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: 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)

Music Monday: Looking Back to 1985

Looking back to 1985, I realise that the year was one of the formative times of my life. The beginning of 1985 heralded a change: I was leaving behind my high school years and entering my first year at university. University was an eye-opener for me: my academic life was no longer governed by teachers who expected me to think as they do; I was attending school with other races (growing up in Apartheid South Africa I had been to school with only other children of my race); I was attending classes of subjects that interested me.

It was at university that I discovered what I truly believed in; and I learned to speak out about it. One of my favourite songs from that era was Shout by Tears for Fears:

I fit in at university like I hadn’t before. I was able to express myself and explore so much. I definitely belonged in the life that working for my degree brought to me: time spent in the library doing research and reading; lunches with friends on the lawns; discussions with classmates in between lectures on topics that interested. It was during this time that I became a Sting fan (I had previously listened to the music created by The Police).

Music was always a pat of my life – I did not play it but I always listened to the efforts of musicians. Music accompanied me through my university years – and followed me when I began working. Thinking back on those years brings to mind the songs that I used to enjoy daily. Another singer I enjoyed listening to during this time was Bryan Adams. Loved his song Run To You. I was so excited when many years later I had the chance to see him perform live.

I may no longer be striding through the spaces of my alma mater, but from time to time I do listen to the music of that era. While singing along to the songs of 1985, my memories take me back to a time when I was fresh out of high school and exploring the new-found freedom of university life.

What songs do you think of when you look back to 1985?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

Weekend Coffee Share: Another Week Staying At Home

If we were having coffee, I would greet you at a distance as we are still under the mandate to practice social distancing and stay at home. By now you would think that we are used to living like this. On some level I am used to it – but it is not my preference. I do miss going outside without being conscious of my physical closeness to others; and I do miss connecting with people in my everyday life.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have been keeping up with my morning walk for a week now. I leave home at 7:30am and walk for an hour. The air at that time is still crisp – especially this past week as the temperatures have dropped. There is not too much traffic on the road and the pedestrians are few. The people I pass by are out walking their dogs; and very occasionally a runner may overtake me. I do prefer walking at this hour when there are less people out and about – I am less stressed about keeping my distance from strangers.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week of remote teaching was very busy. On Tuesday I had a check-in meeting with my principal and she suggested checking in with families. The replies to my check-in email did tell me what I suspected – that I was giving too much work to my students (who do rely on their parents to help them to read and understand instructions). And, as can be expected, many of my students are missing their friends as well as their teacher (me 🙂 ). I decided to address this issue by organising my first video conference with my class (yet another thing I had to learn how to do). The call was successful (yay!) and I plan to connect with my students again in this way during the next week.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that remote teaching takes a lot of time – and that all of that time is spent in front of the computer. By the time my workday was done, I could not face sitting in front of the screen to blog. The result is that for the entire workweek, I did not post – neither on my blog nor on my Instagram account. I had all the ideas mulling in my brain but I needed a break from the screen.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the upcoming week looks very similar to the week that just passed. I am going to try and remember to be kind to myself and to focus on the positive. May you have a good week while staying at home.

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: Easter Weekend

If we were having coffee, I would wish you a happy Easter if your celebrate this holiday. We usually do in my family but, as my girls were saying last night at dinner, it does not feel like Easter. It certainly does not when the days seem to melt into one another and we have none of the usual reminders that the holiday is coming up. Usually I am talking about this celebration (as well as the Passover celebration) with my students at school. Shopping trips remind me to purchase Easter chocolate and pick up the fixings for our Sunday meal. This year everything will be low key but maybe that is a good thing as it may encourage us to focus on the reason why we have these dates on the Christian calendar.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that there have been times when I have felt boredom creeping in on my days. I have fought back by creating some goals for myself. I have also made sure that I try to exercise a little everyday. For the last three days I have started taking walks in the morning as soon as I get up. I do prefer this time to the afternoon as the streets are so much quieter and social distancing is easier to adhere to. I am thinking I will keep this as my habit as we move into the fifth week of staying at home.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am slowly getting used to working from home. I am not used to siting all day in front of the computer, however, and I often have to get up and stretch my back muscles. Oh how I miss teaching in front of my students! I miss their banter and I miss working with them on projects. At the moment we have been told that schools will open again on the 1st May. I am hoping that they will – though I do have my doubts when I see that the number of COVID-19 cases in Canada are still on the increase.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to keep following the protocol of social distancing. We will not be living like this forever and there will come a time when things will get back to normal. In the meantime, focus on the positive and take the time to slow down. Be safe and be healthy.

