Ti Domnik Tales Turns Three! The Adventures Continue on the Beautiful Nature Island

Gwendominica is delighted to celebrate the third birthday of Ti Domnik Tales in March 2015!

Gwendominica is delighted to celebrate the third anniversary of Ti Domnik Tales in March 2015!

Ti Domnik Tales, my personal blog about adventures, experiences and personalities on Dominica has just turned

This map of Dominica, located in the dining room of Papillote Wilderness Retreat was crafted by a local artisan.

This map of Dominica in the dining room of Papillote Wilderness Retreat was crafted by a local artisan.

three!

I wish to express profound thanks to my extended family, 99 Followers, 116 Facebook friends, growing Twitter tweeters, those who have ‘liked’ and ‘shared’ me and  all other supportive readers over the past 36 months.  Your interest and encouragement definitely keep me inspired to describe various aspects of my life as a Canadian expatriate who has resided for 18 years (this month!) on the Nature Island.

While this blog has a very specific niche in a very small country, I am delighted to report that there have been over 60,000 visits to the 135 posts on this site. This figure does include several re-blogged pieces  from Canary Gal about my  wonderful trip to Canada in the summer of 2014 and an incredible visit to Paris in December 2014/January 2015 from my home base on the Nature Island. However, the majority of musings (about 120) are dedicated to Dominica!

For your interest, here are the top 15 posts in the first three months of 2015 ( click on the title to get to the piece):

1. Dominica’s Carnival 2015 Opening Parade: A Spectacular, Sinister, Sensational Masquerade*
2. Dominica`s Floral Splendour: The Giraudel-Eggleston Flower Show 2013
3. ‘Paradise Found’ in Dominica’s Papillote Tropical Gardens*
4. Scenes from a (Tropical!) Winter Wonderland: Dominica’s Carnival 2015 Season*
5. Recognizing Acts of Kindness at Christmas-time on Dominica, the Nature Island
6. Dominica’s Carnival Celebrations: Original, Traditional, Fun!
7. A Walk Around Freshwater Lake in Dominica’s Morne Trois Pitons National Park
8. A Warm Welcome in Wotten Waven, Dominica’s ‘Natural Spa’ Village
9. Learning about Indigenous Kalinago Culture and History in Dominica
10. Strangers in Paradise: A Canadian Family Spends an Unforgettable Day in Dominica!*
11. Springfield Dominica: My Favourite Place on the Nature Isle*
12. The Voice of Ti Domnik Tales (Page about me, Gwendominica)
13. The Marvellous Tastes, Sights and Sounds of Creole Day 2014 around Roseau Dominica
14. Celebrating Creole Day in Dominica
15. A Canadian Canary Visits Paris: A New Year Adventure in the City of Light

And for those who are curious, the TOP THREE POSTS of the past three years are:

Papilotte Wilderness Retreat is a piece of paradise nestled near the village of Trafalgar in the Roseau Valley.

Papillote Wilderness Retreat is an intimate hotel set in tropical  gardens with natural hot and cold pools. It’s nestled above the village of Trafalgar in the Roseau Valley.

1. The Voice of Ti Domnik Tales (Page about me, Gwendominica)

2. Spending a Spa Day at Dominica’s Papillote Wilderness Retreat

Morne Watt, in Morne Trois Pitons National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) can be seen from the heights of Wotten Waven, a very friendly village in the Roseau Valley with plentiful natural spas!

Morne Watt, in Morne Trois Pitons National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) can be seen from the heights of Wotten Waven, a very friendly village in the Roseau Valley that offers plentiful sulphur spas and access to the Waitukubuli National Trail!

3.A Warm Welcome in Wotten Waven, Dominica’s ‘Natural Spa’ Village

Watch for more pieces about Dominica’s  Roseau Valley, as the popularity of this area is confirmed by numbers two and three!

Thanks for reading Ti Domnik Tales!  Sincerely, Gwendominica

Thanks for reading Ti Domnik Tales! Sincerely, Gwendominica

And look for other tales about my life on Dominica in due course.  The possibility of an e-book may become a reality too!

Thanks for reading Ti Domnik Tales!!!

 

Recognizing Acts of Kindness at Christmas-time on Dominica, the Nature Island

This bouquet of beautiful anthurium lilies from Trafalgar in Dominica's lush Roseau Valley. They symbolize my gratitude to those who have bestowed acts of kindness upon me!

This bouquet of beautiful anthurium lilies was harvested at Trafalgar in Dominica’s lush Roseau Valley. They symbolize my gratitude to those who have bestowed acts of kindness upon me!

As Christmas 2014 draws near, it’s an opportune time to express gratitude to some people and institutions that have been kind to me in recent times on the Nature Island. T’is the season of peace and goodwill, after all!

When I think of it, there is so much to be thankful for, as I  did note in my Thanksgiving post this past October.

