Thursday night in the big city (Edmonton)

Early in September, I started teaching an evening LINC class, 3 nights/week.  LINC stands for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada.  The students in this program are immigrants to Canada. The classes are quite interesting because they students choose the topics that they really want and need to study, and the teacher chooses material that will help them understand that subject better.  Students taking LINC4 often have a goal of becoming a Canadian citizen, since that’s the required proficiency level.  So, we’re working on a lot of information about Canada and the government (3 levels).  I’m really fond of taking field trips since they offer so many chances to practice vocabulary, grammar, and phrases that students have learned in class.  I’m also really fond of the Alberta Gallery of Art (AGA) as a beautiful and interesting place to visit.  On the last Thursday evening of every month, admission to the art gallery is free.  So, we started to plan a trip to the art gallery.

The art gallery is located downtown and our class is located in Northeast Edmonton, so we planned to meet at the Art Gallery, instead of the school.  We spent time looking at information and watching videos about how to take the LRT (train) to Churchill Square, as well as how to park using the EPark machines downtown.  It’s not that easy to figure out, so we spent a couple of classes making instructions for meeting at Churchill Square.  Luckily, it worked and almost everyone from the class joined us in the lobby of the art gallery.  We found out that night that “event parking” prices were in effect, as they will be every time there’s an event at Edmonton’s new downtown arena.  Unfortunately, that information wasn’t available on the City of Edmonton website.  My parking at City Hall cost $14!!  That’s a bad surprise.

However, everyone made it, and nobody got a parking ticket or a $250 ticket for taking the LRT without a validated ticket!  We explored the art gallery for over an hour, and there were many interesting things to see there.  On the main floor, the touch gallery was a really interesting image of life under the sea.  Everything was made with ordinary household objects and it was okay to touch everything (gently)!  On the top floor, there is always an exhibit of modern art, and this father and son exhibit was extremely colourful and interesting.  We had fun looking for gnomes, which were included in many of the paintings and sculptures.

On the second level, there was a small, modern exhibit which was just really “interesting”!  There’s not really any other way to explain it.  Next door, the large gallery was really amazing!  the walls were painted with deep, jewel colours.  The paintings were all from the Victorian era: later 1800s and early 1900s.  There were many gorgeous pictures to see in this area.

After the art gallery, it was time for a break, and some students picked up food at one of the food trucks.  We met again in the Stanley Milner Library, on the other side of Churchill Square.  There is a lot to see in the library, but many of the books are beginning to be moved to a temporary location at Enterprise Square (above Bay Station on the LRT).  We spent time exploring the children’s library, where the librarian was SO friendly and helpful!  She shared a checkers set and students took turns challenging each other.  She helped another student learn how to borrow and return a book.

After the library, we went back across Churchill Square, where there was a rap and hiphop concert taking place.  We enjoyed practicing our dance moves, while the DJ spun a few records.  The square also has a ping pong (table tennis) table, a giant chess set, and a basketball hoop that visitors can use.  The pools at City Hall are closed for swimming and wading now, but soon, they’ll be used for outdoor skating.

Finally, we took a quick look around City Hall, which is still open to the public in the evenings.  It’s a beautiful building, with lots of public art.  We stopped by to say “Hi!” to Mayor Don Iveson, but his office was locked for the day.  Time for a few photos and then it was time to return to our homes, by train or by car.  It was a fun adventure!

Time away from work: August 20-28, 2016

I really prefer to choose my own time off, and with no paid vacation, I usually don’t take much time away from work.  However, my workplace decided that there would be 4 weeks/year with no classes, so I guess that I have time off, ready or not!  Most people consider late August to be summer, but in this part of the world, the summer weather ends about 6 weeks after the solstice, just after the August long weekend.  There is usually a lot of nice weather ahead, but the nights and mornings are often quite cool.  This week has been no exception.  The mornings are in the low teens or single digits, Celsius!

My original plan was to visit Prince Albert National Park, in Saskatchewan, to paddle to Grey Owl’s cabin.  However, as the week approached, I had no paddling partner, so I altered my plans to travel around Alberta, to some of the many micro-breweries that have started up over the last few years.  As Friday approached, I had a sinus infection, so I took another couple of days to recuperate.  I visited a couple of local “Irish” pubs at the end of the week: O’Byrne’s on Whyte Avenue and The Druid, on Jasper Avenue.  The Druid was closing on the weekend, and all of their staff had been laid off with only a week’s notice, which is very sad!Sunday, I started off from Edmonton to Red Deer, only 90 minutes south.  I camped at the Lions’ campground on Riverside Drive.  It’s a very nice urban campground, although traffic in the area seems to have a speed problem.

Sunday, I started off from Edmonton to Red Deer, only 90 minutes south.  I camped at the Lions’ campground on Riverside Drive.  It’s a very nice urban campground, although traffic in the area seems to have a speed problem so it was noisy in the evening. I met a running friend at Troubled Monk Brewery, in an industrial area of the city.  What delicious beer they have!  Their seasonal beer was very interesting because it was made with syrup made from a European ground cover plant.  They also had a raspberry syrup.  Their Homesteader Saison is always one of my favourites, and they filled a 1-litre growler with that for me to bring home.  Apparently, I really like Belgian yeast! The weather was pleasant, and I visited a cocktail bar in Red Deer, To The Lost for supper, and to try one of their very interesting cocktails.  They had some really interesting appetizers: devilled eggs and curried chickpeas.  It was hard to choose one cocktail, but I wasn’t disappointed with the Inner Light that I tried.  The bar is right in the historic downtown, so I spent time exploring the city gardens down the street, where all of the Pokemon players were out to play.  What beautiful flowers they have in the garden.

