Grateful for Family Dinner

Our son has flown into the city for a few days to work and was able to spend some time with us on Saturday. The four of us were excited to see him and could not wait to catch up. We decided to meet him for dinner and take him out to a new Chinese restaurant in our neighbourhood. We all enjoy eating Dim Sum because of the variety of choice and, of course, the chance to eat family style.

Family Style Dinner © Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

We spent the evening catching up on one another’s stories, chatting about the future, and reminiscing on the past. If we could have, we would have extended the moment but alas, we had to sleep!

What are you grateful for this week? And what has made you smile?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection and is linked to Trent’s Weekly Smile challenge.)

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Grateful for Learning Experience

This week I am spending time to learn for the written exam that I have this weekend. As you may remember, I registered for the Canfitpro course in order to be a group fitness instructor. My intention is to share my love of Zumba with others.

Reading through the coursework I could not help but smile as it takes me back to high school and to when I did Biology. Even though getting the information into my head is slow, I am grateful for the opportunity I have to learn the material. It is interesting and it has helped me realise what exactly it is that makes a good group fitness instructor.

What are you grateful for this week? And what has made you smile?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection and is linked to Trent’s Weekly Smile challenge.)

Youth Arts Program Exhibition

This year both of my daughters submitted their art work to the Youth Arts Program for the exhibition that takes place every year at the Ontario Legislative Assembly. On Monday evening we attended the opening event. Even though the wind was extremely strong, we bundled up and took the journey to Queen’s Park. It was not hardship for me to do this as I want to support my children in all their efforts in order to encourage them in the pursuit of their dreams. It is a big step for them to put their art out into the world – especially my younger daughter who is not as confident as her big sister.

After the speech given by the First Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, we had the opportunity to look at all the art on display. The art comes from all over Ontario and is produced by children ages 12 – 18. There is some really good art on display. Of course I could not help but smile when I saw my daughters’ work.

Abstract Art by my Eldest Daughter. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

My eldest daughter was disappointed when she saw her art work was placed upside down. She was pleased, however, at having her work displayed in the Legislative Assembly for all visitors to see.

A piece created with markers and pencil. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

My youngest daughter does beautiful work with ink. This was the first time she has submitted work for any event and I was very proud of her courage to do so this year. She was also beaming to see her work on display.Monday evening saw both my husband and I smiling. We are so grateful that our children have the opportunity to shine.

What are you grateful for this week? And what has made you smile?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is part of my weekly gratitude reflection and is linked to Trent’s Weekly Smile challenge.)

Grateful for School Closure

Yesterday I woke up to the news that the school board had closed the schools due to the weather – we were in for a snow storm which would later turn onto an ice storm. The news was unexpected as the last two times in the past few weeks that we had had bad weather with slippery roads, the school board I worked for had kept their schools open even though other school boards had closed theirs. Looking outside as the snow fell to the ground and whitened our environment, I was glad I could stay inside. I had a moment’s thought to venture outside but the howling wind encouraged me to change my mind.Not only would I be battling against the wind, but the sidewalks would not be cleared of snow.

This week I am grateful for the school closure. Not only did I have the opportunity to relax and read at home, I also did not have to venture out into the snow storm, struggle against the wind, and make my way through fallen snow.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

Grateful for a Warm Home

Last week Friday the temperatures dropped and we were reminded that we are in the middle of Winter. Previous to this, we had experienced mild days – so mild that it felt like Spring! Old Man Winter decided to show his true colours and gave us a brutal few days.

Monday began with me stepping out into -33c temperatures and I walked hurriedly to work, bending my head against the icy winds. I did not even take time to enjoy the snow white snow that had fallen on the ground. My only thought was to escape the frigid temperatures and enter a warm building.

As always when it is so cold, my thoughts turn to those who do not have a home to protect themselves from the elements. Since I have moved to Toronto, I have noticed that the number of people living on the street has increased. Reasons for homelessness are cited as being the increasing cost of rental properties in the city, increasing poverty, the de-institutionalisation of mental health care, as well as factors of abuse. I always hope that those in charge of the city would open their hearts and step up for those without a home. I do acknowledge, though, that this is a dream that has not yet become a reality. The homeless are powerless and, as such, do not garner the attention of politicians.

The extreme cold weather has brought to the forefront of my mind how lucky I am to have a warm home that keeps me out of the cold. Not only do I have shelter, but I also have access to a reliable heating system that allows me to be comfortable. This week I am grateful for my home: a shelter that keeps me and my family warm throughout the cold Winter days.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

Grateful for Stress-Free Preparations

It is that time of year when most people are bustling around getting ready for the Christmas festivities. Homes are being decorated, and gifts are being bought online and offline. It is a time when many people are stressed with all the planning and gift buying that they feel they have to do.

