This past December I took a trip to Japan – again.
I’ve been to Japan three times. It’s a country where you can stay in the same place for weeks and still feel like you haven’t even begun to discover any of its secrets. There’s always something curious waiting to pique your imagination, and there’s always something for everyone. From little harbour towns to sprawling urban meccas, mountain hot springs to pristine beaches, and generations-old family businesses to over 200 Michelin-star restaurants, this island nation of 127 million people has it all.
During my latest trip, I went to Tokyo for the first time. People are used to tourists in Tokyo. English is everywhere – until it isn’t.(more…)
Do you enjoy the New Year? How do you celebrate it? Do you make special goals or plans? I know that New Year’s Eve is a special time for many people in different countries.
In Canada, many people stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve (December 31). They might have a private party with friends or family, or they might go to a pub or club. People love to dress up for New Year’s parties! Women often wear shiny or sparkly dresses. 10 seconds before midnight, they start to count: “Ten… nine… eight…” until, finally, “… one… HAPPY NEW YEAR!” They often cheer and hug (or kiss) the people around them. After that, some people sing a Scottish song called Auld Lang Syne. Most of us know the tune, but very few know all the words! So we usually just sing “la la la” and pretend that we know it!
Many people make a New Year’s resolution. This is a personal promise or goal that you make to improve your life. Common New Year’s resolutions are: to exercise more, lose weight, visit family and friends more often, save more money, or learn a new skill. Some people take these resolutions very seriously, and they succeed. However, many people abandon their goals quickly. In January, it is common to joke about how long you were able to keep your resolution!
What will you do this year? Will you stay up until midnight to welcome the New Year? Will you celebrate with family and friends? Or will you stay quietly at home and enjoy your rest? Will you make a New Year’s resolution, and will you keep it?
No matter what you do, REV wishes you a very happy New Year! May your 2019 be filled with joy and love!
Canada is a multicultural country. We celebrate so many different holidays, from Diwali to Lunar New Year to Eid. We also celebrate Christmas, the biggest holiday of the year. Some people and businesses start to prepare months in advance. Thinking about the perfect gift for a loved one can be a stressful experience and some people take months to decide. Sometimes you’ll even see Christmas decorations in July!
But what do Canadians do to celebrate Christmas? We all have ideas of Christmas. We think of snow, Santa Claus, Christmas trees, a hot fireplace, turkey and roast beef, and Christmas lights. However, not every Canadian family has the same Christmas traditions. Some families might not celebrate at all, while others go all out in their traditions.
Here are some Christmas traditions that are familiar to many families across Canada.
December is a very festive month in Canada. You can see, hear, and feel the Christmas spirit everywhere. Many students asked, “We don’t have families here to celebrate Christmas with, and stores are closed early. What can we do for fun during Christmas?” Here’s a little guide to help you (based on your budget) spend a lovely time during “the most wonderful time of the year”!
Free or by donation:
Times Colonist 2018 Christmas Lights Map (Drive around the city to see some of the most amazing Christmas light displays!)
Note: Many of these free events are actually for good causes. The donated money all go to charities which then go to those in need. If you can, help support these events with whatever much you can. Sharing makes us all richer!
With a small budget:
Skate with Santa ($2.00 when you bring a non-perishable food item!)
With a bigger budget:
Ballet Victoria – The Gift (featuring one of our many talented students, Davide!)
Victoria has so much more to offer for Christmas! If you’re the artistic kind, try out some of the Christmas-themed workshops around the town to make wreaths and seasonal decorations. If you are into music, there are caroling performances here and there in town. Best of all, organize your own caroling group!
A reminder: If you’re taking the public transportation to get around, it will be operating on a reduced schedule on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. And always remember to bundle up!
Brrrr…. Do you feel cold? I do! Victoria is currently having a cold snap. This means a sudden drop in temperature. The weather forecast says that it is going to be clear and cold until Friday. After that, we will return to our usual cloudy and rainy winter weather. https://weather.gc.ca/city/pages/bc-85_metric_e.html
Have you noticed that the school is a little chilly? How about other public buildings? There is a reason for that. Many buildings in Victoria are heated using natural gas. In October, there was an explosion in a natural gas pipeline in BC. The pipeline is fixed now, but the company can’t provide as much gas as usual. As a result, they have asked businesses and homes in BC to turn down their thermostats (reduce the temperature inside) to save gas. You can read more about this story here: https://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/natural-gas-shortage-could-last-all-winter-households-urged-to-conserve-1.23497101