Sunday evening was very pleasant, but sometime during the night, the wind began to howl, and the rain began to pour!  When I woke up, it was too wet and windy to make breakfast at my campsite, and the temperature was only 8 degrees. I picked up some groceries and saw patches of clear sky, so I paid for a second night of camping, and drove to Olds, 1 hour south, for my second brewery visit.  Olds College has been an agricultural college for more than 100 years. 3 years ago, they began to teach the fine art of brewing, which is part of the reason that there are so many fine new breweries opening around Alberta! They had 6 lovely beers on tap, including a couple of wheat beers.  The brewery is counter service only, but again, I chose a 1-litre growler and had them fill it to take along, as well as buying a couple of their beers from the cooler.  There was a lounge in the adjoining hotel where they sold their beer, and I sat and watched the rain pour down, while the wind tossed the tree branches around.  I visited a local Indian restaurant, where $10 bought me a lovely vegetarian feast and I explored the local Pokestops. After a couple of hours, I realized that I would be spending all of my time searching for dry places to spend time indoors and that just wouldn’t be a fun camping vacation.  The forecast showed that the bad weather (80K/hour winds!) would continue for at least 2 more days. Finally, I decided to return to Red Deer to pick up my soggy camping gear and continue back towards home.

It was still fairly early at that point, so I continued north towards Lacombe, with a really beautiful historic downtown.  I spent a couple of hours at an amazing restaurant and watering hole, Cilantro and Chive.  There were very few empty seats on a Monday night! I sat at the penny-decorated bar, watching the bartender make Caesar drinks that were topped with sandwiches and other crazy things.  Their beer selection was fantastic.  I found the Ribstone Creek/Norsemen Brewing collaboration of Rhubarb Saison that was so popular, but sadly, it wasn’t really my style. The burger (bison and blue cheese) was fantastic, though!

Now, it was Monday night, and I was already back at home for the week! However, it was nice having time off in the city to do things that I don’t usually have time for, even some housework! Tuesday night, my biking friends decided that they needed an early-week beer, so it was wonderful to socialize together!  My daughter and I had an amazing meal at The Local Omnivore on Thursday night.  Friday, I returned to Lacombe and met a new running friend to tour the town in style. We started out at Sweet Capone’s, a new Italian bakery that’s only open from 10-2, Tuesday-Thursday. It sounds like they sell out of their cannoli that early every day!  We tried a delicious variety, and she waited in the long lineup for me while I drove down.  After fuelling up, it was time to explore the town’s fantastic trail system.  Most of it was handmade by Bill Nielson, a local running legend (ran 100 marathons) who passed away 2 years ago.  One thing that I never realized was that Lacombe is full of many small lakes, and it was a great pleasure to ride around them on these lovely trails. After exploring the trails in town, we rode south towards Blackfalds, 10 kilometres south of us, on one of the only stretches of Trans Canada Trail that I’ve seen, connecting communities.  This trail was also amazing, and it went past the agricultural research station, farms, lakes, and acreages. A local cycling club was out enjoying the trail.  After 30 kilometres of riding, it was time to visit Blindman Brewing in Lacombe.  They have a lovely patio, and we enjoyed a plate of local cheese, sausage, and mustard while we sampled some really interesting flights of beer.  Our server helped me to remember the difference between a “Saison” (Belgian farmhouse ale, with yeast from the French region of Belgium), and “Session”, a lighter beer that would allow a group of friends to consume several rounds of beer at one session without any serious damage.  They do both extremely well, and I especially enjoy their sour beers.  I was able to try #5, which was only sold for growler fills and consumption at the brewery.  I also brought home their barrel-aged saison, which was magnificent.  I stopped by Cilantro & Chives to try their duck wings.  Although I’m crazy about duck, I thought these wings were a little salty for my liking.  Still, a dish that’s not available elsewhere

On Friday evening, many of the Edmonton cyclists met for a memorial ride to commemorate Isaak Kornelsen, a young Edmonton track star, who was killed by a cement truck driver, while riding to work. I returned to the city too late to ride but met at the small, memorial “parklet” where friends and family met to remember Isaak.  Afterwards, a group of us went for supper and beer at Situation Brewing, around the corner in Old Strathcona.  I tried a delicious pork steak accompanied by succotash, a fantastic bean dish.  It was a pleasant evening to socialize.  the weather was pleasant, and the windows were open in the bar.

On Saturday evening, friends from one of my canoe clubs organized a BBQ at their home in Beaumont, south of Edmonton.  That evening, we were back to the cold and rainy weather, so our group moved indoors to eat and visit.  Sunday was also a cool day, with rain at times.  I had a lot of time to organize my camping gear as well as reading and relaxing.  During free time, I visited the legislature a few times to play Pokemon, and it was really interesting to see how many people were roaming the lower grounds to play.  Some people dress in costumes, many people bring their babies, older kids or dogs and one man was walking his ferret.  When somebody finds an uncommon Pokemon, they yell out what it is, and there could be a hundred people or more who start to run in that direction to “Catch ’em all”.

The week wasn’t really what I had planned, but I think that I really needed some time to just relax and enjoy some different things than usual!

