Archive for March, 2008

A French lesson and a joke

My children’s elementary school offers three academic programs: the English program, the French Immersion program, and the Ukranian Bilingual Program.  The kids in the French Immersion program learn their subjects in French.  The ones in the Ukrainian program learn theirs in Ukrainian (or maybe English too because it’s a bilingual program.  I don’t really know.)  The ones in the English program learn theirs in English.  All my three kids are/were in the English programs.  But since French is one of the official languages of Canada, they get to learn French starting fourth grade.   And it’s a required course until they finish high school.

I’ve always asked my two older boys to teach me French, how to say the words properly, but they give up on me easily.  Because French is not easy to say.  Well, at least for me.  The written word is not how you would read it.  But my youngest one, who is now in fourth grade and who is ever so sweet, is always eager to teach me.  Well, maybe not always.  But he taught me how to count one to ten in French.  Just look at this list and compare the spelling to the pronunciation.  And if you know French, please feel free to correct me. 

English            French                 Pronunciation

one                   un                         uhn
two                  deux                     duh
three               trois                      twa
four                 quatre                  cat
five                  cinq                      sank
six                   six                         sees
seven              sept                      sit
eight               huit                       wheat
nine                neuf                      nuf
ten                 dix                         dis
Here’s a joke that a French-Canadian girl at work told me a few years back.  I’ve forgotten about it until my youngest son told me the same joke.
A joke:  One two three cat
Question: There are two cats, an English cat and a French cat, in a contest to swim. The English cat is called the One two three cat, and the French cat is called the Un deux trois cat.  Who won?
Answer: The English cat because

the French cat sank!

Un deux trois quatre cinq.
Un deux trois cat sank.



March 29, 2008 at 6:27 am 14 comments

Good Friday, bad Friday

We’re really busy at work and overtime has been open everyday and Saturdays, and even on stat holidays, too.  We’ve been offered different kinds of incentives just so that people would work the extra hours.  And for someone like me who really needs the extra cash, it’s just so hard to resist these incentives and so that’s why I’ve been working really hard.

In February, we were given a new holiday here in Manitoba, The Louis Riel Day.  And as much as it was tempting to take that day off on a cold winter day, I just couldn’t pass up the incentive that was offered if I worked on that day.  So I did.

Earlier this week, overtime has been opened for Friday (which is a stat holiday, it being Good Friday) and Saturday.  I was tempted to sign up for both days, but I decided to work only on the Saturday.  Why?  Well, for one reason, I already told the kids before I learned about the overtime that I’m staying home that day because it’s a holiday.  Second reason, I am from the Philippines, a country of devout Catholics.  And I grew up in a culture where you observe strictly the holy days of obligation.  

Let me just say that I am not devout.  Yes, I am a Roman Catholic.  I follow the Ten Commandments.  I do follow the Golden Rule.  I go to church every Sundays.  But I don’t go to Simbang Gabi.  I don’t pray the rosary.  I don’t do the Visita Iglesia, nor the Stations or the Way of the Cross.  And I’m sorry if I offend any Catholics reading this.  But this is me.

That being said, let me just share these conversations to get to the point of my post. 

My friend Libs popped in my cubicle on Tuesday afternoon.

Libs: Are you coming this weekend?

Me: Only on Saturday.  Not on Friday.  I kind of feel guilty coming in on a Good Friday. 

Libs: Yeah, me too.  You know what my sis-in-law would tell me if I worked on Good Friday? Ano ka, Hudyo?

Me:  Yeah, my mother and sis would say something like that too.

Libs: Maya is coming.  I asked her what her mom has to say about that.  She said she hasn’t told her yet that she’s working on Friday.  So I told her.  You tell her and find out what she says about it.

Maya (not her real name) is this other Filipino girl at work who was born and raised here in Winnipeg.

So yesterday afternoon, I popped in Maya’s cubicle.

Me: Are you coming in tomorrow, Maya?

Maya:  Yes.

Me: But it’s Good Friday. 

Maya:  So?

Me:  You’re not supposed to work on Good Friday.

Maya:  Why?

Me: Because, Jesus is dead.  )  I know, I don’t really follow all these beliefs and stuff.  But most Filipinos do.  When you come in tomorrow, find out how many Filipinos will be here.  I bet you there won’t be a lot of them.  (There are quite a few Filipinos employed at our company.)

