Share Your World: Memories

Cee has a couple of searching questions this week. Thinking about the answers to these questions, I realise that it is important that we know ourselves.

What is your earliest memory?

Image result for koo mixed fruit jamThe first thing that comes to my mind when I think far back to the past are snapshots of myself and the people that were in my life at that time. Memories are hampered by the photographs we have looked at repeatedly, aren’t they? One true memory, which I know was never photographed, is when I was about 6 years old. I remember being at school in grade 1 and sitting alone in the huge concrete pipes that were in the school playground. Going to school was new to me (I stayed home with my mom until then), and so was making friends (I was used to playing with my sisters and cousins). I remember as well eating my lunch – a sandwich of white bread spread with mixed fruit jam. I remember eating many such sandwiches – so many that I cannot stomach eating mixed fruit jam on my bread to this day.

Which way does the toilet paper roll go? Over or under?

Definitely over! Whenever someone in my family places it the other way, I change it!

What makes you feel grounded?

What grounds me has depended on what stage of my life I am in. When we first moved to Toronto, it was my little family (husband and children) who kept me centred. Because of their love, I was able to move through painful homesickness and sadness. Right now, my family continue to ground me and they are a major reason for my day to day contentment. I take pride in seeing my children grow – not only physically but in other ways as well. I am happy to have married someone with whom I can still spend time after 19 years together. My family is the reason I do many of the things that I do.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? 

Last Saturday, we decided to eat dinner at a restaurant instead of cooking at home. My husband chose a restaurant in Chinatown that he had previously enjoyed. The food was delicious! Now that my girls are older, we can eat more adventurously and no longer need to settle for plain dishes.

I smile when my husband says we should eat there more often. I think we will – but it may have to wait until Summer once the girls get too busy at school.

041514 sywbannerWhat would you answer to any of these questions?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Cee’s Share Your World weekly challenge). 


Music Monday: A Little Dancing

At the moment there are two songs on my playlist that I listen to – and watch – every day while I make dinner. I love the songs – they get my feet tapping and make me want to move to the music. I enjoy watching the videos because of the dance moves.

The first video I want to share with you is the song Nota de Amor  by Winsin and Carlos Vives:

I love watching the dance choreography – so graceful. I never get tired of watching the video (though I am sure my children are tired of hearing the song!)

Another song I enjoy watching and listening to is one sung by Ricky Martin featuring Pitbull. I found this song quite by chance while scrolling through Ricky Martin songs. I enjoy the beat and watching the dancers during the live performance.

I have been listening to these songs for about three weeks now – and they often pop into my head during the day. I am not to sure when I will get tired of them!

What is your current favourite song?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Weekend Coffee Share: A Week of Reading

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were meeting for coffee, I would greet you with a relaxed smile on my face. As you know, last week was March break – a week during which the schools are closed. For one week I could sleep in, do things slowly, and spend time relaxing. The weather was not pleasant (it was grey, cold, and snowy). However, it was perfect for what I wanted to do – which was read. And read I did.

The mornings during the past week were perfect. I slept in (which, for me, is around 7:30am to 8am) and then curled up on the sofa with my current read and a bowl of fruit. Our home was quiet as my teenage daughters slept in until even later (as you would expect of teens, they got up at noon). I enjoyed this quiet time and savoured the stories I was engrossed in. I am a true bookworm and I relish the times I have when I can read to my heart’s content (something which I am not often able to do). During the week I managed to complete a book and read three other stories – one of which I struggled to put down.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that reading is not the only thing I did during March break. I went to the Zumba classes that I cannot attend when I am working. What fun they were! It is such a pity I cannot attend them more often. I also completed some of the games I had created the week before. I spend time laminating them and then cutting them out. It is a lot of work and takes quite a bit of time – but the games can be used for years afterwards.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that today the sun is shining. This afternoon my family and I are going out for a while and we will have an early supper at one of the restaurants my husband enjoys in Chinatown. At least the sun is shining but I do wish that the temperatures were a little higher. I feel that we are counting the days until spring has arrived. I am a little tired of wearing winter boots, a winter coat, and a hat with scarf.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I wish we had another week’s break. I am grateful, though, that we did have this week. At school we will now be entering the last stretch until the end of the school year.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

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

An Unexpected Loss


The tripod stood abandoned on the side of the road;  the darkness surrounding it fleeing as the car headlights swept over the gritty road. The panic inside of the car was palpable. It had been hours since Vicky had last been seen. She wasn’t answering her cell phone, and her car had been found abandoned at the last crossroads.

“Don’t touch her camera! It may tell the police something.”

A mother’s keening cry touches the very soul of a person. Her helplessness and despair haunts memories over the years. A mother should never outlive her child.

