Weekend Coffee Share: The First Week of August

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I cannot believe that the first week of August has passed! It seems that for months days have merged into one another and time has had no meaning. As the days of August pass, however, I am beginning to acknowledge that time is passing – especially as the new school year approaches.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we have been told that we will be attending school full-time in September – and that the kindergarten to grade 3 children will not be expected to wear masks. We have also been told that the group will stay together throughout the day in the classroom – including lunch. The ministry of education has also promised that spaces will be deep cleaned daily. I shudder to think what all this means for me as a teacher – I know for sure that more will be expected of me and that I will be expected to follow certain protocols, keep things clean, and keep the children separate from one another. Thinking about all this is causing me stress. As of yet our school board hasn’t given us direction but our union has been on top of things and is having discussions with them.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am trying my best to not let all the uncertainty affect me. Now that we have opened up a little more in the city and are in stage 3, I am able to meet up with a friend of mine and share a coffee and a meal. This past week we dined in at a restaurant – for the first time since the quarantine began – and were able to linger over our meal. I took public transit to meet up with her and I was surprised by how few people are currently taking the bus and train. I am thinking that will change in the Fall as schools re-open and parents go back to working at their companies.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that meeting up with my friend was definitely the highlight of my week. For the rest of the week, I have been reading and crocheting. Our week inside has not been pleasant, though, as construction work is happening on our balconies and the noise has been unbearable at times. Even though many people complained that the noise is affecting their ability to work from home, the construction activity was not halted. This is what happens when the people who make these decisions live in their big, fancy houses far away from the city!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend we have made plans to go to a huge Chinese supermarket. My husband is excited as he is keen to find some supplies for the recipes he wants to try out. My excitement stems from doing something different – and from getting out of the apartment for a while!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the following week will be more of the same. Hopefully something will happen to surprise me 🙂

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Eclectic Ali and the Weekend Coffee Share)

A Sunday Stroll

Over the weekend I accompanied my cousin to the Toronto Botanical Gardens for a walk. I have been to the gardens a number of times and, while there, have always admired the flowers and the feeling of being surrounded by nature. In one of the flowerbeds in the gardens, we saw a message had been planted to encourage people to stay safe during the COVID-19 crisis.

Not all of my time, however, was spent walking among the pristine gardens. The enjoyable part of the walk is when we pass the streams and untamed parts of the trail.

I love listening to the sound of trickling water and the sound of life near the water. I also enjoy seeing the wild flowers that grow near the edge of the streams.

The sight is really beautiful to behold and always lifts my spirits. Even the steel frames of man-made bridges are made to look beautiful.

Our walk ended as we moved through the controlled gardens once again. The beauty of the flowers may be contained, but they are a sight to behold nonetheless.

I enjoyed our late afternoon walk in the gardens. I am sure that we will go back soon another time.

Do you enjoy strolling through gardens?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Becky’s Square Challenge on differing perspectives and Jo’s Monday Walk )

Music Monday: X

While looking for new songs to listen to, I came across X by the Jonas Brothers. I like the song’s snappy beat – it has a sense of joy about it.

After listening to it a couple of times, I have added this song to my playlist. I think I need to see if I would like any of their other recent work.

What do you think of this tune?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

Music Monday: Happy Together

I was chatting to one of my student’s parents and she told me of a project her choir group had done during the COVID-19 isolation in order to feel connected. She sent me the link of their rendition of Happy Together for me to listen to.

I loved it! Not only did they sing the song beautifully, but the music brought me back to my childhood. 🙂

Do you know of any other projects like this sung by choirs?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