Canoeing the Athabasca River: Fort Assiniboine-Vega Ferry #2

I paddled this stretch of river in 2014, and really enjoyed the area.  It’s a good, easy river run, relatively close to Edmonton, but very peaceful, once you’re on the river.  I invited members of my outdoors club to join me this year.  There were some folks who are usually hikers but who wanted to try paddling. Most people on the trip had a fair amount of previous paddling experience. We made the trip with 8 people in 4 canoes, which was a perfect number for staying together and moving along.

There is a really decent municipal campground adjacent to Vega (Klondyke or Klondike) Ferry. We camped both nights at the campground for $12/site, and there was firewood and a cook shelter available. Most of us gathered at the A&Ws in Barrhead, where we could also purchase food & beverages nearby.  There was a worry about how high and fast the river might be, so we met at the bridge near Fort Assiniboine to assess. The group decided that things looked manageable, so we locked up our canoes by the bridge, before proceeding to our campsites. Saturday morning we started out fairly early, returning to the put-in with 2 vehicles.

Most of the day on the water was very pleasant.  Although there were dark clouds on both sides of the river a lot of the day, there was no heavy rain or lightning. The speed of the river kept us moving at a comfortable pace. We spotted deer and moose along the river, eagles, and assorted other birds and wildlife. As we neared our destination, the wind picked up and we had to work very hard to keep moving forward for about 30-45 minutes. Luckily, the wind died down again and we reached the campground with plenty of time to relax and fix dinner.  Some of us returned to pick up our vehicles from the put-in, and I enjoyed the old-time general store and lovely coffee shop in Fort Assiniboine.  Some of the group checked out a short hike in the morning. My trip partner had an injured ankle, so we explored the discount stores and

On Sunday, some of the group checked out a short hike in the morning. My trip partner had an injured ankle, so we explored the discount stores and Pokestops of Westlock on the way back to Edmonton. There were hearty, healthy lunch dishes available at the grocery store.  It was lovely to watch the crops and livestock along the highway. An excellent weekend adventure!

3 Ways Pokémon GO Can Create Meaningful Learning Opportunities | EdTech Magazine

Pokémon GO has only been available in Canada for about 10 days, but it’s become extremely popular, in a very short amount of time.  Players should pay attention to their surroundings, and they should be considerate of people who live and work near Poké Stops & Gyms, where you collect weapons and have battles.  Unlike other video games, players have to get out and move around their communities to play Pokémon GO.  It’s very interesting to see how much exercise players are getting, and how much interaction is happening, when players meet each other.  So many strangers have given me advice about how to play!  Think about some skills that you want to learn and how you can use Pokémon GO to help you learn those skills.  Prepositions are one area of vocabulary and grammar that are often difficult to learn.  Ask for advice and give it about where to locate Pokéstops, gyms, and monsters! Find new places around your neighbourhood, as well as when you go someplace new.

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A Pokémon gym in Fort Assiniboine, AB, also the world’s largest wagon wheel & pick!

Educators from around the web offer ideas for incorporating Pokémon GO into the classroom.

Source: 3 Ways Pokémon GO Can Create Meaningful Learning Opportunities | EdTech Magazine

Short stint on Iron Horse Trail: Vilna, Garner Lake PP

Vilna is home to the "World's Largest Mushroom"!

This year (2016) isn’t looking like a very good year for me to add a lot of kilometres to my goal of hiking all of Alberta’s Iron Horse Trail.  My hiking friend and I just don’t have the same weekends available as each other for most of the summer.  For some reason, hiking 300 kilometres on a flat, gravel ATV trail doesn’t seem to appeal to most people!  No matter, we’re working on continuing our trek.

Canada Day (July 1) is a holiday for Canadians, and a long weekend this year, since the day falls on a Friday.  My friend did the Canada Day Road Race, so she wasn’t able to join me at the campground (Garner Lake) until late afternoon on Friday.  The weather for the whole weekend alternated between glorious sunlight, dark clouds, electrical storms, and torrential downpours.  Luckily, the beautiful, small campground contains at least 2 cook shelters, one with power.  Rather than dodging raindrops while we cooked, we prepared about half of our meals in the shelter.  I spent most of Friday morning there, doing my usual online surfing, while the rain poured down.  This campground is the nicest one I’ve visited for families with young children.  The playground is amazing, located right beside the 24-hour bathroom/shower house.  At one point, there were over 20 children in the campground, which has only 60 sites!  The park ranger was visible every 30 minutes or so, roaming the park by truck, on a bicycle, on foot, and hanging out at the playground. Facilities were clean and well-maintained.  My favourite feature is a large, clean beach, with water that was quite suitable for swimming.  There is a boat launch, and the motor boats get noisy at times.  However, nobody used a generator within earshot, and there were no noisy parties.  There were fireworks on the lake every night, and a group of people sang “Oh Canada”, roaming around the campground in the evening, and at the end of the fireworks.

Saturday, we gassed up and drove to Vilna to leave a car.  On arrival, I promptly ran over a piece of metal and completely flattened my tire.  After a call to AMA, a local fellow showed up to remove my flat, and install my temporary tire.  While he was doing that, I searched online for the nearest tire shop that was open on a Saturday: St. Paul, 60 kilometres away!  Luckily, my friend visited the local gift shop where she learned that there was a tire shop right there in Vilna!  The proprietor was already busy with another tire repair when I arrived, but he said he could have mine ready later in the afternoon.  Since we had a few hours to kill, we decided to go ahead and hike, but less mileage than planned.  We drove about 8 kilometres down the highway, and hiked back towards Vilna.  The weather turned out to be perfect for our hike, cool and cloudy.

