These are some of the articles written by my students that have been published in NEWSLINC, the LINC Home Study quarterly magazine. Enjoy reading them!
My Life in a New Country
My name is Ratana and I come from Cambodia. I have been living in Canada for 4 years, and I love it. It has changed my life a lot since I arrived here. I had a hard time to live in this new country, but I didn't give it up, which is why I am here to write this story because I really want you to know how it is to move to a new country for people like me.
When I arrived in Canada I was excited and surprised. I came here in spring and I saw every tree was green and everywhere was colourful. It was amazing to me. The second day was perfect for me: everything was different from my native country. For example, people lived, spoke, and behaved differently. I always remember my first days in Canada.
After a week I relaxed in a house feeling lonely and bored and then I asked my aunt to bring me out. When she and I were shopping at the shopping mall, I was happy again, but another problem happened to me: language. At that time I could not speak one word in English and that made me unhappy. More than that I was so embarrassed with salespersons in the mall because no one could understand me. When I wanted to go out I had to ask someone to go with me. I understood that it was hard to live in a country where they spoke a different language. How could I talk to people and have a small talk with them?
A month later my aunt enrolled me in an ESL class to learn English. The first day in school was great because I had a teacher to teach me how to speak, read, write, and listen. I was excited with my teacher and friends in class, but my friends did not understand when I talked to them. My friends were friendly with me and helpful. Moreover, they helped me with my English. They tried to be polite to me.
Canada has changed my life and thought me lots. When I lived in my native country I always depended on my parents. They did everything for me. I didn't know anything about life. In fact, I have lots of experience now: I know how to live, work, and support myself. Now, I can speak English better that before. More than that I have a job, a place to live and specially a lot of friends at work. Anyway I feel comfortable to live here. I am not nervous to speak English with other people anymore. Living here is now more comfortable.
Building a new life in a new country makes people stronger and more experienced. I hope everyone feels comfortable in this beautiful country. Be strong and don't give up easily. Because Canada is a wonderful and welcoming place to live in.
My name is Morad. I was born on July 2, 1961 in Tabriz, a city in the north west of Iran, a mountainous area. I have one brother and two sisters and I’m the youngest one in my family. My father was a government employee and passed away when I was just 16 years old. My mother is 88 years old now. She lives in my native country. When I graduated from high school, my country faced a cultural revolution and all the universities were closed; therefore, I tried to get a job although it was very hard. Finally I found a temporary job in a car repair shop. After about seven years I found another job opportunity in Housing and Urban Ministry. At first I was a simple clerk in the accounting department, but after five years I got a lot of experience in accounting. After a while, I went to university and studied Industrial Management in Tabriz Azad University. When I graduated, I had a responsibility in the accounting department as a supervisor of accounting software for more than three years. Then I had another job offer from a real estate department as an assessor because they had lots of problems in that section. I started to change their manual system to an automatic system by using a small software. I did it successfully and I worked over there for more than four years. Then they offered me a new opportunity as the head accountant. When I started, all projects were late or some of them were even closed. After about one year all the projects were reactivated. I had that position for about four years.
My favourite hobby is mountain climbing which I did for 31 years, and I was the leader of our climbing group for 11 years. I have more than 14 records in climbing mountains of over 4000 meters high. Also I love chess which I learned from my father when I was just 8 years old. I was interested to come to Canada before I got married, but I could not. In 2009, when one of my close friends came to Iran from Canada, we talked about immigration and how we could move to Canada too. Then he helped us to prepare for it. We started the immigration process in the skilled worker category and after two and half years we successfully got our Canadian visas and we arrived in Canada on March 26, 2012. After we landed, my friend picked us up from the airport and took us to his home. We stayed in my friend's home for twenty three days. We were then able to rent a condominium. During those days my friend helped us in getting our permanent resident cards and health cards and opening a bank account. I'll never forget my friend's help in those days.
I got married when I was 35 years old and my wife is a calm and helpful person. We have an enjoyable life with our 9-year-old son. Now, after two years of living in Canada, I have decided to follow my main field, accounting. I went to some private colleges and I gathered lots of information about my field, but they could not satisfy me because they have their own special views about education. I believe that they don't care about important items, and they just want to do business. Finally I went to CGA (Certificate General Accountant) and got all the important information and I must take some courses after evaluating my bachelor’s degree. This program takes more than three years’ time and it’s impossible for me because I came to Canada with my family. I must be able to make money to support my family and take these courses at the same time. I decided to improve my English skills up to level 6, and then take some courses in Accounting in a college, so I can hopefully find a job in my favourite field.
CANADA, HERE I AM
Time flies. It’s been almost two years since I moved to Canada in 2012. I clearly remember the day when we received our visas in 2009. We made a decision about our future in the world. My wife brought our only child to Canada first, and I stayed in my native country for another three years. Then, we decided where we would spend the rest of our life at last.
