Trying to put together a top three about Toronto, I realized there was actually a top four of why I like the city so much. So here they are:
Meeting Old and New Friends
Returning to my home base reminds me of feeling safe and fuzzy under my duvet as a child when I was hiding for the Witch and her accomplices. I never thought I had monsters under my bed, but I was at times convinced an old witch was hovering at the door. I would tuck myself in nicely with my favourite stuffed animals next to me and felt nothing and nobody could hurt me.
I no longer sleep with stuffed animals, but being surrounded by family and friends makes me feel safe and fuzzy all over again. It was sad to leave new friends made in Maputo behind but I know I will be making new friends throughout my life.
I am taking the plunge and am establishing my own company dedicated to organizational development for start-up businesses and community organizations. The main focus lies on linking strategic management.
Marlowe has been helpful with branding and this week I am starting to blog!
A business plan is in the works, while I get out there and mingle. Stay tuned for the blog as a runner-up for the website. When it’s all worked out I will present the website.
I have been working with one client already, a young non-profit organization, on strategic planning. The energy in the room amazes me every time we meet and I feel blessed to work with entrepreneurs and passionate people.
Toronto has the best foods from anywhere in the world. It has Ethiopian, Bolivian, Indian, European food and the American fast-food joints. We joke about the richness of the Dutch and English kitchen to the worldly palate we savour any day. To joke a little more, the Canadian timbits from Tim Hortons are about the best Canada offers us and I like them about once a year.
But lets be serious, I would much rather settle for a sesame-seed bagel with cream cheese and for a snack the oatmeal raisin cookie (also Canadian). To me, this is one of the greatest cookies in the world. Fannie Merritt Farmer came up with this recipe in 1896 and within a couple of years, Quaker Oats Company brought it all over North America.
Now that I have given (again) away my Dutch heritage, I’d like to share my recent excitement about rhubarb. Having never seen a bunch of rhubarb in any store or market in or around Toronto, I was delighted to learn acquaintances grow rhubarb in their garden. I shared how much I had always loved my mother’s slightly sour rhubarb sauce and a week later I found myself making it for the first time. The first batch was a bit too sweet yet I ate like I was served a King’s dish with a complimentary Dutch meal.
Discovering New Places
With friends we discovered two fantastic places in a favourite part of Toronto: Chinatown. The last few years, board games have become cool once again and few cafés tried to make use of this trend. They offer the unique combination of enjoying time with friends in a relaxed atmosphere with good food and a wide range of board games. And such a wonderful place opened up in downtown Chinatown, Castle Board Game Café.
After we tried out a new game, in which I was a brave yet drunken hero with at times magic dice throwing skills, we went to Celebrity Hotpot on Spadina, just south of Dundas. The experience was more than splendid. It starts with your choice of broth and an unusual wide variety of sauces. The freshly cut meat, fish and vegetables complement this with friendly yet busy staff. Waiting times increase at dinnertime, so come early!
Humber River Trail Map. 38 kilometers. Start: Steeles Ave. and Islington Ave. Finish: Yonge St. and Lakeshore Blvd.
It’s been two years since Renaldo Jo and I completed two 100-km walks in one summer. Renaldo is going to be doing an imposing 580-kilometres in the Caminho de Santiago in Spain. I will be testing my walking speed during the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon on October 20th. We need to find a route to train.
We chose for our route an extension of the Humber River Trail from Steeles and Islington to Lake Ontario to 1 Yonge Street (our usual endpoint). The distance is about 38 kilometres. Joining us for part of the way was Matt, a friend of Renaldo’s. It was interesting but humbling experience.
A White Tail Deer doe, like the one we saw before it darted off.
The trail is beautiful and turned out to be far more entertaining than we thought. Starting out at 930am, on the 3rd of August, we soon encountered a White Tail Deer on an earth path. Sadly, it got startled before we could take a picture. The image on the right is a good likeness of our doe from Wikimedia.
We also entountered on the trail, Canadian Geese (a little too close for their comfort), a crane, a garter snake and lots of ducks, squirrels and the usual crew of Toronto critters.
A lucky find
Lambton House now, looking out of place before an apartment complex.
About halfway through the walk, nature called for one of us and we left the trail in search of a Tim Horton’s. Instead, we found Lambton House. While the other relieved himself, we spoke to the curator of the site, dressed in 19th-century appropriate garb, about the house itself.