Maybe I am reading and watching too many murder stories, but this photo this week for Friday Fictioneers steered my mind towards the dark echoed in the photo. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(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.)

Share Your World: What If

Cee’s questions this week encourage my mind to wander to some of my family members – an uncle and an aunt.

If a distant uncle dies and you were always his favorite and leaves you $50,000 (any currency) in his will, what would you do?

English: Ballet.
English: Ballet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I would spend the money in celebration of what he enjoyed doing. The first purchase would be a ticket to the ballet. He was the person who took me to my first ballet. I remember the experience well: the music, the grace, the beauty of movement. We went with my grandmother and spent a magical evening together. My second purchase would definitely be a trip to somewhere in the world – probably Europe. He, too, was instrumental in helping me take my first airplane trip over the seas to experience a country and culture different to what I had experienced growing up.

What sound or sounds do you love?

I have always enjoyed the sounds of children at play. The sounds of children’s voices in the playground always bring a smile to my face. A good thing, I think, as I spend quite a bit of my workday listening to the sound of children playing 🙂

What’s your middle name?  Why?

My middle name is Michelle. I was named after my aunt (my father’s sister). She wanted to be godmother but my mom chose instead her sister with whom she was close. I was named after her instead as a consolation.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?

I have a child in my class who came into my room and did not speak nor participate in any activities inside and outside of the classroom. He was new to the school and had no friends. It used to sadden me to see how lonely he was. Looking at him now during the past week or two, my heart swells with happiness. He has become chatty, has made friends, makes jokes in class, and always has a smile on his face. He has made a complete turnaround, and his experience at the school can only get better.

041514 sywbannerWhat would you answer to any of these questions?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Cee’s Share Your World weekly challenge). 

Weekend Coffee Share: The Start of a Break

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would greet you with a smile on my face even though I had one hour less sleep last night (yes, the clocks have moved forward). I am smiling because it is March break and schools are out for a week. I look forward to a week of taking things slowly, of reading, and of resting.

The week leading up to March break was busy. Surprisingly, the children were not too excited and we were able to get quite a bit of work done. I held off on starting something new in Math and instead focused a bit more than usual on Science. When we return to school from the break, I want to encourage the children to do some building. They will build a simple bridge with popsicle sticks. I have some wheels and just need to figure out how to build something with them using an axle of some sort. Any tips?

On Friday, the last day of school before the break, we had our spirit day. All children – and some teachers – arrived at school wearing their pajamas. The children in my class brought their stuffed animals as well – and some even brought their blankies.

In the afternoon, a film was shown in the gym. I gave my class the option of watching a film in our room – an option which was taken (most of us did not want to have to deal with a noisy gym). Once we had watched for 45 minutes, I gave the children the opportunity to play if they had completed all of their tasks for the week. While they were playing, I tidied up the room. At the end of the day I locked the door to a clean room that is ready to greet all of us when we return to school in a week’s time.

As I am writing this post, I find myself yawning. I think it is time for a little nap to catch up on the hour of sleep I missed last night. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

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

Weekend Coffee Share: A Winter Comeback

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would apologise for the late check-in this weekend. I have started reading Lawrence Hill’s novel, The Illegal, and I am finding it hard to put down! I bought this book two years ago with the gift card parents had given me as a Christmas gift, and had placed it on my growing TBR pile. I had read, and loved, his previous novel, The Book of Negoes.. I knew that I would enjoy this one as well and took the opportunity to buy it as a gift.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the end of February felt spring-like. The days were mild, the sun was shining, and the birds were chirping. As March began, however, we were sent a reminder that winter had not quite finished with us yet. During the night of 1 March, snow fell gently to the ground and we woke up to a white-covered world. As I walked through the park on Friday, I enjoyed the peaceful snowscapes – but hoped I would not see any more this season.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week our school celebrated winter with a carnival of our own. For the day, children did a variety of activities at school such as creating with plasticine, making team flags, playing with large balls, and building with lego. The children were placed into six colour teams (the colours of the Quebec carnival), and supervised during the activities by the teachers and volunteer parents who are not running the stations.

As you can see, I was supervising the purple team 🙂 During the afternoon, the children watched a dance show presented in Freench . My class ended the day with some outdoor play and a story. The kids had fun – but I went home exhausted!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend I worked on some new vocabulary games for my class. Each year I add to the games I have and this year I am in the process of making some to help them learn the science vocabulary for structures. The children enjoy playing bingo and memory game – and they learn the French words quite quickly while having some fun! I am hoping to have the games printed, cut, and laminated by the end of this week. Up to now we have been playing these games learning the shape vocabulary and the children are getting proficient at recognising and naming 2D and 3D shapes in French.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the weekend feels short once again. How I wish we had three days in which to recover from the week! Have a wonderful week and I will catch up again next weekend.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

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

Playtime Structure

This year I have a group of three grade 1s who are focused when working and finish their tasks ahead of everyone. From time to time I give them the opportunity to play with the blocks, and each time they build something intricate. Last week Friday I captured the beginnings of one of their structures.

