Saturday, June 9, 2012

The End

So, I want to preface this post with an explanation as to why I have not blogged in almost two months: my computer broke. While in Rimouski, I was relying on my phone to keep me in touch, check facebook, etc. It was a real pain. But now that I am home, I have a tech-savvy papa who fixed my poor little computer easy-peasy.

I am home. As in, back on the Island. It is bittersweet of course; I loved my time in Rimouski and the amazing people there but I also am excited for this summer and what is to come.

This was a year like no other. I was in a new province, learning a new language, making new friends, being independent, and sometimes it was scary to be completely honest. There were a few rough patches: health issues, the passing of my grandfather, financial problems, etc. There were also some very pleasant patches that I shared with great friends: whale watching in Tadoussac, trips to Sainte-Luce-sur-Mer, Quebec City visits, going to Foret du Maitre Corbeau, and many other amazing experiences.

I already miss Rimouski!! But I am home, AND I get to see Laura and Joel tomorrow on their bike tour! I can't wait to show them around the Island some :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

An English Play: Stan Tooth Shark's Last Treasure

I just finished saying to my roommate that last night was one of those times that really solidified that being a teacher is what I want to do for life. I feel so grateful and blessed to have had this opportunity to figure that out. I was honestly very doubtful and scared coming to Rimouski to do this. I was really nervous that I would start the language monitor job and then realize midway that I never want to be a teacher.

Well, last night really confirmed my desire to teach.

So, as you may know, I teach all grade levels but my focus is to primarily be on my secondary I and II classes and especially the secondary II+ class. This is like an advanced English class of grade 8 students. There are four boys and four girls: Rosalie, Flavie, Molly, Catherine, Gabriel, Bryan, Dominick, and Darcy. They are the most amazing group of students - so bright, so funny, and so so sweet. Since October we have been planning to do an English play partly as their evaluation and also as a fundraiser for an end-of-year English trip to (hopefully) PEI. The play is called Stan Tooth Shark's Last Treasure and was about pirates, mermaids, and of course, a lost treasure that is discovered by a pirate's grandchildren.

Me with the whole secII+ class (minus Marie-Josee)

Now, doing a play seems hard enough to pull off, but imagine doing it in a second language! Early in the process of the play, we had high hopes for this! We wanted to do a huge show with people coming from all over for it and hopefully get it on TV, radio, and the local papers. We wanted to take them somewhere really different and very English, like New York or Toronto. Somewhere where they would have to use English all day on the trip. We realized that these kinds of places may be too expensive for our students, even with the money we raise from the play, so we decided that Prince Edward Island was more reasonable. And if the play was a complete flop, then we could take them just on a little day trip somewhere.

Anyway, the months of rehearsing and preparing were so nerve-wracking for me and Marie-Josee (the English teacher)! There were many times that we wondered if we were being unrealistic with our expectations. It wasn't until March that they had their lines memorized. But the month before the show gave us hope; things had gotten so much better.

Finally the day of the play arrived!! For the morning I took the + students to the community centre to practice some. It was a little rocky because of some last minute changes to the set, but we were still positive. Then we had lunch together where I gave the students an English break so that they could speak French together. This turned into Let's-Test-Miss Becca's-French time! They loved it :) They always get a good laugh when I speak French to them.

The girls at lunchtime

Then the afternoon. We had our dress rehearsal, and it went alright but things were still a little rocky at points. The hour before the show the students were not nervous at all. Not a bit. I asked how they were feeling and they would shrug, "Oh, I feel fine. You, Miss Becca? Are you nervous?".... "No, not really."

When inside I was actually screaming, "I'm terrified!!! How are you not nervous at all?!!"

I don't normally get nervous before going on stage to act, but this time was a big exception! This time there was more at stake than just me messing up a line, it was about the students and wanting so badly for them to be proud of their accomplishment! I so badly wanted them to realize how impressive their English skills really are. And I wanted others to see how extraordinary these kids are!

