How do you feel about Christmas?

It’s Christmas time! I have a secret love for this time of the year.  Especially when I am living in the Northern Hemisphere and it is a White Christmas!

Czarna Gora

It is the essence of Christmas I adore – the simple pleasures of: being with people I really love, singing Christmas carols, drinking mulled wine, eating delicious food, watching the snow fall and feeling truly content.

The commercial aspect of Christmas is one I do not like – the apparent “need” for people to buy a lot of presents and seemingly, how much you love someone depends on how big, or expensive, the gift is that you give them.

For this year it would be nice if we could all “get back to basics”. I have spent many Christmases in Poland, and they have two beautiful traditions that I would like to incorporate into every one of my Christmases – whether I am in Poland or not.

The first is the setting of the table. It does not matter which Polish house you enter – the table setting will always be the same.  If there are 10 guests for dinner, there will be 11 place settings.  The Polish always set an extra setting, just in case a stranger may knock at their door and need a place to be on Christmas eve.  This tradition is obviously deep seated in the strong religious beliefs of the Polish, however I love the simple message it portrays:

“YOU ARE WELCOME HERE”

please come in, be warm, and eat.

The second tradition, that all Polish people will follow happens before eating the meal.  Each person – whether family, or new acquaintance, Polish speaker or not – goes to each other person that they will be sharing the meal with and gives them wishes for the up and coming year.  These positive messages are delivered in a close and personal manner, with everyone coming away smiling, laughing and some even crying with happiness.

These two very important traditions in every Polish house “make” my Christmas when I spend it there.  Forget the presents, forget the elaborate meals and other festive paraphernalia – these gestures of love and kindness are what Christmas should be about.

So…

Who will you be sharing Christmas with this year?  How will you be sharing your Christmas?  Do you like the “superficial” Christmas of today, or the “traditional” Christmas of years gone by?  How do you celebrate Christmas?

The last thing I would like to share, with you, is my favourite Christmas song.  Please, if you have one, share it here too – collecting new Christmas songs is a hobby of mine (but don’t tell anyone, I think it is a strange hobby!!).

MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS

AND A WONDERFUL 2010 TO YOU ALL

A Lovely Love Story

Before I start this post I must thank Edward Monkton for the title – I was trying to think of another title, but I could not think of anything more appropriate for the following story.

The Great Number Wizard

The Great Number Wizard

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a wise (not-soold) wizard of numbers.

This wizard could take any number you can think of and do many things to it.

He could add the numbers, he could divide the numbers.  He could look at the numbers and create different numbers with different meanings.

In short, he was amazing with numbers.  This ability to be amazing transcended into other areas of his life too – he was extremely witty, making people laugh, without them knowing that he was going to!

He was very friendly, kind and compassionateAll in all he was a wonderful wizard of numbers.

One night the great wizard decided to have a party with some of his wizard friends, and these wizard friends in turn invited other friends – some of them weren’t wizards.

Wizards and non-wizards party

Wizards and non-wizards have a party.

They were all having a wonderful time.  The great wizard was making people laugh and taking care of all those around him.  Then, late into the night a girl (not-so-young) walked in.  She was not a wizard, but just a happy girl who was invited to the party by one of the other wizards.

She was introduced to many of the wizards around the table and then lastly to the great number wizard.  This was the first time she had met the great wizard, but after this first introduction she just knew that she would be seeing him again.  Actually she would be seeing a lot more of him.

Both the happy girl and the great wizard had a wonderful night.  They talked to each other, they talked to other wizards and non-wizards.  They danced, they ate and they were merry.

The happy girl had to leave the party earlier than the other wizards and non-wizards, because she worked very hard every day of the week.  She was working to make all her dreams come true – she wanted to study to be a wizard – a wizard of words.  This took a long time to do and she was very dedicated.

The weekend went very quickly for the great wizard and the happy girl – both doing things separately, but somehow they were linked by their thoughts.

Early on the first day of the week, the happy girl looked into the sky and saw a message written there – it was from the great wizard.

“WILL YOU MEET, WITH ME, ON THE LAST DAY OF THE WEEK?”

She immediately replied,

“YES!”

The week passed by quickly and then the meeting time came.  The happy girl looked beautiful and was more happy than normal.  The great number wizard was excited and on that last day of the week he had done some amazing work with numbers – because he was so excited!