Lambton House was built in 1847 and served as a hotel for what was then the village of Lambdon Mills. Dundas Street was then Dundas Highway, and was the main supply route for the town in the 19th century. It was restored in the 1990s and is now protected by the Ontario Heritage Act. Best part is that it still operates its bar on the first Friday of every month! Anyone care to go?
Sights aside, we dropped Matt off at Old Mill Station and headed down towards Lakeshore. With a quick detour to get around the Caribana Festival, we arrived at Yonge and Lakeshore 6 hours and three minutes after we left. The “humble” part was how hard it was to do just 38 km. Seems I’ll need to train harder if I’m going to complete 42 km in the same amount of time (which is the time limit they’ve set). If you’d like to sponsor me on my marathon, proceeds will be going to Cuso International. Cuso helps grassroots organizations in developing countries raise people out of poverty by sharing volunteers’ skills in overseas projects. To pledge, you can visit my page on their site.
Wish me luck, a marathon is a whole other ball of wax!
Webster’s Falls, as seen from above
Our first little outing in Canada since we’ve returned was a great day at the nearby but never-before-visited Webster’s Falls. We saw the falls with Tulan, Renaldo, Elizabeth Elmo and Silly (the latter two being dogs). Mark, who has just returned from volunteering in Egypt, also joined.
The falls are part of the larger Spencer Gorge / Webster’s Falls Conservation Area in Hamilton, Ontario. The area is known for its many falls with Webster’s being the grandest as a 22-metre tall solid sheet of falling water. Though you can’t get very close to the falls, it was quite impressive nonetheless.
Elizabeth with Silly and Elmo in front of Tiffany Falls
Since the conservation area is part of the Bruce Trail, there was plenty of hiking to do. However, a long excursion with the dogs was going to be difficult so we moseyed around for a few hours in the more manicured areas. After lunch, we were determined to see more falls, so we drove over to Tiffany Falls in nearby Ancaster.
Tiffany Falls is a metre short of Webster’s in height. Whereas Webster’s is a heavy gush of water, Tiffany’s output is far thinner; known as a ribbon fall. There’s a long path that leads up to the foot of the falls and an observation deck close to the falls themselves. Beyond that, if you’re sure-footed and willing to get wet you can walk right up and touch the falls themselves. Other visitors were already doing this.
Marlowe (in white) behind Tiffany Falls
Behind the falls
One of us noticed a space on the right side of the falls where one could pass behind the falls on a rocky outcrop. So I did. Now you might not think, watching from the other side, you wouldn’t get too wet doing this. But passing behind a waterfall is more like taking a strong shower in your clothes. Soaked and having a hard time breathing, I stopped halfway in a calmer spot where I could catch my breath. This niche seemed a space removed from the falls entirely; it was almost dry and for all the fury of the falls, the air there was eerily still. Stranger yet was how drops of water hovered in the air like pollen from a flower; trapped in a vortex you couldn’t feel.
Mark, Renaldo and Marlowe soaked from their foray behind the falls
Of course I had to tell the others and Mark and Renaldo soon took the plunge too with similar results. Unfortunately, we were unable to convince the others to try it out. I can’t imagine why.
The Spencer Gorge / Webster’s Falls Conservation experience is a good time for anyone who enjoys hiking, scenery and walking behind waterfalls. Ontario has a lot to offer nature-lovers!
It is 8 o’clock in the morning and I broke my promise to watch the sun rise over the lake. I should have known; my favourite time of the morning is around 10am when I have settled down in front of my desk, had my breakfast and first cups of tea, and feel like I can handle the world. My favourite time of the morning when out of town and surrounded by scenic beauty is 8am.
The sun is out and getting stronger, but the air is still crisp. People are waking up and life is slowly starting. I am sitting cross-legged on the dock, staring at the lake that is surrounded by many pine trees. A rowboat is slowly gliding by and ripples the water faintly while the neighbour nods to me. A lone bird is singing up in its tree. I wave back, not wanting to break the silence with a chirpy “Good morning!” This is cottage serenity.
As I sip my morning tea, there is the faintest of breezes. I shiver in my new, purple fleece. The world has just stopped for a moment, sharing with me the beauty of silence. Then the dock starts to sway gently. I look over my shoulder and Marlowe is walking over to join me. He kisses me good morning and then lies down, enjoying the slow morning.