Even though we have a lot of relatives in Canada, it was still a strange country to us. We didn’t know if we could survive in this new country. Every year, I had to fly to Canada for one month from 2009 to 2012. The only purpose was survival. Our Canadian dream was an adventurous tour to our family.
In 2012, my wife told me she had decided to live in Canada for the rest of her life. She got a job in Canada and we didn’t need to worry about our life. My son told me he loved Canada, too. I quit my job in my native country and packed my baggage. I couldn’t allow the separation among our family any longer. Finally, I moved to Canada in 2012.
I am an optimist, but the problems I had to face were more difficult than I thought. Language is a major problem to me. Fortunately, I got a lot of help from my relatives. I want to say thanks to them sincerely.
I have also got some achievements in the last 2 years. I bought a house in Canada, got my G driver license, and got two jobs in the past one and a half years. My wife succeeded in getting into college this year. My son succeeded in attending a gifted program this year, too. Things seem to go far better in the future. Things seem to be moving toward the right direction.
Living in Canada
By Ching Ki
I first arrived in Canada the day before Christmas in 2008. It took me 13 hours from Hong Kong to Toronto. After long hours the first thing I felt was the weather, which went down 30 degrees, from 15 degree to -15 degree and I saw snowflakes coming down from the sky like cherry blossoms on my face. For a person living in a subtropical region this was an amazing feeling.
After six months, I was excited to move from an apartment to our new house. I have my driver’s license now, but this does not mean I can go out easily. I was driving in Hong Kong, but I never knew how to use a GPS. In Toronto I cannot go anywhere without my GPS even if it is very close. I know my husband can be my GPS, but I have to be independent. He has to work, and his job requires him to travel a lot.
During my first year in Toronto, I became better at how to face changes in my life, how to solve problems without my friends, how to speak English politely, how to compare prices before shopping, and so on. I like living in Canada, and I really enjoy it here now.
Three Most Challenging Problems
Three biggest challenges as an immigrant for me have been learning the English language, finding a proper job and coping with the culture shock. I was born in a small village where everyone speaks with a strong accent, even in my mother tongue. The sound seems to come from the back of my tongue instead of the front. At the beginning almost no one in Canada could understand my speaking. And also I could not understand others. I took the LINC class and learned how to speak using the front of my tongue. After a few months, my speaking and listening got improved a bit.
In the first month when I was in Canada, I posted my resume on Workopolis and Monster websites. I got many calls from different agents. However, when I picked up the phone and talked to them, the conversation stopped. Obviously they could not understand my speaking. Three months later, I met some agents at their office. My knowledge met their needs. When they knew I had no Canadian work experience, they told me that it was impossible to find a job without Canadian work experience. But I had just arrived here and how could I have Canadian work experience? At that time, one of my friends told me there was a co-op program for new immigrants, which was funded by the government. The program had an entrance exam, which was above LINC level 4. I passed the exam and attended the program. The program had two parts. The first part was about 9 weeks of English learning and work culture and the second part about 11 weeks. During the second part, the attendees were sent to a company to volunteer as a regular employee. After the program, if the company has an opening, normally they hire you. Luckily, after the program, there was an opening and I was hired. This program is very good. I am not sure if it is still available. If yes, I highly recommend it to newcomers. Once having Canadian work experience, it is easier to find a job.
Canada is an immigrant country, so people are from different countries all over the world. The culture is totally different from my native country. Even in the work place, you can see different cultures. But everyone has to adjust to it and be accustomed to it.
All in all, I am happy I made the decision to come here although it is not that easy to settle down.
An Unforgettable Trip to Northern Iraq
On the first of July, 2004 I went on a trip to northern Iraq with my family. Northern Iraq is considered the most beautiful place in Iraq. People go there in the summer to see the waterfalls and magnificent landscapes. Northern Iraq has a lot of mountains, waterfalls, and lakes. We started our journey from Baghdad to a city called Sulaymaniyah. We spent 7 hours on the road trip to the north. When we arrived, we entered a very popular market in Sulaymaniyah, a beautiful place where everything is available at a very cheap price. Then we started searching for a house to rent for two nights. After about 3 hours, we found a beautiful chalet for rent on Lake Dukan, a very beautiful place. We spent a wonderful two days. After that we went to another province in northern Iraq called Arbil. Arbil is the utmost beauty of nature and it has lots of forests and farms. There we spent a week in a beautiful house with a large farm. On the first day in Arbil, we stayed in the house and did not go out. On the second day, we went to a waterfall called Bekhal. We spent a full day at the waterfall, had lunch, took many pictures, played together, and then went back to the house. On the third day, we relaxed in the house again because we were too tired. On the fourth day we went to another waterfall called Kaly Ali Beck. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery. On the fifth and sixth days we went shopping at Shaqlawa Market and bought delicious sweets and nuts and some ornaments. I bought a beautiful Kurdish outfit, Kurdish accessories, and some gifts for my friends. On the last day in the north of Iraq, we were very sad because we were returning to Baghdad. I will never forget this beautiful journey all my life because it was my last trip in my native country, Iraq. Several months afterwards, I left Iraq with my family to live in a safer place and in search of peace. My country has not experienced peace and quiet for many years now. Almost every week, one or two road bombs explode killing many of my fellow countrymen. I consider myself so lucky to live in Canada.
