and the free summer camp began today in St. Angela School. The free Soccer in the Park program started today as well, so the boys headed to soccer for an hour, while the rest of us signed up for the summer camp and hit the water to cool off. There were quite a few smallies splashing around with their parents, and Rebecca was gleefully splashing from one end to the other. Nicholas and Isabel went to the arts and crafts room to make Aliens, and Christopher and Benjamin appeared after the soccer was over, all red and sweating. They jumped in, fully clothed, and spent the next hour hurling footballs and frisbees at each other and the rest of the soccer players. The camp runs every day, (including Saturdays and Sundays 🙂 !), and the soccer coaching takes place all over the city for the rest of the summer. We’ll probably go to the sessions in our park, and the two nearby. The weather is scorching and our winter getting-out-the-door routine has become the summer sandals-sunblock-bug spray-iced water list.
We spent yesterday at Redberry Lake, our first time to revisit it since our inaugural trip last August. So much has happened since, and it was strange to pack everything up for the day and head out along the same road, with memories echoing of our first week in Canada, and a realisation of how far we have come in making this our new home. I had forgotten how beautiful the countryside is, and how much I have to pack for just one day. We were laden with togs, towels, snorkels, food, water, more food, ice packs, more water and tons of sunblock and bug spray. Jo Ann brought Calleen and Connie brought Rocky, and the difference between them was hilarious. Calleen entered the water in a dignified manner, swam quietly for a while, exited the lake and lay under a picnic table to stay cool. Rocky eyed the lake, hurled himself in, swam in circles while barking furiously at the water, charged out again, and repeated the whole routine every 30 minutes for the rest of the day. The kids swam all day and we didn’t encounter any bears or coyotes. We stopped for ice-cream on the way home, and experienced the usual dithering over flavours – it took about half-an-hour to get everyone sorted, but it was worth it to finally get that pistachio-almond cone into my hand. It was awesome 🙂 .
Rebecca had her Ballet Show at the end of June, and spent the entire day attempting to get ready, only to be told “NOT YET!” every five minutes. She was vibrating from head to foot with excitement by the time 6pm rolled around, and I brought her over to the High School to get ready backstage. All the little girls were beautifully turned out in their tutus, with shiny hair and dimply knees. There was an aura of delicious terror in the room, and one little girl succumbed ten minutes before the show started, sobbing inconsolably for her mother and refusing to be comforted by any of the second-rate mammies chaperoning the different groups. Her mother arrived to mop her up and cajole her on to the stage. Rebecca’s class was the second act, and they stumbled tentatively on to the stage, squinting under the lights and looking vainly out into the darkness for a glimpse of their proud parents. They danced to Hakuna Matata, all out of sync and utterly adorable. Rebecca yelled “Hi Mom!” a couple of times, and waved in what she thought was my direction. Each act had its funny “never work with children or animals” moment, like the child in the third act who ran towards the edge of the stage when the music finished, to be met by a roar of “WHOA!” from the audience and the leaping up of every man in the front row, arms outstretched to catch her. Another child’s beautiful crown headband kept slipping off, and she marched off the stage every time for it to be fixed, sometimes only managing to get halfway back before it slipped again. We drank our tears laughing. It was an hour of pure entertainment, and the ballet teachers were amazing, marshalling the troops and praising them onwards. This is the excited Before and the exultant After:
We went to our first Pow Wow at Wanuskeyin Heritage Park last weekend, a day of dancing and singing, with lots of prize money at stake. It seemed to be the First Nations equivalent of an Irish Feis. It was really hot, and the event started later than scheduled, so we watched the Drumming and the Grand Entrance, and then left for shade and the playground. The costumes and dancing were amazing, and I realised that I don’t know enough about the history of the First Nations peoples of Saskatchewan and Canada – something to research whenever I have a minute. The children have learnt about these topics in school, and certainly know more than I do yet.
June’s father was here for ten days, and the heartbreak of saying goodbye yesterday was just as bad as the day they left Ireland. They had a fantastic time, and spent last week in America, travelling around Montana. It seems so strange to think that weekends can be spent in the United States. We haven’t managed to make it out of Saskatoon yet….
While I can’t wait for Liz, Eddie and the three kids to arrive on Monday, it’ll be hard not to allow the thought of the leave-taking to overshadow the two weeks that they’re here. My lot don’t know that they’re coming over, and will be brought to the airport on Monday morning under the pretext of having to collect a parcel. I’m dying to see their faces when they appear through the Arrivals Gate (although there is the possibility that my almost-teenagers will mumble Hi and slouch into a hug). Liz rang to fuss over what to bring – “shorts, t-shirts, suncream and bug spray”, I said firmly – and the matter was resolved. She’s also going to bring over all of the kids’ Lego sets from my mother’s attic, so we don’t have to listen to Nicholas bemoaning the loss of his Ninjago Temple any longer.
Benjamin turned 9 last month and Nicholas will be 7 next week, and they have all come to the end of their first school year in Canada – we’re hoping for a summer of sun, sports and swimming, with minimal mosquito bites, and long, lazy evenings and weekends. Saskatchewan has to redeem itself for six months of a hard and snowy winter; so far, it’s doing an awesome job 🙂 .