Monday, March 19, 2012

St Patty's Day in the classroom

I get excited whenever any sort of special day comes up. I jumped on Mardi Gras with glee and the same with St-Patrick's Day. Unfortunately, not everyone is like me. In fact, St-P day is not celebrated in very many daycares. I have no idea why, but people dont seem to want to jump on the holiday bandwagon. In fact, I was approached by a coworker and asked why I was going to do this, since I was obviously not Irish.

Why? How about exposure to another culture, for one. A change in the pace of regular activities, an opportunity to talk about things the children might not be otherwise exposed to, and seriously, any chance to decorate and celebrate is ok by me.

We discovered what three leaf clovers were and spent some time outside looking for some (in the snow). We decorated with some green and orange, learned about the Irish flag, looked at where Ireland was, and leanrt (only a tiny bit because I couldnt go into too much detail) at who St-Patrick was. We had a visit by FitzPatrick, that silly leprechaun who stole our shoes and challenged us to find all his treasure. We made some Irish soda bread and had facepainting and general game playing. And best of all, we showed them some Riverdance videos, put on some music, and let them dance the Irish way. Feet tapping, jumping, reels, jigs, and heel clacking, the kids were absolutely glorious to see. EVERYONE IS IRISH ON ST-PATRICK'S DAY!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday GJE

  1. sunshiiiiiiiine sunshiiiiiiiine sunshiiiiiiiiiine
  2. finally getting all our appliances! MY OWN WASHING MACHINE!
  3. flying helicopters in a cloudless blue sky
  4. lolling pink puppy tongue
  5. loud music
  6. wind coming through lowered car windows
  7. finishing a satisfying book
  9. warm wind on jacket-less arms
  10. slipping on running shoes rather than winter boots
ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh ya

To be a mutt

I am proud of my heritage, on both sides. I feel that no matter where you come from, that place is undoubtedly rich in culture, songs, and traditions that deserve to be kept alive by the young generation. The problem with that, in my case, is that I have no one to teach me about being a Greek.

My father made the decision when I was born that he wouldn't teach me how to speak the language. Wether for personal reason or just because he was lazy in that perspective, I will never know. In any case, the decision seemed a good one when my parents split when I was 2, my father not wanting to spend the little time we did have together giving me greek lessons. We occasionally went to Church, where I was introduced to the beauty of the Orthodox Mass. We would occasionally go to my grandparents where the very air seemed impregnated with old greek customs. All I heard floating around me was greek words, greek music, greek smells. All I could see around me was greek artifacts and it smelled greek, from the food and the incense that my grandmother burned every night to cleanse the room and waft away in front of relics. It was a place that I absolutely loved and absolutely felt like a stranger in.

By choosing to not teach me and my sisters the greek language, I feel like my father took a decisive step in the direction of alienating us from our culture, and indeed, we have always been like outside observers into something we wanted so much to be part of and yet could never really fit in. The very fact that we were not full greeks was already a deterrant to everyone around us, at weddings all the other children who delighted in showing me their cultural superiority by speaking greek to me and laughing when I obviously couldnt respond in kind. Children are so nice to each other.

I cant deny that I feel drawn to what is greek culture. The sound of the singing in the Church, that distinctive Greek pitch, is unique and touches me in a way no other church does. The rhythms of greek music seems to envelop my brain and makes me want to dance more than any other sound, and greek dance itself seems so easy to pick up and learn. I want to be greek so badly, and I hate the fact that I will always feel not a full greek. Just like I will always feel not a full quebecoise. The same problem arises in the french culture, the only difference is that I was immersed in it much more considering my mother raised me.

But still, I am the greek girl to my french family, just like I am the french girl to my greek family.

Its funny how I feel like I overdramatize this, because almost everyone I know is a cultural mutt, so to speak. This is what Canada is, and indeed much of the North America. We are the melting pot of cultures where everyone and everything gets mixed in, and to me, that is sad, because it is also sometimes synonym of culture lost and dissasociation. The very fact I cant speak greek shames me. I taught myself how to count to 12 when I was 9, and the same with certain words and expressions, just to say I knew SOMETHING.

I will one day visit the land where my father was born, the house my grandfather built, and maybe I will get over this whining complex of feeling left out of both cultures and finally just realize that I am part of both no matter my blood quantum, but in the meantime, Ill just listen to some music and pretend I know what they're saying.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday GJE

Usually, I would post a list from my gratitude journal, but today I felt like I would go more into detail of the one thing that I am most grateful for. And that would be my husband.