Leading up to the show, we sold about 60 tickets. And we even got a small section in Rimouski's newspaper. We were pleased. A little audience of parents, grandparents, and a few friends. They would easily forgive us if we slipped up on something. The people started to arrive. First, Flavie's parents. Second, a few friends of mine (thanks guys). A few more parents. Then their friends started arriving. Friends that hadn't bought tickets. Students from my school that hadn't bought tickets. We were selling tickets at the door!! We had about 110 people in the audience!! You must also keep in mind that Les Hauteurs is a small community of about 500. All of the chairs in that little community centre were filled - we even had to set out more chairs! I thought this was a great thing!

Friends in the audience

About 15 minutes before the show, Marie-Josee let me know that I was to start ushering our students backstage into the wings. So I did. That's when I realized that there were only about three of them mingling in the crowd with their friends and family. Once I got them backstage, I was faced with four absolutely terrified students. They said that they weren't scared before, but that was when they thought it was only their parents and grandparents coming! They didn't know that all their friends were coming, and even a few friends that went to La Mistral (the high school).

"Can I abandon? Please? Can I?"
"I feel sick, like really really sick!"
"(various curse words)"

I calmed them down the best I could. Encouraged them, reminded them of how awesome they have been, and how great they would be. Then made my way on stage, behind the curtain where the other four students were waiting. I was greeted with the same terrified faces. They, too, were very nervous. They felt unprepared! But I knew they were so ready for this! Marie-Josee got on stage and I was so grateful to see her calm face. Together we tag-teamed and gave each little group a pep talk

Though they felt encouraged that we believed in them, they still looked terrified. And to be honest, I felt sick. Suddenly every possible thing that could go wrong crossed my mind, Molly puking on stage, Dominick and Gabriel running away, the curtain button breaking, the backdrop falling apart, a missed cue... The scary thing was that at that moment, these all could have happened with the state the kids were in (and honestly, the state that the centre was in).

I went back off stage to the first group. And the curtain went up. We got through the first two scenes flawlessly! I was feeling so proud of the kids for pushing down that fear and believing that they could do it!

I was standing beside one of the guys when he cam off stage and he said (something I'll never forget):

G: "Hey Miss Becca. I'm good."
B: "You were great. I knew you would be."
G: "You were right. I don't know what I was nervous. They were good. Thanks."
B: *smile*

By "they" he meant, the audience. That was what was on his mind. I felt soooo proud of him right then.

The show went amazing! At the end of it, we had a standing ovation! Marie-Josee and I were like proud mother hens. I was bursting with excitement (I still am).

The Play!!!

And the night only got better as I watched all the younger students start helping by packing up the chairs. Parents and friends were helping clean up the set, crushing the dozens and dozens of kleenex boxes that had served as our "cave" - I was amazed by the closeness of this little community. I felt blessed to be able to work with all these students and people! It was lovely meeting the kids' parents and seeing how proud they were of their children. It was reassuring for the kids to have their friends pat them on the back and say that it was good. There were so many memorable little moments from this evening and I could go on forever about it, but I will stop here as this is already an extremely long post!!

I can definitely say now that I want to teach. And I hope for many more of these memorable little moments in the years to come!!

Right after their bow - can you see how excited they are?!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Little Things.

