Russians Do Smile

Russians are known not to smile much. In particular, they do not smile at strangers or people who are not close to them. They consider this as impolite. I and my wife witnessed this culture-shock first-hand when we dealt with the Russian parents in our after-school program. For a while since we took over, they […]

Serving the Russian community

Another 7 months have passed since my last post. Time flies. Last few months have been really life-changing to me and my wife. We have opened a school. My wife has this dream of opening a Montessori school for many years. We are not rich and don’t have much experience running a business. So for […]

Las Escuelas de Inmersión en Francés

(This is a “Spanish Friday” post. Here is the English version, according to the Fish) Tracy en ha tenido una buena idea: “Spanish Friday“. Así que voy a escribir esta entrada en español. Hoy Roxana decidió no enviar su hija a una escuela bilingüe, porque había algunos problemas. Es muy decepcionante para Roxana. Siendo […]

Pass On Your Heritage Languages

Immigrant parents! Pass on your heritage languages no matter what! I was sitting in McDonald’s one day and saw two Chinese mothers chatting with each other in Mandarin. They then turned and spoke to their kids in English. These kids were only toddlers, not like those immigrant teens who already made up their minds not […]

Languages and Business Opportunities

This morning I and my wife went to a Chinese café for breakfast. Somehow they offered free Chinese newspaper. I looked for the headline expecting some specular world event to unfold. To my disappointment, the headline read “華裔移民第二代 喜中西合璧婚宴” (2nd-generation Chinese prefer Chinese-Western fusion wedding banquets). It also showed the photo of a businessman who […]

Sorry, I Don’t Speak French

I recently read the book “Sorry, I Don’t Speak French“, which gave a very comprehensive account on the language struggle in the recent history of Canada. To those who are not familiar with the issue, French has been spoken predominately in the Quebec province, and English in the rest of Canada. The Quebeckers resent the […]

Pretend To Be Foreign

Language learners often agonize at occasions when they try to practice a language with the natives, only to receive responses in their own language (often English). Imagine the reverse happens. Someone greets you in your learning language. But the fact that the language was also foreign to her was so obvious that you would not […]

Québec City’s 400th

This year, Québec City celebrates its 400th anniversary. This is of course a good opportunity for the Canadian francophones to promote their culture and language. Although the official opening ceremony was held today, many celebration activities have already been undertaken nation-wide in the past few months. There was a festival held in downtown Toronto 2 […]


In my last project at work, we dealt with a US telecommunication company. We had a team consisted of about 6-7 colleagues from the US and 4 of us from Canada, all ‘locked’ in a conference room somewhere in the vicinity of Seattle. Since our client was a telecommunication company, the word ‘Mobile’ came up […]

Sophia Books

Due to business reasons, I had to travel to Seattle back-and-fro in the past few weeks. I came back to Toronto each weekend stopping over at the Vancouver Airport. In the Memorial Day long-weekend, I had trouble connecting to an immediate flight from Vancouver. I ended up spending 6 hours in Vancouver. I went out […]

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