I am so grateful for him. For how we work (and sometimes DONT work) together. I am grateful that he loves me enough to take me to the hospital at 1:00am when he works at 6:00am the next day. I am grateful that he does everything he possibly can to make me feel better when I am sick (like making me a hot water bottle, bundling me up in blankets, and even force feeding me that awful tasting thing called Buckley's). I am grateful for the times he optimistically answers 'I will make oatmeal!' when I tell him its his turn to make supper. Im grateful for the way he grumbles and frowns when he doesn't get enough PS3 time. I am grateful for the fact that he will now try almost anything I make (and for the man who didnt eat anything but hot-dogs and bacon lasagna 5 years ago, this is saying alot). I am grateful for the way he reluctantly lets me turn off his game so he can come to bed and turn off that darn TV so I can get to sleep. I am grateful for when he read my Bible to me when I was dying of sickness. I am grateful for the way he lets me kiss him even though I am probably super contagious, and a kiss equals the spread of germs.

Jeff, if your reading this (and I know you will) I am so grateful for all the things you do (good and bad), all the things you are (good and bad), and I love you. On second thought, I dont love the way you make me take Buckey's, so.. don't do that again. <3

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The road to healing

Some people wonder why I would post about such personal topics on such an impersonal place, but writing is therapeutic, and sharing it with the faceless world, though knowing that this will be read and aknowledged by at least a few people makes me feel better. That being said, if you don't feel comfortable reading about my dealings with death and all of that darkness that comes with it, then I would encourage you to stop reading.

 I am making some small progress with concern to my father's passing. There is still so much pain that comes with this, I wonder how it will pass. Its true that I've only recently started to aknowledge the fact of his death, so maybe this is all what is supposed to happen. You would think after 12 years, I would stop whining about it, but I feel like I am just starting. I have this insatiable hunger for every little scrap of memory people have about him, but seem so shy about sharing. Noone wants to talk about my father, except for the general stuff like that he was the life of the party, what a great guy he was, how much he is missed, and how much I look like him. I know all this. When I ask you to tell me about him, I want you to tell me little things that seem so important. What was his favorite color? His favortie food? Did he like going to Church, did he struggle with faith like I am? Was his asthma as bad as mine? All these trivial things that I will never know unless someone tells me. I want to know him, because I dont know anything about him.

I just learnt a few days ago that he listened to this record on repeat many many times when he was my age. Which is funny because I had listened to this band many times before without knowing why I liked it so much, and chalked it up to me liking weird obscure people noone knew. And after randomly posting it in Facebook, one of his childhood friends admitted to me that my father was in love with them when they came out. She wouldnt tell me anything else, but it was still a little bit more about him than I knew before. So now I listen to this on repeat and feel a little closer to him. I want to go this summer to his burial site, bring two beers (although I hate beer, I know that he loved it) and I will blast this record and share a drink with my father, and maybe I will heal just a little more. A little at a time.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


So much is happening right now! My life is changing it and Im loving it!

We have reworked our budget and it is quite wonderful the amount that we can now put into savings. Seeing that nest egg grow just gives me a boost every time! One of my favorite financial speakers, Gail Vaz-Oxlade, largely promotes the use of cash in jars as a way to keep track of the money and to really physically see the $ that each category takes. At first, I was like pff whatever, I am not 5 years old, I do not need to see things to know its there. Then we decided to try it, and it just worked out beautifully. Every penny is where it should be and we are not constantly thinking about what needs to be paid when and with what because its right there in our faces. Which I love. I guess I am 5 when it comes to $!

We have found the perfect appartment. We initially met up at the bank for a financial meeting concerning buying a house, but it kind of freaked me out. I didnt want to go into house buying because I wanted a nice big cash down deposit, as in 25% of the house, around the 150-200, 000$ landmark (my actual dream is to buy a house with cash, no debt, but I dont see that happening in the next year lol). We were not there yet, and I just had a bad feeling about it. The advisor basically told us that getting a loan would be tough because of our recent job switches, and our salaries weren't high enough to make up for the short lenght of time we were working there, so we would have had to have someone sign for us, which was x-nay in my books. So we searched for an appartment and found a beautiful one with a LARGE KITCHEN and a backyard for our puppies, but the only problem was that we were not the only ones who wanted this place. About 15 other people put forward their interest for it, and I dont know how we managed, surely only by the grace of God, but we were the ones who got it! SO EXCITED FOR THIS! After two years of living in a one room appartment, its time for some change, methinks. We'll be moving in next week, but we still need to find a sub-leaser for here, so prayers for us would be a blessing!

Along with the new place, I now have my own backyard to plan a garden and a frontyard to beautify with flowers! Planning a garden makes me so happy <3

Along with the change, we have both felt the need to grow our family and have set our deadline to one year. We are going to continue with our NFP and what happens will happen, but if it hasn't in one year, then we are going to try deliberately to have a child! I hope and pray that the year passes quickly, because after spending all day taking care of other people's kids, I really yearn for a child in my arms!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Dr Seuss!

Your books always bring joy and laughter to my classroom and I am so thankful for your work!