June 9, 2012

Duke 6.9

Duke is a little upset because he came in from a short walk and some stranger said he looked like Queen Victoria. No doubt we are in Canada.

June 8, 2012

Duke 6.8

Imagine the looks we get while driving down the road.

June 7, 2012

Living on the edge

Some would say Danielle has always lived on the edge. This photo says it all. She will really miss Montreal as it's her high school home.

Duke 6.7

What are the odds this thing is going to make it until noon? Last time Duke had a procedure requiring a  cone, it didn't last 15 minutes and ultimately he was put on tranquilizers to make him too sleepy to lick the affected area. Kish is the one in need of tranquilizers this time. Let's not mention the fact that the car is starting to resemble a pet taxi.

June 5, 2012

Duke 6.5

Duke is taking advantage of his recovery. I wonder if I can get him qualified for "burnout" leave, which is offered in Quebec if a person is stressed out on the job (this is true...employees are eligible for three weeks PAID burnout leave if a doctor says so). All that time chasing squirrels in the back yard and he's burned out.

June 4, 2012

Duke 6.4

Another day, another bandage. And another bone. And another day of gas -- oh sweet Lord -- the gas.

Big day for the Pisani boys

The West Island Special Olympics organization held the end of the year celebration this weekend. Paul was awarded Coach of the Year and Louis received Outstanding Athlete of the Year for basketball. Louis's name will forever be on a trophy here in Quebec...and he received a small one for his collection. 

We are all extra excited because his name will appear on the trophy with fellow teammates, like his friend Curtis, who received the award two years prior.

They had a fantastic season, winning a medal  in the Provincial championships this past March. Louis loves basketball almost as much as Paul enjoys coaching it.

It was a bittersweet, as earlier in the day we said good bye (for now) to our great friends in the Eastern Townships at our Special Olympics ski team at Owl's Head. Our fellow skiers presented us with a cake and a priceless card with special notes we will treasure forever.

Danielle with her fellow instructors and peer volunteers....and good friends!
We will be forever grateful for Special Olympics Quebec...it's changed us all as a family and as individuals. We're taking everything we've learned from our Quebec friends and will jump into the programs in Illinois...minus the French of course. As our ski coach Art Zentner says..."one athlete, one coach." Paul and Louis will be recruiting a ski team for sure. 

The day reminded us of what we will miss about Quebec most of all...the people and friends we have made. We will be thinking of our fellow athletes, parents, volunteers and friends as we continue our journey back to the States.

The day also reminded us of how the "special" people in our lives bring new meaning to our own lives and provide us with experiences and friendships we might not have had otherwise. Without Louis and is (dis)abilities, we likely would not have been involved in Special Olympics and the wonderful programs we experienced in Quebec.

We're certain our paths will cross again.

So as we said to our friends recently....this is not a good-bye but....
à la prochain 

June 3, 2012

Duke 6.3

Duke is more than embarrassed that he has to wear a bag over his foot to go outside when it's raining or wet. He's afraid the little dogs in the neighborhood won't think he's the Dude anymore. It doesn't stop him from trying to run after them though.

And she's off....

Danielle is officially finished with high school. The system is different here in Quebec. I've written about it before....high school for Quebecers goes through grade 11. From there students go to a two year program at a community college-type program called CEGEP and then they go to university. The only way to attend university in Quebec (for example McGill) is to attend the two year pre-college program. Danielle was all set to go to this type of program last fall, but due to conflicting information from each and every government employee or attorney we spoke with unforseen immigration issues, we were forced at the last minute to enroll Danielle into a pre-university program at a school called Lower Canada College (which is also a K-11 co-ed school). Since the pre-U students enrolled in this particular program and not CEGEP, they are not eligible to attend most programs in Quebec (there are a few exceptions). So....that meant Danielle was taking herself out of the running for attending a Quebec school, which turned out to be okay as we are moving anyway.
Her class this year included 39 students from 13 different high schools. All but a few will be attending schools outside of Quebec...Australia, Scotland, England, France, prestigious schools in the U.S., including our Danielle who will be attending Saint Louis University.
The school (LCC) put on a nice graduation ceremony for the students with wonderful speakers and a nice tribute to each student and their accomplishments as they picked up their certificate. We were thrilled that the ceremony was live streamed on the web so out-of-town relatives could watch. Following the ceremony we had one of those "things we wouldn't have in the U.S." experiences when we all attended a champagne reception.
Yes, Danielle is taller than her mom...but she is wearing very high heels!
After the champagne reception the graduates went to a very nice dinner with their teachers and administrators....again another one of those unique experiences we would not necessarily have had in the U.S....certainly not the wine served at such a dinner.

The next day the majority of the graduates headed out to a classmate's country home for a weekend of fun in the sun, boating, campfires, eating...and things we don't want to know about...because...we were once that age.

We're so pleased with Danielle's high school education in Quebec and the friends she has made in the last four years. She certainly had a different experience than she would have had in Naperville...with friends who will stay in Montreal and some who will leave for places all over the world. Not that it's necessarily any better, just different. Her favorite class this year was Political Science and her teacher appreciated her American perspective in discussions. He told us that she was not afraid of a debate and added "this girl could be President of your country someday." I told him that she's been campaigning for something since she was two.

So, it's off to University next year. One element of her education she missed out on (besides drivers education as she still does not have a license) is U.S. History. She has some catching up to do this summer before heading back to the U.S. Although, she does entertain her Canadian friends with her "Nifty Fifty United States" song she learned back in elementary states. We're wondering if her U.S. classmates can name the ten provinces and three territories of Canada?
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