Grateful for Family Vacation

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

When the Summer break began, my husband and I had not planned a holiday. Instead, we had decided to relax at home and fix things in our place. My husband’s colleague, however, came back from a trip to Mexico and raved about the resort he had stayed in. We were convinced and decided to book a vacation to Playa del Carmen in Mexico.

We prepared and packed for our holiday quickly and with excitement. We had never been to Mexico and quickly learned a couple of couple of basic Spanish words. The wait at the airport was pleasant as we arrived early and did not have to wait long in lines. Once we had checked in and gone through customs, we ate lunch and wandered to our gate. We noticed that they had completed the work they were doing the last time we were at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The waiting lounge now has iPads on offer – though I prefer to use my own.

The plane was delayed by a little – but not too long. We had booked with Air Transat, an airline that we had not flown with before. We were pleasantly surprised by how large the plane was and were all pleased that we had our own TV screens which allowed us to make our viewing choices during the flight.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016
Settling in for flight. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

The trip to Cancun International Airport in Mexico did not take too long. Once out of the airport, we found the transport that would take us to the resort we had booked in, The Azul Fives. When we arrived and were taken to our room, we were pleasantly surprised by how luxurious the rooms are.

When we walked around the resort in the morning, we saw that the views on the beach were spectacular: The sight reminded me a little of the beaches we have walked on in Mauritius, the birth place of my husband.

I enjoyed walking along the beach front listening to the sound of the waves and feeling the water splash over my feet. It was extremely hot midday, so walks were taken in the late afternoon. I spent some time as well at the main pool doing water aerobics and relaxing.

What made me even happier was that the food and drink is inclusive in the bill. No cooking for me – and no cleaning up! A true vacation. I did not have my camera with me at every meal – except on the first day. I loved the breakfast buffet, the lunch was tasty, and the evening meals at the non-buffet restuarants were haute cuisine. Delicious!

This week I am grateful for the family vacation we had last week. We had the opportunity to visit a new place, experience life in a resort, and truly relax. I enjoyed the break at The Azul Fives Resort as did the rest of my family. I am sure we will visit the area again.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week?

Last week:

Lavender Ladi was grateful for warm, furry kisses

Laura was grateful for snarky friends & decoder rings

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(Join me and share something that you have been grateful for in the past week. Link up with my post so that I know you have participated)

Grateful for Cooking Time

When school is open and I am teaching, planning, assessing children’s work as well as running my home, homecooked meals are a rushed affair. I prepare meals that are quick and easy to make; simple meals that do not require a lot of time. Now that I am on school break, I take the time to try a few new recipes as well as make those that we have enjoyed in the past that require more than an hour in the kitchen. Last night I followed one of those recipes: Salmon Phyllo Pie – a recipe created by Jamie Oliver. I hummed along to some music while I chopped, cooked and fiddled with the pastry. The result? Delicious!

Salmon Phyllo Pie. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2016
Salmon Phyllo Pie. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

This week I am grateful for the time I have during the school break to spend time in the kitchen cooking some favourites. My girls have requested a few dishes (e.g., vegetable lasagna) as has my husband. I look forward to making them without the pressure to follow a schedule.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week?

Last week:

Lavender Ladi was grateful for a new month

Laura was grateful for zen with gel pens

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(Join me and share something that you have been grateful for in the past week. Link up with my post so that I know you have participated)

Friday Fictioneers: Captured

PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Marler Morrill
PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Marler Morrill a caption

The white walls stifled her as she hurried along the walkway. Each day was the same as the last. How she wished to break free of the monotony, the routine of it all! She did not hear the soft footfalls that deliberately followed her, nor did she realise he had watched for weeks. As she struggled against the wiry strength of her captor, she instinctively knew that she would wish for the mundane in the days to come. The white-walled pathway became silent again – until it echoed a few hours later with the sound of her name.

What do you think has happened to her?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post was inspired by Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. The challenge asks for bloggers to write a story in 100 words or less in response to the photo prompt.)

Teaser Tuesday: They May Not Mean To, But They Do

Teaser

My current read is by Cathleen Schine and is titled They May Not Mean To, But They Do. The novel is about aging, family, loneliness, and love. My teaser refers to the state of mind of the protagonist after her husband has died:

“Daniel asked his mother if she was depressed. She said, “Naturally.”” (p220, Sarah Crichton Books, 2016)

The teaser is printed on one page, which increases its effectiveness.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to share a few sentences from the book in the comments. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Miz B’s Teaser Tuesdays at Books and a Beat)

Musing Mondays: The Scorch Trials

Musing Mondays | BooksAndABeat.comThe Maze Runner series by James Dashner is one that I have enjoyed reading. His writing took me into a world of a possible future – a future in which teenagers are used to conduct experiments that will hopefully save humanity from extinction. I read the series with bated breath, flipping the pages quickly to see whether Thomas and his friends were able to overcome the obstacles that had been placed before them. As I read the last page of the series, I felt admiration for Dashner and the story he had created.

As I had enjoyed the series so much, I thought I would watch the movies (I had noticed that the titles were available on Netflix). The film titles The Maze Runner was okay – though the way it was presented could be a bit confusing to someone who had not read the book. Small things had been changed but the basic story line had not been tampered with.

The same could not be said for the second film in the series: The Scorch Trials. 

I settled down to watch the film with a sense of anticipation, expecting to relive the story Dashner had created so well with his writing. My first disappointment was early on in the film – a small thing which I could have accepted. However as the film continued, major changes were made to the storyline – changes that would affect not only the story in this film, but also in the following one. These changes are ones I could not accept. These changes affect the integrity of Dashner’s tale. I could not watch any longer and stopped the film.