The water keeps flowing gently as if nudging me to reminisce about some of the most important moments of my life. My wedding day in 2009; holding my sister’s baby girl for the very first time in 2004; anxiously waiting at the Amsterdam Airport for the plane to come that would swoop me over to Canada in 1999; asking Marlowe nervously if he wants to join me for a trip to Vietnam in 2008; my brother’s wedding day in 2004; saying a teary goodbye to my family the evening before hopping on the plane to India in 2006; and trembling at the top of the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand in 2005.
What new memories will Mozambique bring us, I wonder. A smile crosses my face as I remember parts of our wedding vows. One of the most important lines in mine is “with you I choose to share all that is and all that will be” while Marlowe’s vow mentions “as we explore each other through the world around us”. How appropriate.
I love this morning at the lake. This is cottage serenity.
The winter was cold – very cold. It also gave us beautiful days with fresh snow and sun shine. A good time to decide to dress warm, rent snow-shoes and get out for a lovely hike. Love it so much, I’m determined to buy a pair next year and get moving.
2011 is the “Investment Year”
Marlowe and I branded 2011 as our Investment Year. Marlowe’s business is growing and I have a new job and study. Lack of spare time is the result, along with learning new stuff and relaxing with good dinner. As much as I love to cook – I barely have the time, often not even in the weekend. On the plus side, we are able to spent time with friends.
My job as “Standards Development Specialist” is developing more and more and I am getting to know more and more colleagues, programs and departments. Presently I am focusing most of my time on developing a process model for a program for newcomers, research adult learning principles as well as guiding principles for settlement and evaluation. Thirdly, I am managing 10 Business Analysis students who analyze 5 programs for us.
My study started in January and my first course is over. Boy oh boy, not easy to return back to school! Not so much for the material as finding the time (or the discipline) and dealing with a teacher that is not ‘in sync’ with his students. Never did I mind writing as much as I did the past month. Yet I love learning more about the trends in the non-profit sector in Canada.
Elections in Ontario and Canada
Ontario decided to call the month May “Dutch Heritage Month”. Not sure why this is deemed important for our provincial government! Especially with the upcoming elections (May 5 federal elections and October ’11 Ontario elections), it is not yet sure how the Liberals (now in charge in Ontario) will do. The general public seems to like the Conservatives more and more. Again, not sure why as the Harper government time and again showed it doesn’t really care about democracy and its people.
Birthdays and Earth Hour
We celebrated our birthday together (Marlowe created the beautiful invitation). We asked everyone to bring a candle, which they did! This resulted in a great candle light party.
Like last year, we went to the well-visited annual fundraising gala for Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter. We had a great time and were able to “make a deal” with one of the silent auction items.
Three movies that are a must-see
- Webinars, conferences and … a night with Cirque du Soleil, the well-known acrobatic organization from Quebec is visiting Toronto in the summer with its Totem show.
- More photography events! I am currently waiting for the cherry blossoms on the Sakura Trees to bloom in High Park (a gift from the Japanese government to Toronto).
- A wedding and our own 2-year anniversary in May. We are planning to honor Montreal with a visit from us! 🙂
Happy New Year!
This year has already started great with a new job and a new study. Starting the post-graduate diploma program Non-Profit Management at Ryerson University will boost my expertise, hence my resume and hence my career. Or so is the plan. This, in combination with a new job as Standards Development Specialist at MicroSkills, should give me an enormous learning curve in program management that I am looking for. It is ideal, theory and practice at once!
For those interested in what I’ll be doing specifically, I can share I’ll be undertaking research concerning employment bridging programs for newcomers and ensure MicroSkills’ programs are comparable. As a former volunteer and Information Manager, it is not hard to predict we will have to work hard on evaluating our programs and come up with an additional implementation plan to advance our programs. MicroSkills’ has been around for over 25 years and has an amazing track record. However, this shouldn’t qualify for stagnation and I feel very lucky the organization is instead aiming for continuous development. For themselves and for their clients.
To start the year even better, Marlowe and I just came back from a 2-week vacation in the Netherlands. It was time, I got those itchy wandering feet and this little trip was perfect. Of course it also meant we were stuck a few times as Europe seems to be shifting back to the Ice Age, but all in all it was wonderful.
Take Back the Night : 30 Years of Struggle, Resistance and Liberation
December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women (VAW) in Canada since 20 years. This is usually celebrated with some events including candlelight vigils across the country. Canada choose this national day after Mark Lépine shot 28 people at the École Polytechnique in 1989. He singled out the women and raged he was “fighting feminism”.