Soon I will give them the opportunity to build for our Science inquiry. I look forward to seeing what they can build with the blocks and materials I will offer them in class.

Black-&-White-BannerDo you know anyone who enjoys building with blocks?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Cee’s Black and White Photo challenge. The topic this week is Structure.). 

Share Your World: A Brief Look into the Past

What are you reading right now?

This morning I picked up a new read to begin today – The Illegal by Lawrence Hill. I bought this book over the Christmas period last year and placed it on my TBR pile. It is my intention this year to read as many of the unread books lining my shelves as I can. My visits to the library therefore need to be limited – it is difficult not to turn in its direction as I pass the building while on my errands!

What was your first adult job?

The OK Bazaars at Eloff and Pritchard Street. ©

My first job ever was when I was 18. I had just completed high school and was eagerly waiting to begin university  in February (in South Africa the final exams for grade 12s finish near the end of November). My mom had heard that there were cashier jobs available at the OK Bazaars, a department store at that time. The store was the large one in Eloff street in the centre of Johannesburg. When I arrived, the hallway was filled with young hopefuls eager to begin work during the Christmas season. The resume which I gripped in my hand turned out to be unnecessary. The woman hiring came through the crowd and randomly picked out people as she passed. Luckily, I was one of them. My first job experience was a tiring one – I stood for 8 hours a day ringing up purchases during the busiest time of the year. My supervisor was happy with me as she kept me on for a month after Christmas to work for the Back to School purchases (the school year in South Africa begins in January). My experience working at the store where we used to shop was a positive one. Never again, however, did I work as a cashier.

 What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?

Image result for pronutroGrowing up, I remember my mom cooking us porridge for breakfast. As we got older, she began buying Rice Krispies and Cornflakes. We did love these cereals but the best, for me, was Pronutro. Pronutro is a South African instant cereal that is maize-based. I loved eating the plain whole wheat one. I would mix in not only milk, but flavoured yogurt as well. This tasty cereal would fill me up until lunch time and keep me going until long after noon. Now that I live in Canada, I am unable to buy my favourite cereal from the supermarket. Every time I go to South Africa, however, I eat Pronutro for breakfast.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  

The milder weather during the past week definitely made me smile – and many other people walking on the streets in the city. It is such a pleasure to leave my boots at home and walk hatless for a bit. I love that another winter is nearly over, and that the birds are chirping early in the mornings.

041514 sywbannerWhat would you answer to any of these questions?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Cee’s Share Your World weekly challenge). 

Weekend Coffee Share: A Short Work Week

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would greet you with a smile. The morning is beautifully mild and I am looking forward to going out for my walk. It does feel like spring has arrived but I know from experience that we will have a cold snap. It has been raining quite a bit during the last week (plenty of indoor recesses) and it looks like we will have more next week.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my body is aching a little. On Thursday I managed to fit in a BodyPump class – the first (and last) one I had attended was during the winter break. I liked the instructor and I think I will be going back. I am sure that, with time, my body will get used to the squats and weight lifting – and then I will not hurt as much! At mid-day I will be going to the gym again for my Saturday group class. I am very disappointed (as are others in my class) that the powers that be have changed the Zumba class into a Sh’bam class. The fitness class is also based on dance – but more contemporary dance and hip-hop. The music is different – and it is only 45 minutes as opposed to 60 minutes. I do not enjoy it as much but I need to give it a chance.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that our work week was short because of the Family Day holiday on Monday. This week the days seemed to fly past. In class I was very busy with my students as we began our new inquiry on structures. We played a number of vocabulary games to learn the names of shapes and they love them – especially the bingo! I am hoping to find the energy this week to make another bingo game to help them learn the Science terms for structures. The children know most of the French words for 2D and 3D shapes – they are almost ready to learn the next set of words. In previous years I have just used flashcards but I have come to realise that the children learn the vocabulary better when they play word games.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am looking forward to my reading time this afternoon. I haven’t had too much time to read this week and my book is starting to get interesting. I am currently reading The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnsonn – a debut novel by a Canadian author.

If we were having coffee, I would say goodbye as I need to get my laundry out of the dryer. I am behind in my morning schedule as the dryer did not dry my load. I thus had to put my clothing in another dryer and have had to wait – once again – for the the cycle to complete.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to enjoy your weekend and have a good week.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

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