Reflecting on friends (not Friends…)

Just been checking my email, as now that I’ve got a laptop from work and my husband has thoughtfully (and rather gleefully, I might add) installed a wireless network in our house, I don’t actually get upstairs to check my email as often as I should nowadays. And I just want to thank all of my friends who have been kind-hearted and generous enough to keep emailing me when there has been a singular lack of communication from my side of the conversation. Most especially, but not exclusively, Pene, a friend in Australia who has emailed me regularly over several years without many replies, and Tanya, a fellow teacher and immigrant to the UK who’s just as bogged down as I am with end of the year marking crap, and still finds the time to send out cheery (and often hilarious) greetings. I think I’m feeling especially guilty because both of these lovely ladies are also raising children, while I just have to look after the hubby and an occasionally stroppy moggy…

Friends are important to everyone, and I dont think we realise how important they are until you are in a situation where you are cut off from your friends for one reason or another. I found this out when I moved to the UK four years ago. Even though I had (and still have) several amazing friends who helped me through the transition, most of them (all really, save one, and he’s now my hubby) were in Canada. I felt really isolated and alone for the first few weeks, especially on the first day when I got up and realised that a) I was out of toothpaste, b) I didn’t know where to go to buy any, and c) I didn’t know who to call to find out! I mean, there’s only so many stupid questions you can ask your boyfriend before he really gives up on you! (Thank goodness I knew when to stop asking! 😉 ) I must say that my landlady, Julie, was also incredible, as she had an amazing store of knowledge about the most incredible things, and was perfectly willing to go to battle with BT on my behalf when it was going to take 3 weeks to get the phone hooked up, etc. (Note – the phone hookup took 3 days. She really should work for a lobby group…)

So, thank you everyone who supported me though that difficult time, and thank you also to everyone who still hasn’t given up hope that I will, someday, actually reply to any emails that they have sent me. I will get around to it!

Someday.

If I EVER get this marking done…

It’s Canada Day!!

Canada Flag

For those who don’t know, July 1 is Canada Day! What’s it all about, you may ask? Isn’t it the same as July 4th in the States?? In fact, no, and here’s why…

(Ahem. Just putting on my pontificating historian voice…)

July 1, 1867. Canada woke up a colony of the British Empire, and went to sleep a country in its own right. This was the day on which a rather drunken Scot, John A. Macdonald, became our first Prime Minister. Now, this is different to Independance Day in the US, because of what it symbolizes. Canada Day (formerly known as Dominion Day) celebrates a continuing, but different relationship with Britain and the Empire (or Commonwealth, as it is known today). Independance Day in the States is the day that they celebrate kicking the British out of their country. Slightly different ethos there. However, both countries take it as an opportunity for a good party, as both are statuatory holidays and are full of patriotic fervor.

So today, pull out those maple leaves, put on something red and white and listen to a great Canadian musician, read a great Canadian author, watch some great Canadian actors, or look at some great Canadian art today. Here are some suggestions:

Music:
Bryan Adams
Shania Twain
Barenaked Ladies
Blue Rodeo
Jann Arden

Authors:
Margaret Atwood
Robertson Davies
Stephen Leacock
Timothy Findlay
Margaret Laurence

Artists:
Emily Carr
Robert Bateman
The Group of Seven

Actors:
Mike Myers
Dan Ackroyd
Pamela Andersen
Megan Follows
Fay Wray

You could also read some stuff by a mate ‘o’ mine, another displaced Canadian, Carla. She’s got a blog called Across the Pond.

Or, if you’re in London, join the celebrations at The Maple Leaf pub

You could even buy Canadian products at the online Canada Shop in the UK.

Pictures of School

For those of you who haven’t visited me yet, here’s some pictures of my classroom. It’s usually a lot busier than this! I have 10 computers in my room because I’m the ICT coordiator for the department. These computers, plus 8 in the adjoining library (through the wooden doors) are the ‘computer lab’ for the English department. The state of my desk is a bit worse than normal – end of the year and all that…