Update Time!

It’s hard to believe how quickly 6 weeks can fly by!   After 5 weeks in Manitoba and then 1 week in Vancouver, it’s an understatement to say that I was happy to sleep in my own bed again!  Our cats were well cared for over the holiday and are happy as clams to have us home, back in our little routine.  Poe continues to act as my alarm clock and Hugo seems to be even more cuddly than ever!  Life is good here back in Suzhou!

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As you can see…she’s been VERY stressed…

Manitoba was a grand time.  We were able to catch up with friends, spend time with family and I even got to meet my nephew, Zachary, for the first time.  It’s funny because adults change so little from year to year, but the kids….WOW do they grow!  I’m convinced that at least 1 of my nephews is going to be taller than me next year!   My niece, Ellie, learned how to read over the past year and her little sister began talking…things change so much in their little lives while we’re away!

Our 5 weeks in Winnipeg were spent well.  We were able to see a Fringe Show, visit the Forks and even visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights!  Last year had been too rushed to stop by this architectural marvel, but I really enjoyed our afternoon there, learning new things and being reminded of things that shouldn’t be forgotten.

I organized a Paint Night with some of my favourite gals and that turned out to be a tonne of fun!  I’d recommend it as a fun night out to anyone who wishes they can paint or actually can paint!  I have artistic skills in that way and mine still turned out pretty well!  See!!!

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A good portion of my summer was spent outside.  I was able to play at the pool with my nieces and nephew, sit around bonfires and spend LOTS of time outside!  The air is so fresh and clean in Canada and the temperature is perfect for being outside.  Currently, it’s sitting at about 40 degrees Celsius in Suzhou, so I definitely miss the Prairie temperatures already!

Oddly enough, it was a game that took up most of our time in Manitoba!  Pokemon Go was all the rage back home and Dave and I spent countless hours walking around Steinbach and The Winnipeg Forks trying to catch a Pikachu or hatch a Snorlax.  I was never lucky on either of those counts, but my sister managed to catch 3 of the little yellow Pokemon!  I will forever be jealous, because Pokeman Go is banned in China.  It runs through Google Maps, which is blocked by the Great Fire Wall, so there is no Pokeman here for us to play.

We also had our yearly BBQ at St. Malo Provincial Park!  It was such a blast last year that we planned it out again this year.  We had loads of people come down and spent the day out in the sun with ys, playing in the water and enjoying WAYY Y too much food!

It’s hard to point to a ‘favourite’ memory of our 2016 trip home, but the most inspiring event was definitely Steinbach’s 1st Pride Parade.  Dave and I attended, expecting there to be a small crowd of maybe 100 or 200 people…little did we know that over 3500 people came in from all over the province for the event!  There were actually people who flew in all the way from Orlando for Steinbach’s first pride.  It was a pretty huge deal!

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The number of attendees was inspiring in of itself, but Steinbach’s reaction to the event was also good.  The Automobile City has caught a lot of flack over the last few years for their stance on LGBT rights and a variety of other subjects.  There have been issues within the school division over these matters and protests regarding bullying bills aimed at protecting LGBT students.  But instead of holding a protest or causing a fuss over the parade, Steinbach let it happen.

There were plenty of spectators there who were watching the parade and there was a tonne of support.  Many people in Steinbach have softened their views on homosexuality as they’ve grown to know people in the LGBT community or have learned that people in their own families are gay.  I saw many signs that said things like ‘proud parent’ or ‘supportive parent’.  It was really beautiful to see such acceptance  in a city that has previously been branded intolerant.  It was a huge step for Steinbach and although I know not everyone in the city agreed with the event…that’s not the point!  It’s ok not to agree with it…I’m just happy no one showed up with eggs or protest signs.  That’s what tolerance is, after all…accepting that people might thing differently than you.  You don’t have to agree with them, but you should give them the freedom to have their own beliefs.

So that is a very brief summary of our stay in Manitoba!  Our final week in Canada was spent in Vancouver, which I will be writing about soon!  I have 1 or 2 posts planned before I can get to our time on the West Coast, but I’m still off work until September 1st, so I should be able to get a fair amount of blogging in between now and then!

So, stay tuned for entertaining posts such as:

  • Beginning a new Semester in China…things teachers should know
  • Tips for new Expats living in Suzhou
  • Vivacious Vancouver: From Kits Beach to Stanley Park
  • Whale Watching off the West Coast of Canada

 

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