I took part in the Take Back the Night rally that takes place every fall in Toronto for the past 30 years. We rallied to bring visibility and exposure to the impact of sexual violence in women’s lives, from personal to political impacts in our everyday lives. This day, and especially during the rally, we ensured women and children took up space and had their voices heard. As a board member, I was proud to walk with the clients and staff of Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter. Together, we dared to say out loud “Hey Mister, Mister – keep your hands of my sister!”
Violence against Women has been brought into mainstream awareness, but it still persists in the lives of women, trans-people and children every day. Shelters are continuing to save lives every day. Ernestine’s never has a free bed for long. That is the simple reason why I volunteer at and donate to a local shelter and sincerely hope more people are interested in helping their local shelters succeed.
Chez Ici’s personal menus
Chef Lisette and interior decorator Marlowe have combined their enthusiasm for good food and opened up Chez Ici at the end of the summer. With menus made per occasion, this duo hopes word of mouth will ensure they can keep their restaurant open for many years to come. Events like “A trip to Paris” hold a menu with fresh French cheeses, French onion soup and Quebecois tortière. Dessert was served with traditional bread pudding.
We further enjoyed learning all about the Chinese kitchen as well as Cajun cuisine, Canadian Thanksgiving (try the acorn squash!), Hungarian stuffed peppers and so forth.
Vegetarian acorn squash 4 persons – 1 hour prep time
2 squashes, 4 tablespoons of butter, 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup rice, ¼ cup walnuts, ¼ cup dried cranberries
pepper, salt, thyme
1. Heat the oven at 275ºC. Cut both squashes in half and remove the pits. Melt the butter and mix this with the brown sugar. Grease the squashes and put them in the oven for 1 hour.
2. Cut the walnuts small and mix this with the rice, cranberries, a bit of salt, pepper and thyme.
3. Spoon the mixture in the squashes and mix it carefully with the butter. Put it back in the oven for about 5 minutes (roast). Bon appetit!
What to expect when you are immigrating to Canada
Here is my Top Ten of what Canada’s immigration means to me personally.
- A long, long wait before you get your permanent residency. Just hang in there, because you will receive it… without ceremony at an extremely dull government office.
- Take time off from work and go away for the weekend. There are many places to visit, from cultural and historical hotspots like Ottawa to rural outdoor places like Muskoka.
- Volunteer! It gives you great experience, brings you in touch with people you never would have met otherwise and looks great on your resume.
- Expect a struggle to find an appropriate job. The key to tackle this is to find someone who always supports you (thanks Mar!), to hang in there and keep on trying.
- Even better, take up networking as soon as you can. Jobs aren’t coming your way. And you better realize sooner than later that the competition is hard. Get to know the right people and show them what you got.
- Canadians are loving, endearing and welcoming. Especially my in-laws have been the best!
- Expect the Unexpected. There is a growing VSO-community in Toronto and I really hit it of with some of them. Here’s to reminiscing, meeting new people and supporting one another!
- Eat, Eat, Eat. Canadians are North Americans and therefore want everything big, including their meals. They also socialize with dinners (try Korean BBQ!) and celebrate their birthdays with a dinner!
- Learn the Canadian way. Take courses and figure out how systems, laws and businesses work.
- Take up something challenging like public speaking is for me. Now, who wants to book me for a speech about shelters? Enjoy the summer while it lasts. The summer is short, busy, and full of fun! Kensington Market isn’t what it is in the winter, Torontonians put on their flip flops as soon as it’s above 0 degrees and all the street festivals bring the city alive.
Pictures say it all
Here is a collage with images I took in Canada since 2009. For more pictures, check out my website.
My mood has improved considerably with the arrival of spring; there was finally work, sun, Ernestine’s Affair, a new blog and outdoor activities.
So what is Ernestine’s Affair? This is the yearly gala we organize at Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter to raise much needed funds for our organization. I was a little nervous for my first gala ever, but loved it. We were honoured by our host Erin Davis, a well-known radio-DJ in Toronto, laughed with the comedian Debra Giovanni and were moved by the tragedy that happened in Ed and Dawn Novak’s life. Her partner in 2006 murdered their daughter Natalie. Natalie was only 20 years old. We shared hope with her parents about the trial and about educational plan to teach teenagers about domestic violence. The evening was everything it ought to be and more. We raised $70k!
