Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 101: Art Show(updated)

**~Updated June 6, 2010~**
The beauty of art is that it takes many shapes and forms. It is as unique as the person who creates it. Art can also be interpreted many different ways.  What is beauty to one is meaningless to another. What is genius to me may be garbage to you. What is offensive to some is comical to others.
I am immensely proud of Deven's work. When I look at it, I see his sense humor, his intelligence and his love of creating things.

Tonight we went to see Deven's art in his school art show. He is taking sculpting class. Because he came late in the school year, he only has two pieces to show. What he has done his teacher is very impressed with. He did a Michelangelo-style nude that blew up in the kiln, but I am told it was excellent. "Mr. Man", the art teacher, believes Deven has a promising art career ahead of him.

Here are a few pieces displayed by other students.

Can you believe these were done in pencil?

I like the flowy swirly ones :)
Silly kids :)

Here is one of Deven's sculptures
The artist and his work

And Deven's piece de resistance, the one that the newspaper came to photograph, the piece that the teacher was so pleased with he gave it its own table:

That is indeed a birdy finger.

It is entitled "Honestly"

The paper says:
"Would you like to hear a joke?" 


Deven with his masterpiece, and his teacher "Mr. Man"

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 96: blah blah cottage blah

Wikipedia: A cottage located in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada. Author: pigdump via

Now that summer has "unofficially" begun, we are hearing more and more about cottages. It seems that with all these beautiful lakes around us, owning or renting a cottage is a key component to summer fun.
When I hear the word cottage, I think of Hansel and Gretel or Little Red Riding Hood.
In the US, I believe the term we would use is beach house or summer home.
In Utah, people have cabins. You can probably liken a cottage to a houseboat on Lake Powell; sort of a base camp for recreational activities on the lake.
I think to truly appreciate Canadian culture, we definitely need to get in on this.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 94: Victoria Day

(umm...My Country tis of Thee? Did we rip off the Queen's song? I like the second verse:)

Victoria Day is a holiday celebrated on the last Monday before or on May 24th to honor Queen Victoria's birthday, and is also the unofficial beginning of the summer season.
This is the long weekend that everyone goes to their cottage, which is an interesting cultural phenomenon that I will get into in a later post.
All weekend people were lighting fireworks. Not just the piddly little ones we light in Utah, but professional grade mortar shells. We watched several lovely impromptu shows in the park next to our house.
On Monday some friends invited us to go on a hike to a waterfall nearby.
It was a beautiful day and I think everyone in Canada that was not at their cottage was at this waterfall. Honestly it was like Disneyland. There were stairs down to the base of the falls with a constant line the entire time we were there.

 Don't worry, mom, it's only 72 feet to the bottom!!

 Can you make out the vast multitude of people down there? I really should have taken a picture of the crowds. It was ridiculous!

That's Ethan in the falls.

This is another waterfall we visited, called Tews Falls. This one is 135 feet from top to bottom. So amazing.

Here are Nick, the kids and their friends in the ridiculously gorgeous lush green forest.
Can you see the humidity hanging in the air? Yay humidity!
(L-R: Meaghan, Christa, Sabrina, Deven and Ethan, Emma and Nick) 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 93: Nagar Kirtan

Next to our church there is a Sikh Temple.
Today they held a lovely parade, a Nagar Kirtan, that went right down our street.
Sikhism is a religion founded primarily in fifteenth century Punjab, between Pakistan and India. Here are a few facts, gathered from pamphlets I was handed and the ever-wise Wikipedia.

Some of this sounds a bit familiar!

Baptised Sikhs are bound to wear the Five K's, or articles of faith, at all times.
The tenth guru, Gobind Singh, ordered these Five Ks to be worn so that a Sikh could actively use them to make a difference to their own and to others' spirituality.
The 5 items are: kēs (uncut hair and beard), kaṅghā (small comb), kaṛā (circular iron bracelet), kirpān (dagger), and kacchā (special undergarment).
The Five Ks have both practical and symbolic purposes.

The Five Thieves: The Sikh Gurus tell us that our mind and spirit are constantly being attacked by the Five Evils – Lust, Rage, Greed, Attachment and Ego.
A Sikh needs to constantly attack and overcome these five vices.

There are 600,000 Sikhs living in Canada.

Pardon my awful video-taking skills :\

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 91: Date Night

Tonight Nick and I went out for dinner. 
It was a good experience because now we know where not to eat next time we go out. 
It's touristy and cliche, but we thought, what the heck let's try it out.
Of course we ordered poutine for the appetizer. 
(mall food court poutine was infinitely superior)
Here Nick is trying to remember what cheese curd is and how it is made.
Next, Nick ordered fish and chips (12 dollars worth of mediocre) 
I ordered what was called trail mix salad that promised a meal size salad with grilled chicken, thai dressing and dried nuts and fruits. 
Sounds good, eh? You would expect for 12 dollars. 
It was a big bowl of iceburg lettuce and a few pieces of shrivel-y cold chicken. Oh and the nuts and berries.
Iceburg lettuce! I could have gotten a much better salad for half the price at Wendy's.
Nary a piece of spinach, romaine, or even arugula.
12 dollars!
Am I wrong to want arugula?
Here is the moose mocking us because we're suckers.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 90: A bit of a downer, Sorry.

