Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Monday, June 28, 2021
Just two books to write about this time:
The first one I read was When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi.
This was a book a friend had given to me last year and it sat on my shelf until now. This book is about an Afghan woman who decides to flee Afghanistan with her three children. It starts when she is a young girl before the Taliban came, and then takes us through to her marriage when things get very oppressive. That is when she decides they need to leave. The book is from her point of view and then later her son's point of view as they try to make it England where other family lives.
There are several passages that are just beautiful. I read The Kite Runner years ago and I loved reading about the landscape and beauty of Afghanistan when all I knew of it was post-9/11 when Canadian troops (among others) were sent to fight there. My only images of Afghanistan had been as a war zone, dry, dusty, and primitive. By reading that book I learned a bit of history, and rather than seeing Afghans as strangers, I understood they were just like me in many ways. I haven't read many Afghan books since then so I was happy to pick up this one.
It reminded me a bit of American Dirt as the theme is the same - mother takes her children to seek refuge in a safe country. Unlike the issues people had with American Dirt, written by a white woman rather than a Mexican woman, this is written by an Afghan woman, although she is American and I don't believe made this same journey, she would have a more appropriate perspective of those who have.
I thought of the characters in this book this week when the police in Toronto were clearing out the encampment in Trinity Bellwoods. I wondered how people had ended up in that situation and why they don't have any other options. We have refugees here too and others who need to leave their Canadian homes for other reasons. There are several times in the book when the family is living on the street or unsafe hotel. Their needs were so basic and they did what they could do to survive.
The second book of this month was Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn T. Dingman.
This has been on list forever so I finally added it to my 2021 reading list to make sure I read it. This was exactly the type of book I needed to read after the one above. It was a simple read, but also engaging with a neat story. The main character takes her mother's ashes to small town Georgia to fulfil her mother's last wishes for scattering them. Her young niece accompanies her and they end up staying longer than planned. They start learning about their family history which is more complicated than they thought. There was a bit of a mystery and it was fun to unravel it all. The main character, of course, meets an eligible bachelor who makes her question her impending wedding with her fiancé. The teenage niece also finds a job and friends quite easily.
I've always been partial to books set in the Southern US so the idea of living the simple rural Georgia life seemed appealing. They stay at an inn, they go to a cafe, visit the lake, etc. it all seems rather lovely. This was a good summer read.
I'm a quarter way through Maid by Stephanie Land but will have to write about that next month. Fortunately my reading time will increase as I will start heading back to the office and taking the subway. #doublevaccinated #wearamask
Friday, June 25, 2021
Thursday, June 24, 2021
No, we don't typically make a list, although I did this year for a Let's Look post. Our requests are simple given that we are just starting to open up. I want to sit on patios and watch the kids play organized sports.
School in Ontario ends at the very end of June, same as when I was growing up in Nova Scotia.
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
On Monday I wrote about E's year in Grade 4 and this year I am writing about Q's first year of school in Junior Kindergarten. As I noted on Monday, we had 101 days in the classroom and 86 days online. The experience for a JK student online is much different from a Grade 4 student. These kids are 4 and 5 years old and they are not built for sitting still in front of a screen for the better part of their day. They also don't have the skills to operate a computer/tablet in the same way as an older kid (although you'd be surprised at how proficient they have become). For Q to have any chance of participating in his class, he needed a parent to sit with him, directing him to the task, helping to get on the Zoom calls, using the mute button, getting supplies for the activities, and walking him through the directions. And even when we are sitting with him, it's not 100% successful.
E had an interesting year in terms of teachers. His classroom teacher was with him for the first part of the year, and did do the few weeks of online teaching in January, but when they went back to online learning after Easter she was unable to continue and the class was assigned a long term substitute who is finishing up the year with us. The substitute was phenomenal and all parents commented on her amazing efforts and engagement with the children; to say the least, it was a change from the original teacher.
Q's personality is quite different from E's and is definitely more feisty when it comes to being told what to do, he gets frustrated more easily when things are hard, and he likes to do his own thing. Knowing this is helpful to understand how to help him with school but it has its own challenges. For the most part though he was happy to see his friends and teacher online each day and got a lot out of the fun activities his teacher put together, even though he would of course much preferred to be in the classroom. A few times his teacher has been at the park for the afternoon (coincidentally the students were also at the park at the same time, imagine that!) and I can see a difference in Q's mood and attitude even after playing with his friends for an hour.
He will start French Immersion in the fall for Senior Kindergarten and as I said in Monday's post, I hope there will more opportunities for events and extra-curriculars when school starts, but again we'll just be happy to have them back in the building!
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
We enjoyed a gorgeous weekend with lots of outdoor time, my favourite! On Friday night we made our homemade pizzas and had a glass of wine (or two!) with the neighbours.
On Saturday morning we watched the F1 qualifying and then Dave left to play golf.
I got the kids together and we went to High Park with some friends to have a pizza lunch and splash pad time.
Q was wiped out after we got back and had a quick nap.
Then I took Q to his first session of soccer while Dave and E went to the driving range/practice area at the golf club. Q was excited to be out running around with other kids.