Thursday, June 25, 2009

Week 6

(Note: Have not edited)

This week has been a lot lighter than usual.

Monday: I was very excited about this week´s craft: Rodolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. (My family had called me Rodolph a couple of times after coming home with a burnt noses). Thus, in the afternoon, I made one for my mama. My family laughed when I presented it to them. :D We also go the kids to make 3D apples/watermelon since our theme for the week was Fruits and Vegetables.

Tuesday: We played the same IC game with the children. However, this time the children had to find the person with a picture of the fruit/veggie that matched the English word. (We went over the words prior to the activity like the previous week.) We also played memory, and then human bingo. However, this time we gave each person a piece of paper that had their fruit/veggie on it. They taped it to the front of their shirts. The bingo sheets had pictures of the food. I have to give Ryan the credit for the last game; he was definitely thinking outside of the box and came up with the game which was a great alternative to our original idea. You see, we initially wanted to play regular bingo. However, in the end the BINGO sheets ended up being the same. Instead of redoing them he suggested editing it to be more like human bingo. It turned out very well. I also decided to bring out the stickers; I don't know if it was a good or bad decision. The kids LOVED them and they went nuts trying to find ways to get more and more of them. lol

Mon. Night- Registration for University Classes & Coffee with Mediha : Tuesday afternoon was very stressful for me. It seemed like anything that could go wrong with registering for fall classes went wrong. However, in the end everything worked out. It was also night to go out to Coffee with Ryan, Chels and Mediha, and get my mind off of things! :D I also discovered an alternative place to write e-mails. They have an Internet cafe across the street from the centre. Although the smoke causes me to have migraines, it is a great place to go to when I need a fast computer. (I.e. for registering this week and preregistering for classes next week.) It also has really good N.American music!

Tues. Night- Adult Yoga & Bonfire: Yoga was good but the mother and teen who came made great suggestion for us to create more professional posters and post them up everywhere, not just in two different places in town. I also got some homework: I have to look up some sequences for next week. Hopefully, the lady will bring some of her friends for next week´s session. Since Chels and Brigette went to Zagreb´s music festival this week, I recruited my sister, Erna to help with the yoga class. It was very nice of her. Afterwards, we joined the rest of our family, friends and neighbours at a community bonfire held in their elementary school´s front yard. It was a lot of fun and another example of how the community comes together on a regular basis. Our neighbourhood friends´ parents BBQed and provided drinks for everyone. The children ran under the bonfire, played tag, etc while the parents gathered and sang songs. There was also a display of fireworks. Although I left well before the fire died down, it is apparently tradition to jump on the ashes at the end of the night. Then before getting ready for bed, I showed one of my older brothers the large pieces of paper containing Hrv/Eng phrases that I brought from the Centar. We practiced them together, him in English and me in Croatian/Bosnian. My sister brought my mama to witness our English/Croatian/Bosnian lessons. She was pleasantly surprised! I think my family has hope for us! :D I feel comfortable trying to speak in front of my older brother because he is in the same place as I am. I am definitely becoming more confident in attempting to speak the language. Even if they do laugh at me at my failed attempts I know that I am trying and so do they. :D

Funny story: Last night my sister, little brother, mama and I were sitting in the living room. My sister was telling me how the cat bit her for no apparent reason. I asked it Croatian, ˝How do you say, ´our´˝? She said, ˝ Sat˝. Confused I asked her again and she answered with the same word. Thus, I said, ˝Sat mačka luda!˝. I was the joke of the family for the rest of the night. Needless to say, I will never forget that ´our´ translated in Hrv/Bos is´naša´.

Thursday: Due to a city council meeting in our building, we had to cancel programs. Thus, Ryan, Jill and I were able to use to time to clean out the programming rooms, catch up on Intercordia commitments and work on personal things, i.e., my blog entries.

This Weekend: Ryan, Jill (AKA Chilly) and I are going to Split. We will be back on Sun.

All the best this weekend,


Week 5

(Note: Have not edited)
The Centar:

Monday: We made caterpillars for the second week, this time using a new technique and taping them from the ceiling. We also made butterflies from hand prints.

Tues: Bridge helped me with the English this week. One of our activities was inspired by an Intercordia Canada activity from one of our seminars. The activity involved Lisa/MaryBee passing around pieces of paper to everyone. Written on them were common phrases from Canada and from around the world. We had to go around the room finding a phrase from Canada that matched one from another country. The purpose was to see commonalities among the countries´ phrases. For our English class, I changed the activity a bit.