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: Third Week Done

If we were having coffee, it would once again be virtual. This week I have connected with many online: my colleagues as I have ‘attended’ staff meetings, as well as a number of webinars in order to improve my knowledge of the Google apps available to us at our school board to provide distance learning to our students.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my online classroom seems to be working well. Each day I am learning something new and trying to implement it in tasks for my students. It has been exciting to see the boys and girls in my class submitting their assignments. And it is definitely exciting to think that they are doing their work independently. A few students have handed in more than one assignment – and I am sure they are uploading it independently by now. I think that a lot of what I have taught them on the iPad when face to face is now being used at home in our current situation.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that even though I am doing a little exercise at home I know it is not enough. I am seeing some weight gain and it is frustrating as I have worked so hard to lose weight over the past few years. My husband and I have now started a habit of taking a long walk in the late afternoon (for an hour). I am hoping to see the results of that soon as it is definitely helping me to get my steps in!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am pleased with my productivity during the past week. I also read an excellent fiction novel on postpartum depression titled Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer. Look out for my review on this one as it is well worth the read. Speaking of reviews – I am a little behind on them so expect a deluge as I try to catch up!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the days are feeling less cold – though you still need to wear a jacket when walking outside. I do look forward to the warmer weather so that I can set up our balcony and create another space for my family and I to spend time in.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to look after yourself and stay healthy.

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: Fourteen Days Already

If we were having coffee, it would once again be virtual. On Friday we experienced the fourteenth day of social distancing and isolation from others. I have now reached the point where I am beginning to feel the isolation and the confinement of our apartment walls. I am lucky that I live with people and therefore do have others to spend time with – I feel for those that live alone.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have been speaking to people virtually – and the connection with a different person has been good. I have spoken to my mom in South Africa – a country that has just entered a 3 week lockdown. I am pleased that she is not alone and that she is able to go outside and spend time in the garden. I have also spoke to a colleague – and we had our first virtual staff meeting.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that a garden is what I am missing right now. People who have gardens are doubly lucky at this moment as they are able to move around outside. I do wish the weather were a little warmer here then I would be able to sit out on the balcony and read. I guess that time will come as we have been told that social distancing will go on indefinitely.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have moved closer to connecting with my students virtually. I have figured out how to set up my Google Classroom and am now in the process of connecting my students. It is slow going as the emails with parents are going back and forth and I cannot see exactly what it is they have on their screen. But I have hope that we will eventually get there.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have been reading more than usual – though not always as sometimes I feel the need to move onto another activity. I have found pleasure in listening to audio books while journaling and have put a number on hold at the library. I have not listened to books in the past but now I think I have found a new habit. 🙂

If we were having coffee, I would wish you well with your experience of social distancing. Stay safe, and stay healthy

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: One Week Done

If we were having coffee, we would be sharing a cuppa virtually. For the past week my family and I have been practising social distancing and have therefore cancelled all get-togethers with friends. The past week was March Break, a week off for schools in our province. Instead of following my usual routine of shopping, attending group fitness classes at noon, and spending time with a friend, I have spent the week at home minimising my contact with others.

If we were having coffee, I would admit that I do miss the opportunity of socialising with others and the lack of socialisation has sometimes led to moments of sadness. However, I am lucky that I live with people with whom I get on – and my daughter is always good at lifting a person’s spirits. I have spent the week reading (a lot!), working on my bullet journal, speaking to some family members in South Africa, cleaning, and catching up on Grey’s Anatomy. The days have flowed into one another with no distinction and each day I wake up reminding myself of what day it is.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that for the next two following weeks, schools all over the province will be closed in order to combat the virus and attempt to flatten the curve. I cannot say that I look forward to another two weeks of being housebound! I am prepared, however, and plan to work on some of the marking I brought home with me from school. Tomorrow I will check-in and see if our principal has any plans for online meetings. The next two months is usually the time period during which plans are made for the following academic school year. I foresee us doing some planning remotely.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the shelves at the supermarket are not as empty. There are a few reasons for this:

  • The shopping hours have been reduced giving the workers time to unpack the orders.
  • The managers have put up signs stating how many articles of the product a person is able to buy. This is especially relevant for toilet paper. Now if a shopper needs this product, it is available!
  • There is only so much food a person can stockpile!

Other rules have changed in the supermarket such as now it is mandatory to pay with a credit/debit card; re-usable shopping bags will not be packed by the workers; cleaning of self-serve kiosks after each use. It is interesting to note that no-one lingers any longer while doing their shopping. In my neighbourhood, the shopping mall is unusually quiet as the only business open is the grocery store.

If we were having coffee, I would encourage you to look after yourself during this time period. It is so important to think of our mental health as well as our physical health. Keep well and until next week.

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)