Hello again to our family, friends and fellow followers. We apologize to all our readers who have been anxiously waiting to hear about our exciting adventures here in northern Ontario. As you might have seen from our last post, we have been busy posing for pictures in the water bomber for our upcoming CD. Thank you Miles for graciously offering to escort us to the MNR base, and to the two very friendly pilots who took the time to show us the overwhelming number of avian gadgets.
We owe Miles another thank you for so kindly driving us up the north road, even while well aware of our bad luck with flat tires. With some snoozers in the back of the truck after a long week of teaching, we finally made it to the furthest point in Ontario that one can get to by car. Third time is a charm! Along the way we stopped at Sterling Lake to scout out an abandoned community, which was definitely a unique experience to say the least. As our adventure came to an end and we pulled in to the Hoffman’s driveway, Michaela spoke too soon when she uttered the words “YAY, no flat tires!” Our car, sitting in the driveway, had one very sad looking tire. BUT we did not fret. All our experience with changing tires (or watching tires being changed), allowed our auto team to whip off the screw-punctured tire in record timing. We are acquiring more life skills than you would imagine.
Kelsey and Jess – the dynamic duo, also known as the “Queen’s Girls,” have become increasingly closer after Kelsey gave Jess a hands-on (or should we say “hands-up”) lesson that involved Kelsey’s fingers up Jess’s nose as they struggled to change Jess’s nose ring. In the school, Kelsey and Jess have become successful puppeteers with an animated interpretive dance regarding sun safety. As for the older grades, discussion-based lessons seem to be the most effective, after realizing that their acting skills would earn them nothing but unimpressed silence. An exciting game of compliment freeze tag, where to unfreeze a peer you have to give them a friendly compliment, attracted the attention of all age groups. Before they knew it, almost the whole school had enthusiastically joined in as compliments were flying higher than their spirits for the completion of their class on self-esteem. This gave Jess the opportunity to compliment Kelsey on her “gentle competence when changing a nose ring.” The girls have been moving steadily through the curriculum and are coming to the sad realization that the amount of teaching material left is diminishing rapidly.
In Mish, Eric and Michaela have been taking full advantage of time spent outside of the classroom. Last week, the team split up for “Freaky Friday”. Eric’s athletic ability shone through on the soccer field, while Michaela attempted to untangle fishing line and reel in “the big ones” which surprising turned out to be tree trunks. Both, a little sun-kissed, returned home that day with smiles from ear to ear knowing that they had formed new friendships. It was also on this day that it truly sunk in how much they are going to miss this place when it comes time to leave. A PD day gave the two the opportunity to organize an afternoon of soccer. After driving around the reserve to round up kids, a full-blown soccer game was started, only to be put on hold by little voices shouting, “I’m thirsty… I’m hungry.” 30+ sweaty, hungry, and screaming kids would naturally make the average person nervous, BUT the two knew what they were getting themselves into. The prepared QHOers set up shop and handed-out juice, chips and granola bars out of the back of Eric’s car. Success! The Mish team has also been making strides in the classroom, as the students are enthusiastic about filling their personalized folders with health material. The pair successfully wrapped up the sexual health curriculum, which was taught to boys and girls separately, allowing for some great discussion and sex-specific information to be delivered in an open and safe environment.
In the evenings, the two teams combine the last of their energy and come together to play soccer with the older students of Crolancia. At about 7:30pm, we meet and divide into teams, which always seem a little unfair- girls against boys! Well aware that this seems to be the easiest divide, the girls have been practicing their soccer abilities, including their fancy footwork. Kelsey, who claims she “feels no pain,” dives, ducks and goes flying 5 feet in the air to get her foot on the ball. Jess- made of steal, has ninja-like skills in net- slapping, kicking and deflecting the bullet-like balls that head her way. In addition to scoring many goals, Michaela scores EVEN MORE friends by “shaking what her mama gave her” on the field while leaving behind her signature scent of bug repellent. And then there is Eric who actually manages to stay on his two feet for the entire game. His fancy footwork rivals the most competitive of ballet dancers and his graceful speed rivals that of a gazelle. All in all, our daily soccer games have become a rewarding activity that we look forward to at the end of a long day. Thank you to all the students who come out!
Yesterday, we hosted possibly the most chaotic “Friday Fun Night” recorded in history. The younger kids sadly had exceedingly more energy than four university students on a Friday night as bean-bags were being shot-putted across the gymnasium, birdies were zooming around heads, and kids were challenging each other to duels using combat-like weapons, which weirdly resembled oversized Q-tips. The finale of our performance in breaking up the chaos was simultaneously accompanied by an epic curtain close graciously provided by one mischievous student who had discovered the pulley.
In other news, we have been steadily eating our way through our stocks, which leaves us making creative adjustments to our diet. While Jess discovered that Nutella tastes good on absolutely everything, including oatmeal, Kelsey proudly declared herself a “hametarian,” eating oatmeal with breakfast, lunch, and dinner while avoiding the ham luncheon meats. Meanwhile, Eric has boycotted all ceramic dishware by choosing to eat from the metal pots in which his meals are made. Michaela, always combining the most interesting foods, including craisins and hummus, has also decided to spice up her life by adding Montreal Steak Spice to all canned goods. The foursome have been counting down the days to their big road trip to Dryden, where they will enjoy some fresh fruits and veggies. They will also buy the remainder of the supplies needed for the exciting upcoming events that they have been actively planning. Stay tuned to hear about our busy upcoming weeks!
One last thing: Jess got a little too excited when she and Kelsey learned that one of our new Crolancia friends is Shania Twain’s niece. Jessica’s face continued to redden as she held back the urge to scream out “Can I meet her?!” It was certainly a highlight of her day.