Admittedly, I am somewhat saddened by the absence of my lovely kitty Tia-pet, who departed this earth in May 2014. One of my last fond memories would have been one year ago, when Tia snuggled up under the Christmas tree. I subsequently submitted a photo of this serene scene to Dominica News Online  and they posted it over the Christmas 2013 holiday!  You can see that pretty pic of the Yule-tide pussy cat here.

When Tia passed away, it was my friend Nancy Osler, Managing Director at Springfield who helped me to lay him to rest. He’s buried in a beautiful setting on that property at the edge of the rainforest and I am certain that my little pet is at peace there.  I thank Nancy profusely for all the help she gave me on that very sad day.  I will never forget her acts of kindness during my time of grief.  As well, I owe a debt of gratitude to hiking pod partner Liz Madisetti. She was willing to look after Tia (if he had survived) so that I could spend some time in Canada.  Although that did not become necessary, she is always ready to lend a hand without hesitation!

No Christmas tree this year, but the poinsettia adds to the spirit of the season.  They do grow on Dominica.  This one was lovingly tended at Green Mountain Flowers near Giraudel by proprietor Daryl Phillip.

No Christmas tree this year, but this poinsettia adds to the spirit of the season. This one was lovingly tended at Green Mountain Flowers near Giraudel by proprietor Daryl Phillip.

When my eyes  became severely inflamed from unknown allergies for several months this year, optometrist Dr. Debra Williams of Island Vision Inc. monitored my condition very closely.  She was very attentive to my overall health condition and with professional concern, checked my eyes on numerous occasions – sometimes three times a week until there was improvement.  But not only that, she is still watching the progress of my eyes –  willingly, freely and with an open heart.  I am profoundly grateful!

I had had some difficulties with my little car, and while some attempts had been made to fix it, the source of the problem was not located.  Although it was pronounced fit to drive, I became very upset en route to an appointment  for a manicure and pedicure when I heard a new “strange” noise.  I was distressed because I was about to drive across the island’s mountainous interior  later that week to spend some time on the east coast  at lovely Beau Rive. It was a Saturday afternoon and I really did not know what to do! When I entered The Glam Day Spa in Roseau, I was on the verge of tears.  All of the staff showed great concern, and when coaxed, I did tell them about my car woes.  They were so gentle with me, and showed such compassion.  Even those who were not attending to me came over to commiserate and  empathize with my situation.  The staff at The Glam certainly put me into a better frame of mind in that healing environment.  However, I was still a little rattled when I left (I now had to deal with the car!).  I did make it home, but when I arrived, I looked in  my purse and thought that I was missing some money, but wasn’t sure. It wasn’t a huge amount, and I figured I must have overspent at the market in the morning…or something.  About an hour later, I received a call from Venetta, the receptionist at The Glam.  She asked me if I was missing any money.  I exclaimed, “Yes!” and immediately volunteered the amount.  She then said she had found that sum on the floor just after I left and wondered if it had fallen out of my purse.  The staff held it for me and I collected it the following Monday.  Of course, it was already destined for car repairs!

When I arrived at Beau Rive a few days later, I still did not feel confident about the latest round of repairs on the car.  I did express this to Mark Steele, proprietor at Beau Rive Boutique Hotel.  He willingly drove my car up his steep driveway and was always on-call, if anything should happen while I traveled around (nothing did!). During my stay I was treated exceptionally well by him and his staff, with much kindness, generosity and consideration.  I am very grateful for the blissful time that I had at that lovely locale.

With car troubles still simmering after that excursion, I went to  Julius, a well-established mechanic in my neighbourhood with a reputation for honesty and good work.  He assessed the problems and informed me about what needed to be done (or  not done) in order for the car to run more smoothly.  When I offered to pay for his time, he graciously declined!  Of course I will return to him for the actual repairs.  This positive experience was completely contrary to what I had endured at a larger  specialized establishment.  I guess their loss is Julie’s gain (and mine too)!

If you’ve ever waited a long time for an important package by”snail mail,” then perhaps you’ll empathize with me. It took one of mine that I had sent from Canada in June four months to reach Dominica!  And that is not the first time.  Unfortunately, items invariably get sent to the Dominican Republic, and there can be long delays before the package finally arrives on the Nature Island.  I feared that the workers in the Parcel Post Section of the General Post Office in Roseau would get tired of seeing my face.  However, they have always been extremely pleasant and have gone out of their way to assist me in tracking delayed or missing packages.  Most of all, they have encouraged me to “keep the faith,” and in doing so, everything has turned out well every time!

Even though I don’t have a pet at the moment, I do help to take care of a couple of dogs that are attached to a business in my area. When I became worried about the state of the young female on the premises, one of my wonderful veterinarians, Dr. Nausima Paul offered to come with me and examine this canine.  She proffered her professional opinion to the owners. (I had informed them about my concerns and had volunteered to bring the vet for a consultation at my expense).  After Dr. Paul was finished with the examination, I drove her back to her clinic.  As she stepped out of the vehicle, I extended my hand with cash in it to pay her – and she declined! I was surprised, as she had willingly come along with me despite her own discomfort from injuries sustained in a recent accident.  She and her husband Dr. Ronnie George took constant care of Tia-pet during the last couple of years of his life.  I am further grateful for their compassionate and caring attention up to  Tia’s death, as he was an exceptionally long-lived cat.

