Thursday, December 06, 2018 / Published in School Closures

Real English Victoria will be closed from December 24 to January 1 for Winter Break. We will reopen on January 2.

We wish you a relaxing holiday season and a Happy New Year! See you in 2019!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 / Published in Holidays

BOO!

What do you say when you want to scare somebody?
In English, we say “boo”! We think that this is the sound that ghosts make.

Ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and witches are just a few of the monsters that we think of on Halloween.
Halloween is a spooky (scary) holiday with a long history.
Many of our Halloween traditions come from Ireland, Scotland, and England.
Take a look at some of the many Halloween customs that we have in Canada!

DRESSING UP

Wearing a costume is one of the most popular Halloween traditions.
On Halloween, you’ll see both children and adults dressed up in costumes ranging from cute to frightening.
Some people like to plan their costume months in advance!
Children will often wear a costume to school and for trick-or-treating, and some adults will wear a costume to work or to a party.

TRICK-OR-TREATING

Sorry, this activity is for children (and some teenagers) only!
On Halloween night, children go to their neighbour’s houses and knock on their doors.
When the door opens up, the children will say, “Trick or treat!”
The neighbour will then give some Halloween candy or another treat to the children.
After, the children will say thank you and continue to the next house.

Now, trick-or-treating in the neighbourhood is becoming less common.
Some parents are worried about their children’s safety.
Sometimes the houses are too far apart.
Because of this, going trick-or-treating at a shopping mall is becoming popular.

Regardless of where children go, they usually end up with a big bag of Halloween candy at the end of the night!

BOBBING FOR APPLES

Bobbing for apples is a very old tradition.
Many apples are placed in a container – usually a barrel.
The container is filled with water.
Participants try to grab the apples with their mouths, and they are not allowed to use their hands.
A long time ago, girls used to put the apples under their pillows.
They thought that if they did this, they would dream of their future husband.
Nowadays, we only bob for apples for fun.

PUMPKIN CARVING

Many people like to make jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween.
A jack-o’-lantern is a pumpkin with a face carved (cut with a knife) into it with a knife.
Originally, people made jack-o’-lanterns to protect themselves from evil (bad) ghosts and spirits on Halloween.
The first jack-o’-lanterns were carved from turnips in Ireland and Scotland, but in North America, we use pumpkins.

GHOST STORIES

Halloween was originally a religious holiday to commemorate (remember and celebrate) the dead.
The modern celebration of Halloween in North America is often not religious.
Instead, we use Halloween as a day to have fun feeling scared.
People like to watch horror movies, listen to creepy (uncomfortable and scary) music, and tell scary stories.

One of the most famous ghost stories is about Bloody Mary, a female ghost.
Legend says that if you say the name “Bloody Mary” three times while standing in front of a mirror in a dark room, Bloody Mary will appear.
Children like to do this activity in a group.
Usually, one person will think they see something in the mirror and scream, causing the rest of the group to freak out (panic and be scared).
I still remember playing this game at my friend’s house on Halloween!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 / Published in Holidays, Learning English

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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 / Published in School Closures
Tuesday, January 23, 2018 / Published in Updates

Notice something different? That’s right, we have a new website!

We’ve been working hard over the past few months to make a better, more fun, and more organized website for you. We still have a few changes to make, so let us know if anything looks strange.

A HUGE thank you to Lenka for helping us with the website! We don’t know what we’d do without you.

We’d also like to give a big thank you to everyone who came to our 2017 Winter Party. It was so much fun and the energy was great! We can’t wait to do it again next year. 🙂

Take a look at some photos from the amazing party:

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