Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Really Great Day!

Well, it feels like it happened ages ago, when it was really just on December 14th. Now that I'm done work, everything feels to be moving in slow motion and hyperspeed all at the same time, especially since it's been the Christmas season. But I wanted to blog about it, in a sense to commemorate the end of a very memorable semester at Mohawk.

So here we go! Please enjoy some pictures and commentary on the Mohawk College ESL program graduation.

There are two groups that graduate and receive certificates at the ceremony: College Entrance English 3 and LINC 6 (my class!) These two classes are equivalent in level. The only difference is that LINC is a government-sponsored program for immigrants. However, all students are invited to come and participate in the ceremony. As a result, it was one of the most diverse and interesting ceremonies I've attended. We had classes sing Christmas carols, an international fashion show, a Latin dance demonstration, speeches, a flute/piano duet, and even a teacher's skit.

Here are our lovely and talented MCs: Holly, from China, and Duki, from Slovenia. They did a really fantastic, professional job.

My favourite part of the ceremony was the fashion show. Students were encouraged to come to the stage wearing traditional outfits from their host countries. They came in groups by country and explained the function/purpose of their outfits. This was a beautiful, spectacular part of the ceremony, with groups from China, Korea, Germany, Serbia, Sudan, Chad, Colombia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc! At the end, all the students formed a line on stage, grasped hands, and took a deep bow. Again, I was so impressed by the multiculturalism of Canada. Truly beautiful.

Due to students' privacy, I can't show many pictures. But here's just a taste. This group is from Korea.

And this group is from Colombia. Daniel, on the left, is wearing, as he put it, "traditional coffee farmer's clothing." No kidding... I thought I was looking at Juan Valdez himself!

And kudos to MaryAnne, the LINC 7 instructor who came dressed as a Canadian. I love it! We all had a good laugh as she explained that she had just witnessed her neighbour leave for work that morning dressed in a similar fashion.

After the ceremony, we all went to the Mandarin for lunch.

And then, as suddenly as the semester had started, it was all done. We hugged, promised to stay in touch, and I drove back to sleepy St. Catharines.

The last few weeks have been very different for me. First, the Christmas rush, and now lots of reading and puzzle-solving as we await the arrival of Peanut. But we'll save that for another post.

Thanks for a great semester, everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Am Having a Baby!

Ok, no, no, not at this very minute, so don't get all in a panic or anything.

I guess it just hit me, like, TODAY.

I finally finished work on Friday. It was a great day, and I'm hoping to publish a post with pictures from graduation soon (just waiting for permission to post the pics).

But I noticed that even with work being done, my anxiety persisted. A feeling of needing to do something, but not being sure what. Every morning I wake up with a tight chest (my body's favourite way of expressing anxiety) and I lie there wondering, "WHY am I anxious?" And then I get up and kind of spin in circles all day, feeling frustrated, like I'm not doing something I should be doing, but not sure what that something is.

Our weekend was busy with Christmas shopping and friends, and so yesterday was the first day I had all to myself. I just worked myself into a state, cleaning, writing Christmas cards, applying for EI, all with that nagging feeling that I needed to do more NOW. Very frustrating.

And then, today, it started to all make sense. I went to the midwife, by myself for the first time in months as Jeff was working, and I noticed the mood had shifted. Suddenly, she was talking about the "home stretch." I got my "binder" full of all my medical info as well as stimulating reading material on topics such as perineal massage ("massage" being a bit of a misnomer, methinks). I was told about preparing my "hospital bag" and other necessary supplies. And I was informed that this was the last bi-weekly appointment. From here on in, it's once a week. YIKES! Both the midwife and I wondered where all the time had gone.

Then she measured me and felt around for the baby (still posterior, but at least not breech!) And then she suddenly said, "Oh, you're having a Braxton Hicks contraction." And I said, "WHAT are you talking about?" And she said, "See how you're all tight right now? That's a Braxton Hicks contraction." And I was like, "Really? It is? That happens all the time!"

Now I know, Braxton Hicks is not the real thing. It's just you're body getting ready. But somehow this little revelation changed everything. I mean, I've been experiencing these tightening sensations very regularly. I never thought they were Braxton Hicks. I just didn't really think at all. I thought those would at least hurt a little bit.

So all day, I've been walking around thinking, "oh, there's another one." And then, "oh my goodness... this is for real." I picked up Jeff from work, told him all about the appointment and said, "So, we're really having a baby. Like, in ONE MONTH, we'll be holding our little Peanut! This is CRAZY!" He just smiled. And then I came home and checked my email. And there was my weekly email update about the pregnancy. The quotes couldn't have been more timely...

'For many women, the last weeks of pregnancy are when "reality hits." It's taken this long, says Alford, for it to really sink in that she's actually having a baby.'

'As you make the journey from pregnancy into motherhood, you're bound to have some mixed feelings. Not only is your body becoming cumbersome, but you've got a lot on your mind. You may feel overwhelmed by how much there is to do and think about.'

Um, ya. I would say that about sums it up.

So tomorrow, when I wake up to the all-too-familiar chest pains, I'll know what it's all about: