows and hand-carved ornate pillars that line this rather long edifice. Frankly, it was one of the most touching moments of my life when I realized that I was sitting in a church, worshipping, in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. Unreal.

After we left the church in search of island adventure, we decided to walk to Scapa Beach, where the HMS Royal Oak was sunk during the Second World War when German U-boats clandestinely entered the water area and surprise-attacked the boats that were docked. Nothing could have prepared us for the cutting winds that we opposed the entire way. We walked, or staggered really, along the cliffs, overlooking history. The colour of the water was ultramarine and glistening. Though we could barely hear each other through the noise of the wind, Sneha and I managed to outline the beach out almost towards the open waters. Normally, a walk of that distance would have taken 20 minutes. However, with the wind factor we faced, it took us double the time. I felt like I was air climbing, clawing and breaking through this unseen web that kept dragging me back.

That day shattered all hopes of renting a bike. By the time we got back from the beach to our hostel, (it was still a ways to "downtown" Kirkwall) we were both knackered from fighting the invisible forces of nature. We met a fellow Canadian from Calgary who told us about his biking adventures and how it has been so physically taxing to ride a bike in the Orkneys. I decided to lay my dream of biking to rest.

That night we changed our plan of attack. We had a long discussion with our eccentric hostel manager (who had the most creepy, horror-movie laugh you've ever heard...who also told us some disturbing stories about a mentally disturbed lady who stayed in the hostel and who had a machete under her bed....yep....) who kindly told us of spots to go if we were able to rent a car.

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Oh bliss! The first and only day during my European travels that were in a rental car! In the Orkneys, it made all the difference between seeing everything and seeing nothing. We TOTALLY lucked out by renting the only automatic car available. I couldn't drive standard/stick-shift to save my life so it was awesome that we scored this puppy. (Not that I drove or anything). Our new found Canadian amigo Xavier came too and the three of us set off for the most whirlwind day of our entire trip in Scotland.

As Sneha gunned our little blue vehicle out of the garage, we set off to see the Orkneys in 10 hours. All that history swallowed, whole and unmasticated, in 1 day.

First stop, we headed south on the island to the Italian Chapel. For those of you who have read the Da Vinci Code ( I still haven't yet), this is the Italian chapel mentioned in the book. It was a lovely little building constructed for the Italian Prisoners of War during WWII. The Italian artist who designed this PAINTED bricks on the wall, to create a fabulous illusion of what the building is NOT made of. My favourite bit was the wood carvings made in Italy depicting various moments in the life of Jesus.

Next, we headed to the most southern tip of the island to the Tomb of The Eagles where there, we had the most down-to-earth untouristy type of tour possible. The farmer who owns this land and who found the site, has converted the area so that it was like having a tour that started in someone's home. He keeps the numbers down so that bus loads of tourists cannot come all at once. We had a tour from some relative of the family inside the building--I got to see roughly made tools, knife-like instruments that they found on the site, hold a 5,000 year old skull, and check out interesting jewelry and pottery that were all dug up from the site.

To be cont'd...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Scotland's Stones - Post travel Recap Stories

Since I've been home, I've been stewing over whether or not I should write about some of the most memorable adventures I had in Europe. Two months I have been back, and already Europe seems like a dream.

I've decided to write about the Orkneys, my favourite place in Scotland. About three years ago, when I first came back to B.C. from Quebec, I took a geography course at SFU that had a brief lesson on Scottish immigrants to Canada and how some were from the Orkneys. Strangely enough, that one class planted a desire in my heart. " Gee," I thought, " Wouldn't it be amazing if one day I could visit these little Northern Scottish islands?". At the time, it seemed like pure fantasy.

What an exhilarating, indescribable feeling, that several years later, I would be boarding a ferry to the Orkneys.
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SEASICKNESS - ON THE WAY TO THE ORKNEYS... (Not to read for the faint of stomachs )

Seasickness is a hell that could drive people to suicide. I can testify to a taste of what sailors endured their whole lives. Kudos to all you seafaring people. Eating a "Boots" (Sort of like a Shoppers Drug Mart here that sells food as well) Duck Wrap and then getting sick is NOT a fun way to go. I spent four and a half of the six hours on the ferry to Kirkwall with my eyes closed.

I fought the urge to upchuck for about an hour because I hate the act of wretching..but the waves finally proved too much. I cried "uncle" and had to run to the washroom to do my dirty deed. Defeated, I felt relief though.

Nausea is an agony that I would not wish on my worse enemy. Your world is spinning... the sea is a carousel ride gone wrong. With every ascending and descending wave, you feel your meal rising from deep within your belly into your throat. The taste of chives from the blasted duck wrap only increased my waves of nausea.

After I threw up, I smelled puke for an hour---it permeated out of my nasal passages and tainted all my sensory organs. I had to periodically change the piece of gum I was chewing to get the taste out of my mouth.

As I sat there, head stuck to the side board between two large windows, pale and face throbbing, I am grateful to my friend who went in search of seasickness medication to help me survive the remaining hours on this rocking Titanic.

I remember, through eyes clamped shut, that she handed me little pills every hour, some homeopathic stuff, to fight the enemy that was nausea.

The glorious hour came, when we finally arrived at Kirkwall at 11pm. The meds had finally started kicking in and I was able to walk off the ship with few complications.

What struck me was the intimacy of the relationships among the people on board. As we all hovered around the entrance/exit way for pedestrians on the boat, I caught bits and pieces of people's conversations.

"So, how's the wife?"
" AH! I didn't know you would be back already? How was your trip?"
" Are you back to teach?"
" Did you know that so and so just had a baby?"

The Orkneys was an amazing little community like "Cheers", where "everybody knows your name". My friend and I definitely stuck out, as we were evidently, not locals. Also just based on appearances, it was obvious that we weren't Orkadian either.

We paid a quid and boarded a coach that would take us from the ferry to Kirkwall docks. There were three women on the bus (the driver and two locals ) who chattered non-stop about the latest island news. I noticed the cute Orkadian accent. The broader rolling of the 'r's and the way they said no or not as " nuoooee" --prolonging certain vowels. Kirkwall was received through my ears as "Keerrkwull".

More on the Orkneys....

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Dancing in the YVR

Whoo-hoo!!!! I am home!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I wanted to hop out of my seat when I saw the grey, cloudy skies of my beloved city. Even the greyness was endearing and familiar. I was sooooooooo stoked to hear a "Canadian" accent when I got on the Air Canada flight and was greeted by a flight attendant. It's surreal how quickly things change. One moment I'm in Europe and just three movies, two airplane dinners, cookies, lots of ginger ale and water later, I'm back in Canada!

My last month in April flew by. My final week in school ended on a super high note. I got to sub in for other classes (hence spending time with students of other grades), go on a cool "Victorian" fieldtrip where we all dressed in black and I made butter from cow's milk with the students, to seeing my Grade 3 and 6 students rock the house with their "Three Little Pigs" French plays. We presented in two performances for the school and I was so proud of them. I did have a couple of panicky moments when the students sort of mucked about during dress rehearsal but they did a fabulous job and I had great comments from some of the teachers who told me that they now saw the importance of teaching kids French even from a young age! Youpie!

Saying goodbyes was the toughest part. Friday was an extremely tearful day as I had to part with the Year 1s and 6s. I went home with loads of cards, gifts and new penpals.

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Sweater Made of Eyebrows

How I love my dear Year 1s.
"Miss, is your sweater made of eyebrows?" asked Ciaran, one of my adorable, but ADHD, boys who has mesmerizingly large blue-grey eyes (killer, really) and brown hair. He had buried his face in my white woolly sweater while giving me a hug. I burst out laughing as Courtney, one of the tiniest girls in our class and who was standing next to him, shot a miffed look, and replied (I think on my behalf), " It's wool."

Kids are the cutest things. It is comments like that make my heart warm and remind me daily why, I love being around children. Jamie, one of my platinum blond hair blue eyed sweeties who permanently has two green vertical tracks of snot crusted from his nostrils down to his lips, has told me that he is going to marry me---I tenderly told him that he needs to finish school first.

I finished my last day in the Year 1 class a few weeks ago and have moved into the Year 6 class for my last four weeks. I can't even believe that I've already been here for almost three months and there's only a week left.

Funny how routine my life really is--and how easy it is to get lost and stop wondering about the differences that has made my life richer being here. One of the things I have enjoyed being in England is being able to ride the double-decker buses. Unfortunately, it's not the cool classic, iconic red deckers you see in London, but just a modern version of the bus with two levels. However, riding so high in public transit is amazing--you get to see the city in a new light as you pass over the tops of buildings and get to see beyond the city and out into the fringes of city limits.

Riding up top of a double decker and the view it offers reflects on my last few months here in Europe. For me, it's a minute, subtle, but clear picture of my change in perspective--how I have been opened to other views, ideas and how what I see has changed. Just the extra height allows me to see things that were normally out of sight. I think having come to Europe has allowed me to meet people and to do things that would otherwise have been impossible.


DID YOU KNOW...( I sure didn't!)That cops in England are not allowed to carry firearms even while on duty?
-In the 70s, there was a serial killer called 'The Yorkshire Ripper' who killed at least 11 women and sent disturbing tapes to the police, taunting them that they'll never catch him. Well, he actually killed a female uni student about 100 meters from the house where I live in now! (We live next to a big field and it's up above uni grounds)

THE QUEEN'S ENGLISH - PART 4

"I'm shattered/knackered": I'm tired, pooped, wiped -- absolutely exhausted

"I'm gutted": I'm really upset, choked

Have a kip: Take a nap

Petrol: Gas ( I think we get snickers for calling it gas....)

Chuffed: Pleased (really happy about something)

"Inverted Commas": "Quote unquote"

Guillotine: Large Papercutter ( I was quite shocked by the term--When asked if I wanted to use 'the Guillotine' at school....I had a bit of a mental image..."Wow! what a horrible form of punishing the children!")

Bum Bag: Fanny Pack (Beware! Calling it a fanny pack has gotten me into trouble! In the UK 'fanny' does not mean bum but a childish term for a girl's private parts!)

"Ta": Thank you in vernacular

Tig: Tag [I've also been told that in posh grammar schools, children yell 'Pax'(Latin term for Peace) when wanting an illegal 'time-out']

Spagbol: What we call a regular spaghetti/pasta dish with tomato sauce, meat and/or veg

Unihawk: Floor Hockey

Sweets: candy

Lorries: big trucks

Cambridge photos March 2006








Top Left: King's Chapel where I heard the Choir Boys sing

Top Right: Wren's Library where you can see preserved literary treasures

Middle: Punter going under one of those awfully "romantic" bridges

Middle Left: Me riding past the famed Mathematical Bridge

Middle Right: My "the pastures are alive" moment of frolicking on The Backs of the colleges

Bottom: The entryway of Corpus Christi one of the renowed colleges. The sign on the bottom lists hours that visitors are allowed to enter and visit. Cambridge is known not for welcoming but "controlling" tourists.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

CRUISIN' IN CAMBRIDGE AND CHOIR BOYS

Check it out. Me, a nifty metal basket, a mini-ten speeder that runs only on one speed, riding around Cambridge on the left-hand side of the road!!! Absolute Bliss! I had never had soooo much fun biking around everywhere! I am definitely hooked by this...

Cambridge is an idyllic little university town filled with romantic nuances. Willow trees with branches that fall gracefully to the ground and flow wistfully when the wind blows, bridges built centuries ago where lovers embrace and gaze out onto a river where punters "punt" (Side-note:As I understand it, Punting is an activity that ressembles what you see down the canals of Venice...people navigate around the river by pushing a long pole down into the waters to push the little boat forward. The little boat is a simple rectangular hollow piece where people can either sit or lie down and snooze as they sail down the peaceful Cam...) and little boats filled with more lovers and students go by...

I was deeply impressed by Cambridge. The town bears a life of its own, existing at a level uncommon to most other regions of the country. It is a town dotted with colleges--it's lifeblood comes from the centuries of world-renowned scholars, academics and world-changers that have graced the hallways and dormitories of its prestigious colleges.

I spent a few gorgeous days in Cambridge...well, "gorgeous" not for the weather at first--I biked around in rain on the Thursday, but ended up seeing a great museum, the Fitzwilliam, followed by the Round Church for a great presentation on the history of the town. It was hilarious to walk into the Fitzwilliam, I, ressembling a drowned rat, to be greeted by a splendid museum entry way decorated with head busts along the stairways and lavishly decorated walls that only increased the grandeur of the museum.

This is the town where Isaac Newton made his great discoveries...I got to see the tree that was planted by one of his appleseeds and to see the window of the room in which he dwelled. I walked into the Wren Library where ancient and important manuscripts are kept in glass storage desks where you must lift up a brown felt covering to see what is underneath. The covering is to protect the documents from damage from sunlight and oxygen. One of the neatest ones I saw was the original handwritten works by the author of Winnie-the-Pooh (A.A. Milne), another was the Pauline Epistles, and further still--Bertrand Russell's handwritten notes on a radio broadcast about the consequences of using the H-Bomb.

All over campus, there were so many HUGE names that I came across--whether in statue form or in writing--the likes of John Maynard Keynes ( the founder of certain principles in Economics " Laissez- Faire" stuff), Tennyson, Francis Bacon-AND ( I was quite stoked about this!) I saw the statue of William Wilberforce! He is definitely one of those hero types to me---the abolisher of slavery! I really admire his work and his life.

In general, I don't know how to describe to you walking around this town. The history is so rich that sometimes I feel like I must have been imagining things because I don't know how so many "greats" could have assembled and studied in this one place. I must say, the most pleasurable thing is just to walk around, or bike around the streets...sometimes, I feel like I was taken back in time as I biked down narrow cobblestoned roads and zoomed passed buildings older than Canada.

Finally, I want to describe to you an incredible experience that I had here. I got to listen and attend an "Evensong", a boys' choir that sings daily in King's Chapel. They were literally angelic in sound to my ears.

Close your eyes and hear the voices of heaven. Open your eyes and see a glimpse of life from the medieval times. King's Chapel was lit only by candlelight that lined the rows where the boys choir sat and also along the walls of the chapel inside crown-shaped candleholders that jutted out from the walls. In that place filled with shadows and somberness, one could feel a presence of another time. When I looked up to admire the ceiling in the semi-darkness, my eyes fell upon two angels, coal-coloured, sitting on top of the arched wall that separated me from the main singing section, holding golden trumpets poised for a triumphal blast. The arch was a tar black and looked even more looming when reflected upon by candlelight.

In order to follow the Mass, one had to look through the archway, where a large wooden bookstand stood between the left and right sections of the chapel. This book/music stand was lit by two burning candles on either side of the lip of the stand. The two lights flickered brightly throughout the service. I could only see a fragment of the set-up on the side where I was sitting as I experienced the whole service through that archway.

The boys wore white robes over top of a red undercoat that peeked out at the collar and at the ankles. They ranged in age probably from the prebuscent to adolescence. When they sang, all I could do was close my eyes and imagine myself in monastic attire and worship.

At one moment, a man donned in a long black gown got up onto the podium of the bookstand and read from the large Bible resting on the stand. After he had finished reading, (Mark 13 was the passage), he came down and gracefully turned the stand 180 degrees, first by moving one of the candles back, which happened to be on an iron hinge, and then after he had finished turning the stand, rotated the other candleholder by its hinge so that the two were parallel again.

What was surprising, was that the next reader was a young girl, dressed totally different than the first reader. She had on jeans and a simple sweater with a head of wild,curly hair. I found the difference striking, yet original. It was nice to know, that despite all the traditions of such a service, that "regular layman" types like you or me would be allowed to read the Bible during a service like that.

