Videos from our safari in the Ngorogoro Crater

I will do a separate post on our safari adventure in the Ngorogoro Crater which we experienced on Sunday, November 13, but wanted to do a separate post with some of the iPhone footage we took while there. All of the animals were specular, but I especially enjoy the videos of the lions (that roar vibrated in our chests), the zebras, and the ostriches. They were so close to us we could have touched them! Animals are amazing and I hope you enjoy!

Beautiful zebras on their way to the watering hole; they are one of my favourite animals to watch.

A magnificent, happy bull elephant makes his way to the watering hole. We watched him come down from the mountains and he crossed right in front of our vehicle.

A male and two female lions. We were watching them sleep when one female approached the male and this amazing roar happened. The shunned female sauntered away and laid down by herself while the male marked his territory by peeing on the second female who barely lifted her head through all the commotion. Amazing!

Many hippos in the hippo pool. What appear as rocks are this dangerous animal. Hippos are the second largest killer of women in Africa. Mosquitos are the first. Women are responsible to gather water in the early morning hours and are often attacked by these ferocious beasts.

 

Olivia wanted an ostrich. I couldn’t believe how many we saw in the Ngorogoro Crater! This one was close enough to touch, and I was nervous it might try to peck us through the window!

 

Canoeing on the French River (video)

We acquired a second-hand Go-Pro camera from my brother this year, and the kids have been having a lot of fun with it. When we went camping in Tatamagouche last week, we mounted it on the front of our canoe as we explored the tidal French River in Tatamagouche. At around 2:20, you will see footage of our bald eagle, “Joe”. Thank you to our son, Alex, for editing all the footage to make this five minute clip. Swansburgs, this one is for you!

The Nova Scotian Diet

Enough about me – we’ve had some other awards around this house lately. Sarah had her highland dance medal tests last week and earned a “Highly Commended” in both the pre-bronze and bronze categories; the highest level awarded. All four children came home with medals or trophies at the curling banquet; we were especially proud when Evan won a main award for participation, co-operations and sportsmanship. Last month, Sarah, Alex & Olivia had successful performances in the Truro Music Festival, participating in piano, voice & trumpet categories, earning a number of red and blue ribbons. Alex was asked to sing his folk song, “The Nova Scotian Diet” in the final concert and after his performance presented his music teacher, Chella Henderson, with flowers as she was acknowledged for her many years of teaching in the Truro area. (She was my music teacher growing up too!)

Enjoy the performance, videotaped by Sarah. 🙂

Belgravia Bed & Breakfast

The Nutcracker – Truro Dance Academy

Yesterday, I was startled to realize, was six weeks until Christmas Eve.

One of our favourite Christmas traditions is seeing a performance of “The Nutcracker” ballet. This year’s production by Truro Dance Academy will take place on December 7th and 8th. We have two ballerinas participating for their first time: Olivia as a field mouse and Sarah as an attendant to the Sugar Plum Fairy. 🙂

Tickets are on sale now.

Alex sings O Canada in four languages at NSCC Pictou Convocation

Better late than never…

The 2013 Convocation Ceremony at my campus of the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) fell on June 21st, which is National Aboriginal Day. In my opinion, Convocation is the most special day of the year – the day staff & students work so hard toward for two years (or more). This year’s ceremony was extra special for me for a couple of reasons: (1) It was my first Convocation ceremony at Pictou Campus; and (2) our son Alex sang “O Canada” at the beginning of the ceremony in English, Mi’kmaq, French, and American Sign Language.  He was accompanied on piano by fellow faculty member, Kirby Coolen. (Who also happens to be Alex’s godmother’s first cousin – it’s always a small world in Nova Scotia!)

Today I came across the webcast and I thought I would share it.  Alex’s O Canada begins about eight-minutes in.

2013 NSCC Pictou Campus Convocation

The BIG swim!!