Meditation, an Important Part of My Life
I clearly remember when I first learned about the meditation of Sahajayoga almost seven years ago. In those days, my marriage and work troubles led to my emotional problems, and I lost my way in an aimless life. One day, I met a girl on-line who was an impressive writer, and as peaceful as a fragrant flower. I was attracted by her personality, and a strong desire grew inside me to become someone like her. Gradually, I learned that she meditated every day as a yogini of Sahajayoga, and she had not only got totally peaceful and joyful inside, but also she could spray loving energy to everybody who related to her. With her guide, I collected the necessary information about Sahajayoga and tried to follow the method she recommended for improving my interior world. There are three channels and seven chakras within our body. Balance and love will be worked out when negative energy is cleaned through meditation and introspection.
Time flew and what I got from meditation made me recognize that a loving heart was a key to solve all problems in life, especially with close friends and family. During meditation, I enjoy inside peace, and then I introspect what I have done wrong, and finally I can correct and perfect my actions. My friends and family were surprised at my progress and more generous temper. I’m also able to enjoy a collective life, and my friends are more than before. I even spent an Indian New year with my Indian friends last month. I know I’ve found the best way to enjoy life’s meaning. Meanwhile, I found out the meaning of life, I managed to love myself and others, and I could love God.
Now, every morning I get up and meditate for 15 minutes; then a new day begins with full appreciation and balance. I am absorbing lots of nutrition from the nature. Colorful flowers make me smile, sunlight gives me a brilliant feeling, and the beach makes me relaxed. It is true that love makes the world we live in so different.
Technology, Good or Evil?
We are all dependent on technology. There are lots of discussions about whether technology makes our life better or not. Some people believe that living without technology was a lot easier before than living with that. Those are mostly older people for whom working with modern world is hard as they were used to their simple life style.
In my opinion technology has so many benefits. Modern knowledge makes life easier but not simpler than before. By inventing computers, it looks like that our world has changed to a new world. Nowadays computers which are the base of technology, are used in everything such as businesses, hospitals, planes, police, schools, communication and so on.
One of the most important benefits of technology is the use of that in communication devices. As we all know communications is now a lot easier than before tanks to technology. For example 30 years ago, the only way to communicate with people was by mail. If you had a relative abroad and you sent a mail, it would take months to receive a reply from that person. But these days with using the Internet you can talk to and even see someone who lives thousands of miles far from your home, in less than 2 seconds. This is just a simple example of technology and how it has affected our life.
On the other hand, there are some scientists who believe that Microwaves, X-rays or even wireless devices can be harmful for human’s health. But unfortunately, this is a fact that whatever has some advantages has some disadvantages too.
An Iranian Celebrity
I would like to introduce to you a young Iranian actress, Golshifteh Farahani, who was born on July 10, 1983 in Tehran, Iran and her real name is Rahavard. Her father, Behzad Farahani, is an actor/theater director, and her sister, Shaghayegh Farahani, is also an actress in Iran. Her family lives in Iran, but Golshifteh now lives in Paris, France with her husband Amin Mahdavi. When she was five years old, she started studying music and playing the piano in Iran. After that Golshifteh was part of an underground rock band named "Kooch Neshin." Since leaving Iran, Golshifteh has continued her music career as well. She has teamed with another famous Iranian musician, Mohsen Namjoo. She is also fluent in French and English. She has acted in almost 25 films many of which have received international awards. Her first movie was Derakhte Golabi (The Pear Tree) while she was 14 years old and she won the prize for the best actress from the international section of the Fajr Film Festival in Tehran. Her first appearance in a Hollywood movie was Body of Lies co-starring with Leonardo Dicaprio. She cannot enter Iran after playing in this movie. Her latest movie is Patience Stone. She got prizes for a lot of her movies. Finally I would like to name some of her best movies: Darbareh Elly (About Elly), Santouri (Santouri, The Music Man), Mim Mesle Madar ( M For Mother). I like her very much, and I know many Iranians around the world like her too.
Nowruz Celebration in Iran
Nowruz is the Iranian New Year celebration. Iranians and some people in neighbouring countries such as Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Turkey set a table decorated with seven things that start with the sound S in Persian, such as apple (seeb), garlic (seer), coin (sekkeh), etc. Also, they put on the table a mirror, a Hafiz book (a famous book of poetry), The Quran ,a few candles, a crystal bowl with several red fish in it, wheat dishes grown from a few days ago and several coloured eggs. Also they buy some candy, fruits, nuts and chocolate for their guests.
