DUTCH vs CANADIAN SCHOOLS

Today is my last day of my self – imposed writers challenge. During the last 24 days I reported on all sorts of going ons from our new life on top of the rock in B.C., Canada.
With this final entry I will get back to writing in “normal” intervals. I proved to myself I can write nonstop, every day, for 25 days straight! I am disciplined enough to put something on paper before midnight strikes. Mission accomplished!

I will leave you with this fine piece of well researched literature. It will compare basic school operations in The Netherlands vs Canada.

The Netherlands
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At the beginning of each school year your kid gets his photo taken. Home address, phone numbers and emails of each student are collected. With the permission of the parents each kid in every class gets this list to take home. For us parents this list feels like a sigh of relief:
We know of all the other kids our children are hanging out with.
If our son has a crush on Heidi, all we need to do is pull out our info sheet, check out her picture and comment on the good taste of our son – or remain silent.
Another advantage is, if our kid “goes missing”, all we need to do is telephone the list from A to Z until we find him. All in all, this whole procedure runs like a well oiled machine, it’s organized.
The Dutch don’t have any secrets, nobody is ashamed to admit their dodgy, humble home address.
Wy? Where we lived we didn’t have dodgy.

CANADA:imagesCASM3QKJ

it’s the beginning of the year and — nothing happens.
We as parents are lucky enough to know that our kid is back with Liam (there are three of them, so which one?), his teacher is Mrs. Scott and his class is next to Joshes. ( here again, I know five Joshes by now, which one is he?). Our Elementary school at the bottom of our rock operates on the “Need to know basis”. You want to know, you need to find out by yourself!
I literally have to walk around the playground with my pen in hand and ask individual parent for their phone number. Regardless of their connection to my children or not!

If you don’t put the effort in, something like the following can happen:
I allowed Cruz to go home with his mate Liam and his mom. At 3.15pm I remembered I don’t remember Liam’s home address or his moms name- and she is the one who took Cruz home!

I called the school. Thank God the secretaries were still around to take my call. I described mom, boy and ask for their phone number! School secretary identified mother and son but refused to give me their address or phone number. Not because she doesn’t like me- it’s school policy not to give private info out!
Secretary promised to call mom in question and I had to wait to be contacted!
Word of warning: Remember your childs not whereabouts before the secretaries leave. Otherwise you can kiss your kid good-bye!:imagesCADMIM71

TRIPS:

THE NETHERLANDS:
Required volunteer drivers leave their name on a SIGN IN SHEET. All we had to do is mention the amount of seatbelts available and we were off.

CANADA:

BEFORE you even attempt to put your name down as volunteer, you need to call ICBC (the holy, Canadian wide insurance corporation) The school needs to know what kind of car you are driving, If you are the owner of that vehicle and if any claims have been filed against you!
Then each child brings home a disclaimer from school. We need to sign it, and then we are off.

Different rules for different countries – shall I tell you about the cheques we had to sign during our first full school year in B.C. Better not, this is a whole different topic altogether!

THE WAY OF THE LORD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS

This post is the 22nd entry of my self – imposed 22 day writers challenge!
For good measure, true devotion and utter enjoyment I will add two more days of daily writing which will bring us to June 1.

A long time ago I wrote my bucket list. On the paper I listed everything I wanted to learn, achieve, see, travel to, accomplish and read during my life party here on earth. One of the books I wanted to read is THE BIBLE.

This book scares me; it is way too thick and way too complicated written to make heads and tails of it. The Bible is THE silent bestseller on the book market. It has been around forever, it will never go out of fashion!
Knowing what the bible teaches is part of my own ‘well rounded’, personal education. I am born protestant to once- a- year church going parents. Religious education wasn’t high on the agenda at school- it is part of our curriculum and not more.
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Given the choice, I rather read a Dan Brown novel than the bible. Having said that, The Lord works in mysterious ways: A few months ago I decided to open my doors to two Jehova witnesses (Dec 14, 2013, True Religion), – who brought the bible into our house! To this day, I am still with the ladies! These two wonderful women have become part of my private, weekly enlightenment routine. We are flicking through the bible, we are reading bits and bops, comparing, talking, laughing.
What can I say, “Jehovah made me open the door so I can finally read his word”.

