A Day at Sea

Source: We Heart It
Source: We Heart It

It was supposed to be a carefree day filled with sun, laughter and swimming. I had been looking forward to the event for days. When Ray asked me to join him, I had been enthusiastic. I was so certain he had wanted to move our relationship a step further than what the last few years had brought. It was the first time he had been willing to take me to meet his friends, to spend time together other than at my place. I had been so wrong.

I looked out at the ocean that surrounded me. The storm clouds were gathering and the waves were a little choppy. I could see Ray’s head bobbing a little in front of me. I wondered briefly whether he had any regrets; whether he wished he had treated me a little differently. I realise now that I had been little more than a pawn in his plans – plans that had backfired and left me floating in this sea. I felt hurt that he had used me. But more than hurt, I felt anger. If I got through this, I would never forgive him.

The continued movement of my arms and legs helped to warm me a little. I was grateful that my fear and insecurity had encouraged me to wear the bright orange life jacket. At least it helped me to stay afloat. I did not know, however, for how much longer I could keep moving. My legs and arms were feeling tired; and my fear of the wide open space was beginning to invade the core of my being. The ocean was so vast and I felt so insignificant. Tears began to fall down my cheeks. I could die out here and no one would know.

Another sound suddenly broke the silence of the ocean. I looked out into the horizon, daring to hope. The large chopper was flying close to the sea. The coastguards? Or was it more of those men, come to find to they felt belonged to them? Eyes wide, I watched it get closer.

fwf kellie elmore badge(This piece of free writing was inspired by Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday Picture prompt)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Painting Activity

My weekday is spent in the company of 5 and 6 year olds. I plan activities for them so that they can be exposed to as many interests as possible in my kindergarten class. The first step of the Art Inquiry I am currently doing with them is to create a painting using tempura paints.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
The start of a creation. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The majority of children in my class are excited when I bring the paints out. Many of them ask to paint two, three, or even four pictures. I am told one is for me, one is for mom, one is for dad, one is for a sibling.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Lets begin. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

One mandate given to the children is that they are not to mix the colours. I have found that they are generally good about following this instruction. Those who forget, quickly discover that mixing the colours leads to a painting that is only brown.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
An artist’s palette. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Very quickly the paints are used to create beautiful paintings. Colours are chosen , as well as the subject matter of the painting, by each child in order to make a painting that is unique to them.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Creating a piece of art. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Beautiful pictures are created. What I enjoy most, however, is the sense of pride each child has as they create something that they have in their minds. As you can imagine, I have many beautiful paintings decorating my classroom 🙂

Have you had any paintings given to you by a 5 year old?

(This post was inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Snowy Scenes

Bloggers in the southern hemisphere are currently experiencing extreme heat. How I envy them sometimes for their hot, warm days while I tramp outside on the snow in temperatures below minus 20c. This post is dedicated to bloggers like Christine at  dadirridreaming who would like to cool off a little. Hope these snowy pictures help a little!

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Snow in suburbia. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

A few days after this picture was taken, snow fell again. Unfortunately that day I had taken my camera out of my bag.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Snow-tipped bushes. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I enjoy looking at the scenes after a fresh fall of snow. The trees and bushes look a little different with their tips covered in white.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Pigeons on the sidewalk. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The pigeons in Toronto have become hardy and we still see them around from time to time. A little after Christmas, I saw these pecking the sidewalk for a few grains of food.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Walking in flurries. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I enjoy walking in the streets when flurries fall gently on our heads. The temperature is not too cold and the world seems a little more silent.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A winter scene. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Christmas decorations seem a little more Christmasy when covered in white.

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A Christmas planter. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I find the winter scenes beautiful – especially as they cover the grey of the sidewalks and the tar of the roads.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Winter streets. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

This winter has been long and cold. We have had ice, many days of extreme low temperatures and quite a few snowfalls. We look forward to warmer days with eagerness but have been told by the weather forecasters that we have still many weeks of cold left. Sigh! In the meantime I enjoy blog posts of flowers and warmer climes.