They met, they talked and they realised that this meeting was going to be the start of an amazing adventure together.

The happy girl smiled a lot, normally, but after this meeting she could not wipe the smile from her face.  She knew that this great wizard, who one week earlier was a stranger, was going to be “her” great wizard.  She also knew that her dreams now involved him; as he also came to the recognition that his dreams now involved her.  This couple were now inseparable.

The great wizard was renowned throughout the universe.  This fact meant that for his dreams and work, he had to travel.  He was asked by another wizard, from a world far far away, to come and help him with some problems he was having with a lot of different, difficult numbers.  The wizard was happy to help, but only if his new love was able to go with him.

The happy girl wanted the wizard’s dream to be fulfilled and knew that she would come back to her studies to be a wizard of words.  She had traveled to other worlds before and was very happy to go again – especially now with her wizard.

They packed up their lives and left for the far far away world.  This world was very dark and cold.  They tried to keep each other warm and loved, but sometimes it was difficult.  The wizard was very busy with his numbers – they were indeed very different and difficult.  The happy girl started to feel extremely dark and cold.  While the wizard was busy, she would try to stay happy, but somehow she kept walking down the wrong streets, speaking to the wrong people or saying the wrong things.

Dark, cold world

Dark, cold world

Then when the  great number wizard returned from long days working on his numbers, she was angry at him for bringing her to such a horrible world.

Theirs was not the love that they had packed up to venture to this world with.  It had turned a bit dark.  One day the wizard said to the not-so-happy girl:

“Perhaps you are with the wrong wizard…”

To this she could not respond, her heart broke into many pieces at the mere thought of being separated from the great number wizard.  This was all she needed to remember why she was in this world – she was here to make a dream come true…she became happy once again.

It was hard work, for both the happy girl and the great wizard, but they made it out of the dark, cold world.  They learned many valuable lessons and knew that their life would be richer for the experiences.

The wizard was then asked to spread his amazing knowledge to a mountainous world – to a world where the sun shone, the people were happy and even snow fell.  The happy girl knew that her studies were going to be waiting for her once again and that there were other amazing ventures she could undertake, without being a wizard, yet.

They fell in love again – with each other, with this new world and with the adventure they knew they were meant to undertake.

One day, on the top of one of the highest peaks – of that mountainous world – the great number wizard stopped the happy girl.  He went down onto bended knee and said to the happy girl:

“I love you.  I want to spend the rest of my life with you.  Will you marry me“?

Will you marry me?

Will you marry me?

Of course the happy girl would marry the great number wizard, she knew this was going to happen when she first met him.

They now walk the mountains.  He gives advise on the many things you can achieve with numbers and she (even though not a wizard) is learning more about words and helping others to learn more too.

English Language Learners:

What do you like about this story?

What don’t you like about this story?

Could it have a different ending?

Do you have a love story you want to share?  Please leave a comment.

Pictures thanks to D&S photos, google images and barrena.deviantart.com/art/Dark-World-120945225

Inspiration

Inspired by one of my many fabulous students – past and present – Caroline, these are some of the websites I have utilised this week.  I have used these sites for: lesson inspiration, material gathering, entertaining reading and fun activities.

Can you use them for inspiration, as well?

http://www.merriam-webster.com/

http://theenglishteacheronline.com/

http://www.gapfillers.co.uk/

http://www.englishclub.com/esl-games/

http://www.illustratedvocabulary.ip-providence.net/

http://www.englishforum.com/00/interactive/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dl085n16034

http://www.gamesforthebrain.com/

http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/

http://kalinago.blogspot.com/

http://burcuakyol.edublogs.org/

This list could go on and on and on and on and on and…however these are the ones I have used the most – this week and in no particular order…

What have you seen this week?  Please share…

Image thanks to google images

INSPIRATION

This small post was inspired by the newly created #teachertuesday on Twitter. 

“Who inspires who?”…

When looking in the reliable Merriam-Webster dictionary, the usage for “to teach”
and “to learn” are synonyms of each other…

Teachers and learners have a symbiotic relationship with each other –
ALL teachers were once students and ALL students teach their teachers many lessons…

So on this day of #teachertuesday – think of those who have inspired you.
Think of those you want to inspire and remember to learn something NEW today!

To teach is to learn twice.
Joseph Joubert