In that candlelight, I examined the crests on the walls--the dragon and the hound that protected either side of the royal coat of arms. Finally, the service ended and the boys, along with the priests and other people in charge, solemnly filed back through the archway ( towards me) led by the priest carrying the cross and two rows of boys on either side with the ones at the front carrying long poles with candles at the top.

What a sublime, divine experience!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

DINNER WITH HARRY POTTER
















I had a once in a lifetime chance to participate in a formal! Formals are held most evenings of the week in each of the Cambridge colleges, where students and fellows eat together in a rather formal, elegant setting. You can only attend if you are invited by someone in that college. I had the privilege of being a guest at Magdalene (pronounced "Maudlin") College's Thursday night formal. (Note: I had my "half-term" which is Spring Break, so I went down to Cambridge to visit a good friend.)
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Ushered into a dark dining room, illuminated only by candles that run down the length of the dining tables, one noticed portraits of renowned academics decorate the back wall. There was one elevated long rectangular table at the back, and three long tables facing perpendicular to the head table a couple of feet below. The head table at the back was where all the "fellows" sat. I had to ask if fellows could be women; and yes, there are women as well. They are the senior researchers/academics/professors in the faculty to which they belong. We sat nearest to the door where the food was being served---our two long tables were filled with students and their guests.

Harry Potter, was in the form of my friend's two friends who belonged to this college. Both of them wore black robes over their shirt and ties (The two guys sitting on the right hand side closest to the camera in the right-hand side photo). This was the way to identify the college fraternity. Our tables were nicely set (though we did not get the expensive cutlery; just the IKEA type stuff) and we talked over candlelight. There was an expectant buzz in the air as we waited for the fellows to enter.

What was hilarious was that I met three other Canadians--all from Vancouver--at this formal(The guy sitting next to me, his g/f across from him and the guy sitting beside the g/f)! So there was five of us Canucks with one Scotsman sitting at our end!

Suddenly, there was a loud announcement and we all rose from our benches. We looked to the doorway at the far end of the room and in entered all the fellows. Once they've all entered, a gong is sounded and one of the fellows began speaking in Latin. Finally, we sat when a loud "Amen" kind of response was spoken.

The dinner was a three course meal that began with a Thai fish cake appetizer, followed by a duck main course and ended with a delicious three flavoured sorbet. I must say it was quite an experience to dine in such a setting, though these formals are quite common and happen on a weekly basis. One of the guys who belonged to the fraternity had already gone to 7 other formals in other colleges and was determined to meet people from all the colleges so that he could attend their formals! It is not strange in Cambridge to see men decked out in tuxedos on a Wednesday walking down the street or women dressed to the nines on a Thursday---it's most probably because they're heading to a formal! Some formals are more posh and pricey than others--it just all depends on the college.

Only in Cambridge will you find such long-standing customs...many of the dining halls in their colleges ressemble grand eating rooms that one sees in castles or on T.V., yet this is where the students and staff dine daily.


LET'S LEARN BRITISH ENGLISH! (VOCAB CONTINUES..)

"half ten": Ten thirty (telling time) I have been mocked for saying things like "quarter after" because it's "quarter past" in British English. Anything that is thirty minutes past is called half-something.

gorgeous: wonderful/nice here, it doesn't just have to do with appearance, it's also about the way things are, if food smells good etc..

Wellies: Better known as Wellington Boots---or as we call them, Rubber Boots back home...(rain boots) Where does Wellington come from??

Pudding: Hot Cake--literally, I was so surprised, b/c the French also call it pudding--and I thought that it was just so odd..since pudding for us is doughy sugar goo in chocolate,vanilla or caramel form in those plastic containers...here, it's yummy cake warmed, and the best one I've had is sticky toffee pudding!! Melted toffee poured over a piece of cake...hm... They also call use the word pudding to describe dessert in general.

"You alright?": "How's it going?"/"How are you doing?" The first few times, and even now when I'm not paying attention, whenever people ask me that--I'm always taken back, b/c I'm thinking, " What? Do I look ill? Do I look worried or upset for them to ask me this?"...so it was kind of funny to realize that this is just their general greeting here....

pavement: sidewalk

cling film: saran wrap

"go to the toilet": go to the washroom (The Brit are good this way-blunt and to the point-they just say it as it is)

Hash key: The pound or number key on your phone (The Tic Tac Box)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

So, how's the teaching?


