This celebration takes thirteen days starting on March 21 and during those days the schools are closed. When the new year begins on March 21, all families gather around the table and read Hafiz or the Quran. When the New Year starts, people give each other gifts and say Happy New Year to one another. Some families travel and some visit their relatives. The elderly give some money as a gift to children.
There are two events before and after New Year. One of them is the thirteenth day of New Year called the Day of Nature. On this day families with relatives friends cook lunch, go out together, and camp out next to a river and green spaces .They take the wheat dishes with them, make wishes and tie it and then they put it in the river. They spend all day playing, eating lunch, taking photos, and talking about everything together. When the night comes, they go back home. The other one is the last Wednesday of the year. They gather some fire wood and set them on fire. Everybody jumps over the bonfire while chanting to the fire, “Your red for me, my yellow for you.” They say it to be safe like fire.
Grape leaves (Yabraq) is considered as one of the most delicious foods/meals among Aleppian people in Syria. Below are the ingredients and the recipe, so please enjoy and bon a ‘petite!
Ingredients for a 1 pound offering:
1- 1\2 glass of Egyptian rice drenched and refined
2- 1\2 a pound of ground beef meat
3- 2 tea spoon of salt
4- 2 tea spoon of pepper
5- 1\2 a glass of Mazola oil
6- 1 Pound of fresh lemon
1- Mix all of the above and add water gradually until the mix becomes bulky / homogeneous.
2- Wash the leaves carefully to remove the salt and preservatives off them.
3- Now we use the mix as a stuffing and roll the grape leaves.
4- Sort it in a round order with layers of meat with bones and fresh garl;ic in the boiling pot.
5- On top of the leaves, put a plate and a piece of weight (this will apply pressure on the mix for a better/ well done cook).
6- Add a freshly squeezed lemon with water in a side pot and pour the mix into the boiling pot until it is covered with the lemon mix.
7- Boil it for 2 hours, and then isolate the liquid in a separate pot and flip the portion of leaves into a large size plate.
My Hometown, Hong Kong
By Eric (Tat Hung)
Hong Kong is a small peninsula in the south of China. It is bordered by the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone to the north. It is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. The total population was last reported at about 7 million people in 2010. It also features lush green hill slopes, secluded beaches, rural landscape and rocky shorelines.
Hong Kong has different ethnicities. Many countries have consulates in Hong Kong where old tradition is mixed perfectly with the western culture and postmodern trends. Also there are as many types of international cuisines as there are ethnic groups. Ethnic Chinese make up the bulk of its population, but there are also other ethnicities, all enjoying the freedom of religion under the Basic Law.
Hong Kong has the most inexpensive market place. You can go to the famous Mong Kok Ladies Market and see what you can get there. You can bargain for almost quarter of the price from whatever price the seller is asking for. When I was a teenager, I went there to buy new trousers to celebrate the Chinese New Year. I used about fifteen minutes to reduce the price. At last, I could get a half price pair from the seller. The roads are congested with vehicles. Below the bright neon lights, you can find an endless variety of shops and restaurants.
Although Hong Kong is a small city, it is a very densely populated area. Many different nationalities live there. You can practice your religion freely and find very cheap items in the market. You had better put a trip to Hong Kong on your bucket list!
What is your favorite sport to play?
What is your favorite sport to play? Don’t you like any sports at all? Or do you like just watching sports? But the exercise is part of human life especially nowadays. To do sports makes you live a better life physically and mentally. What kind of sport do you want to play? Which sport is good for every generation? There are a lot of sports you can play, but I would like to introduce to you one of the most popular sports, golf. As you know, golf is one of the most famous sports in the world, but it is very expensive in some countries. Do you live in Canada and are you ready to enjoy golf? You are lucky because it isn’t that expensive in Canada, and you can easily find some golf courses in your neighborhood.
Is it hard to play if you’re a novice? No, not at all! It’s very easy on the first step. It is almost the same idea as T-ball which children play as a first practice of the baseball. Just put a pin in the ground. Then put a ball on the pin, and hit it! But skill improvement is a little harder because in the next step not only do you have to hit the ball but also the ball has to go straight where you’re aiming. You also have to know the differences between swing tools.
What kinds of equipment do you need to play golf? There are different swing tools for variable distances. I usually use Driver for 230 yards or over. I also use two kinds of Woods for between 230 yards and 200 yards, and then I use eight Irons which have different angles for under 200 yards. Another special tool I use is Wedge for very short distances or in the bunker (a hazard on a golf course). The last one is the Putter which is used in the green to roll a ball to the hole. Therefore, I use one Driver, two Woods, eight Irons, one Wedge, and one Putter. What else? Yes, you still need some other equipment such as gloves, shoes, pins, golf balls, and a golf bag. There is some other equipment like a push and pull cart, a hat, and a golf shirt but those are your choices.