This stretch of the trail is within view of highway 28, and it’s very flat and straight.  Thanks to the recent rains, the gravel was well-packed, and comfortable for hiking.  Several ATVs passed us along the way.  There were plenty of wildflowers and butterflies to enjoy.  When we got back to Vilna, my tire was ready to be reinstalled on my car.  $30, cash only.

We really admired Vilna and their efforts at preserving a town with dwindling population.  Most of the Main Street businesses have been painted and beautified. We saw many groups of residents out walking together and socializing. Many houses were well-maintained, and the gardens looked glorious!

The weather was suitable for the beach after we returned to the campground, and we had lovely campfires and great meals for our stay. Unfortunately, my friend aggravated her sciatic nerve at some point in the weekend, and she was in no shape to go walking again on Sunday. We took our time packing up and I got another swim before getting on the road.  There was lovely, fresh produce available at Linda’s Market Garden in Smoky Lake, and I aimed for the Iron Horse Restaurant in Wasketenau for lunch.  I arrived there just as the lightning blazed and the rain dumped everywhere. As soon as I got into the restaurant, I could hear the crash of a transformer blowing, and the power went out in the restaurant.  Luckily, they had a breakfast buffet already prepared.  One more stop, at Two Sergeants Brewery in Fort Saskatchewan, and the weekend was at an end.

Gallery

Pow Wow Season 2016

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Every summer, there are colourful, amazing festivals that take place at First Nations all around the province.  Dancers and drummer practice all through the winter season, and family members help to make the dancer’s regalia by hand.  I have posted … Continue reading

23 Reasons Why Edmonton Is The Worst City In Canada

The title of this post is meant to be ironic. It’s not true that Edmonton is the worst city in Canada. In fact, it has the largest park system in North America, tons of recreation facilities, and non-stop festivals in fun. You can stay away if you want, but you’ll miss out, if you do!

What’s so great about a mall, anyway?

Source: 23 Reasons Why Edmonton Is The Worst City In Canada

Memories from my past~student writing

My Favourite Places

I can say that I had a wonderful childhood. I grew up in a small city among many cousins who were the same age as me. My mother is from a small town near my hometown, where we have a lot of relatives. We visited it every 6 months. The city is called Palermo, and it has several rivers, fields, trees, and good places to share time with your friends and family. Its environment is perfect for raising children. My cousins and I used to go to the river every weekend for swimming and making up new adventures and stories. We ran around the town playing different games such as soccer, hide and seek (it was the most common and exciting game for us), and parades. Moreover, we visited an uncle who lived on a farm, where all the family sat around a fireplace to listen to his old stories about ghosts. It was a great family moment, but at the same time, scary.

My other favourite place was my paternal grandmother’s home. She lived on a small farm, surrounded by nature. It did not have rivers, but instead, it had a lot of trees. I had good adventures with my 3 brothers in that place. We climbed trees to reach fruit, for instance, guayabas, mangos, avocados, mangas (it is a big mango), and guanabanas. Sometimes, my brothers made mischief and my grandmother always got mad. However, she calmed down quickly and we continued playing. She told us stories about when she was younger. We really enjoyed the time we shared with her.

Although I loved and enjoyed every moment with my brothers and cousins in those wonderful places, I hated the mosquitos. I had to wear repellent and long-sleeved T-shirts every single day. Otherwise, I could get painful and itchy hives. In spite of my precautions, I always got hives. Other bad memories about my adventures with my cousins are when my twin cousins pushed me into the river in deep areas with a strong stream. Luckily, their father, ‘’other uncle’’ always rescued me or I did it for myself, but finally I learned to swim and my cousins grew up. Therefore, this event only happened a couple of times.

To sum up, I enjoyed my childhood, sharing time with my cousins and brothers. So, if somebody asks me about how many friends I had as a child, I would say that I had few friends because most of my time was spent with my family.

A “Near-Death” Experience

I grew up in a small city close to Avignon, south of France. My city is surrounded by nature. As a child, I loved biking around with my friends, building tree houses or dams on the river. I have this nostalgic memory about this dam we built with my friend Remy. We were 12 and it was the summer season. Because school was done, we spent our whole time playing outside. Unfortunately and unusually, it can be rainy some days during the summer. When that was happening, we were pretty bored with Remy. However, during this boring rainy afternoon, we decided to plan what to do the next day. We thought it could be a great idea to build a dam, so we figured out where to do that, and what we would need. We decided a location not too far away, because we would have to bring stuff. Then we prepared all the equipment we needed in the garage at my house, such as ropes, wood planks, and nails. Also, because it was a big project, we prepared snacks and beverages for the big day and we also thought that taking our swimsuits could be a good idea. We were really excited about our project. After completing the preparations, we agreed to meet the next day at 10 am at my home.