Walk of woMan
Marlowe walked nearly 50 kilometers south on Yonge Street to raise money for Ernestine’s and he did a great job! He was in good shape despite the heat wave and made good time. I slowed him considerably down when I joined him for the last fifteen kilometers but is was good fun. Ernestine’s has repeatedly told me they would like to have more spouses of board members involved; Marlowe has hopefully started a trend. Have a look at Mephit Design (Note 2012: this is now Yes Creative) for his account of the day.
I found work with the provincial government, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) regulates liquor sale and gambling sites. I work with the department that licenses charity organizations wishing to hold fundraising lotteries. It’s been an interesting journey to learn all the terms and conditions and have written, what feels like, a million manuals.
We’ve been pretty outdoorsy since spring. We went to lovely Georgian Bay for our first anniversary and enjoyed the hike along cliffs and some local beaches of Lake Huron. The water is as blue and crystal clear as possible, … and freezing! Like it wanted me to remember I’m still in Canada and certainly not in the tropics. I suppose I should have known.. it is one of the Great Five Lakes of North America.
We were able to get a few friends together for a camping weekend trip to Picton; what a beautiful area of Ontario! As lucky as we were with the sun and the fantastic beach on Saturday, we were glad to have found a cute cafe for a gorgeous breakfast as we faced torrential rains on Sunday.
And.. we cycled to Oakville on a whim. Forty-five kilometers doesn’t sound far, but is not too easy without any practice. My knees were hurting and it was hot-hot-hot. But the view at the lakeside was worth it, so was the delicious pizza that awaited us at the finish!
You can see more pictures on Candid Photography.
Of course I kept an eye on the FIFA World cup of soccer and was pleasantly surprised with the Dutch team. Sure, we didn’t play the most amazing soccer we are famous for, but we made it to the finals! Dressed in orange (our national colour) I dragged Marlowe and friends to Liberty Village, an old area downtown Toronto where we watched the final match with a large crowd. We lost from Spain, but I’m proud we got this far!
Walk of woMAN promotional email
The Walk of woMAN was a charity walk completed by Marlowe, Lisette and a couple of friends on Saturday July 10th, 2010. The walk was 47 km long started at 9AM and followed a straight line down Yonge Street from David Drive in Newmarket to 1 Yonge Street at Lake Ontario. Lisette joined Marlowe at Finch Avenuewith 16KM left in total. The couple would be joined by two more women at the Eaton Centre before reaching the Lake at the foot on Yonge Street at 6PM; nine hours after the walk started.
Proceeds went to Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter. Here is some information, taken from their mission statement:
Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter is an organization run by women, provides support and shelter for women and children escaping violence. They assist women and children in rebuilding their lives by providing crisis intervention and a range of holistic support services, while acknowledging the multitude of issues facing survivors of abuse. They adapt their services to honour diversity and the unique needs of the individual. They promote awareness, education and advocates for early intervention and prevention.
Walk highlights and photos
9AM: The starting line
Marlowe starts WoW in Newmarket on a long and winding sidewalk
Fresh and full after a large breakfast, I depart from the busy intersection of Davis Drive and Yonge. Preparations like Google Maps and scoping out the road in a car are never quite enough to prevent surprises for when you have to get down to it. When you’re looking to make good time, straight paths are nice and winding paths like this one are not.
10AM–1PM: A lonely road
At this point I missed the earlier sidewalks and the morning shade as both became few and far between. By midday I found myself on a couple of highway-like stretches (between 5 and 10 KM apiece) with no sidewalks (but plenty of fast-moving cars), lots of hills and nothing that vaguely resembled shade. Definitely the sweatiest and most boring part of the walk.
2:45PM: Civilization starts at the subway line
Marlowe and Lisette in downtown Toronto with Jennifer right behind
After six hours mostly alone, you get used to walking on gravel sometimes, being exposed to the elements, not seeing much of anything. Though there’s a gradual increase in development as you go south on Yonge (and I didn’t exactly start in the boonies), reaching Finch felt really urban! It also meant I’d have company; in the form of my wife (second from left).
2:45-4PM: The big push
The challenges outside the city had been fighting dehydration and poor walking routes. Having walked 31KMs to Toronto, you could say these challenges were replaced with sore joints and the need to stop frequently at intersections. There would be no more breaks after this; just straight down to the Lake.