How much are all these things? It depends on the brand and the quality. If you are a good player, you should buy better clubs, but for a beginner, you can buy a full set for $400 to $500. But if you would like to buy good clubs for when you are a good player, you need to pay over $1,000. Is it too expensive? Maybe, but you just pay once, and you can use them all of your life.
How do I play on the golf course? Are there many rules? Basically there are 18 courses per round but some courses have the half course for beginners. Eighteen courses have different pars. For instance, there are par 5 holes, par 4 holes, and par 3 holes and total par is seventy a round. In plain words, the player has to hit the ball 5 times until the ball goes into the hole at the par 5 hole. If you get it in by only hitting 4 times, it is called Birdie and if you hit the ball 5 times at the same hole, it is Par. In golfing, if you are hitting as low as you can, then you will have higher chances to win the game.
How much do I pay for the green fee? In my native country, South Korea, playing golf is very expensive, so only rich people can play, but fortunately, it is not that expensive in Canada. If you are playing at a private course, the price is a little higher but public golf course fees are more reasonable. I usually pay $22 for a round on the twilight time which is after 5p.m. from July to September. As you may guess, you have to pay more in the morning time: $46.
At what age can you play golf? Any age is suitable. Actually, it’s hard to play sports if you’re an elderly, but golf is a perfect sport for every generation. You can enjoy walking on the grass. When I walk on the grass, it feels like I am walking on the clouds in the sky. And you don’t need to hurry during a round, so you and your family or friends can have conversations while playing, hitting the ball, walking, and talking! What else is better than playing golf on a sunny day!
Are you ready to enjoy golf? You are never too old to start and it is time to invest money for your health and a better life. I am on the green grass with my Driver. Isn’t it like such a good dream? I hope you enjoy golf, too.
UEFA European Football Championship, Euro 2012
I would like to write about a great occasion which will take place in the Ukraine in the summer of 2012. The Ukraine and Poland will together host a very important soccer tournament in Europe: The Euro 2012.
There are huge soccer stadiums in both countries and cheerful and ardent fans are ready to support their favourite teams. Without a doubt this is going to be a grandiose event for both countries and for all soccer fans all over Europe and even the world. For the first time in the history, the Ukraine will hold such a huge tournament. The country has already made much progress, and it is getting even more prepared for this purpose.
Building, stadiums, and airports are getting ready, and railways and roads are being made or reconstructed to connect the Ukrainian cities with cities of Poland and other neighbouring countries.
UEFA European Football Championship, Euro 2012 is an expansion of borders of dialogue. Visitors of the championship are people with different languages, cultures, and traditions, and it is going to be really interesting especially for young Ukrainians who have no possibility to travel abroad. This tournament is going to be the beginning for sports reforms in the Ukraine. I think the Euro 2012 will be the best impulse for national economy. As a Ukrainian, I am very proud, and I am looking forward to the summer of 2012.
Last year the championship winners were the Spanish players. This is going to be the third Euro that is hosted by two countries. The first one was in 2000, in Belgium and the Netherlands, while the second one occurred in 2008, in Austria and Switzerland.
The final match of the championship will take place in the Ukraine’s capital, Kiev. This championship will be the last one in which only 16 teams can take place. Starting from Euro 2016 the number of teams will increase to 24. Don’t miss this wonderful event on TV next summer.
Songkran Festival - Thai New Year
While it’s spring in Canada, it is extremely hot on the other side of the world. Thailand is one of the countries in Southeast Asia and usually celebrates New Year in April, the hottest month of the year in Thailand. “sa-wat-di-pi-mai” basically means “Hello New year.” Thai people say these words on January 1st and from April 13th to 15th.
Every year from April 13th to 15th is Thai New Year. This time is also known as “Songkran Festival” or “Water Festival.” It is a long holiday and a great time for families and friends to get together. On April 13th in the morning we usually go to the temples and give food to the monks, and then in the afternoon we wash the Buddha images with scented water. It’s also time for young people to pay respect to elderly people by washing their hands. Songkran Festival in some provinces starts earlier and can last for up to 10 days.
The symbol of Songkran Festival is water. Thai people use water for cleaning and washing their houses. They believe that water will wash bad things from last year away and renew new years for good luck.
Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and one of the busiest places during this festival. Some streets are closed for this purpose. The streets get so crowded of people taking part in a day long water fight that leaves everyone soaking wet. Everybody throws water at each other in this hot weather. At this time of the year we have many foreigners visiting Thailand and joining us for this Songkran Festival.
I remember when I was young, I really loved Thai New Year. I went to the temple with my family and everybody brought their own food to share. We would enjoy the holiday gathering at our local temple. It’s a lot of fun for everybody.
