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)

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)

Freshly Baked Bread

Since my husband has retired, he has taken on the task of making bread for us whenever we need it. That habit is doubly appreciated now as we practice social distancing and limit our trips to the grocery store. Yesterday he made a fresh loaf and I cut into it as soon as it had cooled down enough.

After slathering butter on the crust (my favourite part), I could not decide what to use to top the slice. I decided to make one half of my slice savoury and the other sweet.

The result was delicious! Today I will toast my slice in the toaster oven and maybe top it with butter and ham.

What do you use to top your slice of bread?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Becky’s Square Challenge. During the month of April, we are challenged to share photos featuring #squaretops)

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)

Practicing Social Distancing When Grocery Shopping

Last night my family expressed two wishes: my husband wanted me to make coq au vin for dinner; and my daughters were craving our favourite chocolate cake. When I woke up this morning, I decided to take the time to bring smiles to their faces. Yes! I went on the dreaded grocery run. I added a few other items to my list and stepped out of our home at 8:30am this morning.

Usually when I shop at the grocery store this early on a Saturday morning, my experience is quick. Not many people get out of bed early after a long week of work to go grocery shopping. Now, however, lines to get into the store cannot be avoided – no matter how early you shop.

The mall where I do my grocery shopping is eerily quiet as the only store open in the centre is the one that sells food. My fellow Canadians are adjusting to social distancing and we all stood 2 feet apart while waiting patiently to enter the shop. What saddens me though is that this practice has stopped people from talking to one another. The chatter of the child standing behind me with his mother was a welcome respite.

I completed my shopping quickly, cognisant of the fact that others were waiting to enter the store. Once home, I placed the cake and the ingredients for tonight’s dinner in the fridge. I look forward to my daughters’ squeals of delight when they open the fridge later today. I will make the shopping experience worthwhile.

When was the last time you went grocery shopping? What was your experience like?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post was my first attempt to participate in the Six Word Saturday challenge)

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)