Then the day came. Remy arrived at 10 and we loaded our bikes with our materials. The adventure could start! After biking for twenty minutes, we arrived at our chosen location. It was a small river, stuck between two vineyards. After the rainy day, that day was a shiny day and it was already really hot even though it was only 11. Taking our swimsuits was definitely a good idea! We also had chosen this location because lots of bamboo was growing there. In addition to our wood planks, it would be the perfect material to build our dam. We started working by cutting bamboo and gathering rocks. However, we had an incident. Remy got a splinter in his hand. It was really often that we got those when we were building something with wood and it could ruin our plans, because that was painful. Anyways, we couldn’t give up our project so we had to operate. I was the doctor and I had to take the splinter out. Without the necessary material I was thinking that I couldn’t succeed and our day would be ruined. By chance, I managed to take the splinter out. Even now, I realize it was not an exploit for this particular day. It was vital, and succeeding made me really proud. After several hours of work, the dam was almost done when suddenly we heard someone yelling at us. It was a furious farmer with a rifle (gun) who was running towards us. In the beginning, we didn’t understand why he was so mad but because of our fear, we just grabbed all the stuff we could and we biked away as fast as we could. Unfortunately, we left behind a hammer, our snacks, and one towel. My parents weren’t happy about that. We understood later why the farmer was mad. Even though it was just a game for us, our dam blocked and slowed down the river and the farmer needed the water for his crops. Now I laugh about this story but when it happened I was scared to death and because of this story, it took Remy and me several years before going back there.

One summer vacation that changed my husband’s opinion

 Most average people spend all their lives running somewhere or for something. Someone is running to work because he or she is late, parents are running to school to pick up their children, another is running to buy a meal at a store, or I am running to a gym and running here and there all my life. But the most important thing is to enjoy every moment of our lives, because you can’t buy happiness with money.

One day, I stopped running and we decided that every year, our small family would travel to a new place. Two years ago, my husband and I went for summer vacation to Christina Lake in British Columbia. Our route to Christina Lake took almost 12 hours to drive and 971 kilometers on highways number 2, then number 22, and finally we drove on #3. Because my husband is the only one who drives, we stayed at Fernie for one night. Fernie is a small mountain town that has saved the Wild West style in their downtown. There, we had the most delicious ice cream from a local store, “Happy Cow”. During our trip, we saw a few old ghost towns and a very old mini-museum.

When we got to Christina Lake, we were surprised, because we saw that it was a very small town with a big and beautiful lake. Canadians say, “Christina Lake is one of the best-kept secrets in British Columbia”. For the whole week, our busy lives changed to lazy and relaxed lives. Every day, we had a regular cup of coffee with our neighbours. There was a very friendly squirrel, which visited us every morning. During the day, we went swimming and had our lunch on the beach or in a local café. One day it was cloudy and we went hiking on Cascade Gorge Trail and by the Christina River. In the evening, we usually stayed in the campground and cooked our supper on the barbecue. I almost forgot, one evening we had a country music concert at the campground. It was the most romantic night under a starry sky. And finally, when we came back to Edmonton, my husband said, “I learned how to enjoy life”. I just smiled because it had taken me a few years to convince him that we should stop running and have a vacation every summer. At this moment, I knew it was a new beginning for our family. It was the most fabulous time for our family, and we still discuss every pleasant moment of our trip to Christina Lake.

 

 

Advice for a Newcomer to Edmonton, Canada; student writing, could/should

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Hi Buddy,

 

When you arrive in Edmonton, you should have your coat and scarf ready. Make sure to include a good pair of shoes because it has already snowed, but do not be afraid. It’s very beautiful to be a part of the cold winter.

When we are together, you could learn that Tim Hortons is famous here for their coffee. You should choose the large-size coffee to warm up. You should go to an English school to schedule an interview, but you shouldn’t arrive late anywhere because punctuality is very important.

Finally, you should bring an international driver’s license, because you could drive my car that I’ll provide with pleasure.

See you,

P.s.: Could you bring me a “Super 8” chocolate? I will be very grateful.

 

Hi,

Edmonton is a great city. It’s very beautiful and has everything for you to do. Here, there are pretty good and big shopping areas, parks and places for visiting. In the summer, it’s very good, but now it’s amazing. I met some people in Brazil who would like to come here now, but I advise a great coat and boots for seeing the snow. It’s very cold. They should have a lot of money for eating, a hotel and activities here. Edmonton and other cities nearby are all very expensive.

In the winter, people usually go out for skiing and other activities. I think it’s a great idea. They could go skiing and see the mountains, which are also a fantastic option.

The restaurants here are wonderful, but they are also very expensive. They should bring a lot of money. The hotels are good too, but they should look with attention before booking, so they don’t have any surprises.

I think the people in Canada are terrific and very polite. They could be a little more patient with people in hotels and restaurants. In Brazil the people are polite too, but sometimes they don’t have a lot of patience when they don’t like something.

I’d like them to have a good vacation here.

 

Hello my friend,

I’m writing this letter to give you some information about Canada, especially Edmonton. It’s an interesting city. If you like winter sports, you should come in the winter. There are so many activities to do like skiing, skating and hockey. You could watch a live hockey game. You should buy warm clothes: a good coat, gloves and comfortable shoes. You could buy a ticket online or at a travel office, but you shouldn’t arrive late for your flight.

If you like nice weather, you could come in spring or summer, when there are so many things to do. You could walk next to the river or go running there. It’s so beautiful, especially in summer time. You could visit the museum and you should go to the mountains, where there is a beautiful view and good places to stay.

So I’m waiting for you request.

Best Regards,

 

Dear Godparents,

For your trip to Edmonton you should be at the airport three hours before your boarding time. Because of the attacks and threats, they have increased security measures. Then, you should take your luggage to the check-in counter. When you arrive here, you could take a taxi but it’s not necessary because I’ll pick you up. Now it’s very cold and there is snow, so you should bring warm clothes and snow boots. You could bring them but if they aren’t warm enough, we could buy some new boots or clothes here. I think it’s not necessary for you to bring anything more. Remember that you must pick up your luggage in the Toronto airport (Pearson) for it to be reviewed in immigration. Then, you should take your luggage to the check-in counter and them you should go through security one more time. You shouldn’t worry because it’s very easy, and you can rest when you arrive. When you have rested, we are going to see the city and we could visit different places like the Rocky Mountains and you will be very happy to have been here.

