Reminiscing About Skateboarding

I started skateboarding when I was about 15, in the fall of 1999. I was living in Newfoundland. I remember seeing people on the streets doing tricks and it got my attention. It looked really cool to see the board flip then land on it. I started skating in the streets by my house and at the Memorial University underground parking lot.

Derek Blais, kickflip
Steve B, smith

I left Newfoundland at the mid-point of grade eleven. I moved to New Brunswick and this was when I first really got into doing tricks. I remember skating for six hours a day then going home and watching skate videos for another couple hours. In Newfoundland I skated alone, but now I had a crew. We skated the streets a lot and were hassled by the cops on a daily basis. Skateboarding kind of kept me away from a lot of the substance abuse problems that most little towns have. I was so focussed on skating. Being drunk or high would only interfere with what I wanted to do

Marc Durrette, front board
Nacho, tailslide

A lot of people hate on skateboarding and this kind of urban culture, especially small towns like the one I was living in. Skateboarding was a positive outlet for me. It was fun, kept me fit, and it taught me about progression and persistance. It’s hard to think how I would have filled up my time if I had never started skateboarding.

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The Great Poutine

Poutines are one of the most popular foods on the Canadian east coast. A Poutine is made with French fries, cheese curds and gravy but sometimes people add other ingredients like fried chicken or bacon. You can get the generic Poutines at almost any fast-food chain on the east coast; McDs, A&W, Burger King, New York Fries and even KFC. This French Canadian food is a delicacy in Quebec and New Brunswick, but you can find it sometimes in Nova Scotia.

It all began in rural Quebec in the late 1950s. Fernand Lachance of Warwick, Quebec claims that one day in 1957 an impatient customer ordered cheese curds while he was waiting for his French fries. To mask the fact that the French fries were cold they decided to put hot gravy on them . When he got his order he decided to combine the fries and hot gravy with his cheese curds. While combining the ingredients Lachance hollered ça va faire une maudite poutine (“this is gonna make a fucking mess!”). Linguists have no record of the word being used before 1978, but from this time on it’s been associated with the cheese covered French fries topped with gravy. And golly wee it tastes good!

Learning Japanese: Respect, Modesty & Politeness

I started learning Japanese three years ago from a girl studying to be a Japanese teacher. She was teaching people introductory Japanese, e.g., hiragana, katakana, and self-introductions. Eventually, I enrolled into Japanese classes at St. Mary’s University (SMU) in Halifax, NS for two years. I had/made some Japanese friends, so I had chances to practice outside of the classroom in natural situations.

I recently bought an electronic dictionary (Casio XD-V9000) off a fellow NOVA teacher from Halifax, NS in Japan! Coincidentally we also went to the same junior high school. He was a grade above me, but I remembered his face, and he remembered mine. It was an awesome coincidence and it was nice to catch up with a face I remembered from long ago.