Last week, I was lucky enough to have three of my dearest friends together for a sleepover at our place. We talked and laughed and drank wine. We even went to a nearby restaurant’s patio for a bite to eat – how civilized! Karen, Angie, Theresa & I all got to know each other while living together in residence at Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) many years ago. (Actually, Theresa & I first met at Piano camp at Acadia University when we were in elementary school, but reconnected at “The Mount”.) Theresa was taking Public Relations, Angie was taking Business Administration, and Karen & I were taking Tourism & Hospitality Management. The four of us have been together through a LOT over the years: jobs, loves beginnings and endings, marriages, long distances (Karen married a pilot and has spent many years based in the Maldives and Sri Lanka), career changes, babies (Theresa & I were in the same hospital together when our Sarah and her triplet boys were born six days apart!), milestone birthdays, awards, the death & illnesses of parents, holidays, new houses, etc. We have the kind of friendship that always picks up right where it left off, and we know that we have each other’s backs – no judgments! Twenty years of friendship has seen a lot of water under the bridge! (Foreshadowing metaphor…)

Getting ready for a charity ball at MSVU; winter 1993.

Getting ready for a charity ball at MSVU; winter 1993.

Twenty years later - older and (hopefully much) wiser.

Twenty years later – older and (hopefully much) wiser.

As much as I love all three of these women, my “Vital Friends“, who each bring something different into my life, this post is about Angie. Three years ago, Angie left her high profile job with a major insurance company, sold her house and belongings, packed everything else she owned into her little car, and drove home to Nova Scotia. She applied to Dalhousie University to study to become an occupational therapist, and was recently valedictorian of her graduating class!! A number of years ago, she became involved with Camp Brigadoon, a summer camp here in Nova Scotia for kids with chronic illnesses, while it was still in the planning stages. In their own words, “Brigadoon is a non-profit recreational facility on Aylesford Lake in the Annapolis Valley. With our partners, we deliver camp programming to children, youth and families living with a chronic illness, chronic condition, or special need across Atlantic Canada. Brigadoon is a place where campers come to experience new things, meet friends who are facing similar challenges, and to just be themselves…not a patient, a chart full of symptoms, or a good little soldier.”

On August 4th of this year, Angie is swimming with 35 other people, across the Northumberland Straight – 14 kilometres – from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island to raise money for this deserving cause.

For the record, this woman does nothing half-way.

Angie’s friend Amanda, who will be her surface support, traveling alongside her in a kayak during the swim, created the following video, which is three minutes long, in anticipation:

For the record, Angie figures it will take her about six hours to complete her swim. Yikes.

Angie’s fundraising goal is $5,000 before she gets in the water, and as of our evening together, she was at just over $3,000. This is a camp that our daughter Olivia, would qualify to attend some day. Every $1,000 raised sends one more child to camp!

To donate, please click on the following link: Angie’s Big Swim for Brigadoon Camp.

Thank you!

Brigadoon Children’s Camp

Belgravia Bed & Breakfast

“Who We Are”

who we are

Our son Alex has been rehearsing with Spotlight Theatre, a local community youth theatre group, for the upcoming production of “Who We Are”. This musical was written and is being directed by local talent, Margot Begin-Gillis (also director of the Truro Dance Academy where our girls dance). It features songs from a number of different musicals as the characters explore many challenging life issues. The show will be performed on July 19th at 7:00 pm, and July 20th at 2:00pm. and 7:00 pm. Tickets ($17) are available at the Marigold Cultural Centre Box Office. We hope to see you there!

Who We Are Promo Video (Did you spot our son, Alex?!)

 

Belgravia Bed & Breakfast

 

I’m Not That Smart

The 91st Truro Music Festival has been taking place in various venues around Truro for the past few weeks. All four of our children participated in a number of classes: vocal solos, piano solos, band, choir, and musical theatre. They all did very well and we were so proud of each of them. Alex won his 12 year-old Musical Theatre class on a snowy March afternoon. There is no photography of any kind permitted at the Festival while participants are performing, so we were happy when he was asked to sing his solo, “I’m Not That Smart” from “The Spelling Bee” at St. Andrew’s United Church for Holy Humour Sunday and we were able to record his performance. I smile (and sometimes cry) every time he performs – hope this makes you smile too!

Special “thank-yous” to his teacher, Chella Henderson, and accompanist & cheerleader, Sandra MacAulay-Thompson!!