As most of you have figured out by now, I love learning about different cuisines, and cultures. I contacted the Red Leaf program, it’s a program that brings students from different countries to interact with host families, as well as sending them to school to learn about Canadian culture.

As most of you have figured out by now, I love learning about different cuisines, and cultures. I contacted the Red Leaf program, it’s a program that brings students from different countries to interact with host families, as well as sending them to school to learn about Canadian culture. So I welcomed Sergio Lopez Perez a fifteen year old from Santander,that’s a city located north of Spain. For two weeks Sergio and my family will not only learn about Canada and Spain but about each other as well. So please follow along as I post each day of my Spanglish adventures.

July 11,2013
Sergio arrived today,of course in a new environment, I try to make Sergio feel as comfortable as I can. We have supper, Pasta with zucchini & peppers which I made to perfection (note to self Sergio not a fan of certain vegetables). Well what can I say he’s fifteen. We make contact with his parents to let them know he’s fine,and he crashes. Welcome Sergio! See you tomorrow!

July 12,2013
Although the Red Leaf program teaches kids to take the local transit to get to class, I just couldn’t put this kid on a bus he would end up in China (I have taken three buses in my lifetime) So we drove him to his destination, to get the school bus and to get to his classes. I will figure the buses out on the weekend. Sergio is gone all day learning,and enjoying life. I pick Sergio up at five thirty and off to get groceries. We pick a little local grub at McDonalds, and head home. I know things seem quite but I still have nineteen days. Keep Checking Back It’s the WEEKEND!20130713-082640.jpg20130713-082646.jpg20130713-082652.jpg

July 13,2013
Today started off great, Mike cooked breakfast and set the fire alarm off five times. Good Morning Sergio. We then proceeded to go to Mikes moms place in Toronto, you know what they say. Never tell an Italian mom your not hungry. After stuffing Sergio like a piñata we had to go. We then decided to go to the Festival of India on Centre Island. It took us forever to get on the ferry, but once on the island we walked around and enjoyed ourselves. We had lunch at the Shopsy’s grill and headed home. Mike decided to go see a movie with Sergio and the Baddz (his precious camaro) Little C and I stayed home we were exhausted. Great day filled with plenty of excitement.


July 14,2013
Easy like Sunday Morning, is how we do in my home on Sundays. I consider it a catch up day,and a do what ever you want day. So Sergio, Little C and I started our morning off with home made waffles (Damn straight I made them) Sergio has never had waffles,and said it smelled great. I love this kid. I then brought him by Paletta Mansion,it’s a big historic home my family helped restore. The view of the waterfront is beautiful,the grounds are great to walk around,and I just love it there. I then headed over to Costco, you see Sergio is a NUTELLA lover, you know what they say “Go Big or Go Home” where are the big Nutella jars…..Ohhhhhh there they are two please. We then headed home for a relaxing,sunny afternoon. Sergio and Carmine did some street art, and my parents came over for a BBQ. Sergio is a meat eater…Steak,Salad,and more. Did I tell you I love this kid. Great Weekend!

July 15,2013
Monday Monday, It’s the beginning of another week! Sergio has to head to school. Then he’s spending the afternoon at Wild Water Kingdom with his class. Hours an hours later I pick him up we do a little chatting, he has supper, and I figured its hot lets go to Dairy Queen for a Blizzard! he mixed Kit Kat,Smarties,and Rolo candy in one blizzard,hey anything goes right. We head home Sergio takes out his guitar and man he’s really good at it. I totally go into mellow mode listening to Stairway to Heaven. We then watched a little T.V ( Americas Funniest Videos) Sergio loves this show. It was a solid day!20130715-221835.jpg20130715-221841.jpg20130715-221854.jpg20130715-221911.jpg20130715-221920.jpg20130715-221925.jpg20130715-224141.jpg

July 16,2013

O.K so we are about a week into my Spanglish adventure. I need to tell you,I am so glad I have partnered up with the Red Leaf program.It’s just a great experience not only to meet someone new,but to learn from each other as well. This morning we did the same thing,breakfast got Sergio to school,and waited for him to finish up his day. Kinda like being in an elevator and you hear that elevator music while you wait to get to your floor. That’s what it’s like waiting…..So I head out to get Sergio,but while waiting I had some fun,I saw some fun cars,took a picture of Sergio’s Canadian hangout after school. Then headed home, I started supper. Now get this my buddy Sergio likes Broccoli (I know a fifteen year old likes a vegetable),so when I asked him how he wanted it prepared…. He says with BACON right on! I think this boy has a little Southern blood in him. Another great day!