Bridge, Jill and I wrote 25 common phrases on large pieces of papers. They had the questions and the answers, i.e., How are you? I am good thank you., and then the phrases were written in Bosnian underneath. We went through the phrases one by one. A translator from the teen group would say the phrase in Bosnian, one of us from IC would say it in English and then the children would repeat it in English. After going through it a couple of times we would give the children pieces of paper. Half of them had the questions and half had the answers to the questions, all in English. (We left the large sheets up as an aid.) Once they found the person with the other half of the phrase, the two of them would sit. Once everyone was seated, we went around getting the children to share their phrases.

The second activity many people are familiar with: Human Bingo. For those who aren't, it is a game where everyone gets a sheet full of statements, i.e., I have a piercing, I am planning to watch Kung Fu Panada at the Centar this week, etc. The people playing have to go around the room trying to find people who can answer yes to the statements. Then they have to sign the statement they can attest to. You can only sign to one of the statements per sheet. The first person to have signatures for each statement wins and says ˝BINGO˝. For our game we asked everyone to ask in English.

Like always, the remaining time in our program was dedicated to indoor games.

Tues Night: We had our first Adult Yoga class, which I have already discussed in another post

Wed: We had to cancel our movie night because of the bad weather. Yoga went well.

Thurs: Our dance was to Rihanna´s ˝Disturbia˝. It was full of robot moves, the monster moves from Michael Jackson´s ˝Thriller˝, I'm a Little Tea Pot moves, sports, etc. It was a silly and fun dance. We also did the previous dances with the children. :D
Thursday night we had our Movie Night at the Centar. We showed ˝Kung Fu Panda˝ on a large screen outside the center. It was a hit! There were a lot of families and children from the center watching the movie. Hopefully we can have another one; it costs quite a lot though so hopefully we can get more people out to Adult Yoga to help with the expenses. We´ll see.

Friday: We played a bunch of games outside. We started with ˝Everyone´s it˝ (which I learned while working up North), then did a bunch of filler games like ˝Curly, Larry & Moe˝ (which I learned in a high school conference), ˝Steal the Bacon˝, etc., before going into large games of dodge ball and or soccer.

I learned a new version of Dodge ball. Everyone is in the ˝In Zone˝ except for the team captions who were in the regular ˝Out Zones˝ along the back. When someone gets out they switch with their captions.

Friday Night: For some strange reason I was hesitant when my youngest siblings wanted to help clean my room. After a few minutes, I agreed to letting them, and what I ever happy I did! It was a blast! We went through the supplies my mom sent me from Canada, and the supplies i brought. One thing I brought were capsules from Dollarama that changed into spongy objects when submerge in hot water. My brother´s face while watching his object take form was PRICELESS! After Franjo, Erna and I made one for ourselves and our two other brothers my mama arrived home. After surprising her with a spotless bedroom, we showed her our sponge insects. My mama wanted to make one for herself and get my tata to make one as well. Thus, a few minutes later, Franjo, Erna, mama, tata and I were surrounding a little glass of hot water and a capsule yelling the insect we guessed tata would be. Tata really wanted to be a frog, while mama knew better and said he was going to be a butterfly. It was hilarious! The children in them were coming out! Even when wings were emerging my tata was still hoping he would get a frog. Unfortunately, his spongy object was a butterfly. It was one of the highlights of the summer! The objects can still be seen from outside my window. :D

Saturday: During the week my family was washing their rugs outside. On Friday I joined in during my lunch break. I found it fun, strangely enough. Thus, on Saturday I was excited to have a chance to go through the whole process with my little brother and sister. We lathered it, hosed it down, used the back of the broom to get rid of the excess water, soap and dirt, and then repeated the sequence. Then my sister rolled up the rug, and my brother put the hose through the top of it. Then we put the rug on the fence and my brother hosed it one last time.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Last Wed: Happy Unbirthday to Me!!!

Although ˝Alice in Wonderland˝ was one Disney movie I utterly detested, I will always remember the Mad Hatter saying ˝Happy Very Unbirthday to Me, to Me, to Me˝ during the tea party. It was the first thing that came to me when being handed my package in the GVU post office.

The joy that comes from getting a package from home is indescribable! My mom back home gets A LOT of brownie points! Thank you, thank you, thank you! It was filled will all types of goodies such as a small, colourful, ultra soft towel which I am guessing came from Costco, sour keys and caramel cubes (which my BiH sister is becoming obsessed with and is helping me devour), a more organized, thorough BiH/Eng. dictionary & and CD, 4 notebooks (3 ecojot- a lrg, med and sm one, and 1 with a really pretty interior), my ˝Find and Seek˝ book (which I have been enjoying with my younger siblings almost ever day and had bought in Cda from Costco), some crucial info and a card, a smaller backpack from home, and much needed vitamins. Lastly, she sent me suppliers for the Centar including pipe cleaners, more stickers, feathers and googly eyes. :D:D

Nothing is better at the end of a crummy day than a special item/gift from a loved one. Whether it is small or large, the thought is what matters. I am ever so grateful! Every time I use an item a sheer joy comes across me. Thank you.

