TUESDAY 23rd MAY
Hello again. This weekend I managed to squeeze in a visit to Whistler, which is in the Rocky Mountains, but I had to fly to Vancouver to get there. It was beautiful, and I mainly went there because it is one of the best mountain bike parks in the world. Needless to say, I had an an amazing time, and below are a few pictures (I also didn't fall off!). Vancouver is also a beautiful city, with stunning coastlines, parks and mountains.
In Vancouver, there are many signs of the original people who lived in Canada, known now as First Nations (you might know them as Indians, but that term is not used anymore.) Totem poles are unique to British Colombia and Alaska. They were carved from Western Red Cedar treea, and each carving tells of a real or mythical even. They were not idols, nor were they worshipped.
Each pole has a meaning; the eagle represents the kingdom of the air, the whale the lordship of the sea, the wolf the genius of the land and the the frog the transition line between land and sea.
Have a great half term,
WEDNESDAY 17th MAY
Another busy week over here in Canada. We went down to Waterton Lakes again to look for bears, and we were lucky to spot a mum and her two cubs in the distance, on a golf course. If you look closely in the photography below, you might be able to spot them.
I have also spotted a skunk this week, and got pretty close to it. Fortunately, it did not decide to spray me whilst I was getting this very grainy photo.
Hope you are enjoying the hot weather,
SUNDAY 7th MAY
This week we have had a massive heatwave, and it has been up to 33 degrees. The school here has air conditioning though, so it is nice and cool for lessons. The wildlife has really woken up now; there are Canada geese everywhere, thousands of huge insects in all the long grass, and, most worryingly, plenty of snakes. Yesterday we got very close to a Bull snake; I was terrified, as he was about a metre in length. Bull snakes look very much like rattlesnakes, and they can bite, but aren't usually dangerous. He disappeared down a metal tube pretty quickly, and they are definitely more scared of us humans on bikes than we are of them.
We have also been to the mountains on our bikes. If you remember from my very first post, people were fishing in the ice. As you will see below though, the ice has completely gone and the lake now looks lovely. Quite a few trees have fallen down over the winter, so we have been up there with chainsaws and axes to clear them. It was surprisingly good fun being a lumberjack, and very Canadian.
Have a great week,
SUNDAY 23rd APRIL
I hope you've all had a wonderful Easter holidays. I spent my holiday snowboarding in the Rockies with a friend from back in England who flew over, and it was fantastic. The views were incredible, and the highest point was 2,730 metres. It felt like the mountains went on forever. We also saw a little creature called a Yellow-bellied Marmot, which is like a large gopher. He was very friendly until I tried to take a picture of him.
We also went to a very famous lake called Lake Louise, which was still completely frozen. (Don't ever walk across a frozen lake unless an adult tells you it is safe though, as it can be very dangerous.)
I also got my nose a little sunburnt! I should have worn suncream.
Still no bears though. Still looking....
Have a great new term and keep woring hard everyone,
SUNDAY 2nd APRIL
Spring is out fully now and so are all the animals. Last weekend I found a beaver down in the river. Beavers are very shy, and when they are disturbed, they slap their tails loudly against the water before disappearing. The one I saw did just that, so I hope I didnt scare him too much. My favourite, the gophers, are out everywhere and seem to be getting more and more used to humans. You can get up quite close to them now.
The snakes are starting to be active as well apparently. Yesterday whilst out riding we found the skin of a rattlesnake, so we need to be a little careful of them from now on.
Have a great Easter holiday everyone,
FRIDAY 24th MARCH
I hope everything at Haig is going well. I saw all the dancing for Comic Relief; it looked like great fun.
Canada has finally got a bit warmer and all the snow has melted, which means lots of the animals are starting to come out of their hibernation. However, the snow might still come back, but hopefully not as the warm weather is much easier for getting out and about.
Before the snow went, I took my bike to the local mountains. It was great fun, even falling off, but I had to be careful of cougars (mountain lions), as they can attack people occasionally. To be safe, people carry bear spray to scare them away, but I did not happen to see any. I did, however, see plenty of squirrels and chipmunks.
Last weekend, we visited Waterton National Park, part of the Rocky Mountains. It was beautiful, and we were hoping to see bears, but it is still a little early for them. I'm still hoping to see a moose as well. The beavers are out and about more, and we found a tree that had been chewed through by one. I also saw another coyote the other day and he came very close to us on our bikes.
My favourite animals so far though are the gophers. They are like small meerkats, and they are everywhere at the moment. They are really cute, and the baby ones will run right up to you.