I would be remiss if I did not express extreme gratitude to Mrs. Cecily Lees, my lawyer in Dominica.  She is also one of my first friends on Dominica and she has assisted me in numerous ways, both personally and professionally over the years.  While her  legal specialty is real estate at Safe Haven Real Estate  , she has always “been there” for me and I appreciate everything she has done for me from the bottom of my heart!

This lovely winter solstice sunset was taken at Zam Zam Cafe in Citronier, a mile south of Roseau.

This lovely winter solstice sunset was taken at the fabulous Mexican-inspired  Zam Zam Cafe in Citronier,just south of Roseau.

Finally, I extend sincere thanks to you, dear reader for taking the time to read this post, and for your interest in Ti Domnik Tales. This year, the site reached over 50,000 visits and  now has about 100 ‘followers’.  Stay tuned for more adventures and experiences in the New Year!

If you can spot the Green Flash of the sunset on this Winter Solstice Eve, then I hope you will have lots of luck in the New Year!

If you can spot the Green Flash of the sunset on this Winter Solstice Eve, then I hope you will have lots of luck in the New Year!

This plate of homemade cookies is intended for Santa. From the bottom of the plate, clockwise: Chocolate Chip Bar; Fruit Hermits; Oatmeal Shortcakes; Gingerbread; Chocolate-Coconut Brownies.  All recipes of Canadian origin!

This plate of homemade goodies is intended for Santa. From the bottom of the plate, clockwise: Chocolate Chip Bar; Fruit Hermits; Oatmeal Shortcake; Gingerbread; Chocolate-Coconut Brownies. All recipes are of Canadian origin!

I am heading to Paris just after Christmas to attend the formal wedding celebrations of French friends that I met on Dominica: Carole Bogdanovscky and Gildas Lefevre.   I am certain to have some wonderful adventures in the City of Light and will be writing about them on the Canary Gal blog upon my return.

In the mean time, may the peace of this magical season be upon you.  Merry Christmas! And may the New Year be filled with kindness, compassion, love and goodwill, wherever you live on the planet!

Dominica’s Music Missions International: A Dream Come True on Waitukubuli*

Luther 'jams' with a young Dominican music friend in his wife Ruth's  kitchen in Dominica!

Luther ‘jams’ with a young Dominican music friend in his wife Ruth’s kitchen in Dominica!

When Canadian expatriate Luther Kosowan was a little boy, he became fascinated by an article in National Geographic about an unfamiliar far-away land called Waitukubuli. About 55 years later, his daughter and friends vividly described a recent trip to a wonderful Caribbean island of lush green mountains, sparkling rivers and plentiful palm trees. It was called Dominica. Then in 2006, Luther and his wife Ruth journeyed to this beautiful tropical paradise to see it for themselves.

During that first visit, they immediately fell in love with the country`s natural beauty and friendly people. Upon their return to Canada, they immediately organized and planned for an overseas move to Dominica. However, they experienced an unforeseen delay when Luther was diagnosed with cancer. But the couple`s determination and vision of their new life sustained them. After Luther`s surgery and radiation therapy were completed, they finally arrived in Dominica around Christmas 2007. The couple was thrilled with Luther`s miraculous recovery. They were further delighted when told that the intriguing country called Waitukubuli was in fact, Dominica, their adopted home!

Right away, the Kosowans connected to their new community and greatly appreciated the love of music that prevails on Dominica. They enthusiastically created a non-profit organization called Music Missions International (M.M.I.) so that students and their teachers at participating schools around the island could have access to various types of musical instruments and learn how to play them.

Mr. Alexander, Instructor at St. John's Academy in Portsmouth Dominica receives repaired instruments for the students from M. Kosowan.

Mr. Alexander, Instructor at St. John’s Academy in Portsmouth Dominica receives repaired instruments for the students from Mr. Kosowan.

This incredible dream is being realized with assistance from some dedicated volunteers and generous sponsors. Along with Luther and Ruth Kosowan, fellow western Canadians Mike and Sharleen Townsend and Don Lowry help with this invaluable project in many ways. The Townsends not only initiated making contacts to obtain the musical instruments, but have also come to Dominica for six weeks in each of the past six years to train the teachers and students. As well, Luther and Ruth regularly acquire additional instruments and humanitarian supplies during their annual trips to Canada.

Luther repairing instruments before they are sent out to the schools.

Luther repairing instruments before they are sent out to the schools.

To date, schools in Dominica have received over 600 musical instruments and accessories as a result of this collaborative effort.