I also need to make a shout out to my friend, Jas, from UW who has HARRODS cookies waiting for me for when I get back to KW; you are the best!

Also, if I havent already said it, thank you to Knights of Columbus for your generous contributions! :D

After ~ 10 Years My Fear Has Resurfaced!

Growing up I was attacked by a cat twice. The first time was directed solely at me and the second time was directed at a little girl and I was unlucky bystandered in the room at that time. Both times involved the same cat; my childhood bff´s cat. It took me a VERY long time to gradually become comfortable around cat, sometimes even loving them. My friend Gemma, and my childhood bff´s new cat helped with the process. However, all that was washed away last night.

I don't know if the gate I moved trying to get into my yard did something to my cat (it was 11pm at this time so I couldn't really see anything), or if she was just hungry, wanted food, remembered that I caved last week and gave her and her kittens some food (sh!). What ever the reason, on my way to the stairs to show my sister my hair (it was curly from putting my hair in Princess Layla buns; me trick to wavy hair) the cat bit me TWICE!

The first time was soft. Soft enough that I thought maybe she was playing with my moving ankle. However, seconds later I felt a much more distinct bit and saw her mouth around my leg. Although she did not leave any bite marks, she left a mental mark!

Needless to say, my fear is back. It took a very long time to get to sleep. As well, I CRINGED and had an increased heart rate when she purred, and circled around my legs this afternoon. Moreover, I am terrified of her in the morning and at night (when she is the hungriest and the time of the incident).

I am hoping that with the help of my youngest brother and my sister, I will be able to conquer this fear once again. At least by the end of my stay in GVU. For now I will be doing many prayers and be cringing and squealing silently.

Wish me good luck! Eek!


First Adult Yoga Session

I just came from teaching my first full blown yoga session. Since we put up the fliers rather late, there was only one adult other than the four other ICVs who attended.

In order to prepare, I browsed a VERY good yoga site last night. Within the site there are different poses broken into categories, i.e., ˝back bend poses˝. You can also choose poses and create sequences. (I will try to post the website as soon as possible.) Then I wrote my own sequences, including pictures, in my notebook. This afternoon I did a test run to nail down the timing.

The class itself went very well. We did breathing, a downward dog sequence, a warrior pose sequence, a sphinx/dolphin sequence, two centre sequences, my floor option, and then finishing off with the corpse pose (resting and working on breathing). All of which I organized myself. We ended the night with ˝Namaste˝ and mint tea.

The only hard thing was keeping my composure. I wish I could be in the zone like my handy assistant, Bridge. Seeing people fumble around and whisper words of frustration was unexpected and quite funny (sh!). The children´s yoga is much more relaxed so laughing is fine but having a serious class where I have to be aware of how to explain the correct way to get into and out of positions while keeping a serious face is definitely something I need to work on.

Lastly, I am very excited to teach some of the new sequences to the kids tomorrow. Variation is key to keeping them interested in the long run.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Week 4 @ the Centar & Pidriš

(Note: Have not edited)
The Centar:

Monday: We made fish and jelly fish with the children.

Tues: We taught the children occupations. We did the yes/no guessing game in three groups. Then we split the kids up into two groups. One group would go outside and do some filler games like ˝Winds of Change˝, while the other group stayed inside and played a game of jeopardy using the occupations. For instance, if the card said, ˝I teach children how to defend themselves˝, the kids would have to guess, ˝Who is a Karate Teacher˝. (There were 2 translation sheets translations for the different occupations per group.) After 15 minutes, the groups would switch.

Thurs: We made a short dance to ˝Jenny from the Block˝ by J-Lo.

Friday: Since the other volunteers went to Belgrade, I had a low key day with the children. We made crafts for half of the time and then played filler games such as Limbo, A LOT of Musical Chairs, Buckle Buckle, etc. I got them to make hand prints/plate suns and chain caterpillars.

The others left on Thursday at 2:30pm. For some reason I was nervous about teaching the program alone. I don't know why since I have been teaching classes alone for the past few summers. I suppose is was because I had gotten used to them With that said, with the exception of a couple of times when i felt like I was in a zoo, Thursday and Friday went very well!! I enjoyed my time. In the morning I had my little helpers. It was a lot quieter, and the children and I had a blast playing games, dancing, and doing Arts and Crafts. During the evening I took some time to organize our main programming room. I put up all the kids artwork, and cleaned the shelves. Then my sister and our friend came to get me and I went home to spend the rest of the evening with family.

There were a few reasons why I did not go with them to Belgrade. However, the main reason was because my sister had invited me to go with the rest of our family and neighbours to Pidriš on Saturday.


