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.
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
I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. I know I did. I have some family time, some turkey, and some rest. I also enjoyed the orange leaves and grey skies – a typical Victoria fall.
When I first taught overseas (in Mexico), my coworkers often asked me why Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on a different day than Americans. (Canadians celebrate it on the second Monday of October, whereas the American date is the fourth Thursday of November). I realized I didn’t know, so I did a lot of research, but I was unable to find a clear answer.
Some websites suggested it was because Canada is further north, so we harvest (pick vegetables) earlier. Some said it is connected with the arrival of explorer Martin Frobisher in 1578, who gave thanks for his safe journey. Another website I read said that it is simply because the Canadian and American governments chose different dates when they made Thanksgiving an official holiday! So the truth is, we don’t really know.
The American Thanksgiving story of “the Pilgrims and the Indians [First Nations peoples]” is well-known, but Americans did not “invent” Thanksgiving; harvest festivals are celebrated in many different cultures. Thanksgiving is essentially a time to celebrate the harvest and be grateful for the good gifts that we have in our lives – food, family, friends.
It’s that time of year again… the leaves are falling, the nights are cooler, and people all over Victoria start drinking pumpkin spice lattes. Fall has arrived!
Do you like this season? Victoria normally has a very nice fall. Especially in the first few weeks, the weather is often dry and clear; this means blue skies, golden sunshine, and orangey-red leaves. I love it! Soon after, the rains will start to come. The fallen leaves will become slippery, and the sidewalks will be full of puddles – so watch your step!
What do we eat in fall? This is when Canadians start to cook more winter dishes. These include soups, stews, and anything with squash in it. We also like to drink pumpkin spice lattes, gingerbread lattes, and peppermint mochas. Some people complain when coffee shops start offering these drinks at the end of August!
What about fall activities? Well, some people will go camping on the weekend. It is a little colder than in August, but September is our last chance to get out into the forest, so some die-hard (crazy, committed) camping fans will still do it! Most farmers markets run until the middle or end of the month as well, so don’t miss this chance to stock up on (buy lots of) local vegetables.
Orange leaves, hot drinks, and cool weather… have a great fall!
I have decided to start an intensive course at our school for those who want to take the CELPIP* test at Real English Victoria. So many people want to know how to prepare properly and what things they can do to increase their score on the test. But there is so little information and books available, there are few options in Victoria.
Intensive Preparation Course for CELPIP*
9 Weeks: October 1st – November 30th, 2018
Time: 4:30PM – 6:30PM (90 hours)
Cost: $1740 + tax
This is the BEST preparation course in Victoria and it will cover every section of the test multiple times. I am very serious about student results, so the course has been designed to give you the confidence to take the CELPIP* test and help you to move up from 5~6, 6~7, 7~8, or 8~9.
If you follow the exclusive REV system, you will improve quickly. Each week you will practice reading and writing in the first hour and listening and speaking in the second hour of the class. Outside of class, you will be able to plan activities or homework, depending on how you enjoy learning. Some people might prefer to work on writing, while others prefer listening, speaking, or reading at home.
In my next post, I will talk about the different sections of the test, occasionally providing you with videos and websites that I think will help you master the CELPIP* test! But if you really want a good chance of getting the score you need, or if your only goal is to improve your English skills, coming to my class in Victoria will be the best way for you to ace the CELPIP*.
Visit our website (https://realenglishvictoria.com) for more information and check back here in a couple of days for the first post to help you with CELPIP*.
*CELPIP is a registered trademark of Paragon Testing Enterprises. Real English Victoria Language Co-op is not a licensed provider of CELPIP services or testing. It solely provides test preparation for the CELPIP test.
Download: Intensive CELPIP Program (PDF)