How I spent my winter “vacation”

When I was a kid, my teacher would assign us to write about our vacations every time we returned to school.  It’s always nice to have time away from our regular activities.  One of the only things that I dislike about teaching ESL is that there is no paid vacation.  That means that I have to be very careful with my money when I have time off.  Luckily, I was careful and I didn’t spend too much money.  I did spend a lot of time, doing things that I enjoy.

The last week of school was very pleasant, with students in my classes moving on to the next level.  We enjoyed some different activities after our tests and assessments were finished. My evening class had an amazing potluck. My morning class visited “Little Italy”, exploring the Italian Centre and Zocalo, a lovely cafe and flower shop.  The night before leaving, I bought a carry-on-sized backpack, so that I could travel with my class and go straight to the airport, without paying $25/trip for checked luggage.  I don’t usually “travel light”, so it was a challenge, but I made good choices for what to bring to Victoria for a 9-day visit to my sister and her family.

The day I left was extremely cold and sunny in Edmonton and there was also fresh snow in Victoria when I arrived.  I was glad that I packed warm clothing because I needed it every day.  I took the LRT to Century Park, then transferred to bus #747 which goes directly to the airport.  I had plenty of time to settle in before my flight, after checking in online. Security moved quickly. Because of the cold, our airplane needed de-icing, and it was interesting to watch. My flights weren’t full, so it was a comfortable trip, with a short stop in the Vancouver airport.  My sister and brother-in-law both work hard as homecare nurses so I had a lot of free time during the week to read, play word games and to hunt for Pokémon with my nephew.  We explored a lot of Pokéstops and gyms around town and had fun doing that.  My sister and I took a daytrip to Sooke and area, where we explored a lot of interesting areas.  Because of the wind, cold, and rain, it wasn’t the best day for exploring, but it was a lovely area.  We stopped for an amazing lunch at Point No Point.

My sister hosted her ukelele group for a Ukrainian Christmas Eve supper (my brother-in-law’s heritage).  Traditionally, there are 12 meatless dishes.  They prepared many and I also prepared a “lazy pierogi casserole”, made with lasagne noodles, as well as a dish made with kasha (buckwheat).  They have a lovely, large kitchen with excellent equipment, so it was great to take the time making something new.  I liked both dishes very much, so I made them again for dinner with my kids the next week.  Everyone ate seconds, so they seem to have been hits. Our dinner was very nice, and it was great to sing along with such talented musicians after supper.

I always seem to get sick around the holidays, and I’ve had a sinus infection for about a month now. Most of the time, I feel okay, but sometimes I feel exhausted and very dizzy, and I need to lie down for awhile. I had some great outings with the family, introducing them to Korean BBQ, having breakfast with our cousin, and visiting the craft beer bars downtown.  Walking around town is lovely and I put in a lot of kilometres. However, I chose a taxi when it was time to go back uphill to their home, at the end of our outings (only $10)

On Christmas Day, I flew back home.  I was hoping to meet my niece in the Victoria Airport but her trip was delayed so we couldn’t connect as she flew home from Wyoming for Christmas and her birthday. My kids and grandchildren came over for a great dinner, and then my older grandson stayed over for a couple of days so I could take him to skiing lessons.  We were so lucky that the cold weather finished just before his classes and he learned a lot in 2 days of instruction.  I really enjoyed skiing at Snow Valley while he learned, in gorgeous conditions.  When we weren’t outside, he was so busy with his LEGO and I got housework done.

I rented a fatbike from a shop in Devon for the next 3 days and I had so much friend getting out with different biking friends for a little while every day in some fantastic areas around town.  This week, after New Years, my classes are starting very slowly so I’m organizing my next semester of teaching, as well as my apartment. Next week, my schedule will be full again but I’ve got a lot of fresh energy to get back to business.

By elleninsaigon Posted in esl

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