July 17,2013
Well it’s official, I asked Sergio “if he had the chance to move to Canada would he do it” The boy said RIGHT NOW! I guess I’m doing something right. This morning for breakfast I made cinnamon rolls, Sergio has never had cinnamon rolls (HOLY SWEETNESS BATMAN) Carmine,Kevin,David and myself were all laughing. Well off to school he goes,and won’t be home till eleven o clock tonight. He’s hanging out at Barangas on the Beach for some dinner and a dance with his classmates. We have arranged to have the Badd Z pick him up. It’s really strange how guys dig their cars,he loves the Badd Z. Hope you had a wicked night Sergio, looking forward to hearing about everything tomorrow.20130717-213715.jpg20130717-213729.jpg20130717-213736.jpg20130717-213744.jpg20130717-213754.jpg20130717-213801.jpg

July 18,2013
Another Hot and Sticky Day! But that doesn’t stop us. We are up having breakfast, cereal today with a touch of Nestlé Quick in Sergio’s Cheerios. Then chauffeured to school,and everyone’s day begins. After class today Sergio is heading to New York City. So for his send off supper I decided to get his favourite, Kentucky Fried Chicken.He can’t get KFC in Spain and loves it.(So much for putting my cooking skills to work) Although KFC has advertising issues my family feast in the photo,was not what I received when I got home. I had my friend Mary Ann come over she wanted to meet Sergio. We spoke with Sergio a little bit, and he went to get ready,and off to NYC….chauffeured by the Badd Z. Have a great weekend Sergio take a bite out of the Big Apple.20130718-225553.jpg20130718-225625.jpg20130718-225630.jpg20130718-225640.jpg20130718-225650.jpg20130718-225659.jpg20130718-225702.jpg20130718-225724.jpg20130718-225729.jpg

July 19,2013
Well, I’m going to say it. It’s kinda weird today with out Sergio,I guess the weekend will be weird as well.Mother Nature missed him as well, because it rained like crazy.I hope Sergio is having a great time in New York City. My posts for the weekend will be short and sweet. Just so you know Sergio Carmine misses you as we’ll as the Minions ( Kevin & David)

July 20,2013
Well, Sergio while you are in New York City, I headed off to African Lion Safari, next time you come to Canada, we have to go. I had such a great time,and if you want the whole story, please read my Jurassic Park Adventure. Hope your day was as wicked as mine Sergio, See you Monday.20130720-181920.jpg20130720-181939.jpg20130720-181948.jpg20130720-182037.jpg20130720-182139.jpg

July 21,2013
Its Sunday, Relax and Chill out. That’s what we did today, Cleaned up,ran some errands,had another Minion join the team,(We now have Kevin 1 Kevin 2 & David) & had dinner with the folks. OMG Sergio comes home tomorrow! Hope his weekend was as great as mine. 20130721-214504.jpg20130721-214510.jpg20130721-214737.jpg

July 22,2013
Sergio came home today,EXHAUSTED! So he rested for a little bit,before going off to class. The morning was a little hectic,but slowly fell into place.You can tell you have a fifteen year old boy in your home, when all the Pringles chips disappear, and Carmine is no better three years old and loves Pringles. Sergio and I spoke a little bit about his trip, some good and bad points was not impressed with Washington,but loved New York City. After coming home from a long day of learning we just relaxed for the evening. OH! We finally found the purple Minion. I know I know enough with the Minions!!!!!! 20130722-212725.jpg20130722-212719.jpg20130722-212733.jpg20130722-212748.jpg20130722-212757.jpg20130722-212800.jpg20130722-212805.jpg20130722-212829.jpg20130722-212853.jpg20130722-212902.jpg20130722-212907.jpg20130722-212911.jpg

July 23,2013
Today we all woke up a little spaced out,catching up with everything. People usually hate Monday’s I hate Tuesdays. When Sergio came into the kitchen today for breakfast,I figured cereal,toast,waffles. No this kid took plain yogurt,and put mini chocolate m & m’s all in a glass and mixed it up. He made a yogurt parfait,I mean it was kinda cool I admit,but gross at the same time. He ate it,he’s fifteen. As usual he headed off to school,I started my day, and then went to pick him up. Sergio was sitting with a classmate of his,just keeping each other company,he said she has to take the bus,so hey I drove her home (Martha was her name) I think Sergio really likes Canada, I keep asking him, and he just says I don’t want to go home! Hey what can I say Canada Rocks!20130723-193854.jpg20130723-193901.jpg20130723-193910.jpg20130723-193917.jpg20130723-193921.jpg