Weekend Coffee Share: First Week of Summer Break

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to come inside and sit near the fan – it is HOT outside and you would need to cool down. Today is the fourth day of our current heat wave and I am sure you would want something cold to drink.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I haven’t been able to blog for the last few weeks. Not only was I tired of sitting in front of the computer; but I was also feeling a little sad. The end of the school year was hard mentally and emotionally for both me and my students. I was not able to end the year correctly with my them – nor tidy up my classroom space. I arranged Google Meets online to say goodbye but it was not the same.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have been on the Summer Break for one week now. I like not sitting in front of the computer for the entire day working and have not opened my laptop for seven days now. Working in front of the computer has been the only indicator that school is over. As we have been isolating at home for four months now, being on break does not have the same feel to it. I am hoping, though, that I can get to do some of the other things I usually do during the school vacation.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my hopes of doing the usual seem slim. Going shopping is going to be a problem: fitting rooms are not available to try on clothing; and the lines to get into stores are over an hour long! It doesn’t seem worth it to me. (I did spend Thursday and Friday giving it a go). Coffee shops are open for business – but we cannot sit at a table inside and enjoy the space. In addition, the cinemas are not open so we cannot pop in to enjoy a film. It will be frustrating if the next two months are similar to the last four.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my husband has been cooking up a storm. He has made noodles from scratch (as well as wontons); tried his hand at briyani and a delicious Indian curry; grilled some delicious ribs; and experimented with a variety of vegetable dishes. He even made croissants – which took him three days to prepare! We have enjoyed eating the offerings Chez Roland. It has also given me a most welcome break from cooking! 😀

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Wednesday we celebrated Canada Day. My husband and I invited our nephew over to eat with us as we hadn’t seen him for 4 months. It was good to see him and to see that he is doing okay – seeing someone in the flesh is always better than texting. Even though we spent the day indoors, we still had a good time with family. Hopefully next year we will be able to go out again and celebrate with others.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I do not have any plans for the upcoming week – except to go to the nursery. I have some re-potting that I need to do so I will buy soil and some pots. Have a wonderful upcoming week and may it be filled with things that bring you joy.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Eclectic Ali and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Week of Reporting

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we are still living under restrictions. We are now able to have a social bubble up to 10 people so at least social interaction with other families can happen. Plenty of stores are still closed, however, as the number of cases has not gone down enough in the city to move completely into what is called stage 2. So no eating at restaurants, having your hair cut, or visiting the library.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have spent the week in front of the computer writing my report cards. It was not an easy task because of the school closure and not having worked with children face-to-face for 3 months now. On Thursday afternoon I finished and submitted them with a sigh of relief. Next week I will do the corrections and I will then be done with another end of the year task.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend I am tired and yesterday I took a day off away from the computer screen. Teaching remotely does mean I am in front of the computer more often. It also means that when it comes time to blog, I need a break from from sitting in front of my laptop and therefore can no longer foster the desire to type and stare at the screen. Hopefully this upcoming week it will be easier.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the weather was a little chilly for the last four days. The cooler temperatures made my morning walks more refreshing and also made it easier to breathe in our home (which does not have air conditioning). I am sure it will get warm again soon so I am currently enjoying the milder temperatures.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that there are 2 more weeks left of school and then it will be the summer holidays! I am hoping by then that I will be able to meet up with my friend and go shopping for things we need at home. In the meantime, I will continue with my work and look forward to the time that I can do so.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Eclectic Ali and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Weekend Coffee Share: First Week of June

If we were having coffee, we would still be meeting virtually. Even though some stores have opened up in our city for curbside pickup, we cannot yet meet up for coffee at our local coffee shop. I long for the time that I can do so and I look forward to chatting with a friend and experiencing the buzz of people around me.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that in the final week of May, we were told that we would continue with remote teaching until the end of June and the end of the school year. I was disappointed to learn that I would not be spending time with my students, but the decision was what I expected. We will know by the end of June what the new school year will look like in September. Our province is looking to others to see what their experience of going back to school is like.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Tuesday afternoon I went into school to place my students’ belongings into bags and to tidy up things a little in the classroom. My heart felt a little sad as I saw the incomplete projects lying around in the room; projects that I will not be able to complete with this year’s group of students. I had to organise and tidy everything within a 3 hour framework. Both my daughters came to help me and I would not have managed to do as much as I did without their help.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you if you have noticed the new banner on my blog. My daughter (who is studying art at university) created it for me. She also created the specific banner for my weekly coffee share. What do you think? I like the clean-cut lines of it – and the banners definitely make my space look more professional. Slowly I am cleaning up my blog and hopefully taking it to the next level.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that during the next week I will be focusing on report cards. I have not seen my students for 3 months and I know that writing them is not going to be easy. I will be focusing on what we did in class before the March Break, and mentioning as well the tasks that they have completed during the school closure and the remote learning period. The upcoming week is definitely not going to be an easy one as I grapple with them.

