Tag: future

Miranda’s new pre-school

Last week my Big Grown Up baby went off to pre-school – or at least, pre-Kindergarten, for the first time.

DSCF7447She’s at Connaught Community School, and she does four mornings a week in the pre-K in a class of 16. We have had to get used to getting up a lot earlier to drop her off! Connaught is a 101 yr old community school, which also does French Immersion teaching (but not for Miri’s age group sadly, she needs to be a bit bigger yet!). It’s also under threat of demolition, which is why we were there dressed up for the Olde Tyme Picnic a few weeks ago. 101 years old is *very* old for Regina (heck , this whole country hasn’t been  a nation state for 150 years yet) but sadly the building hasn’t been well-maintained, and some overpaid geniuses somewhere in a planning office have decreed that it would be simpler and cheaper to tear it down and build a new one instead of repairing and maintaining a Heritage building. And of course that decision was made months ago on the quiet with no obvious public consultation and in the face of immense community opposition when it eventually did come to light.  My friend wrote an open letter to Saskatchewan’s Premier, Brad Wall, about Connaught, and she put it far more eloquently than I can! Read it here at The Regina Mom .

Anyway, assuming the building will be here long enough for Miranda to enjoy her first experience of school, off we toddled down the road at a ghastly time of day. The first morning, she was fairly shy even though we’d visited before and met the teachers before, but it all seemed a little different with loads of other kids running around in there. I stayed for the first half an hour or so to make sure she was OK, helped her get her coat and (handmade by Me) Peso backpack on the peg with her name on it, and tried to persuade her to sit down with the others. They played the Canadian National Anthem over the tanoy system! Is this normal in Canada? Better than having to sing hymns in assembly I suppose, but most of the children just fidgeted and looked confused, and the parents looked all uncomfortable about not knowing the words.

“Oh Canada,ba dum bum bum be dum…”

William Shatner’s version

On the second morning, Miranda just kissed me goodbye and dived straight into playing with the dolls house, until the teacher tried to round them all up for their registration. By the third day, she went straight in, sat down at the desk with her new friend Anyam, just said “Bye then Mummy” and didn’t even notice when I left!! So, safe to say she’s enjoying it! It has made a difference already; there have been far fewer tantrums, and she’s even having naps again in the afternoon (if only when I push her into town in the pushchair, admittedly!) Famous firsts also include now being able to draw an M for her name, and the ability to draw convincing faces complete with googly eyes. Ambidextrously. Mummy is PROUD.

So now, I have nearly twelve glorious child-free hours per week, AND nap time! What on earth do I do with myself??? This last week I’ve been Writing Things gratuitously for this month’s Word Up Wednesday, but it has felt very very odd in such a quiet house.  I felt all lost and lonesome the first day I dropped her off! But so proud of my baby… Maybe this free time will allow me to actually write something decent soon, or finally get around to finishing the coffee papers for uni, or even tidy up….Nah, I won’t kid myself about that last one…

I did find the time to turn myself into a zombie and participate in the 6th Annual Regina Zombie Walk, in aid of the Food Bank today though.


Canuckiversary Part 2 – Silliness

Look what we found!!!

The Giant Coffee Pot of Davidson. Suitable for my usual Monday intake.

We had a lovely trip away this weekend up to Saskatoon and beyond, and the car survived the whole journey with nothing falling off it. We passed the Giant Coffee Pot (7.2m high) in Davidson as our halfway point to let a moaning-Miri out of the car for a stretch, spent the night in a nice B&B in Saskatoon and attempted to visit one of my Twitter friends in a coffee shop there (and missed him, but the coffee was still good!). The next day we went to Wanuskewin Heritage Park, followed imaginary  bison around the river valley, played Pooh sticks in the river, Miranda got fascinated by different shapes and sizes of animal poo, we ate bannock bread and bison burgers, and then had a go at hoop dancing! And finally, finally, Spring has Sprung, and it was warm and sunny all weekend. Perfect! [ed: that was, until this morning when we woke up to another 3 inches of snow and -4 degrees AGAIN aaaaaaargh!]

It was good to have a little trip away, even if it was just one weekend, and one night outside Regina. Other than one trip to Moose Jaw and Regina Beach when my parents visited last June, we haven’t left Regina since we got here. I love this city but I still want to explore a little more!

So, we have officially been here a year – actually, a year and three and a half weeks now. The week of the actual Canuckiversary (I still love that word) we arranged a Skype party and managed to talk to most of our friends in the UK. The “conversation” ranged from madness, flat unicorns, Thor/monkey porn, phantom cement mixers, skeleton motorbikes, noisy typing, Dave’s Mum’s TV, Eric the parrot and Rodney the raven, brownie-making, “giving Carmen’s thingy a quick pump”, marmite beer and Bronies.