July 24,2013

Well it’s hump day, Sergio is heading to the Honeymoon Capital of Canada, Niagara Falls. I think he will really enjoy it, the strip alone will keep all those kids occupied for hours. Every morning I put some stale bread out for my squirrels and rabbits.They now are coming right up to my door looking for food,So we all found it funny, to see this one squirrel looking around for his breakfast.We start yet again our Spanglish routine. I had to pick up Sergio at the Burlington Mall tonight,so before Carmine and I headed out we had a little bit of fun, we get to the mall and I hear all these kids singing,dancing,and just enjoying life. It was so nice to not only see but hear,that’s how you know that the Red Leaf Program is working. Once again someone was looking out for me, the kids got back early,so we made it home in time for Master Chef and even stopped for a Tim Hortons coffee. 20130724-221027.jpg20130724-221119.jpg20130724-221132.jpg20130724-221143.jpg20130724-221151.jpg20130724-221155.jpg20130724-221201.jpg20130724-221212.jpg20130724-221301.jpg20130724-221319.jpg

July 25,2013
Well, Thursday evening,and we are taking things slow. The first time I took Sergio to Dairy Queen,he asked me please before I go back to Spain can we come back here. So I had to keep my promise,after dinner we headed out for another Blizzard. It’s funny how something so simple,can make people so happy (we love ice cream). Also how thoughtful of Sergio to get me back home in time for the season finale of Hells Kitchen. Another awesome evening.20130725-221317.jpg20130725-221322.jpg20130725-221336.jpg20130725-221345.jpg20130725-221357.jpg20130725-221406.jpg20130725-221410.jpg20130725-221413.jpg

July 26,2013

What a Gorgeous day today. There is something about getting up with the sun shining,that just makes for a happy day. Sergio is bowling today with his class,Bowling is such a great game to play. It being Friday we are just relaxing for the evening,getting ready for my last weekend with Sergio before he heads back to Spain. For dinner tonight I thought I would bring some of my Polish roots into the mix. I made potato and cheddar perogies,dressed with bacon,butter,and a little special seasoning. Mmmmmmm they were delish! See you in the Square tomorrow.

July 27,2013

This is Sergio’s last weekend in Canada,so I really want him to enjoy himself. We all got up this morning,and I made Blueberry muffins ( it smelled so good in the kitchen). Sergio got up and brought down these parcels, I was a little confused at first,but then he told me they were Thank you gifts,for having him stay with us. How thoughtful,He brought sunglasses,stickers,and a learning tool for Carmine. A candle,a book on his province which I loved ( you know me and learning different cultures )and a little joke between Sergio and I he picked me up a Canada flag. If you want to know the whole story, you will have to ask Sergio or myself.I loved everything and was really flattered. We headed down to the square,where music is played every Saturday. The music was alright, but I could see it was not Sergio’s cup of tea. It was getting close to lunch, so we then headed over to Wendel Clark’s.I mean really, if we are going to do the Canada thing Wendels and Hockey just go together. With hockey memorabilia and Canadian leafs everywhere,I think Sergio got the idea. The weather was not so great,so towards the end of our activities today we came home,relaxed and just chilled out for the evening.

P.S Check out my write up on Wendel Clark’s for more exciting details.20130727-221147.jpg20130727-221209.jpg20130727-221218.jpg20130727-221234.jpg20130727-221246.jpg20130727-221254.jpg20130727-221301.jpg20130727-221316.jpg20130727-221330.jpg20130727-221337.jpg20130727-221344.jpg20130727-221411.jpg20130727-221422.jpg20130727-221519.jpg20130727-221528.jpg20130727-221534.jpg20130727-221552.jpg20130727-221556.jpg20130727-221602.jpg20130727-221607.jpg20130727-221613.jpg20130727-221624.jpg20130727-221628.jpg20130727-221658.jpg20130727-221704.jpg20130727-221710.jpg20130727-221717.jpg

July 28,2013

Today we are heading to the Six Nations Reserve,for the Champions of Champions Pow Wow. I am so excited to take Sergio here,it being the last Sunday before he heads back to Spain,and as mentioned I want him to take back the full Canadian experience. To watch these Native Indians in full costume,and perform is just breath taking. Just to take home the experience of watching these great leaders walk with such pride is awesome. We also had to stop for some Native cuisine, I headed over for some Bison sliders,and some Native tacos,everything was tasty. we also checked out some local artists. The whole Six Nations Reserve was just a cornucopia of Canadian tradition, I loved it,and can’t wait till next year.

P.S Tonto from the Lone Ranger,was from the Six Nations.

