The quads swam over to see me this morning during my walk down by the lake... I was amazed at how quickly they had grown up -- it seems like only yesterday they were babies, and now, suddenly, they are big, gangly teenagers, still grey/brown with some white showing through!
Of course, I immediately thought of Alex and Simon, who yesterday were tiny helpless babies, screaming all the time, and now suddenly are giant 6-year-olds going into Grade One! I can only imagine my heart breaking when they are teenagers! (Thankfully, Simon has informed me he will not be getting married, and that he will be staying with us in our home until we die. Ha ha!)
Flakier than a panzarotti, crunchier than spanikopita, a pastizzi is a type of cross between a samosa and a croissant. I know, because today I devoured my first one!
It went like this...
Trevor and the boys and I were out at the "bigfoot playground" with some 11-week-old twins we have been volunteering with. Suddenly, Alex HAD to go pee, RIGHT NOW!!! (Anyone with six-year-olds at home will get the urgency here.) So, Trevor took him to the nearest cafe/restaurant, which happened to be "Joe's Pastizzi Plus" across the street.
When they came out of the washroom, the proprieter enquired as to whether they had ever sampled a pastizzi. Upon recieving Trevor's negative response, the dear woman immediately pressed two fresh, warm and flakey, cheese-filled pastizzis into his hands, insisting he take them for free, and suggesting if he like them, he come back to buy more.
I was instantly sold -- what a delectable treat, especially fresh!
I ran back across the street to pick up a few for the dear, tired parents of the newborn twins we had stolen for the afternoon, and was delighted to discover that pastizzis come in multiple flavours!! Along with three cheese-filled options, I also picked up a few corned beef, peas and onion varieties. They were as well rec'd by the mother of the newborn twins as they had been by me, and by Trevor before me.
Pastizzi -- YUM! Pick some up yourself at 6070 Dundas Street West, near Islington Ave.
Alex and Simon got their haircut today...
Amazing to think that two little boys with the same DNA could look so different!
Our short week in PEI seems long ago and far away! And then the drive home... and now my three days in Quebec learning about the history of the city and of our nation with Harry Hunkin and going deeper with Instructional Intelligence under the guidance of Barrie Bennett are drawing to a close also.
I offer up this photo essay... click on the first image to begin a self-navigated tour of the larger images, with captions underneath.
Upon arriving in PEI, I quickly learned the Island way is that we acknowledge each other. Not only do people greet each other when walking down the street, but even while driving, Islanders give a friendly wave to passers-by. So entrenched is this fact that I was quite taken aback while walking to the beach yesterday, when I encountered a car whose driver did NOT return my friendly acknowledgement.
Curious, I examined the liscence plate. It was from Ontario!
Happily, there were enough friendly locals to distract me from my frustration; upon returning home from the beach, I discovered that dear Henry and Ada Compton from down the way had dropped off a bag of potatotoes (FRESH out of the ground!) when they delivered the used bikes we had bought from them earlier in the day.
While munching potatoes with dinner last night, I reflected... we Ontarians ought also to acknowledge one another, and not just on the Island!
This evening we ventured to the Lighthouse with Jasper and the boys. What an incredible spot! No wonder so many artists call PEI home! See our photos here.
So, for the fourth time in the last two days, I have discovered a penny in the house -- when I grab a towel or move furniture, they seem to just fall out of nowhere! I am beginning to think it is not a coincidence....
At the Airport
At a tiny airport like Ch'town, what are the odds of meeting someone who also comes from Mimico, has a dog who she flew down with while here husband drove here with the kids, and owns a house near St. Pete's?! W
The cabbie was quite chatty, regaling me with his late night tales from the PEI and away. Somehow we got on the topic of foreigners. I politely inquired from whence they came (having noticed a dire absence of colour on my previous visits, I was eager to hear where I might find this cultural enrichment). He hesitated, searching for a country whose name he did not know. “Well, you know, er, camel riders”, he finally proclaimed, “they come here ‘n’ lern English for a few years, then they goes back home!”
I am assuming he was referring to the Lebanese, who have a long and storied history on Prince Edward Island.
Who knew those sorts of racially inappropriate terms were still in vogue in some parts of the country?!
Waffles and Whipped Cream
If Island time is down time, then delicious, homemade breakfasts are in order. One this day one of my arrival, I had a friend from Morell over for breakfast. He brought bananas, and I whipped up some cinnamon pecan waffles. Yum!
The Bird is Tired
Upon being let loose at the beach, Jasper immediately made a beeline for the shore, and swiftly climbed back up to the main road, where he eagerly began visiting various cottages. Delighted to discover a babbling baby in the arms of her mommy, the Bird happily wagged at their screen door until I caught up to him and re-leashed him. From there, we headed back home, stopping at a neighbour’s yard to play with two labs. Thoroughly exhausted after his first romp in the wilds of PEI, Jasper flopped down on the floor beside my chair in the living room, and has not moved for the past hour!