On Saturday we left bright and early: between 7-8am. It was a very long and tiring walk. It took us about 3 hours and it was mostly uphill. My sister and I travelled with her three school friends. My brothers, tata and neighbours left an hour later. It reminded me of a pilgrimage that my Baba, Deda, mom and I went to back in Canada. It seemed like the whole Catholic community was there, some travelling by foot and others my car. While there, we attended 1.5 masses, looked at souvenirs, and my sister and her friends got ice cream. (I was saving room for the BBQed lunch my family and neighbours were preparing). It was nice to see the community coming together. It reminded me of the mass I attended a few weeks before. The mass took place in a grave yard where most of the diciest from the town were buried. People brought bouquets of flowers and lit numerous candles for the mass. We prayed over those that had gone before us. Both events were very powerful and emotional. My only wish was for my family from Canada to have experienced these things with me.

Our lunch took place half way between Pidriš and home. It was near a well we stopped at on the way to the church. We rested, conversed and ate DELICIOUS food. I had steak, čevapi, tomato and cucumber salad, etc. It was great!

The journey to and from Pidriš was awesome! We came across mini strawberries, wells, and foot long leaves. We took many silly pictures. On the way home the sides of the path were ramped. It reminded us of a skate board park. It was tradition for the girls to run up and down them. Who was I to fight tradition. (It was a blast!)
Parental Surprise, Water Tossing and Movie Nights:

Since my mama pulled a double shift on Friday and Saturday, and missed Pidriš, I wanted to do something special for her. Thus, my sister and I made her and the rest of our immediate family crepes. As toppings we made homemade banana whipped cream (consisting of 3 egg whites, 2-3 spoon fulls of sugar and 3 mushed bananas whipped), diced strawberries, and 2 pieces of nutted chocolate. Tata and mama were overjoyed! :D

Afterwards, we were allowed to play outside with the water balloons I brought from Canada and one of our neighbours. We filled them up, tossed them to each other, and virtually got soaked! them we sprayed the hose on each other (Sh!)

That weekend we also watched two English movies (with Hrv subtitles): Oceans Eleven and Parent Trap. We wanted to try eating popcorn with chocolate (like Katie Holmes in ˝The First Daughter˝). However, there are no decent priced M&Ms in town. thus, we tried cutting up regular dark chocolate and putting them into VERY salty popcorn. The result: a disgusting mess! lol It was worth a try! :D

The Americans are coming soon and Ive asked for M&Ms so my sister, little brother and I can try it the N.American way before she leaves for Croatia on a class trip in a month.

What a GREAT weekend!!!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Food Habits

Isn’t it funny how we become more tolerable to things when in a foreign place. For instance, for as long as I can remember I have hated kiwi and tomatoes. However, since experiencing my first tastes here in BiH I have grow to LOVE them and have eaten them A LOT (salted tomatoes are a staple to my daily meals). Since I don’t have chocolate chip cookies, milk or that much cereal, I have become extremely obsessed with chocolate, eating it every day in some form or another.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Week 3 at the Centar & Sarajevo

It was Oriental Week. For arts and crafts we created colourful fans and dragons. We (ICVs) acted out a story about a Panda trying to save the Geisha from a dragon in China. We were trying to teach the children directions. Before the story, we held up pictures that showed different directions and stated the directions in both Croatian and English. When the kids heard the directions during the story they had to act them out. As well, we used pictures with the name of objects/characters in the story in both Bosnian and English as props to help the kids who didn’t know that much English. Our dance for this week was to ˝Poker Face˝ by Lady Gaga. We video taped it again. (Our dances keep getting better as the weeks progress.) My hope is to somehow burn the songs onto one CD and present it at the reintegration. (As long as Chels and Bridge are up for it. I’m crossing my fingers.)

I taught Yoga in exchange for karate lessons for the third week in a row. Chels and I have decided to teach adults yoga every Tuesday at around 7pm. Hopefully, we can start next week or the week after. We are also planning on having our first movie night next week or the week after. We’re thinking of showing Kunfu Panda.

Last weekend we (ICVs) went to Sarajevo. We stayed at Hotel City Centre. The hostel was REALLY pretty and it had cereal!!! (Jill and I have been craving it for a very long time.) The people there were like-minded and worldly. I had some great conversations, and I had a blast in the evenings with them. We also went on a tour to The Tunnel, which acted as a gateway during the war. We learned about some of the history of that time. The tour was well worth it!
All in all it was a great weekend, but on Sunday I was glad to be back home with my family!

Tomorrow I will be visiting my Hrv. baba. My next trip wont be for another few weeks but I am happy to be able to relax and spend some time with my family. Then in July we will be going to Dubrovnik and Split, which I am VERY excited about!