I will let you know when I see some more animals,
SUNDAY 5th MARCH
This week, I visited a Hutterite colony. The Hutterites are very religious group of people who came from Germany almost two hundred years ago. They live on a large farm, which is a long way from cities and towns, and they keep themselves to themselves. Their farm was amazing; they made 10,000 eggs a day, plus enough meat and vegetables to feed the whole colony of 90 people.
They have a school, which only has 7 children in it, from FS2 up to year 7. I went to visit and told them all about Germany; many of them have only left the colony a few times, so to hear about Europe and Germany was fascinating for them. They do not have computers, television or the internet, so they can only use books. They also have German school before and after normal school, and they have to do jobs on the farm.
It was an amazing visit and they were very friendly people, and I am going back in a few weeks.
We also had husky puppies come and visit us in class, and the children loved them (so did the staff!)
SUNDAY 26th FEBRUARY
Hello again everyone,
I hope you have all had a great half term. It's been very, very cold again here in Canada, but we have also had some sunny some days. The roads have been quite dangerous to drive on some days, and one day before half term the school was closed because it was below minus 40 degrees celsius. I got to use the snow blower to clear the paths for the children and parents, which was great fun.
I also got to play my first game of ice hockey, when the teachers took on the pupils from Junior High (ages 12 and up.) I was terrible, and every time I tried to stop the puck I fell over, which was very painful, but it was great fun. We also won!
For half term, I drove down to Montana in America to go snowboarding. We stayed next to a lovely lake and had a fantastic time up in the mountains. The food was amazing as well; huge portions! My face got frozen when we were going up in the ski lifts. I've been out on my bike again as well and yesterday I saw a coyote, which is a sort of wild dog. You can hear them howling and barking late at night, and they can be a bit scary, but they usually keep well away from us.
Have a good start to the new half term,
FRIDAY 4th FEBRUARY
Just a quick update this week as it has been very busy.
Wednesday was Groundhog Day, which always happens on February 2nd. This is a traditional story from America and Canada. On this day, a groundhog (a bit like a large rat!) comes out of its burrow after a long winter of hibernating. If it sees its shadow when it is outside, there will be another six weeks of winter. If it doesn't see its shadow, spring will come early.
They often have people dressing up as groundhogs and everybody gathers around to watch. This year, it did not see its shadow so supposedly Spring will come early. However, it's still freezing cold and there is lots of snow falling, so I don't think it is anything more than a bit of fun.
Have a great week,
SUNDAY 29th January
Another busy week. On Sunday, we went to a place called Dinosaur Park, which was very cold but also beautiful. They found lots of fossils there, and there is a huge museum nearby as well. On the road, there are plenty of signs about snakes and not running them over; if you do, it is a $500 dollar fine!
I have also bought myself a new bike and have started to explore the area. I have been cycling to work in the cold mornings. The snow has almost completely melted for the moment, so I have been to a place called Red Cliff, which is on the South Sakasthewan River. The river is partly frozen, but when it is relly cold you can skate and walk across it. It was beautiful, but again you have to be careful of all the snakes (especially rattlesnakes, which are very dangerous.)
I also found a giant chair!
Keep working hard!
SATURDAY 22nd JANUARY
Hello everyone at Haig,
This week I have been very busy. We went to watch the local ice hockey team, the Medicine Hat Tigers. They won 7-3 against Swift Current. Ice hockey is a great game to watch, but most importantly because there is lots of food, so I didn't stop eating. I'm also joining a local ice hockey team, but that means learning to skate properly, which is very difficult. At the moment, I can't stop very well.
School is going very well. Below is the view from my classroom, although the snow has melted in the past few days. It has got much colder again today though and I had ice in my hair from my run this morning. I have also been sledding in the local mountains again, which was very cold.
At school, the vice principal (the deputy) tells joke of the day every morning. His jokes are even worse than mine - Leah can you remind me of the owl joke so I can tell him please? Each morning, we have to sing the Canadian national anthem as well as God Save The Queen.
I hope everything is going well at Haig,
Lots of love,
Hello everyone at Haig,
I hope you all had a great Christmas. I have safely made it to Canada and have met all the children already. It is freezing here and today the school was shut because it was minus 41 degrees Celsius (that's very, very cold.) The buses don't run because it is dangerous, so the children cannot get to school. The teachers still had to go in though.
Everyone here is very friendly, and some of the children and staff have lived in Gutersloh before. The FS2 children are brilliant and so far I have been working mainly with them - one little girl even gave me a sticker for my "good" dancing.
Below are a few photographs I have taken. I have visited Calgary, a big city nearby, and the local mountains, where I saw lots of deer and a man fishing through a hole in a frozen lake. Sadly, I have not seen any moose yet, but hopefully soon. Maybe even a bear if I am lucky (or unlucky!)
Happy New year and I will be in touch soon,