Ramadan and Eid
Ramadan is a holy month in Islam. Muslims fast for 29 to 30 days in Ramadan. We start fasting before the Fajr athan, very early in the morning when it is still dark and break our fast after the Maghrib athan when the sun sets. We usually break our fast by eating a few dates and a warm soup because it helps our stomach feel healthy and get ready for a bigger meal. This year Ramadan starts on June 20th. Every year, Ramadan starts ten days before when it started the year before. The reason is the Arabic months are based on a lunar calendar. The reason Muslims fast in the month of Ramadan is to save enough money to feed those who do not have the money to buy themselves food and shelter. Furthermore, fasting cleans the human body of poisons, helps the brain to function more properly, and for most people, helps in losing weight healthily. Celebrating Ramadan in Canada is different than celebrating Ramadan in my homeland, Sudan. In Sudan, we have all our relatives celebrating Ramadan with us. In Canada, we don’t have all our relatives with us, so we invite our friends to come over and celebrate Ramadan with us.
After the month of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr. Muslims buy new clothes for Eid. On the first day of Eid, a Muslim family eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner, just like normal days. Parents give their children money and gifts to celebrate Eid, and buy them what they want. Muslims visit their relatives and friends, but people usually start with the closest members of the family such as the grandparents and then uncles, aunts, cousins, and others. In Canada, we don’t have many relatives here with us, so we go and visit our friends and we also have friends visit us. Muslims celebrate four Eids, but two of them are very important, Eid-ul-Fitr, right after the holy month of Ramadan, which means the festival of breaking the fast and Eid-ul-Adha, the festival of sacrifice, which comes two months and ten days after Eid-ul-Fitr. These two Eids are celebrated by millions of Muslims around the world.
Why I Like Winter
Last winter was the first winter for me in Canada. Even though almost anyone I knew in Canada told me that it was not a very snowy winter, it still was the snowiest winter for me because I come from Shanghai, a less snowy place in China. Most Canadians tell me they don't like winter because of many different reasons, but I still like winter.
First, when it snows, I usually spend more than half an hour to shovel the snow away from my drive way, which is excellent exercise for me and makes me sweat. Secondly, on a snowy day I get up earlier because the traffic is usually worse than usual. Still another reason I like winter is that on a snowy day, everything I see from my windows becomes white, which makes me peaceful. As a newcomer, I have many problems which make me upset, anxious, and nervous. When I see the snowflakes dancing in the air and falling onto the ground quietly, I can feel the power of nature. I feel that all the problems I face will be solved just like the snowflakes melt gradually by the end of winter. Finally many people complain that they have to stay home in winter and do nothing. In my opinion it is a chance for me to review my life and make some plans for the future.
In China there is a proverb which says, “If winter comes, can spring be too far behind?" That's the reason I like winter.
Working as an Engineer in Canada
Graduating from any engineering university all over the word will not necessarily open the doors for an immigrant to work as an engineer in Canada. To work in Canada as an engineer you have to hold the designation of Professional Engineer (P. Eng.); however, each province has its own regulations, which means that a person licensed to work in Ontario will not be automatically able to practice engineering in another province and vice versa. Therefore, I will summarize in this article the process of being a Professional Engineer in Ontario, and I think that all the Canadian provinces share parts of these regulations.
To be a P. Eng. in Ontario a person has to send an application form to the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO). The PEO procedures could be summarized in the following steps:
First you should be graduated from an engineering university in Canada or a non-Canadian recognized engineering university. Normally, before coming to Canada and as part of the immigration process, most newcomers get their engineering degrees evaluated, for the purpose of immigration only, by the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (CCPE) which operates under the business name of Engineers Canada.
Secondly you should have four years of experience working as an engineer, at least one of which should be in Canada under the supervision of a Professional Engineer in Ontario. For anyone who has worked as an engineer outside Canada and wants his or her experience to be considered in Canada, the PEO will request one year of experience in Canada. You will also have to pass an interview in the PEO by the Experience Requirements Committee.
Finally you should pass the PEO Professional Practice Examination (PPE). To prepare for this exam the applicant has to study these two books:
· Canadian Professional Engineering and Geoscience, Practice and Ethics, by Gordon Andrews.
· Law for Professional Engineers, by D. L. Marston
So if you are an engineer and want to practice engineering in Ontario, you have to get the latest information regarding the PEO requirements. A visit to their web site (www.peo.on.ca) is your first step. Good luck!
My Experience in Canada
I will never forget the day I came to Canada. I felt sad because I had left my country where I was born and spent my childhood. It is hard to leave all your friends and family behind and start a new life somewhere else. Everything was different and strange for me. But as soon as I got in Canada, I met a lot of people, made new friends and learned a lot about myself. When I didn’t feel OK or when I missed my friends and family, I always had great people around me who cheered me up.
