A Decision to Migrate

photo (10)It was never my intention to migrate and leave the land of my birth. I had lived through the change in South Africa: through the tensions leading up to the release of Nelson Mandela; through the burning in the townships; through the mistrust among the various political parties. I had lived through the change – and had continued to live my life within the environment I had been born into.

And then something changed within my own life.

I married and had children. I became responsible not only for my own life, but also for the lives of the two girls I had brought into this world. I became protective of them and wished to give them the best that I possibly could. I had married a man who wished to do the best for his children as well. Our combined desire changed the path our own lives had been following. We talked about leaving the country in order to provide for our children in a safer environment; and even made an application. I knew the crime rate in South Africa was high. And yet, I had hope that things would improve for I wished to stay.

And then one evening in February we were startled by a discordant sound. The images flickering across the television screen were ignored as a group of young men appeared suddenly in our living room. My fear for my children overshadowed any thought as I cradled my daughter in my arms, hiding her eyes from the waving guns. To this day, I am thankful for the calm my husband exuded and the way in which he spoke to the volatile men. The end of the experience could have been a lot worse.

The next day, we made the final decision to move to another country.

photo (10)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung and the 31 day challenge hosted by The Nester. Today’s prompt is: move)

Posted in A Quick Note, Migrating North | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Grateful for my Daughters

My youngest daughter has just returned from a four day music camp. My husband and I were willing to give her the experience of learning strategies to play her violin better; and of giving her the opportunity to spend some time at the lake.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

My daughters. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

While she was gone, however, I did miss her. I missed her hugs, her laughter, and her chattiness. Her sister missed her company too – especially as they are best friends who do a lot of things together. When she came home last night, we had a small celebration: a favourite meal was cooked; and a long conversation around the table took place.

This week I am grateful for my daughters. I am grateful for the pleasure they give me of their company. I am grateful that they wish to spend time with me: that they wish to chat with me and share their concerns with me. I am grateful for the chance I have to raise two children who have become precious daughters.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(Join me and share something that you have been grateful for in the past week. Link up with my post and feel free to use the badge my daughter created. )

Thank you for last week’s contributions. I enjoy reading what others are grateful for – the posts make me think of other things I am happy to have in my life. 

Wood for the Winter

Iran’s Happy Dancers

Gratitude Sunday

Enjoying the moment

Sunday Gratitude

Posted in My Gratitude Project | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

31 days of FMF in October

Have you heard of the 31 days challenge? That is, writing a post everyday in October on a topic of your choice? This challenge is hosted by The Nester on write31days.com. Kate Motaung, however, has made the challenge even more interesting – she suggests bloggers write each post everyday in October in five minutes as part of her Five Minute Friday challenge. To make things easier, she has a list of suggested prompts for each day. The topic of each post can be chosen by you, the blogger.

photo (10)This year I am up for the challenge – I am sure I can manage about five minutes of free writing every day. I have decided to write a little on my experience of moving to another country with my family and will call the series “Migrating North”. I hope that you will enjoy reading what I will share with you. Each post will contain the button I have created especially for his series. I shall also use this button as part of my link-up on 31 Days and Heading Home (the current home of FMF).

Do you wish to join? If so, think of a subject and use the prompts that Kate suggests to help guide your thoughts. If you do decide to join in, let me know and I will hop on over to your blog and read what you share.

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Sunset in the City

As I looked outside the window last night, the setting sun caught my eye.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Sunset in the city. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Shades of pink covered the evening sky and lights twinkled from streetlights. It was a beautiful sight to behold.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Sunset skies. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

A few hours later, all light had disappeared and the night took over. Light shone from windows, cars and streetlights.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

A city view at nighttime. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

As nighttime descended, the pace of the city slowed down. But as one knows, a city never sleeps. However I do, and I enjoyed a good night’s rest.

Do you often manage to see the sun setting?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge prompt: Nighttime)

Posted in Canada, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

A Patterned Mouse

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

My mouse. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Each time I sit down to work at my computer, I hold in my hand a familiar pattern. I enjoy the design on my mouse as it is a little more interesting than the plain black one I had previously. The mouse sits comfortably in my hand as I move around the computer screen. The pattern was chosen for me by my husband as he knew I would enjoy, not only the shape and design of the mouse, but also the colour of the pattern. You guessed it … the pattern comes in my favourite colour: purple. It only adds to my pleasure when I sit down to work.

What pattern do you see everyday?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

This post was inspired by Paula’s Black & White Sunday challenge

Posted in Black and White Sunday | Tagged , , , , | 26 Comments

A Self Portrait

Each year in my classes, we create our self portraits. I try to find different ways to present them and to make it interesting for the children to do. I create one of myself as an example for my students to see. In doing the example, I also see whether the idea would work.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

A self portrait. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

This year I cut the boxes from the IKEA furniture into rectangles. I asked the children to paint their rectangle using tempura paint. The rectangles then became the background for their portrait. Choosing their favourite colour, they drew themselves on a piece of white paper which I then glued onto the piece of cardboard they had painted. Once I had glued on the photo I had taken and printed of them, I asked them to write their name on the final product in black marker.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

A group of self portraits. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

These portraits are currently hanging on the wall outside of the classroom. When I take them down, they will be glued onto the binder containing their portfolio. These portraits are a representation of how the children are drawing and writing at the beginning of senior kindergarten year – and hopefully they will become a childhood memento.

Thursday SpecialDo you create self portraits?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Paula’s Thursday Special)

Posted in Crafts, Learning and Teaching, Thursday's Special | Tagged , , , , | 31 Comments

Grateful for Netflix

While at work on Friday, I realised that I was definitely sick. My throat had been scratchy for a few days and I had felt that I was fighting the onset of a cold. During the day I used so many tissues that one of my students commented on it! After school, I headed immediately for my bedroom when I reached home. Saturday a lot of time was spent under the covers sleeping. When awake, I felt the need to continue lying down and yet did not wish to read.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

My current Netflix feed. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

With the company of my husband, I switched on the TV and settled down to watch a show on Netflix. Two years ago we discovered streaming films and TV shows through Netflix – and loved the choice available. In addition, we lovedthe fact that we could watch things at our own pace. It is true we do not see things as they are aired (and there are certain programmes we do not see at all) but I still enjoy the convenience of it. We do not watch a lot of TV; but when we do, we want to be able to watch something good and not channel surf until we find something worth spending our time on.

This week I was grateful for Netflix. It helped to relieve my boredom while lying in bed during a period of recuperation.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(Join me and share something that you have been grateful for in the past week. Link up with my post and feel free to use the badge my daughter created. )

Thank you for last week’s contributions. I enjoy reading what others are grateful for – the posts make me think of other things I am happy to have in my life. 

Gratitude Wednesday: Maple and Cedar Trees

I am grateful for … a job finished

A room with a view (or just a view)

Sunday Gratitude: Sunrises

Posted in My Gratitude Project | Tagged , , , , | 36 Comments

A Quick Thank You for Awards

Carol at Adjusting Your Focus has given me the compliment of awarding me with The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I have already received this award and have responded in a previous post. If you want to learn seven random things about me, head on over here to read them. I do want to thank Carol for passing this award onto me and letting me know that she finds my words inspiring.

one-lovely-blogLast week I also received the One Lovely Blog Award from Amanda at Living and Travelling in Africa. This is an award that I have also previously received (you can read the post here). In accepting this award, I wrote seven unknown facts that my readers at that time did not know.

realityblogawardWhile on the subject of awards, I thought I would acknowledge another that has been sitting in my inbox for a while. Madoqua  and Scrapydo offered me the Reality blog award.  I have followed Madoqua for a while and always enjoy the posts she creates especially as she writes from a country I have never visited. As for Scrapydo, she is a fellow South African who has relocated to New Zealand and posts some beautiful photographs. In accepting this award, I am asked to answer a few questions:

If you could change something, what would you change?

I would change the existence of war. I believe everyone has the right to live their lives in a state of peace. It is upsetting that so many people, among them children, experience the stress and tension that is present in a war zone.

People also have the right to have their basic needs fulfilled: their need for shelter, food, clothing. There are so many people who live without – and so many who have more than they need. I would love to live in a world where everyone has what they need in order to live without the pain of hunger and homelessness.

If you could relive one day, what would it be?

It is difficult for me to choose just one day as there have been so many happy ones. If I could, I would like to have a day in which all my family members are together again for a family gathering – and that would include the members of my family who have passed away. This was something that happened often when I was growing up. What was so good was that both my dad and my mom’s siblings were at these parties – as well as both sets of grandparents. I often think of those days as they brought a lot of joy to us.

What is the one thing that really scares you?

I try not to dwell on that which scares me as that would render me inert. At different times of my life, different things have caused me fear – and I have worked towards eliminating them.

What one dream have you not completed yet and do you think you will be able to complete it?

My dream is to finish writing a story that I began a while ago. This I hope to complete once I find a routine that will give me the quiet in which to do it. Now that I am working closer to home this year, I am positive that I will be able to do so once I have reached the many deadlines at work that seem to be looming.

If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?

I am happy with who I am – and would not want to change that. There are things I would like to experience though that, up to now, I have not had the opportunity or the means to do so.

I unfortunately do not have the time to nominate blogs for this award. I would prefer, instead, to spend the time that I do have writing posts of interest. I do thank those who have nominated me, though, for the compliment that they have given me.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Posted in Blog Awards | Tagged , , , | 36 Comments

Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables

Have you noticed that when you go to the supermarket these days that the fruits and vegetables on sale are  as perfect as they can be. The skins are shiny and smooth with no blemishes on them; the carrots and potatoes do not seem to have any unusual shapes. When growing up, my mom had a vegetable garden in which she grew her own vegetables – and I recall seeing many deformed looking carrots that we pulled out of the earth. Where do all these marked and ugly-looking vegetables go? They are thrown away. France has come up with a way to ensure that this food does not go to waste.

I love what they have done – and wish that this could be implemented here in Toronto. In adopting this practice, many families living on the breadline would be able to create more healthy meals for their children thus ensuring that they eat the required fruit and vegetables per day. This programme would also show shoppers that eating imperfect produce is not harmful to their bodies.

Would you eat inglorious fruits and vegetables?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Posted in In the news | Tagged , , , | 34 Comments

Freshly Baked Bread

Yesterday when I got up, I knew that I would not step out of the door to go to the supermarket. I looked in my cupboards and saw that I had enough flour to bake bread and took my shiny new bread maker off the shelf. Adding all of the ingredients to the baking tin, I selected the relevant choices on the programme and pressed the start button. A few hours later, the smell of freshly baked bread permeated our apartment.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Freshly baked bread. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Once the bread had cooled for a while, sat down eagerly for a simple lunch: warm bread with butter and some cheese. Delicious!

Paula's B&W SundayDo you enjoy eating freshly baked bread?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post is linked to Paula’s Black & White Sunday)

Posted in Black and White Sunday | Tagged , , , | 48 Comments