If you wish to enjoy more winter pictures, visit previous posts in which I showcased winter scenes:

What scenes are you currently enjoying?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

A Simple Treasure

When we moved into our apartment we decided to block the opening that leads from the kitchen into the living area. Our reason was that we did not want the oil from cooking to float onto the computers that we had housed near the aperture. To cover the space, we used old pieces of wood which we covered with cardboard. To create a beautiful wall, I asked my children to help decorate the board. They were 4 and 5 years old respectively at that time and they made beautiful artwork which we enjoyed everyday.

A simple treasure. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A simple treasure. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

In the re-decorating of our living and work space, we redid the closure for the aperture. Taking down the children’s artwork was sad – but we took many pictures to remind us of its beauty.

The kitchen wall. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
The kitchen wall. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The new task now is for my children to decorate the new wall with current art. I look forward to seeing what they come up with.

What are some of your treasures?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge prompt Treasure)

Teaser Tuesdays: The Third Gate

The Third GateLast week I began The Third Gate, a novel by Lincoln Child. The protagonist of the story is Jeremy Logan, a man who is able to explain the unexplainable. His services are requested at an archaeological site at which the team are searching for the tomb of the Pharaoh Narmer. The Egyptian Pharaoh had put a curse on his tomb and the team has been having some unexplained occurrences. Logan is called in to explain why – and to break the Pharoah’s curse.

My curiosity has been aroused as to why the strange events are happening – and is increased even more when Logan senses a malignant being:

“Suddenly, he stopped dead in his tracks, abruptly as if he’d encountered an invisible wall. Without warning, he’d become aware of a presence, hanging over the generator and its immediate surroundings: a foul, malignant, evil thing, ancient and implacable.” (p. 125, Anchor Books, 2012)

I am turning the pages, desiring to find out the end of the story. The story content is unusual and interesting. I am certainly enjoying this book while riding on the bus.

What are you reading this week?

(This post was inspired by Miz B’s Teaser Tuesdays)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

The Circle of Life

free write friday kellie elmore

(This post was inspired by Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday prompt)

The month of October was the anniversary of my father’s death and, as a result, I have been thinking of him. Snippets of memory have come through my mind: conversations we have had, things he used to do, outrageous statements he used to make. Sometimes it is quite difficult for me to grasp the fact that I will never see him again.

Thinking of my dad makes me think of others that I have loved and are no longer of this earth. Thinking of them brings a little sadness into my heart. The memories, however, sometimes make me smile. It feels good to think of them and to know that they are still alive in my thoughts.

Death is an integral part of our life and it is something that we cannot escape. Some try to by refusing to acknowledge the death of loved ones, by not attending funerals, by trying their best to look young. The Fountain of Youth is searched for all the world over: creams are lathered on faces, diets are followed, strenuous exercise routines practised, the surgeon’s knife welcomed.

And yet, the Circle of Life cannot be avoided. There comes a time when leaves fall off a tree, when the butterfly loses its flight, when the flower shrivels, and when a human being exhales the last breath. And when a life is over; somewhere else life is shown with the cry of a newborn infant. The miracle of a new life is admired and celebrated. It is a life that will become a part of the world that embraces it.

I think back to the death of my grandfather: a time of sadness and mourning. And yet that sadness was tempered with joy at the birth of my niece a few days before. We paid respects to our grandfather and yet it seemed fitting that the newborn infant let out a cry of life during the incense-scented mass. 

I look at my own babies now as they move towards adolescence and notice that, even though they are in a different environment to the one I grew up in, they are experiencing many of the same issues I did (the problems with friends and classmates, the homework, the searching for self). I look at myself and see much of what my parents experienced reflected in my life (the responsibility of raising children, the humdrum of housework, the need to guide our children in their decisions). There are differences; and yet there are similarities.

I find comfort in The Circle of Life. If this circle is broken then life will no longer be. 

What are your thoughts on The Circle of Life?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

The Truth

Five Minute Friday“The truth shall set you free”.

From gnawing guilt. From half-expressed desires. From the need to keep the secret buried deep inside you. From the shackles that prevent you from acting as you wish.