1. The occasional beautiful day where I can go without a jacket.
2. Letters, messages, skype dates, phone calls from loved people.
3. Finding a new artist I like.
4. Tea. Just lots and lots of tea.
5. Seeing a passage from the Bible in a whole new light.
6. Driving and belting out music as if I'm Adele, Beyonce, and Christina Aguilera rolled into one.
7. A new episode of Hart of Dixie. hehe.
8. Being told that I'm appreciated.
9. Telling someone I appreciate them.
10. Chocolate.
11. Getting to the stage in a book where I can't bear to put it down.
12. A smile from a stranger.
13. Finding something that I'd forgotten about.
14. Dropping a letter into the mail slot.
15. Cooking or baking something and having it turn out better than I expected.
16. The thought that camp is coming soon.
17. That "oh, I get it" moment when I'm teaching instead of rapid head-nodding.
18. Looking at my photo wall of faces.
19. Morning sun in the kitchen.
20. Afternoon sun in my bedroom.
21. SUN.
22. Driving and chatting with best friends.
23. Brunch. Chez Oeufs. Cora.
24. Summertime in Charlottetown. Summertime at camp. Summertime down home.
25. Painted toenails.
26. Being overwhelmed by God's love for me. It never gets old.

There's more. I'm sure of that. What are YOUR little things?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My heart tonight

I just got back from a weekend at the camp winter retreat. My heart is bursting right now in so many ways. I have been completely overwhelmed by the love, grace, and mercy that God has for us his children. I want to shout on top of a mountain God's name. My heart aches for people to know this personal, beautiful, perfect GOD!

It just boggles my mind how the creator of the universe can love little me. He has done so much for me and I what can I give him but every part of my life? I fail at this often. I admit that there have been times I've felt ashamed, or times that I've sugar-coated my love for him, or times that I've held back on what I surrender to him.

I feel compelled to write this apology to him for times that I've done these things. Man oh man, do I desire to know this perfect God even more. I lack words to express this! But I am comforted that he knows my heart and the words that I can't find to express my love for him. 

I am thankful that the love of God is a bizarre and beautiful thing. I love pondering over the mystery of it and marveling at its beauty!! 


I came home to PEI last week because my Grampie became sick. I have been on a roller coaster ride with God these past two weeks. He has been teaching me so much about life, trust, and his faithfulness. Though this is a very difficult time for our whole family, I know that God is revealing himself in it. Mom showed me this song a few months ago and I heard it again today and it really holds meaning for me right now.

If you are reading this and feel compelled to do so, please be praying for our family in this time. For strength and peace. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Confession Time

I have not been completely faithful to this blog as of late. I started up another one about my reading endeavors in the next couple months.

I recently finished the Time Traveler's Wife and loved it! It is mind bogglingly wonderful. Now I'm onto The Help by Kathryn Stockett and very much enjoying it!

I've been trying to stick to my goal of making better food and have been doing pretty good - last week was the lull between the end of my groceries and before I went shopping again. So I admit, last week there was more pasta, toast, eggs than there should have been. But I'm back on track.

This morning I made Banana Oatmeal Pancakes. And they were so good. SO GOOD. I put a little bit of nutella on top of them and some kiwi on the side and was pleasantly full as I left to go to work. I made enough batter that I will have a few breakfasts worth of yumminess.

At school today we continued practicing our English play "Stan Tooth Shark's Lost Treasure" coming to the Les Hauteurs community centre this spring!! The students are loving it and as am I. Today was more frustrating than usual because the kids were abnormally wired. So by the end of the day, I was exhausted.

Tonight though I made Carrot-Ginger soup and attempted a Raw Chocolate Shake to go with it. The Carrot Ginger soup was really good (a bit too much garlic maybe but still great). The chocolate shake however was close to repulsive. Why the recipe suggested maple syrup to "sweeten" it is beyond me.

I poured it down the sink. Ick.

Now I'm about to settle into reading more of The Help and then skyping with my kindred spirit in a bit. :)

(I apologize for the scattered-ness of this post, it is kind of my stream of consciousness at the moment)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mont-Comi is NOT Brookvale

I feel like I'm out of the honeymoon phase of my Rimouski experience. I still love Rimouski, my job, the people, and everything! But I've noticed myself really settling into a nice little rut - not what I want. So I was very glad today when I rolled out of bed, half considered not going on our little day trip and was nudged by Emily to come.