Instruments being moved from the Kosowans home en route to the Dominica State College

Instruments being moved from the Kosowans home en route to the Dominica State College

In addition, Mr. Egbert Charles of E.H. Charles & Co. Ltd. in Roseau has kindly provided materials so that Luther and Mike could build 60 music stands. They

Mike and Luther made 60 music stands for students in schools that are participating in the MMI program.

Mike and Luther made 60 music stands for students in schools that are participating in the MMI program.

have now been distributed to all schools involved in the M.M.I. program. Mr. Charles continues to assist M.M.I. by sponsoring materials for an Instrument Repair Technology course to be held at the Dominica State College where Luther will be the instructor. As a result, all instruments will be maintained in good working condition.

For Luther and Ruth, their dream of giving back to Dominica has certainly come true. In 2012, 102 students from around the Nature Island performed in a band concert. Then, the very next year, 200 students from 16 school bands `raised the roof` at the Arawak House of Culture in Roseau. You can read about that memorable event here.

Luther loves to 'jam' as well as fix instruments.  He has made many friends in Dominica who share his passion for music.

Luther loves to ‘jam’ as well as fix instruments. He has made many friends in Dominica who share his passion for music.

As Music Missions International continues to thrive, the Kosowans thank God for their fulfilling lives on Waitukubuli!

*Waitukubuli  (pronounced Why-too-KOO-BOO-lee)is the indigenous Kalinago word for Dominica.  It means “tall is her body.”

**This article first appeared in the Dominica Association of Music Educators (DAME) November 2014 Newsletter.  Information provided by Mrs. Ruth Kosowan was subsequently edited by Gwendominica for the original submission, which is republished here ( with slight variations) with the kind permission of DAME. Photos provided courtesy of Ruth Kosowan, with thanks.

 

A Canadian Thanksgiving on Dominica, the beautiful and bountiful Nature Island

Anthurium lilies perfectly complement my celebration of Thanksgiving in Dominica.

Anthurium lilies perfectly complement my celebration of Thanksgiving in Dominica.

It`s a special weekend in my `home and native land.“ And although I am far from the `far north,`I am taking time to celebrate Thanksgiving,

Despite being a dark day, a beautiful rainbow touches Roseau, as seen from my porch.

A beautiful rainbow touches Roseau, as seen from my porch. I give thanks for the exceptional natural beauty found on Dominica.

Canadian style. For those readers who were unaware, this annual celebration of the harvest takes place on the second weekend of October, and is not to be confused with the larger festivities of the same name that our American friends celebrate on the last Thursday of November.  In Canada, the primary purpose of this holiday is as it says, to `give thanks“, in both sacred and secular ways. Thanksgiving was proclaimed an official holiday  in 1957, but has actually been celebrated  since the time when European explorers traversed the northern terrain in the 16th century.  It`s a weekend when families gather together and eat a huge meal (or more) in anticipation of the dark winter days ahead.  The harvest is now in and it`s time to savour it.

While I think of my brothers and their families in Ontario, my aunt and cousins in Nova Scotia and other friends scattered across Canada, I will be with them in spirit as I dine on a divine Thanksgiving feast that I have prepared at my home in Dominica. I also feel that it is timely to personally express gratitude for all the good things that life has to offer  me on the Nature Island, and to thank all the people in Dominica who have helped me in various ways, both personally and professionally.  I am also thankful for opportunities that I have had here that I perhaps would not have had in Canada.  My life is that much richer due to the fascinating people I`ve met and the adventures I`ve had on the Nature Island, many of which are documented in this blog!

As I write this piece, Tropical Storm Gonzalo is in the area, but the sombre weather does not deter my excitement about the  home-cooked meal that awaits me. Of course, in Dominica, with its rich volcanic soil and temperate climate, the harvest is endless!  Part of  the fun is the enjoyment of different types of produce in different seasons.  For example, in the rainy season (now) avocados are found in abundance.  However, free range eggs are harder to find because the hens prefer a little drier ground for their laying endeavors. Suffice to say that it would be extremely difficult to starve on Dominica!

I coudn`t wait long once the pumpkin pie came out of the oven, as you can see.  The gluten-free flour made tasty pastry!

I couldn`t wait long once the pumpkin pie came out of the oven, as you can see. The gluten-free flour made tasty pastry!

An added perk, which is a bonus to me due to  numerous food sensitivities, is the establishment of a “health food“ store on Great George Street in Roseau.  It`s called Fresh Vitamins and apart from  stocking a variety of supplements, they sell gluten-free flours and dairy-free products, among other healthful items. This year, I baked my pumpkin pie with gluten-free flour (a mixture) and rice flour.  The pastry turned out well, although the consistency is a little denser than with regular flour.  I substituted almond milk for dairy. I really like the flavour!  But I do confess to using Libby`s pure canned pumpkin.  The local variety of this gourd is lovely and sweet, but I find its texture is stringier than northern varieties and can be too wet to bake well.  Yes, I have tried it before!