 

Dear family,

When you visit me, remember this advice: you could come here in winter or summer. When you buy your ticket, you should decide immediately what seat you want in the plane. You could have an aisle seat or a window seat. I prefer a window seat, but you need to interrupt other people, for example, when you want to go the bathroom.

 

If it’s winter, you should bring gloves, a hat, a scarf, tights and all kinds of very warm clothes and shoes. You should bring moisturizing cream because the air here is very dry and you will probably need more moisture in your skin.

 

Edmonton is really a very nice city and the people are friendly but when you meet a new person you should greet them without kissing. Some people greet you with a handshake. When you visit in a house, generally you should take off your shoes.

 

Here in the winter, you have a lot of options for enjoying the winter. You could go skiing, snowboarding or hiking in the snow. You should visit West Edmonton Mall. It’s a big shopping centre, and it was the world’s largest commercial centre in the past. And you should also visit the arena to watch a team play a hockey game because it’s a very fast and exciting sport.

 

I think you should see Banff and Jasper. In Banff, Lake Louise is so beautiful. These are interesting places for enjoying nature and practicing different sports.

 

 

I think that Edmonton is an amazing city, especially for its nature and tranquility. People here could have different options, such as shopping, hiking, concerts, nightclubs, and good restaurants. But, I think that people should do or see a principally winter activity, such as skiing, hiking in the river valley, or seeing a hockey game.

When my cousin is going to stay here, he should ski or go snowboarding. He could go to Snow Valley Ski Club, Rabbit Hill Snow Resort or Edmonton Ski Club. He should see an Oilers game, and he could watch the game on TV or go to Arena. I think that he should see the game in the Arena, where he is going to feel more emotion and connection with the Canadian people. For me, the best place in Edmonton is always in the river valley, and my cousin should go hiking or cross country skiing in this place.

 

My parents will soon come to Canada only for visiting my sister. When they arrive here, they should buy jackets, gloves and boots for the snow. It’s very important because it’s very cold here. Also, they could buy or bring medical supplies. They’re older and should be careful.

My sister could choose winter activities for them, relaxing things that they would like. She couldn’t choose extreme activities and she should choose the best things for them.

My mom should make Mexican food because my sister loves my mom’s food. She could make enchiladas or tamales, my sister’s favourite foods.

Welcome to Canada. Canada is cold in the winter, especially in Edmonton. It is really cold here in winter, sometimes 30 or 40 degrees below zero. The snow is thick also the wind is very strong. You should put on thick coats, wear a cotton-padded cap, scarves and gloves, and you should also put on thick cotton shoes. There better be good quality cotton shoes for the snow, so you can walk on the snow without falling. Edmonton public facilities have air conditioning, like buses, and the shopping mall so you should wear thick clothes outside, but when you are inside, you need less clothes, so make sure that it’s easy to take off your coat in public.

If you drive in Edmonton, you should choose an SUV or another relatively heavy car. This is convenient for you in the snow. You should drive slowly and carefully, and not too close to the car in front of you, in order to prevent accidents.

If you want to come skiing in Edmonton, you should rent ski equipment here.

 

Hi Friend!

How are you? I am good!   We are waiting for you to visit. We can meet you at the airport. Canada is a very interesting country and we want to show it to you. Could you write to me where you want to go? It is winter now. You should bring a warm jacket and some sweaters. And you should bring warm and comfortable shoes. Clothing should be warm and comfortable. We will be doing a lot of walking.

Also, we can go to the gym, so you should bring sportswear. We can have a good time.

 

 

Good & Bad Experiences: vacations and nights out

 

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My necessary travel equipment: passport, ID & money, and a good book

 

Last night:

 

Last night, I went out with my friends. Nine women got together, and we went to Pampa. It’s a Brazilian restaurant that’s downtown. It’s a good restaurant but more expensive. We had meat and wine, and we talked about men, politics and life. We had a fun time there, and then we went to Central Social Hall. It’s a bar, and we drank and danced there. I don’t like drinking alcohol very much, so I drank one Cuba Libre, which is rum with Coca Cola. I don’t like dancing either, so I didn’t go out very late. I got home at midnight. I went home in my friend’s boyfriend’s car. The rest of my friends danced and drank until very late, so they got home about 3 o’clock. It was a good night but not very much fun for me.


When we traveled to Real de Catorce, my first bad experience was when we burst a tire on the way. We had to stop for 3 hours because we hadn’t brought a spare tire, and that was boring. The people in the village were friendly, and they helped us to buy another tire because we didn’t know where to go.

My second bad experience was in the desert. When we were down in the desert, it started raining and we couldn’t ride because the land was converted to quicksand. We got stuck in the mud for 5 hours, and we had to stand around until the rain was over. It was terrible and funny because when we finished, we were very dirty.


I’m writing about a night out with friends. One weekend, three months ago, I went to another city to visit two very good friends.