We went to Mont-Comi! And let me tell you, it is definitely NOT Brookvale. My legs are currently still aching from the whole thing. I'm still amazed that I didn't die. I went down a lot of the "facile" runs the whole time which is not like the "easy" runs at Brookvale. Seriously, if PEI grew mountains then today could have been much less terrifying.

Now, if you know me, you know that I'm generally not the kind of person to give up. After that first run though, I was very very close to just calling it quits and reading in the chalet instead. We went up on the lift and went down our first run. I quickly realized that I am lacking in skiing skills.

Give me skates and an ice rink any day!

I've only skied three times I believe in my whole life and was going this time with friends who snowboarded, or were fairly good skiers. So once we started today I told them to go on ahead and I'd make it to the bottom eventually. I really got scared at one point, suddenly I realized how far the bottom was from where I was. I realized how big this mountain was. I realized that it was very easy to lose control. But I talked myself through it the whole way down... Yes, I probably sounded like a crazy Anglophone ("Keep going. Okay. Okay. Slow down. Uncross your skis. Almost there. Don't. Lose. Control.") It is what I had to do in order to make it to the bottom in one piece, and it worked thankfully!

Speaking of being a crazy Anglophone. I was riding the lift with a man at one point and suddenly he started chatting away to me in French. I smiled, nodded, and laughed. I wasn't overly keen on having a French conversation while there were acrobatics performing cartwheels in my stomach! After a long awkward pause where I think I was supposed to reply to a statement instead of smile and nod, he finally said "You don't speak French, do you?" I had to laugh then because I realized that I had no idea what I was nodding and smiling to when he was talking. "Seulement un peu." Needless to say, it ended up being a much less awkward trip to the top when he switched to English for my sake. 

--Him: "So, which hill are you going to do?" 
   Me: hahaha *smile* *nod* ---

Anyway, not only was the day a lot of fun, but I was also quite proud of myself by the end of it. I think I did six or seven runs in total. And the last few times I only stopped for a break halfway down instead of falling over frequently to "give my legs a break". Yay for fall-free-runs!!

The only damage done is the pain my thighs, shins, and calves are in right now (and a bruise on my hip). But, know what the important thing is?

I did it and I'm alive!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

350 days

This is that time of year where people just don't know what to think because the holidays are over. There are 350 days until Christmas 2012, but this is also the beginning of a New Year!

Last year I told myself I would try do a few things in 2011 such as take more risks, write more, read more for pleasure, and to grow as a person. The first two I did successfully I like to think. The third was difficult as I was in school doing an English degree and had to read 19 books in one semester. The third thing is pretty pathetic though when I think about it; not that growing as a person is not a good thing - it is - but because that was a wimpy resolution. There is no chance to be disappointed with this challenge. I knew that I'd grow as a person, I knew that I would discover different things about myself, and I knew that I would change in some way. It's inevitable.

2012 will be different though. I have four goals that I think, hope, and pray are possible!

1. I want to read at least two books a month which, at this rate, should not be difficult.

2. I want to start cooking and baking more, rather than making the classic Becca meals: pasta, toast, sandwiches, and smoothies. Tonight I started this challenge and bought for specific recipes in the upcoming week's meals. Tonight I made Ginger Lemon Chicken Stir Fry. It was delicious, if I do say so myself.

3. I want to "do mornings right". I want to change my morning routine. I want it to consist of three things: Jesus-time, a good breakfast (not peanut butter on toast every single morning), and no messy buns (except maybe on Saturdays). This all means I need to Get. Up. Earlier. Which in turn means DISCIPLINE.

And the most important:

4. I want to think and do things more prayerfully. This is a biggie for me. As someone who loves God with every part of me, I want to make sure that he is a part of every part of my day. Not just before bed when I do my devotions. Not just when I think to pray. I want my days to be full of HIM!

What are your goals for the upcoming year? Are they doable? Are they meaningful? I hope they are both of these and best of luck to you on them.