I spent my first two and a half months in Ottawa searching, unsuccessfully, for a job. In fact, my job search began back in Vancouver when I e-mailed a résumé to a language school. At the time, they wrote back saying, "We'll call you if we have an opening." And we all know what that means. So you can imagine my surprise at the end of December when, lo and behold, they called me! I went in for an interview at the beginning of January, and started work the following week. This new job is different from previous teaching jobs I've had. Rather than international students, the school caters to francophone Canadians who need English for work. Also, instead of teaching classes, I'm tutoring students one-on-one. That means that the teaching style tends to be less hectic but more intensive, and there tends to be more emphasis on learning than on fun. Over all, I'm quite enjoying it. I miss getting to know many students from different countries, but I like being able to spend more time with individual students. And, of course, it's nice to feel that my life is back on track after being on hold for three months.
Since the beginning of the year, I've also been trying to get involved in other activities. Some people at my church are involved in E.S.L. projects, and have invited me to participate. I've also decided to join my church choir. I was part of my school choir all through elementary and high school, but since then I haven't had much opportunity to sing, and I miss it. At first, I found it really difficult, but I'm beginning to get the hang of it.
After my two winters away, I was treated to a really nice December in Ottawa. It snowed right at the beginning of the month, and, unusually, the snow stuck around right through to the new year, giving us a beautiful white Christmas. Although the temperatures have mostly stayed below 0 ºC, it's also been an unusually mild January. Not until the end of the month did we start to see some of the –30 ºC wind-chills that characterise Ottawa winters.
In the news, Stephen Harper has prorogued parliament for a second time. Unlike last time, he doesn't seem to have had much justification for it, and I think most Canadians, myself included, are beginning to see this as a bad habit. In international news, Haiti has been hit with a monstrous earthquake that has flattened the capital and killed thousands. The good news is that the international community is pulling together to help, but what I really hope is that Haiti can get the kind of aid that will allow it not merely to recover, but to emerge stronger than it was before.
Movies I've seen this month:
Summer Hours – Low-key French film about a family dealing with the disposal of their mother's estate. (Two and a half stars)
l'Avventura – Strange and fairly incomprehensible Italian film by Michelangelo Antonioni. (Two stars)
T.V. shows I've seen this month:
Heimat – Artsy German mini-series about changing life in a small town during the twentieth century. The parts dealing with the inter-war and World War II periods are fairly interesting, but the later episodes aren't very good.