At times half-truths and lies lock us into a web of deceit that seems to strangle our actions and desires. We become afraid of speaking on a certain topic, or avoid meeting with a certain person. We watch the words we say; or may even furtively meet another because we have not been truthful about our relationship. We keep the truth bottled inside of us. Afraid to hurt others. Afraid of how people will react. Afraid to be open and honest.

And when the truth be told, we feel a sense of relief. In the telling, our heart beats rapidly and our palms may be clammy. But once the truth is known, we are free to act and speak openly. We are free to be who we are.

Yes, the truth will set us free. And in the freeing, we will soar to unbelieved heights.

What are your thoughts on telling the truth?

(This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt: Truth)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

An Eerie Halloween

Halloween has the potential to be eerie. However, some doors present a friendly façade and may even seem welcoming:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Happy Halloween. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Other entrances appear more spooky and, as night falls, will take on an eerie aspect:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
A gruesome entrance. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

It is when night falls that darkness encroaches and lanterns are lit. The light flickers and casts an eerie light.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Halloween lanterns. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Skeletons abound surrounded by surreal light.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
A Halloween Skeleton. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

At times these skeletons seem almost friendly when ferocious-looking visages look on, scaring away evil spirits:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
A Halloween lantern. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

But no skeletons are as gruesome as those lying in pathways lit by a lone light.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Skeletal bones. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Halloween has the potential to be eerie. But each time I walk the streets on 31 October I focus, not on the eerie and gruesome aspects of the event, but on the laughter and chatter of the children trick or treating.

Did you celebrate Halloween?

(This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge hosted by WordPress)

Viewing Horizons

Each day I look out my window and see the horizon filled with skyscrapers. The buildings reach up towards the sky, blocking the view of nature.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
View from a balcony. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

There have been times when I have looked at the horizon and seen a well-known skyline: the skyline of Toronto.

The Toronto Skyline (2). © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012
The Toronto Skyline. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

But I prefer a more natural horizon. When we were in Mauritius, I enjoyed the skyline with the palm trees silhouetted against the fading light.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
A Mauritian horizon. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

I enjoyed watching the sun set below the sea, lighting both the skies and water.

Sunset on a Mauritian Beach. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012
Sunset on a Mauritian Beach. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

I enjoyed the horizon from the beach during the daytime. The sight of the sand and sea had a peaceful and calming effect on me.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
A Mauritian beach. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

I enjoy, too, the horizons one sees of the mountains: the colours and shapes that are shown against the blue sky.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
A mountain view in Swaziland. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Looking into the far distance from a Swazi mountainside always brings me joy. I admire the shapes and the majesty of nature’s beauty.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012
Looking into the distance. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

Thankfully I get a chance to change the horizons that I see. I may see a horizon filled with man-made structures everyday; but I do prefer the one created by Nature.

Which horizons are your favourite to see?

(This post was inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge prompt: Horizon)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

View of Tulips

This week’s photo challenge at The Daily Post at WordPress.Com challenges us to share a photo in which our subject is shown from a different point of view. I do admit that since I have taken part in these weekly photo challenges, I no longer take my pictures facing the subject head-on. Now I think of different perspectives and points of view.

I love the beauty of tulips and, this spring, I tried to capture their beauty with my camera. I knelt down on the ground to take this so that I could see their stems as well.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
A Bed of Red Tulips. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Two full beds had been planted next to one another and I tried to capture how beautiful the rows and rows of tulips looked.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
A Bed of Red Tulips (2). © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

I noticed that these bright flowers stood out against the greenery that filled the rest of the park.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Red Tulips in the Park. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

I noticed, as well, the park bench that had been placed near the blooms. Often I have seen people sitting on the benches here watching the passers-by and admiring the beauty laid out in front of them.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
A Bench and Red Tulips. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

I received a few strange looks from passers-by as I moved around the flower beds with my camera. These looks are something I shall have to get used to as I try to follow the photo challenges set out by WordPress.

Has following photo challenges changed the way you take pictures?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013