Ninety days. Three months. A quarter of a year.

People still ask "how are you finding things here"? Which I have learned means "how do you like it/how's it going" and does not imply that I have very bad eyesight or terrible sense of direction.
How am I finding it?
It's sad when it's grandparent's day at school.
Or when there is a project that the kids need to bring baby/childhood pictures in. We left all that in Utah.
There is a girl at church who has spent time in Utah and was telling me how much she misses Cafe Rio, Krispy Kreme and Panda Express. I didn't know I missed Panda Express until she reminded me.
I hate the quiet of my house in the middle of the day without even my dog to keep me company.
I miss being able to sit on my front porch and know that I'll see all my neighbors in church on Sunday.
If it struck my fancy, I could round up a group of 10 or so neighbor ladies and go out to eat or to a movie.
I miss Girl Lunch Day with my mom, aunties cousin and grandma. And Football Day.
I'm not able to work or go to school here unless I apply for a work or study permit, and we all know what a nightmare it was to get Nick's permit.
How am I finding it?
Other than those things, it's not so bad, and not all that different from home. We have learned our way around town. Money spends the same here or there. (Although everything seems so expensive here) We eat, go to church, the kids go to school. We order pizza on Fridays. Library at least once a week. I spend several hours a day at the gym; I think more for the social interaction than the workout, although that's not so bad either.
Oh and 90 days in Canada means we are now officially eligible to apply for health care, which is exciting. I am constantly worried that someone is going to break an arm.
I hope it goes well. I was told by a friend here that we may not qualify due to our immigration status, which is "Visitor".

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day 88: Socializing

The awesome thing about socializing with Nick's work friends is they do their socializing in bars.
Tonight we attended the retirement party of the man Nick replaced.
Lots of beer and hockey. It's the playoffs, you see - The Stanley Cup.
Apparently Montreal lost. Again. Which is good because the last time they won, the fans rioted - setting fires and looting. I'm afraid of what they'd do if they actually won the Cup!

Here I am ordering another tall frosty glass of water. Perhaps I've had one too many?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 85: Grad Dresses and Poutine

Christa and I were at the mall today because she is searching for the perfect dress to wear to her graduation. 

After trying on ten-finity dresses (she loved each one) I decided we should take a break to ponder our choices.

The perfect opportunity to try poutine!

I've been hearing about this Canadian delicacy since we arrived, but I have been hesitant to try it because it kind of sounds icky.
It goes like this: french fries with cheese curd on top and gravy poured over it all, making a hot melty cheesy gooey mess.

 The verdict?

 Gravy-lickin' good

(still working on the dress)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 83: Bureau de poste and 'Oh Canada'

Here we are at the Post Office. I get very nervous about this place because I still don't know how much a stamp costs...I have not bothered to check into it (and it looks so intimidating with those lions in front) When I need to mail something, I thrust the items at the Post Office person and ask "How much to send these?" They usually take pity on me because I am obviously a foreigner. They stick on the stamps and I hand them money.

I heard an interesting fact on the news today - only 67 percent of Canadian High School students know the lyrics to the Canadian National Anthem.
That is surprising to me because it's a pretty simple (yet beautiful) song, unlike the American National Anthem which gets butchered over and over. Plus they sing it every day in school.
I am pleased to say that my kids have mastered 'Oh, Canada' and regularly march around the house singing it at the top of their lungs.

And now for your enjoyment:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 80: Random unrelated things

We have recently gotten corn on the cob at the grocery store and I noticed something interesting.
People just shuck the corn right there in the store, put the naked corn in a bag and leave the outsides there in the corn pile. I of course let my corn have its dignity and strip them at home. I wanted to take a picture of this madness, but I didn't want to further violate the corn's privacy.

Another interesting night some of the young men from church came to get Deven to hang out.
They asked when he needed to be home. I told them the curfew in Utah is 11:00, so that's when we usually tell him to be home.
I asked what time curfew here is, and one of the boys said "I've never really had a curfew, my parents just trust me to be home at a decent time."
"But by law, what time are teenagers supposed to be in?"  I asked.
They looked at me blankly.
"Isn't there a curfew law here?"
"Ummm no."
I was astounded. I told them that in Utah, they could get a ticket and have to go to court and pay a fine if they were out past curfew.
They were just as astounded as me.

Guess what hot vacation destination my neighbors just returned from? Yay! Cuba!

Timmie sighting in the thrift store

This happens outside of Utah?

Ethan took me on a date :) We saw How to train your dragon.
(I am not good at self-portraits)

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