Top Center Photo: This is our Canadian Contingency teaching here! We're from three different campuses: SFU, U of Lethbridge and U of Regina. (Left to Right) Peter (SFU), Lacey (UR), Me (Of course!), Ben (UR), Meaghan (UL), Stephanie (UL), and Kelly (UR). It's too bad the picture's blurry, I can't get another copy for the moment, so this is what you'll see....the following two photos are more interesting...

Lefthand side photo: Hm...Folks, welcome to a day in my life as a teacher here. This is what I eat at lunchtime with the kiddies. It's yummy cafeteria food. The day I took this photo was probably the day that served, by far, the sketchiest, nastiest food. Most days I can eat it, but that day...

The "Fish Burger" was definitely a bit too fishy for me and I'm not sure about that mousse...it looked a lot like disintegrating dog poop...the "chips" (fries) were cold pieces of hard plastic, and so all I ate that day were the beans and pineapples...YUM! Some days it's great, they actually serve real chicken with veggies (that have been boiled to a paste)...I look forward to those days.

However, "dinnertime" (they call it dinners here) is my favourite time of the day at school b/c I always sit with different kids from different classes and they're always telling me the most interesting stories...I get a lot of inside scoop into the each grade.

Righthand side photo: This is a view of Guiseley, the town in which I teach. It is also in Guiseley where the legendary Bronte Sisters' parents (The ones who wrote famous books like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre) got married in a church that still stands! This was over 300 years ago..it is 12 miles outside of Leeds and it takes me two buses and a train to get here (an hour) Lacey and I walk from the Guiseley train station to get to the school. This is a view of our daily route to get to Queensway.

MORE VOCABULARY
Chave: (cha-vuh) sort of like a European homeboy-pimp type who wears too-short track pants, hoodies or upturned collar shirts, gold chains and believe it or not...Burberry. It's high-class meets low-class. This was definitely an interesting word to learn from my students.
whinge: kind of like whine or complain-- "Quit your whinging!"

To be honest, life in Leeds is VERY different than life in Spain. There's less cultural differences except for the fact that people are surely more polite but also more reserved. It's a pain to get around in the city if I want to do anything, so for the most part, life is pretty mellow around here. I am also not getting as much teaching as I had thought...and for the first time in my life--I have to struggle to find things to keep me busy. I am currently placed in a Year 1 class room--so I get all the super adorable kiddies who are just, just toilet-trained...but who still have tons of boogers hanging out of their noses and who love to give me hugs.

I am definitely a hug-a-holic. I love getting hugs. I get them everyday from quite a few kids, and it's so rewarding. I also get lots of hilarious comments from the students.

After one boy sneezed, his comment was, " I need a tissue, I just 'blessed you'd' ".

Another time, after I had just finished my presentation on Canada, one of my students said, " You can go home now Miss Lo."....at first, I wasn't sure whether to be deeply wounded or what...but then he comes up to me later and says, " You can go home (to Canada) now Miss Lo, but make sure you come back after the weekend on Monday." SOOO SWEET!

Another boy asked me if there were oranges in Canada...

I also don't know if the cultural thing is just different...but in year 1, I find my students already dating and kissing. NO joke. 5 and 6 year olds. What happened to the innocent crushes and just "holding hands" or "sitting next to each other" sort of thing??! I mean seriously here,--their parents "exchange" gifts on behalf of the kids---they write each other cards ( for Valentine's Day ) and the parents supply the chocolates and other gifts. It's madness! The craziest bit is that it's always the girls chasing and kissing the boys, and the boys who come complaining to me about the girls who won't stop kissing them.....Then there's the girl who, very matter of factly, told me that she's got several boyfriends, but only with one whom she kisses. Go figure.
I have yet to wrap my mind around the complex love lives of 6 year olds.