Roots Farm is always my first stop at the Saturday Roseau Market. Their delectable produce is beyond compare!

Roots Farm is always my first stop at the Saturday Roseau Market. Their delectable produce is beyond compare!

When I shopped for produce at the Saturday Roseau Market, I was delighted with the abundant finds.  My first stop was the stall of Roots Farm, where I found a selection of greens, as well as buttery lima beans, the best bananas  and the uncommon fruit called mangosteen, a treat from organic farmers Karen and Roy.  They are very serious about their sustainable farming practises and I always enjoy their nutritious offerings to the max.  You can read about their successful venture here. Then I purchased other  local fruits and vegetables from trusted vendors who offer the freshest produce at the best price.  I always appreciate tangy watercress from the river banks in the island`s interior, and I like to sample different `provisions,` that is, starchy root vegetables.  For my T-Day  (Thanksgiving) dinner, I chose very sweet  sweet potatoes.  I also found some young beets, which are not so common on the tables.  I also picked up a package of hibiscus flower sepals, to make a spicy red drink called sorrel, with fresh ginger, bay leaf, cloves and cinnamon sticks.   This particular ` red flower`seems early this year. Perhaps humid rainy weather is too its liking!

This variety of sweet potato is so creamy and buttery that it melts right in my mouth!

This variety of sweet potato is so creamy and buttery that when baked, it melts right in my mouth!

These mangosteens are an uncommon fruit on Dominica.  I was thrilled when Karen from Roots Farm offered me this naturally sweet treat.

These mangosteens are an uncommon fruit on Dominica. I was thrilled when Karen from Roots Farm offered me this naturally sweet treat.

The Nature Island`s offerings never cease to amaze me.

The Nature Island`s offerings never cease to amaze me.

The variety of fruits found on the Nature Island is astounding!  Here is a sampling: clockwise, from left, organic bananas, pineapple, papaya, avocado and mango.

The variety of fruits found on the Nature Island is astounding! Here is a sampling: clockwise, from left, organic bananas, pineapple, papaya, organic avocado and mango.

The Saturday Roseau Market is a cornucopia of fresh seasonal produce from around the island

The Saturday Roseau Market is a cornucopia of fresh seasonal produce.

The local chicken was seasoned and sauced with my own mixture of ingredients found on Dominica.

The local chicken was seasoned and sauced with my mixture of ingredients found on Dominica.

Locally-made pepper sauce, honey, thyme, parsley, green onion, lemon are all found on Dominica.  I just added a little olive oil to the seasoning  mix.

Locally made pepper sauce, honey, thyme, parsley, green onion, celery and lemon are all found on Dominica. I just added a little olive oil to this home-made seasoning mix.

I was lucky to buy the last locally grown chicken in the cooler at the Whitchurch IGA grocery store in Roseau a few days ago. They are small and tasty, even more so (I think) because I stuff them with herbs and coat them with a little olive oil, lemon and salt.  I wrap the sweet potatoes in foil and roast them while the chicken cooks.  The lima beans, carrots and arugula are steamed lightly.

It may not be a traditional Canadian Thanksgiving dinner, but it`s a  Dominican feast, for sure!

My Canadian-Dominican Thanksgiving feast.  I am going to make short work of it right now!

My Canadian-Dominican Thanksgiving feast. I am going to make short work of it right now!

Before I `break bread“ and partake of my delectable meal, I once again give thanks for the goodness that grows so easily on the Nature Island and for the numerous opportunities I have had to grow as a person here.  `We are indeed blessed,`to use a local common expression.

As for the calories sustained, an abundance of walks and hikes are planned for the near future.  You`ll read about them soon.

I give thanks for the countless gorgeous sunsets over the Caribbean Sea that I see right from my porch!

I give thanks for the countless gorgeous sunsets over the Caribbean Sea that I see right from my porch!

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all, wherever you live on the planet!

 

My Life in Dominica Featured on ExpatsBlog.com

Gwendominica in contemporary Creole wear.

Gwendominica in contemporary Creole wear.

If you are curious about how and why I have lived as an expatriate in Dominica, then have a look at my commentary by clicking here.

Admittedly, I have been candid and would like to remind everyone that what I have said about my life on the Nature Island is not  necessarily representative of other expatriates. I have tried to emphasize that as we are all individuals, we all have different perspectives and responses to our experiences.  That’s what makes being a citizen of the world so interesting!  Please feel free to comment at the bottom of the interview, if you are so inclined.

I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Karen and Liz for being the first two people to comment on the ExpatsBlog.com website about Ti Domnik Tales.  Their kind and thoughtful remarks are very much appreciated.

It is hoped that this additional exposure on the ExpatsBlog.com website will generate more interest in lovely Dominica, the beautiful Nature Island. I am honoured  to have the privilege of spending so many years  in this remarkable country and delighted to have an improved quality of life because of my long-term residency here.
You can go directly to the interview from RIGHT HERE.

