Task Accomplished

PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

The bird tapping on the window reminded her that there was life outside of this room and these four walls. She had been so engrossed in her task for the last few days, that life had stood still. Eating crisps in front of her laptop had been the norm; and her exercise routine had been set aside. Her research was done! Attaching the documents to an email, she sent it off to her supervisor. Hopefully now they would make the decision to cancel the forthcoming policies. If they did not, the company would be the target of crippling lawsuits.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

Note: After 17 days of social distancing, I am finding it difficult to connect with my muse!

(This post was inspired by Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. The challenge asks for bloggers to write a story in 100 words or less in response to the photo prompt.)

Music Monday: Japon

As we move into the third week of social distancing, the one habit that I now have is ensuring that I exercise a little every day. I am the first to wake up in my household thus ensuring that I am disturbing no-one when I play the music I use to exercise.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been exercising to a Zumba DVD that I have on hand. One of the songs is Japon by Rombai.

I have now reached the point where I know the song well (even though I cannot sing it) and am able to see the dance choreography in my head as I go about my chores. It is time, I think, for me to change the songs on my exercise playlist!

What songs have you been exercising to during the past week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

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)

Music Monday: I Don't Care

When my children do their chores around our home, the first thing they do is put on their music playlist. Every now and then, one of my daughters play a song that I enjoy listening to. Yesterday it was I Don’t Care by Ed Sheeren and Justin Bieber:

I like the lighthearted and breezy tune of the song – it is definitely one that you can bop to! And it certainly helped my daughter complete the task of sweeping and mopping our floors. 🙂

Do you listen to music while you complete your household chores?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

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)

Weekend Coffee Share: Closures

If we were having coffee, I would settle in for a lengthy chat as it has been a while since we got together. February was a difficult month: the school walkouts and picketing in below zero temperatures did take a toll on my physical and mental health. March has led to me recuperating and the strike action to being more school-centred. Negotiations are finally under way and I am crossing my fingers that an agreement is reached soon. We all want to continue doing what we love with no restrictions – working for the best of our students.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that yesterday schools broke for March Break (or spring break as it is known in other places). On Thursday evening I learned that March Break would be extended for another 2 weeks as all publicly-funded schools would close. In addition, yesterday it was announced that all public libraries, public recreation centres, and ministry-owned daycare centres would also be closed for the three week period. In addition, public museums and tourist hotspots would also be closed. My daughters came home last night with the news that their university has closed until the end of the academic school year – and that all their courses will now be online.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I hope all of these closures work at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. What it has certainly caused is a mild panic among some people as some shelves in the supermarket have been cleared of their stock. Hopefully people will soon calm down and realise that these are only preventative measures.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I will be spending March Break a little differently to what I planned. I will not be going to the cinema but still plan to spend some time with my friend. Many events have been cancelled but coffee shops are still open. My daughters will need space to do their work so I will make plans to give it to them.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is starting to feel like spring and that I am hoping to soon see flowers growing in gardens. The change of season brings a thread of hope into the panic that is currently occuring world-wide

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 Decision

Lifting her face, Sara soaked in the absolute peace that surrounded her. The cooling breeze reminded her that the summer days were shortening as was her time here. The unfettered days of her vacation had been a respite from the drudgery of her daily routine and had led to a decision her family would not easily accept. Being the oldest child did not mean she should be the lifetime caregiver of their wheelchair-bound sibling. Either everyone take their turn looking after him; or each person contributes to his care. It was time Sara take back her life.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post was inspired by Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. The challenge asks for bloggers to write a story in 100 words or less in response to the photo prompt.)

Teaser Tuesday: A Girl’s Guide to the Outback

I follow many readers on Instagram who enjoy posting about the books they read. One person whom I follow wrote a review on A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate. I was intrigued, especially as she said the story had a Christian bent to it.

I enjoyed reading a romance that is unashamedly Christian. Throughout the novel there are references to Christian beliefs and values. There is one line that really stands out for me:

“Letting fear win also means you are refusing to trust God. That’s a slap in the face to Him.” (p333, Thomas Nelson, 2020)

These words can really hit home to the hearts of believers, especially in the light of recent events.

Do you enjoy reading Christian-themed books?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

A Plan of Poverty

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

The empty shelves told their story: the poverty had spread, affecting even those who had once lived with plenty. No longer did the wealthy strut about the towns showing off their well-padded bodies clothed in fine materials. Now the middle class felt what the hungry knew intimately: stomach cramps and dreams of the next meal. They now knew what it was like to never be satisfied; to be focused on one thing only – survival.

Behind towering walls, those who had orchestrated the widespread poverty congratulated themselves while gorging themselves on mouth-watering dishes. Their plan to control everyone was bearing fruit.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post was inspired by Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. The challenge asks for bloggers to write a story in 100 words or less in response to the photo prompt.)

An Unexpected Response

During the past week, my students have been playing with tangrams – I have given them the opportunity to copy patterns and images that I have printed out on numerous cards. They love moving the shapes to create different things and spent the 20 minutes set aside for the task actively engaged in in the activity. At the end of last week, I gave them the opportunity to create their own images which they did so with confidence.

Yesterday was the chance for them to show me what they could do. Using a pair of scissors, they cut out the tangrams, placed the shapes to create an image, and then glued the pieces onto a new sheet of paper. Thereafter, they coloured in their image and, using the sentence up on the board as a guide, they wrote down what they had created.

The response of one student made me smile: “J’ai construit Mme Kook-Chun qui fait le Zumba avec les tangrams.” (I made Madame Kook-chun who is doing Zumba with the tangrams).

I smiled for so many reasons: she knows my love of Zumba, she placed the pieces accurately, and her inserted phrase was written perfectly! This is a response that I will definitely be keeping a copy of. 😀

What has made you smile this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

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