When I arrived at my friend’s house, I got dressed in her home to go out. After that, we went to pick up my other friend. We went first to a restaurant for dinner and after that, we went to a quiet pub to drink and talk. Once we went into the bar, we met other friends and we decided go to a party in another city 1 hour away from this city. But the four had drunk alcohol, so that wasn’t a great idea. We drove, and then left my car in the parking lot, so we paid for a taxi to travel to the other city. We danced and drank until 7 in the morning. In the disco, I lost my coat, but someone returned it. The moment with my friends was fantastic and it finished when they closed the disco. Then, we returned to my friend’s house and slept here. When I got up, I remembered my car but I didn’t remember where it was parked, so my friend and I searched for it for 2 hours! I was very angry and I felt pretty bad but finally I found my car and laughed about the experience.


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In Edmonton, the Sugar Bowl is a restaurant and bar, and this is my favourite place. I went with a friend two weeks ago. I wanted to have food with meat, but because of my limited English, the waiter didn’t understand me and I got three burgers. I was eating burgers all week and I didn’t want this food any more! But this restaurant is always excellent. I get breakfast there with my husband every weekend, and we always have a good time there. We talk about our families, our country and our experiences and plans in Canada. There, I can see interesting people, and the majority are students at University of Alberta. The ambiance is very nice. When I finish my breakfast, I get a coffee and I go to my apartment walking between the trees, and beside the river.


Hi,

I traveled to the beach in Brazil two years ago with my husband. We drove there by car. It was great because I love to drive for a long time.

When we arrived there, it was a terrible experience for me. The place was beautiful. But everything went wrong that day. The weather was pretty bad; it was raining a lot and cold. We didn’t go to the beach. We stayed in the hotel for one day with nothing to do. The hotel was horrible. The people were unfriendly, they didn’t accept cards, only money, they didn’t have parking for the car, and the room smelled bad. I didn’t like the sheets because they weren’t clean enough for me. I asked my husband to move to another hotel, but they were all full. However, I liked the food. It was terrific.

At night, my husband and I went out to see the city. I loved the city; it was fantastic. There were good restaurants, many stores were open late at night and many people were in the street. It was supposed to be a three-day vacation, but we returned home on the second day.

I went back there again, but that time, the weather was amazing and we stayed at a fantastic hotel.


I went out with some friends, and we went to a pub and restaurant. It was a good one, with a beautiful design. We had typical food, like steak, salad, and fish, and then we had wine and entertainment. It was a very good evening. My friends and I enjoyed live music, we danced, and we talked about our vacations and experiences. We enjoyed our evening and we went home by taxi. We left the pub at 2 am, and we got at home about 2:30 am.

Fantastic. We had a great time: 10/10 points.


Bad experiences.

I went home last September, and I when I came back to Edmonton, my flight was terrible. I had to wait in the airport for 3 hours. The food on the plane was bad because it was cold. The flight attendants were also cold. After I got to Montréal at 11 pm, I missed my other flight, and I waited in airport another 12 hours for the next one. I was very tired because I didn’t sleep. After that, I finally arrived in Edmonton. For me, it was a bad experience.




A bad day in Valencia:

My girlfriend and I went to Valencia in the summer. One day was horrible because that day the people were unfriendly and cold in general and the weather was terrible (Oh my God!): It rained all day! My girlfriend lost her wallet in the restaurant where we went that day and the food was pretty bad (we did not return). At night, we went to a pub with live music and it was fantastic (we liked it). We drank a lot of alcohol, we ate a very big meal and then we went home by car at about 7:00 a.m. It was a day to forget, a bad day.


Hi sweetie,

How are you?   I went to Beijing.   The weather was fantastic. First I drove to Bar Street, a street with about 50 bars. The people were friendly. I was lost, and they directed me. I went to Wangfujing Hotel, where there were lots of people and delicious food. After dinner, I went to a teahouse because it’s a good place to talk.

Holiday: My husband, my son and I came to Beijing. The weather was horrible, we couldn’t get a taxi, I lost my luggage, and I was very anxious. The people were unfriendly. We checked into a hotel, but it was dark. When we came to a restaurant, it was crowded with too many people, and someone stole my wallet. I felt so depressed, and this holiday was very unhappy.


I wanted to tell you about my trip when I went to Germany.

This was a bad experience. Why? Let me explain that. I flew from Belgium to Frankfurt in Germany and on the plane, everyone was talking in German and a little English. I was frustrated, and I didn’t know what to do when I needed something. I didn’t know how to ask questions. You know what? I asked for water to drink and I didn’t specify that I wanted mineral water, either non-sparkling or with gas. So, the hostess gave me gas water, which I didn’t like because I don’t like sparkling water.

When I arrived in Frankfurt, I couldn’t find one of my suitcases. This was another problem, how to ask the question and in what language? The people didn’t respond, and they were unfriendly and very cold.

But just after, I asked another hostess the question: did she work at the airport, and did she speak French? She replied yes, and I was very happy because I was already starting to cry. And she got the information about my luggage. She told me to write everything that I had in my luggage and also the address where I would be. She told me to be quiet, and they would send me home. The good news is that I received my luggage 3 days later.

Thanks


I went out with my friends, Victoria and Elvira, in August. I wore blue trousers, a white blouse, and high heel shoes. My friends also wore nice clothes.

We went to “Hard Rock Café”, which is a bar and restaurant. There is good food and live music. On the weekends, various rock bands perform.

We had different dishes and drank wine and beer. We talked about music, movies and fashion.

We had a wonderful time.

After the restaurant, our husbands came for us. I got home at 1:30 am.