As I removed The Scorch Trials from my To Watch List on Netflix, I could not help wandering what Dashner thought of the changes that had been made to his storyline. Did he know about them? Did he care? As a fan of his writing, I admit I was a little angry that his story had been butchered.

Films based on books don’t always follow the book religiously. Small changes can be accepted by the viewer who is a fan of the author. This adaptation, however, is the worst one that I have seen. The result? I will not even bother to watch the third film adaptation.

Have you watched The Scorch Trials? What did you think?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Miz B’s Musing Mondays at Books and a Beat)

Grateful for Reading Time

My enjoyment of reading began when I was a child. I have always enjoyed the time spent immersing myself in different worlds and try tried to find those moments when I can be still and read the written word. The last few years, though, have found me putting aside novels and focusing on the work that has to be done as I navigate my way through planning for the classes I have taught.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016
Reading Stash. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

The Summer school break gives me the perfect time to catch up on my reading. Not only do I spend time reading books I have set aside on my bookshelf, but I also visit the library and browse the new fiction titles they have on display. Before school ended, I made a virtual visit to the library and requested a few titles. These I picked up before the school year ended. Amongst this stash were favourite authors as well as titles that looked interesting.

Since the break has started, I have spent plenty of time relaxing with a book in my hand. The stories have interested me, made me tense, and forced me to rest. I know there will come a time when I will have had enough of reading for a while – but that moment has not yet arrived! Which is why, when I went to drop off some of the books I had read at the library, I could not resist some of the titles that were on display.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016
Result of a library visit! © Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

This week I am grateful for the time I have to spend time reading. I have missed immersing myself in stories and look forward to the many I will enjoy this Summer.

What have you been grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(Join me and share something that you have been grateful for in the past week. Link up with my post so that I know you have participated)

Teaser Tuesday: The Death Cure by James Dashner

A few weeks ago I began reading The Maze Runner series. My daughter had spoken about this series and her wish to read it so when I came across a copy, I picked it up for her. As she was in the process of writing exams, I decided to open the novel and begin reading. From the first pages, I became engrossed in the story of the Maze that James Dashner had created.

This morning I began the third novel in the series: The Death Cure. The teaser comes from the first chapter and continues from where the second novel ends:

“The rage crept in. Like a shivering rat looking for a spot of warmth, a crumb of food. And with every passing day came an increasing anger so intense that Thomas sometimes caught himself shaking uncontrollably before he reeled the fury back in and pocketed it. He didn’t want it to go away for good; he only wanted to store it and let it build. Wait for the right time, the right place, to unleash it. WICKED had done all this to him. WICKED had taken his life and those of his friends and were using them for whatever purposes they deemed necessary. No matter the consequences.” (p2-3, Delacorte Press, USA, 2011)

I look forward to reading the rest of Thomas’s story. The first two books in the series enthralled me and this one looks to be as good.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to share a few sentences from the book in the comments. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Miz B’s Teaser Tuesdays at Books and a Beat)

Music Monday: Summer Holiday

Today is officially the first day of my Summer holiday. Yahoo!

As a child, I remember looking forward to the first day of the school break at the end of the year. I think back to the time when my sisters and I bundled into my mom’s green Mercedes, happy that we had been freed from studying and the restrictions of school for a while. As my mom drove us home, we always sang a favourite: Summer Holiday by Cliff Richard and the Shadows.

The song still pops into my mind whenever the school Summer break begins. I cannot help but smile at the memory of my sisters and I gaily singing this song every year until we finished school.

Do you have a “Summer song” that you hum when your vacation begins?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post has been linked to Kat’s Music Monday)

Longed for Break

SoCS badge 2015

I have longed for these lazy days during the past two weeks. We began a countdown at school as children wished to go out and play outside under the warm sun; and teachers wanted to put their feet up and not think of anything classroom related. I longed for the chance to put my feet up on the sofa and immerse myself in a world created by one of my preferred authors. I looked forward to getting up a little later and experiencing the day at a slower pace.

The last few days have been bliss as I have rested. I feel my energy coming back and my mind surging ahead to all that I wish to do during the next two months. The summer vacation seems long at the start of it; but I have found that it passes by quite easily. Keeping the focus on what I want to do will help me make good use of the time I will be spending at home.

Now I am savouring the school break, thankful that the start of the next school year is far from near.

What have you longed for in the past few weeks?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Stream of Consciousness SaturdayThe prompt is: long)

Weekend Coffee Share: Hello Again

weekend coffee share logo hosted at parttimemonsterblog.com

If we were having coffee, I would welcome you with open arms. Yes, it has been a while since we have had a chat. Time seems to run on, doesn’t it? Days have turned into weeks; and weeks have turned into a month since I last sat down in front of my laptop and wrote a blog post.

My hiatus began with a malady and I took a couple of days off from school to recover. But even though I no longer craved to sleep continuously, fatigue was still my friend. Deadlines loomed: the curriculum had to be completed as well as the year-end report cards. One-by-one, I checked off all that I had to do until the last week of school remained. I then began cleaning the manipulatives in my classroom and ended the week by putting away the last binder on my desk.

The school year ended on the last day of June. I have said goodbyes to my students, reminding them that they are welcome to visit any time. I have wished colleagues a well-deserved rest during the Summer break. And I have put my feet up, prepared to relax. I look forward to the rest and relaxation of the next few weeks. Plenty of reading is on my agenda – as well as watching the recent seasons of Orange is the New Black and Marco Polo on Netflix. I plan to spend time with my family without the need to cut conversations short because of work pressures. And I intend to get back to blogging. I am sure that as the fatigue clears from my mind and I feel energised, I will have the motivation and inspiration to write.

If we were having coffee, our chat would be long and linger over what has happened with you over the past month. I hope that it has been a good 5 weeks.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diane, The Part-Time Monster)