 

 
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Ti Domnik Tales is Featured on ExpatsBlog.com!

 

Did you miss me?  I’ve recently returned to Dominica from a wonderful vacation in my ‘home and native land’, Canada.  While I was away, I received the good news that popular and extensive Expats Blog.Com has selected

Ti Domnik Tales as a featured blog on their amazing website!  I urge you to check it out and have a look at some of the fascinating blogs written by hundreds of expatriates from all over the world about a diversity of experiences in their adopted countries.

I am honoured to be their first  representative for Dominica. If you’ve enjoyed reading about my adventures and experiences (so far), then I’d be most grateful if  you could rate and/or leave a short comment on Expats Blog  by clicking on this link and scrolling to the bottom of the page.  I sincerely thank you for your interest and support!

And stay tuned for more adventures as this expatriate, a.k.a. ‘Canadian Canary‘ shares some stories about her memorable experiences ‘back home’ after a three-year absence.

Gwendominica 'limes' while the tide is out at Nova Scotia's Kingsport Beach on the Minas Basin, Bay of Fundy.  Photo taken by Cousin Greg.

Gwendominica ‘limes’ (relaxes) while the tide is out at Nova Scotia’s Kingsport Beach on the Minas Basin, Bay of Fundy. Photo taken by Cousin Greg.

Of course, the  seemingly endless stories of my life on the Nature Island will continue with countless musings on Ti Domnik Tales!

 

Three Cheers for Canadian Olympians in Sochi, Russia and Fantastic Creole Food in Dominica!

Gwendominica toasts Team Canada with a cup of coffee (of course) as she followed the Winter 2014 Olympics in Sochi from the Nature Isle.

Gwendominica toasted Team Canada with a cup of coffee (like a good Canadian) as she enthused about the 2014 Olympics in Sochi from the Nature Isle.

A Canadian called Gwendominica surprised herself when she discovered that  she had not forgotten her zest for hockey, as  she succumbed to Olympic fever on a  beautiful  hot sunny afternoon in Dominica.  She perched on the edge of her sofa, riveted to the TV screen as the Canadian women’s hockey team battled it out with good neighbours to the south for the gold medal in that winter sport.  It was an incredible game – fast, tight goal-tending, a little rough but well monitored by tough referees. The American friends were  leading by 2 -0  at the end of the second period.  As she chanted “Canadian girls have got what it takes!” over and over, the far away countrywoman sensed that the young compatriots received the message telepathically.  After a two goal come-back in the third period, the Canadian winning goal  in sudden-death overtime could only be described as “sweet.”  The delighted expatriate resisted yelling and screaming; she didn’t want to frighten the cat.  Besides, what Dominican could possibly understand all the commotion if it wasn’t  the West Indies team winning a cricket match!

To all the Canadian athletes and their coaches in Sochi, Russia,  I want you to know that I sent you ‘good vibes’  daily from the Nature Isle.   I thank you for your dedication, team spirit and grace in both success and defeat.  I have fingers and toes crossed that the men’s hockey final against the determined Swedes  on Sunday February 23rd  will have  the same outcome as the women’s last  game. You go, Team Canada!  You have already made me very proud.

UPDATE: SUNDAY FEBRUARY 23rd: O CANADA!  I am wearing a smile that I am sure can be seen from one end of Dominica to the other.  Congratulations to the Canadian Men`s Olympic Hockey Team who shut out Sweden 3 – 0 for the Gold Medal!  I will be wearing red and white and my Canadian Flag lapel pin for the next few days. Way to go, CANADA!!! : )

It should  be obvious to readers of Ti Domnik Tales that I am a proud ‘Dominican by adoption’ too. I was thrilled to be asked by the good folks at the highly popular  Backpack ME  international  travel web site if I would prepare a guest post about a favourite Dominican meal, to be included in their feature, ‘Around the World in 80 Dishes’.  I accepted, with immense pleasure.  I definitely love Dominican food, almost as much as a great Canadian hockey game!

You can read about my delectable Creole Lunch here.  It’s #67 on the list of 80. More details about that memorable feast can also be found on this Ti Domnik Tales post.

Home-made Fruit Tarts followed my Creole Luncl plate at Springfield.

Home-made Fruit Tarts followed my Creole Lunch plate at Springfield on Creole Day 2013.

Spinach-like Callaloo Soup was my Creole Lunch starter.

Spinach-like Callaloo Soup was my Creole Lunch starter.

My Creole Lunch at Springfield Plantation last October was featured on the Backpack ME website, along with 79 other meals from around the world.

My Creole Lunch at Springfield Plantation last October is featured on the Backpack ME website, along with 79 other sensational meals from around the world.

And yes, a  Canadian specialty is highlighted too.  It’s found here at # 23.  I highly recommend that you devour the descriptions of  all 80 food offerings from numerous countries on the planet.  With so many appealing and well-prepared selections to vicariously challenge our taste buds, I like to think of it as a food Olympics.  Enjoy!