We then headed home,to refuel Sergio’s pot luck dinner is tonight,we are bringing dessert. As the trip is coming to an end,it’s nice that the Red Flag Program does a dinner for all the families and students to interact. The students are all dressed up,and all happy to see each other, but a little sad as well.I hope everyone keeps in touch.Veronica the program leader has done an phenomenal job,making sure the kids have had a wicked trip to Canada.
It was great to see how the whole Red Leaf Program has come together,and had a very happy ending. 20130728-225539.jpg20130728-225549.jpg20130728-225559.jpg20130728-225606.jpg20130728-225613.jpg20130728-225628.jpg20130728-225640.jpg20130728-225716.jpg20130728-225730.jpg20130728-225745.jpg20130728-225801.jpg20130728-225810.jpg20130728-225822.jpg20130728-225831.jpg20130728-225837.jpg20130728-225851.jpg20130728-225920.jpg20130728-225939.jpg20130728-225946.jpg20130728-230006.jpg20130728-230011.jpg20130728-230034.jpg20130728-230038.jpg20130728-230052.jpg20130728-230055.jpg20130728-230106.jpg20130728-230111.jpg20130728-230119.jpg20130728-230132.jpg20130728-230301.jpg

July 29,2013

Tonight I made some dinner. Pasta with chicken,bacon,& chick peas, in a nice broth,it was very good if I may say so. We decided to just hang out for the evening. Sergio was trying to pack everything he has purchased here,and do some last minute things.He is heading back to Spain on Wednesday. Carmine and Sergio hung out for a little bit,and of course played the I Pad. Then I thought,I need a coffee so with Sergio’s visit coming to an end,I headed to Tim Hortons. Its a Canadian thing. Sergio has taken a liking to Timbits & Cinnamon Buns. What can I say he knows what he likes!!!20130729-230739.jpg20130729-230744.jpg20130729-230748.jpg20130729-230807.jpg20130729-230815.jpg20130729-230819.jpg20130729-230832.jpg20130729-230840.jpg20130729-230844.jpg20130729-230857.jpg20130729-230901.jpg20130729-230905.jpg20130729-230912.jpg

July 30,2013

Good Morning, today Sergio is off to Paramount Canada’s Wonderland. He is going to have a wicked time,he will be home late. So today’s update will be a short one. My father has been bringing Sergio to school everyday (My dad is awesome) and I found it so funny today,that Sergio had on American shorts,and my father an American shirt…..Where’s the patronage….where’s the OH CANADA! 20130730-105645.jpg20130730-105649.jpg

July 31,2013

When I first joined the Red Leaf program,I was a little nervous.Your never sure if the student your getting is going to adapt to your home. They are in a different country, and you are learning about there county. I have to say I am so glad I have become part of the Red Leaf Family. I met a lot of new people,had a ton of support (in case I had any questions about the students or the program) and I met a really nice kid,Sergio arrived a stranger,but left part of the family. Sergio adapted so well with us,it was like I knew him for years. It’s funny I always say things happen for a reason. I hope Sergio had a great time,I know I did,and as a parent I know it can’t be easy,sending your child half way across the world. To Sergio’s parents he was in good hands,I treated him like one of my own. I hope that’s reassuring to you (you have raised a great young man).Sergio is on his way back to Spain,and as I am writing this, I feel a little melancholy, I already miss sitting down to dinner with him,to speak about his activities for the days he spent here in Canada. Carmine misses the Sonic & Minion showdowns on the I Pad. Sergio was a big brother to him for the month of July. I would like to say Thank you to my father Vince,for bringing Sergio to to school every morning,Veronica Senior Coordinator for the Red Leaf Program,for being patient with all my questions,& Sergio it was really great to meet you and share some of Canada with you. My Spanglish experience has come to an end,but will never be forgotten. See you next year.

te extrano Sergio! Ya tengo ganas de ver de Nuevo el proximo ano!





Melinda Paletta

    COMMENTS (2)

  1. Maria


    Hi, this is sergio’s big sister, writting from Beijing. 🙂
    Just wanted to thnak you for taking care of my lttle bro and hope you had a great time with him. He also told me he does not want to go back to spain! I left my blog adress in case you want to see a little bit of what we are living here, its written in spanish but with the pictures you can see how weird this country really is.
    Big kiss from Mao’s land 😀


  2. rosa


    Comment *
    Hi, I’m Sergio’s mother. Congratulations for your blog, I liked it very much. Thank you for taking care of my son and make him feel so comfortable and make him have such a great time. We’ve both cried of emotion when we read your last post and I hope next year Sergio and you meet again.


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