Today was the end-of-term school-wide lesson held in a space large enough to host everyone at once. The topics were Canadian culture and civics, plus what fun things to do this summer in and around this great city. The planning committee did an amazing job putting together the program, which included the singing of the anthem by a talented student soloist, singing of the anthem again by all of us, short slide shows, a jeopardy game on Canadian civics, door prizes, and a pot luck. I get a bit emotional at the group singing of the anthem, especially when I think of how all of us have found our way here to a new motherland that we love and appreciate desperately.
At such events as today’s, the students cook up mounds of food, much of which is traditional in their homelands. The Chinese students often bring dumplings, many of the Middle Easterners bring dolmas, briyani and tabbouleh.A Caribbean student brought fried plantains, a Karen student had made sticky rice balls with coconut. I always get to sample a few things completely new to me. Today my “must get the recipe” dish was a Latin American fruit salad.
I was especially impressed to see that we put earth-friendly thought into the types of plates and cups we used. Not sure these are the best option, but it’s a step in the right direction.
One student had bought me a riotously colourful bouquet of daisies.
At the end of the time spent breaking bread together, one mother let her three wee ones (ages three, five and six) gather around me and my iPhone. They wanted to see a game. Note to self: download a few toddler-friendly games for the next time I’m in this position. I showed them the screen and they wanted to play “The W game.” So I opened an ongoing Words with Friends game and let them move the tiles onto the board with their little fingers. Thanks to my LifeProof case, I wasn’t at all worried about sticky fingerprints. I learned their names and surprised them by being able to spell each name correctly.
“How did you know that?” the big sister asked.
“Because I’m a teacher,” I answered.
“Our mommy goes to school here,” she said, pointing out her mom seated not far away.
“I know. I’m not her teacher, though,” I said.
“Then why are you here,” the five-year-old wanted to know.
Finally it was time for them to head home with mom.
“Tell Kelly ‘thank you,’ ” she urged them.
The youngest stared at me with the widest dark-brown-almost-black eyes, saying ‘thank you’ over and over as he backed away from me, almost tripping over a chair behind him. It’s all I can do not to find out where they live, go ring the doorbell tomorrow afternoon and beg to be allowed to play with them again.