Congratulations  to all the Olympians from around the world who participated at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.  Like a good meal, you made people feel satisfied and your impressive performances went down really well.

‘Living a Healthy Life on the Nature Island’ featured on ‘Retirement and Good Living’ Web Site

Gwendominica is thrilled to hear Carimi (a Haitian Compas Band) warm-up before the start of the SUnday night show at the 17th annual WCMF.  Photo taken by Kim.

Gwendominica is thrilled to hear Carimi (a Haitian Band) warm-up before the Sunday night show at the internationally renowned World Creole Music Festival. Photo taken by Kim.

The folks at the Retirement and Good Living  website asked me to write a post about ‘retirement’ on   Dominica from my perspective.  I

Dominica is called the Nature Island for good reason - pristine rainforests, majestic mountains and beautiful rainbows are just part of the attractions!

Dominica is called the Nature Island for good reason – pristine rainforests, majestic mountains and beautiful rainbows are just some of the attractions!

was delighted to do so, of course! You will find it here!

Gwendominica at Titou Gorge which is the start of the Boiling Lake Trail near Laudat.  Photo taken by fellow 50+ hiking enthusiast, Liz.

Gwendominica at Titou Gorge which is the start of the famous and challenging Boiling Lake Trail near Laudat. Photo taken by fellow 50+ hiking enthusiast, Liz.

It is a pleasure

to contribute this article about my perspectives on  Dominica to  Retirement and Good Living.   This web site covers a range of important and relevant topics for those of us in what I call the “50+” category of life.  Subjects include travel, retirement locations, health, exercise, the latest news of interest to the older and wiser crowd, and more!  I’ve really enjoyed reading many fascinating and well-written pieces on their site.  Check it out!

Gwendominica really enjoys Creole Day . Photo taken by Izzy of Images Dominica.

Gwendominica really enjoys Creole Day . Photo taken by Izzy of Images Dominica.

Interested readers who might like  further information about  visiting or relocating to Dominica can  also refer to the following web sites for information: the Discover Dominica Authority; the Invest Dominica Authority Expat Blog Dominica ; Escape Artist Dominica ; and the Government of Dominica  web portal.

Who knows – maybe we’ll meet one day on the Nature Isle!

Gwendominica takes a 'sea bath' at Coconut Beach near Portsmouth.  Photo taken by Edwin.

Gwendominica takes a relaxing ‘sea bath’  in the calm Caribbean Sea at Coconut Beach near Portsmouth. Photo taken by Edwin.

Saying Au Revoir to Special French Friends in Dominica

The Alliance Francaise is located on the Elmshall Road near the intersection with the Valley Road, on the eastern side of Roseau's Botannical Gardens.

The Alliance Francaise is located on the Elmshall Road near the intersection with the Valley Road, on the eastern side of Roseau’s Botanical Gardens.

Some of my most enjoyable experiences in Dominica have arisen from the events and programs offered at the Alliance Française de la Dominique.This French cultural institution has played a significant part in my life on the Nature Island – and I am very grateful for its presence here.

Gemma is the warm and welcoming Administrative Assistant at the Alliance Francaise de la Dominique. She can assist you with any questions about classes or events - in both English and French!

Gemma is the warm and welcoming Administrative Assistant at the Alliance Francaise de la Dominique. She can help you with any questions about classes or events – in both English and French!

During the past one and a half years, I have gotten to know a very special French couple through the Alliance Française:  Carole Bogdanovscky and Gildas Lefèvre.  Carole took up her duties as Director in September 2012 and taught the most advanced course that is offered at this time:  the ‘C1’ as per the Ministry of Education in France.  As I had previously completed all the courses leading up to this one, I decided to take it, knowing very well that it would be a challenge!

We worked through  a number of very in-depth and sometimes scholarly articles, which were rife with new vocabulary and unfamiliar terminology. I also learned an incredible amount about the Republic of France, its lengthy and fascinating history, as well as many items of great interest to me in terms of its rich and renowned culture.  Sometimes I really struggled to understand the topics and to communicate well, but Carole was always encouraging and completely dedicated to helping me and my classmate understand so much about her exceptional country and its beautiful language in a short span of time.

In addition, her husband Gildas, who is a computer software engineer by profession freely offered a conversation class every Friday afternoon. In this setting, we covered a range of topics, including Québec and the  Mayor of Toronto (2013-14) – en franςais, bien sûr!  I don’t think Gildas realized at the time that he has a penchant for teaching, but those of us in the class who have spent time in front of students agree that he definitely has a knack for this fine profession!  We really had a lot of fun – the word games increased our vocabulary and as we had a collective interest in cuisine, we also had opportunities to savour fine foods with a French flair – not only from France, but from other Francophone countries too!  You can read about some of my experiences with la gastronomie franςaise here and here!

