Student Tour

Believe it or not, in addition to writing this blog, I have a job.

My job is to teach English to newcomers to Canada as part of the Federal LINC program (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada). I teach at the Immigrant Services Society of BC offices in Maple Ridge and I love it.

In the mornings there are two classes taught by another instructor and me. The students are originally from China, Iraq, Romania, Taiwan, Czech Republic, Iran, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other countries, too. We teach English that is grounded in Real Life Tasks.

We also connect students to their community. For example, in September, students went on a field trip to a 91 year-old Canadian heritage house in a historic neighbourhood: mine. As I mentioned in my post Student Assignment, I asked my intermediate level students for advice on the house. How is that for a Real Life Task?

Here are their responses:

Yesterday, we visited James’ house. It was very interesting because I haven’t been to an almost 100 years old Canadian house. I loved his wood panels in the dining room. He should keep it like it is now that will give his house a lot of character. I think it would be a good idea to have all the bedrooms upstair and in the main floor he would change the lay out of the kitchen and put there an island and where his bedroom is he could have a family room with big windows looking at his big back yard.

Also he could build a suite in the basement for rent and he would have an income to help him with his mortgage.

These are some of my ideas. I know that renovations are stressful but at the end of the day his house will be so beautiful that everybody will love it.

Thank you for your ideas! I will think about your idea of putting all the bedrooms upstairs. The stairway is quite narrow. Here is another student:

It’s really a big challenge among spending less money, protecting the earth and making life more convenient, how we can do is the best. It’s no correct answer and it’s hard to take them all. I have no ideas about this, but I think you can google some research or information. In addition, you also can meet some professional persons to ask them how to do. Then you can get some choices. According to your needs, budget, you can make the best choice. I think it will take you a lot of time to solve this problem but it’s worth for your future life. It’s pity that I can’t give you good advice. This topic is very interesting. I want to know the way you choose finally, so I’ll keep following your blog. I look forward to your new posting.

Thank you, I will soon be sharing a lot of the advice we received from professionals. Next:

Thanks for having us to your home. It was an awesome field trip. When I came to Canada, I found every house is beautiful and special. I like to see houses when I take a bus or walk on the street. It’s very different from Taiwan. I also like to visit other’s house because I can get some new ideas of indoor design. For me, this kind of house in Canada I don’t know how to maintain and fix. Many things I should know and learn. I like your home’s feeling because it looks like people live here and they’re happy. I don’t know how to say, but it the house is very clean and everything is in order and very organized, I think it’s like a hotel, not a home. I also like the original wood. We can’t use these when we buy a new house. You have a great house. I look forward to seeing your forever house.

Yes, our house certainly looks lived-in!

Few days ago, I did visit in James home and I’m sharing my feelings about his house. James house is good example of ancient heritage. Its hide a lot things inside. It belong to the ancestors. I did like to visit there. It was different experience but it is only thing, I noticed that it could good attraction for future if it will be neat and tidy the whole house. There was a lot thing in his house, its attracted me his kitchen and windows. It represents how people spend life few years ago.

Some students want me to clean, others don’t.

The tour of your house was very interesting and I must tell you that I was so curious to see a Canadian house. In my opinion you have to renovate and extend the house because you need more space in the kitchen and one bathroom upstairs. You have a big and beautiful yard and so do I. I really appreciate that you and your family want to keep the house and renovate it, beside selling it. It would be easier but I think you want to keep it because the house has history in your family. I like your neighbourhood and I think it’s a quiet zone and also safe for kids to play outside. I live on the main street and it’s not safe at all and neither quiet. I hope we can sell our house and buy another in a different neighbourhood.

Good luck!

It’s not easy to make major changes in an old building, so we have to plan for that very well and know from where you have to start.

I think we have to start from the infrastructure then go up to the other places, floor, walls etc. We have to ask a professional person or company to do that and don’t do it frivolously because it will cost more money and maybe we won’t like the result. One day I had a problem in the hot water pipes so we needed to change all the pipes and before that we had to remove the concrete floor and change the pipes then replace new concrete pieces.

But the company had another choice. They put all the pipes outside around the house and cover it by a special insulation so that cost us more than 70% off.

That’s why I said we need professional company or engineer to plan for that. Planning for everything is good way to do.

Thank you. We are certainly doing a lot of planning, but not mush doing so far!

Dear James,

I appreciate your interest to make the house bigger and more comfortable but there are a lot of problems in your house that aren’t easy to fix, so my opinion in: please sell your house and buy a new one. I think it’s easier and better for you and your family.

Think about that and listen to me, if you have money or not changing is better. The renovation costs much money and I’m sure that the new house will be different in many things for example stairs size, kitchen’s decor, bathroom, heating system, so you can choose your dream house.

I know an Egyptian lady, I was impressed all around her house when I visited. There are four bedrooms, three bathrooms, big kitchen and dining room, living room, sitting room, it looked like a small heaven where all the elements of comfort while the land area was smaller than your house as well as there was a very nice backyard. When I compare between her house and yours I think that radical change is the best way to live in twenty-first century and you still young.

Good luck.

Thank you for saying what many people are too polite to say.

You have a big house, but with many problems. My opinion you have to change more things. First of all dining room change the table with another small one and change the paper wall to white colour paint. When I saw your kitchen I liked but you need smaller table and remove the book’s shelf.

The big problem in your house bathroom. I think you have to change everything in it. Upstairs need to remove many many things especially the toys and clean it. The basement need to remove all things and clean it very well.

Very important point is the heating system, you used fire place in the living room, In the living room, kitchen, bed room and upstairs you can use gas heating system or electric heating system. You can choose which one you like, and which one is cheap and easy. Finally you have to choose first if you have money you can ask a designer or decoration company to give you many solutions to help you.

Seconds sell it and buy another one.

That sounds exhausting!

There you go! That is what a diverse group of new immigrants to Canada thought after the first exclusive tour I have conducted of Hammond Forever House. You can find some student responses on other posts, too, such as the Fossil Fuels post and the Solar Panels post.

Would you be interested in a tour of Hammond Forever House, too? Please let me know!

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James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

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