And then I told her how the man and I had a big fight last year on Good Friday.

So I thought I’d sleep in.  It was Good Friday.  I thought I’d have a nice day off.  I got up from bed at maybe around 10:00 am.  The man was already downstairs.  And so were the kids.  I’ve heard the TV on earlier and also notes from my oldest son’s flute.  I got out of the bedroom and what do I see as I pass by the boys’ bedroom?  My oldest son packing up his backpack. 

Where are you going? 

I’m going somewhere where I can practise my flute. 

What are you talking about?  You can practise right here.

But daddy said I can’t.

So I went downstairs and confronted the man.

Why won’t you let him play his flute?

Biyernes Santong – Biyernes Santo eh.  Mag-i-ingay kayo.

And I realized then where he’s coming from.  You’re not supposed to make any noise because God is dead.  Just like how we were brought up in the Philippines. 

Then he continued on . . .

Kayo’y magdasal at magsisisi ng mga kasalanan nyo.

Which irritated me because he’s not devout either and he was saying these things.   

So I argued with him that the flute doesn’t make that much of a noise.  And so what if his son plays his flute.  For all I knew, he’d be watching a movie in the basement later with the speakers in full blast and the whole house would be shaking from the loud sound.

I went back upstairs to talk to my son.  I asked him, just for the sake of peace and quiet in the house, can you not just play your flute for this one day only.  But he was upset and still wanted to leave and go to his friend’s house.   And I explained to him that I don’t really think his friend’s folks would want company on a day like that.  It’s a holiday.  It’s their day off and I think that they would just want to be by themselves.  So he spent the day moping in the other room.

As I’ve said before, I know that parents should be supportive of each other in raising their children.  But I do tend to stick up for my children, especially when I find the man being unreasonable

March 21, 2008 at 2:32 pm 10 comments

At the parking lot

We have been in deep freezing temperatures here in Winnipeg these past few weeks.  And we’re finally getting warmer temperatures now.  But then again, warm and cold is relative.  Just look at the cartoon in the editorial page of The Herald this week. 🙂

Well, anyway, I was finally able to get my camera out in the open and take quick snap shots at the church parking lot on Sunday.  As usual, we made it just in time, one minute before the mass started, and the parking lot was already full.  We ended up parking in the lot of the school adjacent to the church.

This baby plows and clears the snow in the parking lot.


The school parking lot has these electrical outlets where you can plug your car.


Cars here in Manitoba are equipped with block heaters to keep them warm in freezing temperatures.  So it’s very common to see plugs hanging out from the hood of the cars.




March 10, 2008 at 8:06 pm 10 comments

Snow Sculpture

I see this snow sculpture everyday.  It looks like a mascot of some sort.  It’s located in front of the TD Bank Centre at Portage and Main downtown.  This is the only snow sculpture I’ve seen this winter.  I don’t know if there are any other sculptures around the city.  I didn’t get the chance to go looking for any this time around.   

snow sculpture

March 8, 2008 at 9:47 pm 3 comments

None of your business

I’m changing directions before you all think that I’ve become such an emotional basket case. 🙂  Because I’m fine, really.  And thank you for all the encouraging and comforting words.  I really appreciate them.

This is a joke that my youngest son told me a while back and I made him tell it to me again today.  He heard it from his friend.  I know it doesn’t make sense to have a police station in an exotic island, but this is his joke and I think it’s funny. 🙂

There are three people on a vacation in an exotic island.  One named None of Your Business, another named Manners, and another one named Trouble. 

Trouble got lost.  So None of Your Business and Manners went to a police station.  When they got there, Manners was shy to go in.  So he waited outside.  None of Your Business knocked on the door. 

A policeman came and opened the door.  He said, “How may I help you?” 

None of Your Business said, “We’re looking for our friend.” 

The policeman said, “What’s your name?” 

None of Your Business said, “None of Your Business.” 

The policeman said, “Where’s your manners?” 

None of Your Business said, “He’s outside.” 

The policeman said, “Looking for trouble?” 

None of Your Business said, “Yes, how did you know?”

March 1, 2008 at 4:10 pm 7 comments