What an interesting book this is. After spending all those months with the ladies you can ask me,
Are I converted? No. Are you wiser? Yes! Am I enjoying myself? You bet! Will I join the Jehovah crew? I Don’t think so.
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Our middle son plays basketball with the team of our local Christian School. After the first practise he was so surprised these boys are so normal, just like him! He told me some boys pray before having dinner, he asked me why we don’t go to church!
Why don’t we?
Over the years I formed my own belief about who or what GOD is. Dominic and I are free spirits, we are interested in everything others call God, Jehovah, Buddha or Allah.
I told our son, “Just because you go to church doesn’t make you a good person. If you want to go, I will take you.”
Guess what happened? Our son believes he is a good person – up to this day he has chosen to sleep in instead of getting up and going to church.

STILL HERE –

I should rename this blog to “Prairie Log”, as this is my third entry on this topic! Bare with me, I will be home on Monday and things will get back to normal…

After our event, we left our venue elated and ready for tomorrow. It was 5.30pm Weyburn time on a Saturday, we went shopping when it hit me: The movie set from Yesterday World changed into Ghost Town: We hardly saw any souls anywhere! How many more names can you give this place?
6pm is too early to be tucked away at home, but not too late to be out and about?
Apart from petrol stations, the odd fast food joint and Walmart, everything else was shut. Let’s hear it from Gail: You never ever see anybody out and about. Not on Monday, on Tuesday…..ever!

Today we presented our live event LIVE LIFE NOW for the first time!
Part of our presentation is devoted to goal setting. That got me thinking; Do you set goals? If yes, do you take them serious? Do you act upon them or do you live your life like “I want to become a rich, let’s find a good job and see what happens?”

Here is my question: If we never heard of goal setting when we were little, and all you had was your imagination, your ideas and dreams- how far would they carry us?
Do we gravitate towards our own wishes and ideas anyways without manifesting them on paper?
Autsch, it’s official, the prairie makes me mellow, I am writing way too serious stuff.

Right here is the part I should mention my parents, my all too serious, over protective father, my amazing hospitable, overwhelming mother. None of them open to anything fancy like ‘becoming an entrepreneur, dream big, setting goals. What are goals again? Instead of ‘doing what you love doing” the motto of my father was ‘Do what earns a steady income and has a future (become a civil servant!). Enough said.
My parents deserve a whole book devoted to them, therefore I am not even tempted to start with them….you will thank me, believe me!

As my chances are slim to hear from you (?), I will answer my own question.
YES, we are guided by our dreams, wishes and ideas. Take it or leave it, here is part of my story:
When I was little, I fall in love with this man:
4Winnetou
There was no question in my mind – ever, I was going to marry a native American!
3Winnetou
I wanted to live in an English speaking country, become a writer and if I was lucky enough to have children, I wanted four – four Boys!
Here comes the spooky part: I am married to an American (without hair!), I live in Canada (reminder: they speak – among many other languages, English) I wrote a book and we have four boys (ok, I cheated, one is an exchange student, he is ours on a temporary basis only).

All this without ever knowing what goal setting is? What is that called?
happymother
One Happy Mother!
See ‘ya tomorrow!

STILL In THE PRAIRIE

and definitely not in love!
There is something about this flatness that depresses me – only kidding, nothing ever depresses me!
Rather, it feels like I stepped into yesterday world, straight from a movie set. After seventeen months of looking at the mountains in BC I can honestly say, the prairie is not for me (the power of snow covered mountain ranges makes you fall in love with them.)

Stop whinging Christina and get back to business:
My venture partner Gail and I are facilitating LIVE LIFE NOW here in Weyburn. Our event, nor we, aren’t known (famous!!!) – yet. There is no sponsor, no event manager, no booking agent, no huge crowds waiting for us to hear our pearls of wisdom. All we have is our combined enthusiasm, stories, knowledge, experiences and a deep desire to inspire, help and motivate the ladies to LIVE LIFE NOW.