In my first year, sometimes it was hard living in Canada and working with Canadians as it was a totally different culture for me. Canadians really like their privacy and it is hard to really get to know them. But as soon as they let you in their lives, they will never let you go. They made my time away from home such a pleasure making me feel like family and really taking care of me.
Another big change for me was the cold and snow. When I first came to Canada in the middle of winter, I had never really experienced winter weather. I was very impressed by how the snow looked. They really were "snowflake shaped." I mean I had seen snowflake pictures, but it wasn't until that day that I had firsthand experience of snow.
I would recommend anyone to come to Canada; it is an experience of a life time and one which I will never forget. It makes you a stronger person, gives you life skills and makes you appreciate everything about your life. Whatever comes across your way truly makes the experience worthwhile.
Bacalhau a Bras, A Portuguese recipe for cod fish
· 500 gr. of cod fish
· 4 medium size potatoes
· 1 medium size onion
· 2 garlic cloves
· 4 tsp of olive oil
· Fresh parsley
· 2 eggs
· Black olives
First cut the potatoes and the cod into strips. Fry the potatoes until they are golden. In a separate frying pan, add some sliced onions and chopped garlic. Cover the bottom of the pan with enough olive oil to fry the onions and garlic. Marinate for about five minutes. Once the onions are lightly fried, add the cod. Next add some more olive oil to make the cod softer. Let it cook for about ten minutes in medium heat. Stir occasionally. When the cod is cooked, add the potato strips, stir and add some more olive oil if needed. Cook for about five minutes. When it is cooked enough, spread it out on a large plate. Sprinkle chopped parsley and add some black olives. It’s ready to serve; hope you will enjoy it.
This dish is famous in Portugal because the Portuguese people have big passion for cod fish. It is served with a salad on the side. You may have a white wine with this dish. Bacalhau a bras is not an expensive plate and it is quick to prepare. Cod fish is one of the most famous fish in Portugal because there are so many different kinds of plates you can make with it. Another reason cod fish is famous for the Portuguese is because when it is dry, you can conserve it for a long time. This dish is formal or informal because they serve this dish in weddings like a fish plate, and if you go to the restaurant you can find it almost everywhere.
Turkish Shish Kebab
Shish Kebab comes from Turkish word literally meaning “skewer” and “roast meat.” It is a Turkish meal. Shish Kebab is a good choice for your guests and your family meals.
It is so easy to make a Shish Kebab at home.
· You should have a barbecue or grill.
· Meat should be marinated at least one day before cooking.
· Meat should be cut in medium size.
1 lbs. lamb cut in medium size cubes
3 tomatoes cut in half
2 tbsp yoghurt
2 green peppers cut in half
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion peeled cut in 6 pieces
1 small onion (grated)
Pour all the marinade ingredients on the lamb. Place the lamb into a glass bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to marinade overnight in the fridge. The following day let it sit in room temperature for one hour before cooking. Arrange lamb cubes on the skewers. Make 3 skewers for one serving. Preheat your barbecue. Place the skewers on the rack along with the peppers, tomatoes and onions. Make sure to turn the skewers so that all sides of the lamb are cooked for a total of 10 minutes.
Nowruz is the Persian New Year celebrated on March 21st. We used to celebrate it back home in northern Iraq (Kurdistan).The weather is nice in this month of the year in that area.
The sign of Nowruz is a bonfire. A long time ago there was a bad king called Kaw and the people suffered too much from him, so they wanted to take him out of power. They planned to kill him and they finally managed to do so. After that they lit a fire at the top of all the hills and mountains to tell the people they had gotten rid of him. Since then every Nowruz, people light bonfires to celebrate this great festival. Nowruz also coincides with the last days of winter, and the weather changes completely after March 21st.The sun comes back rising and we see flowers bloom.
I used to celebrate Nowruz with my friends and family in Iraq. We stayed up until morning outside of our houses at the top of mountains lighting fires and enjoying the nice weather. I used to have a nice time there with my friends.
Nowruz is celebrated in Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and some other countries, too. It is a holiday in many of these countries. Nowruz dates back to more than 5,000 years ago. The culture and the tradition are still the same way as the ancient people celebrated before.
I am going to celebrate my first Nowruz in Canada next year and away from my native country. I hope to see people celebrate it here too.
Me and My English
By Derlying Fernando
I have lived in Canada since 2004. When I was leaving my country, someone gave me a piece of advice. His advice was to learn something that I can do in Canada like plumbing, roofing, or something else, but he never told me about learning English.
During my first days in Canada I couldn't speak English and I didn't understand anything. If somebody asked me something, my answer was yes. One day an old lady in the supermarket asked me something and I answered yes, and I carried her heavy bags for 3 blocks. Now I understand that she asked me if I could carry her bags. Another day a customer asked me if the roof's deck had any problem and I said yes. He continued with his questions about his roof like if the plywood was bad and I said yes. After 2 minutes he was really worried and called my boss. My boss was angry with me and he told me a good piece of advice: never say yes if you do not understand what people say; please ask and make sure that you understand before you answer any questions.