I flew a plane today!
It was a small plane, a C-150 (a little 2-seater), but it had wings, and I helped with take-off and steering, and we ascended and descended and did something to do with attitude and a whole bunch of other things I don’t remember the names for, and it was quite the experience!!!
Now, you may be wondering, "why would a teacher be interested in learning to fly?!"
Well, here’s the thing… After more than a decade in education, I have become a bit of an expert in my field (not that I don’t still have much more to learn about teaching and workshop facilitation, but the truth is that most people in my field that I deal with day to day are simply less good at what we do than I am now. That's not meant to be a derrogatory comment, just an observation. Many of the professional learning opportunities I have been made to attend over the past few years simply don't challenge me the way they did when I was new to this teaching gig. I guess it’s just a fact that comes with time, commitment, passion and experience in any profession. Teaching is my life’s work, and I’ve been doing it long enough and in such a precision-focussed manner that I have grown quite skilled at this thing we call teaching!)
So, to push my thinking to the next level, I thought it was time to begin learning something completely different. As someone who has flown commercially a fair amount, I have always been intrigued by how pilots and air traffic control people and all the others who make a flight happen work together. Reading a passage from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers about a year ago solidified this interest, as he examined the interpersonal dynamics that made an airline successful (or not so successful).
Apart from the personal dynamics around flying, I have a bit of an issue with science-related stuff. My dad was a nuclear physicist with Atomic Energy Canada, but he died when I was a baby, and I myself am not so science-minded. In fact, I try to avoid most things science, and have even traded off this subject as a teacher, preferring instead to teach math, reading, music… anything but science!
So, I figured pursuing my interest in the personnel aspect of flying might offer a somewhat more palatable manner of familiarizing myself with a little science.
Wow, am I ever in over my head!!!
The language spoken by the flight instructors and others at the Island Flight School in Toronto, where I will be studying, was completely foreign to me. As I sat in the waiting room before my first lesson, I realised that I didn’t understand about 50% of what they were saying to each other. Semantically, syntactically or graphophonically… the words and nuances didn't made any sense to me at all!!!
This leads to a third reason for pursuing my pilot’s license: It’s a humbling experience.
One of the downfalls of being good at what you do is that you can get a little (or in my case, a lot!) cocky or arrogant. One way to combat this is to learn something completely new and different: Although I made many, many connections to teaching and learning during my first flight lesson this morning, for the most part, I was a total moron: I know nothing about aviation, and everyone around me is – at this point – much smarter and better at it than I am! For me, that in itself is a new experience.
My grade 12 drama teacher wrote in a reference letter for me many years ago that I am “an eager learner and a quick study”. That’s true, but I am also getting older and slower. My neurons don’t fire as fast as they once did. Learning to fly is also, as my flight instructor’s mentor once told him, “not for peasants” (i.e. it costs a few bucks!), and we are trying these days to stay on a fairly rigid budget, so I will need to decide carefully how my limited dollars are spent. (For example, is a flying lesson really worth a pedicure and a facial?! Haha!)
So, while my initial enthusiasm is strong, the truth of the matter is, whether I succeed in completing the necessary ground school and in-flight hours to obtain my pilot’s license is still… well… “up in the air”. :D
It’s hard to presume positive intentions when you’re surrounded by idiots!
This weekend we discovered our neighbor a few floors below us went away for the weekend, leaving her dog all alone on the balcony for three days and two nights!!! Who leaves a dog on a balcony?! Seriously! The poor thing was whining and crying all weekend long, and who could blame it? The best part is that no one would help – we called the building super, she was in bed and would deal with it tomorrow (“he’s fine out there overnight, no?”) – we called animal control, they only come after hours if there is an emergency (I guess dying of a broken heart and possible dehydration doesn’t count) – we called the police (“what do you want us to do? We can’t enter the unit without a warrant unless it’s an emergency”) NO ONE WOULD HELP THIS POOR CREATURE!!
If there was a kid out there, all alone on the balcony for the weekend, with nothing but a bowl of water, 20 people would be lined up with ladders to rescue him. Alas, a dog’s fate is not so pretty.
“We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals”, wrote philosopher Immanuel Kant. So, you can imagine...
After writing for several teacher and multiple birth publications, including ETFO's Voice Magazine, Multiple Moments, and the Bulletwin, Vera turned her written attention to prolific blogging for some years, including BiB, "Learn to Fly with Vera!" and SMARTbansho . Homeschooling 4 was her travel blog in Argentina. She now spends more time on her Instagram (@schalgzeug_usw) than her blog (pictures are worth a thousand words?!)
The views expressed on this blog are the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the perspectives of her family members or the position of her employer on the the issues she blogs about. These posts are intended to share resources, document family life, and encourage critical thought on a variety of subjects. They are not intended to cause harm to any individual or member of any group. By reading this blog and viewing this site, you agree to not hold Vera liable for any harm done by views expressed in this blog.