My beloved collection of geeks and weirdos.

I do miss them all a great deal – they generate the best sort of collective silliness! But then I meet up with Tamara or Lorena or other friends over here with their split tongues or talking microwaves or poets in bikinis or the beer-making Raspberry Pi, and realise that it is not just confined to Darlington and surrounds!

Year One has been a complete rollercoaster; part of me still doesn’t quite believe we made it, or that we survived all the stress and dramas that went with packing up our entire lives and transposing them to another country where we knew no one, had no connections and no history. I think it beats starting my coffee shop from scratch as The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Attempted, certainly it was harder than my PhD, but it has proved more worthwhile than all of them.

And Year Two? I have Plans and Schemes and Ambitions as always, but for the first time in many years, I am happy to just sit back, enjoy life and stop just bouncing on to the next Mad Project and pushing myself to find a new challenge the second one finishes. My PhD is finally, finally, completed and I’m comfy staying at home with Miranda at the moment. Now the work permit dramas are sorted for a few years, I am in no hurry to find a job that will mean uprooting Miranda’s routine yet again, it’s enough to know that I can get one if I see anything. (That said, I am not *just* staying home with Miri, I’m also Coffee Consulting, writing lots, making Ugly Cakes with the kids, attempting to get some academic journal papers sorted, and absent-mindedly selling coffee t-shirts!)

*Waves a bottle of homebrew in the direction of The Future*


Sigue Buscando!

That means, “keep searching” in Spanish….

The other day was my birthday. I am 30, and I am HAPPY.

It is a bit crazy to think back, but this time last year I was on the beach (!!) in Redcar eating lemon tops with the Chapmen, with Miri and Nyx in pushchairs waiting patiently outside the tattoo shop. The year before that, I was trying not to freeze in my very new cafe in Darlington. Before that I was throwing up a lot with Miranda-related morning sickness and probably commuting to Sheffield on the train. February 2009, I was on a boat crossing Lago Nicaragua on route to the coffee lands of Costa Rica. Four Years…. gees!

My birthday, 2009, in Picoteo cafe, Matagalpa, Nicaragua. The sign says “Sigue buscando” – keep looking.
(with Andie Reynolds, Emma Navarro and my personal one-man mariachi band! )

I did once write a sort of bucket list, or rather a “30 Things to do before I am 30” list. I do still have it, and I am not going to publish it on here (to protect the guilty) but I can say that it contained things like opening a cafe, getting published, having a baby, and moving to Canada. In fact, I’ve completed 28 of the 30 things. The missing two were “Visit Laos and Belarus because they have funky names” and “learn Welsh or Finnish”.

For my thirtieth, much beer was involved as usual, only mainly homebrewed stuff! We saw some friends, Miranda proved herself a hardcore party girl and stayed up until 12.40am and I learned a lot of weird and wonderful things. For example, over here, heather (as in, the plant) is an exotic, hard to come by luxury; “nh bashtr sardyn” is “no more omelettes” in Farsi (Persian); I know somebody geeky enough to have programmed a Raspberry Pi to accurately measure and adjust the alcohol content of his homebrew beer, and that talking microwaves not only make great flatmates but also keen babysitters. Just the normal sort of conversations then…

It got down to -49 degrees celcius (with windchill) the other week. When I posted this online, I was instantly set upon by a friend calling it INSANE and therefore I must be insane for *wanting* to move here. Well, it was a bit cold, I admit. But I get into work every day feeling very proud of myself for having survived walking in it. In all seriousness though, I couldn’t be happier here.

My mood was lift greatly (yep, it was possible) by having gotten myself a new job of sorts. I took great pleasure in quitting the restaurant as soon as I was able (work permit renewals allowing!). Keen readers may well have read between the lines of this blog, or at least, read meaning into some conspicuous absences. I have not written much about my job here for good reason: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. That place will not get any more free publicity from me, negative or otherwise, so I won’t go into too many details. Suffice to say, one of the sillier conversations recently was about co-authoring a book with a friend who endured a similar situation, called “Vampire Jobs: Sucking the Life out of Employees”! But now, I am back behind a fantastic espresso machine in a proper coffee shop, and also starting a little venture into self-employment again. See link in my blogroll>>>

So, life is generally brilliant, and Regina is definitely cathartic (*snigger*). But even though I am now thirty and therefore OLD and my list is complete, ‘yo seguiré buscando‘. Life is good, but it is not over! I will continue searching… This is just the start. Who knows what I’ll find next?

[The following song is included for relevance and to fulfill your daily CanCon requirements!]

Good ol’ nekkid Alanis!