If we were having coffee, I would encouraged you to enjoy the upcoming week and to focus on the positive. This is what I am going to try and do.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Eclectic Ali and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Weekend Coffee Share: More of the Same

If we were having coffee, I would greet you with a resigned smile. We have now passed the 2 month mark of the social distancing and stay-at-home mandate – and the ending of this seems so far away. Ontario is moving into stage 1 of loosening the noose on Tuesday 19 May, but that will not in any way alter my current lifestyle. I cannot help but sigh as I look forward to another two weeks of remote teaching. It has not yet been confirmed whether or not we will go back to school on the 31st May – I am thinking we will be told in a week or so. Somehow I don’t think we will.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that tomorrow is a public holiday in Canada – Victoria Day – and yet it will seem the same as every other day. Tuesday will be filled with meetings as we discuss where we are going to place children for next year’s classes. I think that doing this remotely may be a bit of a challenge but we will do the best for the kids in our class. I am wondering what next year is going to look like and what the impact of the COVID-19 virus will have on our practice. At least the monotony of Tuesday will be broken by our small celebration for my youngest daughter who is turning 19 years old. My plan is to buy her a cake and to cook one of her favourite meals.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the remote teaching is becoming easier – but there are times when I am out of ideas to keep my students engaged. They do love my Google MEET sessions with me and sometimes when talking with them, their chatter inspires an idea to take seed in my brain.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that not only am I uninspired to create classes, but also to write blog posts. This past week, no ideas sprang to mind but I am hoping that the upcoming week will be better. The temperatures are slowly inching up so I am thinking it is time to set up our balcony which will give us another space to work in. Luckily our wifi reaches the space so we can take our laptops outside to work. Maybe breathing in the fresh air and sitting at a different table will be inspiring.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am reading (too much!) and am working on a crocheted afghan (while listening to audiobooks). I am also still enjoying my morning walks in the neighbourhood which have definitely become a part of my daily routine. I am looking forward to the time, though, when I can meet with friends and share a cup of tea or coffee in real time.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Eclectic Ali and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Rock Art

Yesterday I chose to go another route for my morning walk and I came upon this beautiful addition to someone’s garden. The owners of the home have been working on some rock art during their time of social isolation.

The colour of the rocks and stones attracted my eye, as did the patterns and the sayings that had been painted on the larger stones.

I could not help but smile at the rhyming phrases.

What has made you smile the past week of social isolation?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Weekend Coffee Share: And Yet Another Week …

If we were having coffee, we would still be practising social distance and chatting virtually. I would tell you that time does seem to be passing quickly as I am kept busy during the week on the tasks I have set for myself with regards to my remote teaching – the weekend seems to sneak up on me. Working does keep me grounded and helps me to know what day of the week it is.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that yesterday (it being Saturday), I felt bored. I felt like I wanted to burst out of the walls surrounding me – and I felt like this despite having gone out for an hour’s walk in the morning. I think what I am craving is the connection with other people besides my husband and daughters. I miss going to work and interacting with both my students and colleagues. I miss going to the gym and exercising with others in my group fitness classes. And I miss meeting up with friends and seeing them right in front of me while we chat and drink coffee together. What does save me from my frustration is the knowledge that we are all in the same boat. I am just grateful that I am not living alone – and that I get on with the people that I do live with.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the virtual meetings with my students went well this week. I had placed them in small groups and each day of the week I made contact with one group of my students. We did the activity that I had prepared and they responded well. My aim was to get them speaking – in French – and I was so happy when they did. In the upcoming week, I will meet with students again through Google Meet with the aim of getting them to speak so that they do not lose the oral ground we had made during the school year.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the breaking news in our province is that the opening date for schools to re-open has been pushed to 31 May. Another 5 weeks minimum of isolating will be hard on us all. I am just hoping that schools do open in June as I would love to see my group of students before the end of the school year.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my upcoming week will look similar to my past week with one difference – my daughter will be turning twenty! We are currently thinking of ways to celebrate her big day. 🙂 May your week be enjoyable – and may you have many positive moments.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Eclectic Ali and the Weekend Coffee Share)