With Carole’s contract in Dominica completed as of January 31, 2014, I await the new director and continue with revision classes in a course I have already  successfully passed with another exceptional instructor, Julien St. Jean.  He is a Dominican teacher who studied in France.  And yes, the review is certainly helpful too!

I am very sad to see Carole and Gildas leave the Nature Island, but I do understand that this young couple has plenty of  other plans to undertake immediately.

Before they left, I queried them about their somewhat short stay in Dominica with a few questions.  It seems to me that we will likely see them on the Nature Island again someday!  Here is what they had to say en anglais:

Gwendominica:   How do you feel about leaving Dominica after 1 1/2 years?
Carole: I would say that we have mixed feelings about leaving Dominica. On one hand, we are heart-broken to leave this beautiful country and above all, all the wonderful the people we’ve met here. On the other hand, we feel like we have made the most of our short stay and we are excited about the future and our upcoming projects
    Gildas: I would say the same, it is a mixed feeling. I am really happy about our next adventure but I am so sad to leave this beautiful island and all the amazing people we met and are going to miss.
Gwendominica: What did you like most about Dominica?
Carole and Gildas: Its lushness and its loudness! The rugged landscapes, fabulous sunsets, gorgeous waterfalls and lakes, rejuvenating hot springs, and above all the truly wonderful people we met here.
Gwendominica: What was your greatest challenge in Dominica?
Carole: From a professional point of view, adapting to  “Island Time” was a challenge: things can take more time in Dominica than what I’m used to. But I will mainly remember all the positive things when I think of Dominica in the future.

Gildas prepared two French Favourites: Boeuf Bourgingnon and Chicken Colombo for the Francophone Food Fair in March 2013.  He certainly does love to cook!

Gildas prepared two French Favourites: Boeuf Bourgingnon and Chicken Colombo for the Francophone Food Fair in March 2013. He certainly does love to cook!

   Gildas: My main challenge when I arrived was to learn how to cook new vegetables! I am really fond of cooking and it was a real pleasure to try new recipes.

Carole organized a Francophone Food Fair in March.  I and many others devoured the food that Gildas prepared for this event!

Carole organized a Francophone Food Fair in March 2013, which included a number of Francophone countries, including Dominica and Canada!

 Gwendominica: What were some of the things that you did for fun in Dominica?
Carole and Gildas: All types of outdoors activities: we went hiking, canyoning, diving, snorkeling, kayaking… Dominica is a nature-lover’s paradise, and I think we were very lucky to enjoy so much of what the country has to offer.
Gwendominica: Did you make any personal accomplishments in Dominica?

Gildas got to take a break from cooking as I hosted a Christmas lunch for him and Carole and my cla

Gildas got to take a break from cooking as I hosted a Christmas lunch for him and Carole and my classmates.

Carole and Gildas: We eventually completed the Waitukubuli National Trail! We are extremely proud of that, even if it took us one year.  We’ve met tourists doing it in 10 days…  Carole also started diving, and I could not dream of a better environment than Dominica to do so. Gildas also became a true Creole cuisine chef!
Gwendominica: Where are you going now and what will you be doing?
Carole: I will be going to India where I will work as deputy director of a Linguistic center. Then after a few months in Paris, we will move to New York, where Gildas will start a new job.
Gwendominica: Do you think you will ever return to Dominica?
  Carole: We do hope so!
Gwendominica: Is there anything else you would like to say about your experiences in Dominica?
Carole and Gildas: We would like to thank all our French students for their motivation and dedication throughout the year!

Carole and Gildas came for a Canadian Christmas lunch at my home on December 17, 2013.

Carole and Gildas came for a Canadian Christmas lunch at my home on December 27, 2013.

It was such a pleasure to get to know Carole and Gildas.  They helped me so much to improve my French and learn more about their country. At the same time, they enjoyed Dominica and some other countries in the region to the max!  They’ve kept a blog of their adventures and experiences.   It is called: Two Froggies in Dominica.You can read it here.  It is written in French, but even if you need to take a few lessons to understand all of it, you can enjoy their amazing photos in the mean time.
Until I meet  them again, and I just know that I will, be it France, New York, Toronto, Montreal or Dominica, I would like to  sincerely thank Carole and Gildas for adding another incredible experience to my life in Dominica.  Bonne chance et au revoir!

Ti Domnik Tales Receives Distinction as Expat Blog of the Month!

EB_ENG1213I am delighted to be recognized by  expat blog, ‘the living abroad website, by expats, for expats’ this December as their ‘Blog of the Month’.  You might like to check out other fascinating expat  blogs on Dominica and many  other countries  around the world by registering to become a member of the expat blog  website here.    It’s a great resource for networking with other expatriates, getting information about particular countries, making new friends and finding our about their experiences around the globe. Special thanks to Julie and the expat blog team for their special interest in Ti Domnik Tales.

YOU CAN READ MY INTERVIEW ON EXPAT BLOG HERE.