I began my English class in 2010. Maybe my teacher some days thinks that I'm a lost case, but I know that my English is better. Now I can speak and I never lose an opportunity to start a conversation with somebody. In April when I had an accident, I felt the worst pain in my arm, but at the same time I was very proud of myself because it was the first time that I could understand everything about my health and the doctor's indications. LINC class has changed my life and I want to say thanks to have the opportunity to think before saying yes.
250 gm Paneer
1 cup Besan flour
2 cups vegetable oil
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 or 2 chopped green chillies
1/2 cup water
· First put the besan flour in a bowl.
· Add green chillies and salt to the bowl.
· Add water, make batter and let it rest for half an hour in room temperature.
· Cut the paneer into thick cubes.
· Sprinkle a little salt and chilli powder on the cubes.
· Now heat the vegetable oil to 375°C.
· Put the paneer cubes into the batter and deep fry into the hot oil.
· Drain on paper towel and serve immediately.
· Serve the paneer pakora with coriander or mint chutney.
Paneer Pakora is a very popular Indian snack which is usually served in the afternoon with a hot or cold drink. It is usually made in a very short time, and it is really tasty. Serve it on a dish with onions or fried green chillies, and enjoy a lovely conversation with your loved ones; however, be careful as it is a little spicy.
By Minh Van
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, my country. I was born and raised in Hanoi. But I've never written anything about it. It's very difficult because there are so many things to write that I don't know where to begin.
Hanoi is a little, serene, antique city. There is Hoan Kiem Lake, which means Return Sword, in the center of Hanoi. The Huc Bridge connects Ngoc Son Temple on the lake to the city. This temple was built in the 19th century. In the centre of the lake there is the Turtle Tower.
Hanoi has 4 seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. I like the fall in Hanoi. Fall comes to Hanoi so gently that nobody notices. One day, people suddenly feel that the autumn exists in every breath, in the wind playing off your hair, in the sunshine as thin as silk, in the streets, and in the passionate fragrance of milk flowers. That’s why many songwriters wrote songs about Hanoi and many painters painted a lot of paintings of Hanoi. Bui Xuan Phai spent his whole life just to draw pictures of ancient streets and create a school of paintings called “City of Phai.” He is one of the most famous artists in Vietnam in the 20th century.
There is a road considered the most beautiful road in Hanoi called the path of love. It is surrounded by two large lakes, West Lake and Truc Bach Lake. There are thrilling legends and stories full of historical significance about these two lakes.
Hanoi is small, but there are so many alleys. The alleys split from big streets, inserted into the middle of houses. I love the small alleys in Hanoi. Hanoi has lots of things to miss, and to love. If you have a chance to visit Hanoi, you will see for yourself what I mean.
One for All and All for One
I will tell you a story which happened a long time ago: a story about nine very good friends. I was a regular schoolgirl in Economy technical school. There were around 26 pupils in the class, but nine of us were best friends. Since then my classmates and I have become inseparable. Together we wrote homework, studied, and went to summer camps. We were "One for All and All for One.” But after four wonderful years, it was time to get separated.
We had the best teacher ever. She always supported us and gave us her advice on the spot. She was our mentor, and we were lucky that she was our teacher.
At the end of the school year when it was time for our Farewell Ball, we decided to do it in one of the most beautiful resorts on the Black Sea (about 100 km from our hometown, Shumen in Bulgaria).
As usual every one of us had bought a formal dress or suit and had prepared at least several months in advance for that event. I took my mother to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. We went to a dress designer and I ordered a fabulous dress. It was turquoise with embroidered Swarovski stones. My dream was to look like a princess, and it happened. When I put on my dress, my mother wept, “The ugly duckling now is a beautiful swan, which very soon will fly from the nest.”
At the same time we had to prepare for the university entrance exams. In Bulgaria when you apply for a university admission, you have to take an entrance examination which is done within the university. So we waited for the heavy task to select a university.
So time passed and the last day of the school year came. Everyone took a bouquet of flowers, dressed in a formal suit, and walked in Central Street. We gathered together with our teacher and walked downtown. The people stopped to look at us, the young generation of Bulgaria. We screamed, “First, second, third.”
The ceremony of handing our diplomas was magnificent. It was in the yard of the high school, where parents, teachers and school-mates could see the event. When the ceremony finished, we took pictures, laughed and wept. After a few hours, we arrived at the Black Sea and the party began. It was in a fancy restaurant with a beautiful garden from which we could see the sea. That night we had a great dance and a lot fun. The nine friends promised each other, no matter where they will be, every five years at that time, they would gather together there.
Now we living all around the world, some of us in North America, some in Europe and Asia but every year on may 24th we called which other.