Currently I am not feeling stress brought on by Holiday preparations. My gifts are bought (albeit still unwrapped) and my freezer stocked. This weekend I shall put up our tree with my children’s help, and I will begin to clean our space for the Christmas period. The most important thing during Christmas is the time that we spend days together as a family – and that doesn’t take much sorting. My children will be happy to open a few gifts, and my husband will be satisfied to eat his favourite pastries and food. This year my eldest daughter wants to go and out and do some family activities. Which ones will be decided on when our son arrives next week.

This week I am grateful that I am not feeling any of the stress brought on by the Holidays. Instead I am looking forward to the family time that I will have with all the children present. This has always been my favourite time of year – and this year is no different.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Toronto International Festival of Authors

Last weekend I realised, once again, how lucky I am to be living in the city of Toronto. Because I live in this metropolis, I am able to attend events such as the Toronto International Festival of Authors.

On Friday, we went to the first event that we had booked – In Conversation with Miriam Toews. I have not read any of her books but I was intrigued by the synopsis of her latest novel Talking Women. The hall was filled to the brim and I was pleased we had arrived early to get a seat near the front. The talk with the author was interesting (she had grown up in a Mennonite community) and, as she spoke about the story of Mennonite women deciding what to do after a group rape, I knew that I would read her novel.

The second event that we attended last weekend was a panel discussion featuring Kelley Armstrong, Michael Robotham, and Amy Stuart. My cousin had chosen this event as Michael Robotham is one of his favourite authors while I was interested to listen to Amy Stuart (I had read her latest novel Still Water). The panel discussion was riveting and I loved how different (and yet at times similar) the authors answered the questions. I could have listened to them for longer and was disappointed when the time was up.

This week I am grateful for the Toronto International Festival of Authors. The festival has given me the opportunity to listen to some well-known authors – those from Canada as well as those from other countries.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Shelter

One of the basic human needs is shelter: a place to protect ourselves from the elements, a place to keep warm, a place to call home. During the last two days not only has the temperature dropped dramatically, it has also been wet. Grey clouds have covered our skies, and the wet has been constant. Our weather has reminded us that summer is over and a new season has begun.

As I walked home yesterday I was reflecting on the change of season and how lucky I was to be able to have a place to call home. Each year as the summer surrenders to the cooler weather, I think of the homeless and their daily struggle to find a warm place to rest out of the elements. Each day I unlock the door to my home with relief. A joy that the homeless do not experience.

This week I am grateful to have my home. It may be simple and a little overcrowded but at least I am safe from the outside elements. At least one of my basic needs are being met.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Calm Class

For the last three years I have had challenging classes with regards to behaviour and willingness to work. These characteristics required me to be on top of things for the entire year which made for extremely tiring weeks. Last year especially, the mix of children in my class caused a lot of friction between the students.

As we now move into the third week of the new school year, I have noticed that my class this year is a lot calmer than I have had previously. I have not had to diffuse arguments between students in my class; and I have not had to speak to any group of students about the need to include everyone in their games at recess. Today I noticed that many of my students were working together and helping one another with the tasks that they have to do. I love seeing this: each person shares their strength and helps those who are struggling. Only three weeks have passed and yet I am optimistically hopeful that this year will run smoothly.

Helping one another with written tasks. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

This week I am grateful to have a calm class – the first one after teaching the combined grade 1 and 2 class for three years running. May the fourth year be a more relaxed one.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Killer Crime Club Event

As you know, I enjoy attending author events. At these events I get to hear the authors speak about their latest novel, the inspiration for their story, and listen to them speak about their writing process. While they are sharing their experience, I also get a little insight into the writers themselves and see a glimmer of what issues are important to them.

On Monday night I went to an event organised by Harper Collins Canada Publishers for their Killer Crime Club. I had read neither of these books, nor any of the other books by Mary Kubica (A. J. Finn was to speak about his debut novel). Their genre is the psychological thriller which I do enjoy reading. The event was set in an old church,  a very dignified setting.

I found the talk interesting. A. J. Finn has a very good sense of humour even though he writes dark thrillers; and Mary Kubica gets up early to do her writing. A. J. Finn plans out his novel before he writes; while Mary Kubica is a ‘pantster’ who writes the story as it comes to her. Karma Brown was the moderator for the panel and she did a wonderful job. The conversation between the three of them flowed and was so natural.

This week I am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend this event. Not only did I get to listen to new (to me) authors, but I also got to see that authors are people just like everyone else.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018