Today, we were busy was a capital B. We even did last day cold calling for our event at the local community. The employment agency, the Chamber of Commerce, schools, banks and kindergarden got their fair share of a quality ‘Christina & Gail” -motivation pitch.
More shopping had to be done, Gail baked, broiled, printed, decorated and finalized the order of our presentation.
What was my involvement in all of this? I stressed Gail out, reminded her of the next tasks ahead, wrote the shopping list, ironed my shirts (even the folks here on the prairie like to see their presenter in a neatly pressed outfit, so I hope), packed my books and wrote this blog. Fair is fair!

One busy lady!

One busy lady!

Unfortunately, wishing, hoping and praying doesn’t make it far in life if you don’t get up and do your part! Fortunately, we did everything that needed to be done to make it a fantastic day tomorrow. Maybe I should go to bed wishing, hoping and praying for a successful 1 x event tomorrow.
Will see ya; tomorrow!

IN THE PRAIRIE

6prairieSaskatchewan%201As you might remember, we immigrated from The Netherlands to hilly, beautiful B.C. We lived the ‘flat’ lifestyle for 12 long years; long enough to call myself an expert on Lowland – Living, big mistake!

Guess where I am at this right moment: Right in the middle of the Saskatchewan, in a place called Weyburn. If you need help with your bearings, let me help you. It’s a bit further right from where we live, it is the second province to the east from B.C.
Whatever made me think Holland is flat? It is, but not as flat as it is here! Goodness gracious, the prairie is flatter than any pancake you ever baked, flatter than any crepe you ever ate. Let me say it again, it is FLAT in Saskatchewan.

This morning I left from Abbotsford airport, which is just the cutest, most efficient and less crowded airport I have ever been to. With cute I mean, as much as cute can be used to describe an airport.
In order to get to Abbotsford you drive through winding country lanes, picturesque scenery on both sides; the mountains are on the right hand side, the Fraser River on your left. There isn’t a more idyllic way to get to any airport than this.

Coming back to the prairies- my mate Gail picked me up from Regina – (say the name with an English accent – not the German way- and you will know why I have a hard time saying it…) and we headed off to Weyburn. Which is a 100 km ride further down the dirt road with no street lights and road markings. During the car ride I couldn’t get over the fact how flat it is…nothing to see, just a vast vastness.

To make the ride more interesting we shared stories about our past lives. If we had a friendly competition going on there, I pretty much won with my story about the teacher I know: Happily married for 20 years, four children, meets the love of her life and leaves her husband for – another woman! These two ladies move in together, husband is totally devastated (how can a man compete with another woman?), the ex- wife enjoys her new found pleasures. Anyway, after about two years ex wife returns back to her husband. The reason: Her lover cheated on her – with a man!
Yes, truth is stranger than fiction.

You will hear from me tomorrow with an exclusive report on prairie living!

I FEEL AT MY TOUGHEST…

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definitely not when I sit in a traffic jam, listening to crappy music tunes.
I re-tuned my radio stations and found CBC radio- something similar to BBC radio in England.
Finally, more talk than dumbing down auto/ food/ fashion commercials. This radio station offers a news update as well- NEWS is a word non of the other big commercial radio stations recognizes or respects.
Crawling through the traffic I listened to a beautiful story about being tough. The narrator ended with the question “When do you feel at your toughest?’
Here are some of the answers I loved

– When I change my daughters diapers (told by a father)
– When I wear my Doc Martens
– When I chop an onion without bursting into tears
– When I wear sunglasses inside
– When I ask for a pay rise
– When a woman asks me to open a can for her
– When I need to change a car tire

And me, personally?
I feel toughest when I walk into a bookstore, a copy of Verry Berry Extra-Ordinary in hand, give the manager my best pitch, eye contact and all- and get turned down. It hasn’t happened too often -yet- , still, with this NO I am getting closer to a YES!

When do you feel at your toughest?