When we lived in Kuala Lumpur, I had bad experiences with taxi drivers. My daughter and I were returning from my friends’ place. We caught a taxi near her home. He said that price would be 15 RM. When we arrived, he said that the price was 50 RM. When I refused to pay, the taxi driver shouted at us. The guard from our condominium helped us. I paid 15 RM and he left. It was terrible and unpleasant.



IMG_2363.JPGWhen I flew to Canada I had a very stressful trip. This was my first flight, I flew alone, and I didn’t know the English language. The entire trip lasted 20 hours. I had two transfers, first in Warsaw in Poland. I had very little time, maybe 50 minutes and I was afraid that I would not make my connecting flight. And my second flight change was in Toronto, Canada. The airport was very large and very strange. I had to find my baggage and my plane to Edmonton. I had three hours until my next plane to Edmonton, but checking to find my baggage and debriefings in Customs and Immigration took me a long time. Everything is very difficult when you don’t speak the English language. My last flight from Toronto to Edmonton was first delayed for 30 minutes and then the storms ended, and we could land in Edmonton. When I landed I was very happy because I was very tired of traveling. For my 2 weeks back in Poland, unfortunately, I have to survive this journey again. I have learned a little English, so it will certainly be easier!

 

The Best of Edmonton

The students in my low intermediate class are studying about shopping, and they have learned a lot about using comparative and superlative adjectives. Here, they share some of the best places that they have found around Edmonton.

I like Edmonton because the society is relaxed. Edmonton is a cultural, governmental and educational centre. It hosts a year-round slate of festivals, reflected in the nickname, Canada’s Festival City. In Canada, it’s the most popular city for festivals.

Fort Edmonton Park is an attraction in Edmonton, which is the largest living history museum in Canada by area.

If you stay in a hotel, the most expensive is The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, and it has four stars. The price is $228.44 and that doesn’t include taxes and service fees of USD 28.03.

Here in Edmonton, you have to pay more GST (like VAT or HST).

If you want to buy the least expensive fruits and vegetables, No Frills is the least expensive grocery store.

If you want to visit a mall, West Edmonton mall is the biggest in Edmonton. Before, it was the biggest in the world but now it is only the most popular. You can find anything, you like there.

Hello! I’m from Brazil. Now I live in Edmonton, and I have stayed in Edmonton for five months. I haven’t had a long time to make great suggestions, but I’m enjoying my time a lot. Edmonton has a lot of great festivals in the summer. You should go to the Heritage Festival, Taste of Edmonton or Fringe Festival Theater. Most festivals are amazing for families or on your own. Taste of Edmonton and Heritage festival both have food, but Heritage doesn’t have drinks with alcohol. Taste of Edmonton has a specific location for tasting wine and beer. Heritage has a lot of different traditional food and dances from all over the world. This is fantastic because you can learn a little about the culture of other countries. At the Fringe Theater Festival you should watch a presentation of arts on the street, for example, magic, acrobatics, or juggling outside or inside. If you watch theatre inside, you paid too much money. You can see pictures, handicrafts and snacks if you take more time.

I have some other suggestions for the best restaurants, nicest hotels, best department stores, most unusual markets and the most interesting museums. The best restaurant you should try is Rick’s. If you can spend more money, you could try Lux steakhouse. I don’t know a lot of hotels, but you could try Matrix Hotel. This hotel is downtown, and it has breakfast and a nice environment. The best mall you could visit is Southgate because it has a lot of stores, clothes, house, shoes, sports and others things. If you like to walk and have time, you could go to South Edmonton Common. The most unusual market you should go to a farmers’ market on Saturday on 104 Street. The most interesting museum near Edmonton is in Drumheller. You should visit Telus World of Science or Drumheller Museum to see the dinosaurs. In Edmonton, there are a lot of different places for you to visit.

When you arrive in Edmonton you should go to West Edmonton Mall. In West Edmonton Mall, there are a lot of cheap shops and expensive shops, so it depends on what suits you. In West Edmonton Mall, you can buy whatever you like. You can buy all kinds of clothes, electronic products, toys, souvenirs, and food. Also in West Edmonton Mall you can spend your time pleasantly. The most unusual markets are Costco and Sobeys. I always go there. The best Chinese restaurant where I was is, “Double Greeting Wonton House”. This restaurant looks ugly, but there is good food! In my opinion, the nicest hotel in Edmonton is the Hotel Macdonald. I was there for a moment and I saw a cool dog there. In the lobby, there is a model Hotel Macdonald building built with Lego. I was at one festival in St Albert. This festival was about old cars and a lot of people brought their own old cars and drove them around my street. For me, this was amazing because cars in Poland are different than Canadian cars.

Places to visit when you are in Edmonton:

When visiting Edmonton, you shouldn’t miss:

If you visit with children you can’t miss the most interesting park, “Fort Edmonton Park”!

Another park is “William Hawrelak Park”, and this is the most beautiful park in summer and in winter.

The best and the nicest Hotel is “Fairmont Hotel Macdonald” but it is also the most expensive.

The most interesting market is the “Farmers Market” in Old Strathcona. But there are many other interesting markets in the city in the summer.

“The Royal Alberta Museum” is the nicest museum in Edmonton.

But if you want to buy something, you can visit the biggest mall in America: “West Edmonton Mall” and after that, you can eat in the best restaurant in Edmonton: “Sorrentino’s Restaurant” or in the most unusual restaurant, “Louisiana Purchase” where you can eat crocodile.

I hope you enjoy your visit.