4PM-6PM: Day’s end
Everyone at the Finish line with Ernestine’s banner
Lisette and I were joined at the Eaton Centre by two friends who would see us to the Lake. I had refused to take a break after Highway #7 to improve my time. Maybe for this reason my foot swelled up around College Street, slowing me down considerably. After another 15 minutes however, we found ourselves at the foot of Yonge Street to a small but appreciative group of supporters — friends and some Ernestine’s staff.
I would like to warmly thank everyone who was involved in supporting me before and during the 46.8KMs and those who contributed to Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter. If you still wish to make a contribution, you still can.
See the “45km NEWMARKET” in the image to the right? That was actually one of the smaller measurements embedded into the pavement at 1 Yonge St. Right near it was one that said “88km BARRIE”. Sounds like a worthwhile challenge. See you next year.
2010 has seen a mild winter and a lovely start of the spring. This seems to be symbolic to my journey as job seeker – I have started many new beginnings and only one route has ended so far.
I started with a new volunteer job as fundraising committee member at MicroSkills, a non-profit organization that works primarily with female newcomers. Needless to say, I feel a bond with their clientele. Meanwhile I have been voted on the board of Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter and hope to fulfill my three-year term. Their staff is a dedicated group of women who do amazing work that is needed so badly.
With barely any time to meet friends, we have served High Tea at The Gardens (our house) to my mother in law and of course the rest of the family in honor of her birthday. January turned out to be a busy birthday month! Marlowe worked hard on his website and ensured another Hedonics‘ catalogue is printed. I experienced once more my “February Blues” and yearned for sunshine. March was a lot better with Daylight Savings Time and our birthday party!
CANDID PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
Regularly I was on my way out of the door to have a photo shoot, here are a few examples. To see my portfolio, click here.
I got my work permit in February – hurray! I’ve doubled my efforts in finding a job but haven’t landed one yet. I’m holding my first information interview this week, very exciting. Next to sending out my resume, I have requested a job counselor at COSTI, a non-profit organization, and am now experimenting with a functional resume. TRIEC has a wonderful mentoring partnership that I signed up for. I’m also starting my own blog about my job search, that’s an idea I had for quite a while and I’m expecting it to launch this at the end of the week. Stay tuned!
After six months of traveling up and down to Markham campus, twice a week, I received my certificate for Business English at Seneca.
Wishing you all the best for the new year while I revisit the past few months of 2009, wondering at the same time what the fall may bring me a year later.
H al l o w e e n
Hallowe’en is a yearly holiday that always happens on 31st October, a tradition that entails “trick-or-treating” for the kids who go around the neighbourhood hoping the adults will give them sweets. You end up seeing carved pumpkins and spooky gardens while others tell you horror stories and people dress up.
And so I ended up “thrifting” with my friend Carly, searching for the perfect set of second-hand clothing for our party! I ended up going as GI Jane, Marlowe as a civilized caveman (a character from a Canadian commercial from his youth).
Me and Carly (as Riveter Rita), Marlowe as caveman
T H A N K S G I V I N G & C H R I S T M A S
To me, Thanksgiving is a holiday like Christmas. Give thanks to those around you and eat, eat, eat. North-American tradition is a stuffed turkey, while we Dutchies go crazy over a holiday called Sinterklaas (a.k.a. St. Nicholas), certain sweets like speculaas and sending Xmas-cards. Interesting fact is that Santa Claus is made up by Coca Cola and derived from his European counterpart. The Andreyko-tradition is to play xmas-bingo (or blackjack like this year); we won massively and went home with 6 pounds in nuts!
P H O T O G R A P H Y
I had the opportunity to shoot a tiny, just born, baby boy and a lovely couple that just got engaged. For more pictures, please see Portrait Photography.
T H E R E S T O F M Y T I M E
… was spent undertaking some short hikes in and around the city, in lovely fall weather and in minus eleven degrees catching the snowflakes as they whirled down upon us, many Skype calls, some delicious lunches and dinners (food is the way how people interact in Toronto) trying out many different dishes from all over the world, and volunteerism. I had a few hectic months with volunteering for three different organizations that have clients from marginalized communities. I began a new journey as candidate board member for a women’s shelter and learned lots as I got submerged in fundraising tasks. I left HSDC but am starting at MicroSkills, a professional non-profit that focuses on female newcomers to the Greater Toronto Area.