My name is Cristina. I love travelling and have traveled to many countries, lived in many parts of Canada (4 provinces and the Northwest Territories) and lived in Indonesia for 2 years and 4 months – so I can help you with ideas about places to visit while you’re in Canada.
Niagara is a good place to get your “feet wet” – get used to being in Canada – and launch your trip – practice your English, learn about delicious wine and increasingly, good beer and food, interact with a vibrant arts community, hike on the Bruce Trail, explore the wonder that is Niagara Falls (there are beautiful trails away from the chaos of Clifton Hill), discover the beauty and history of Niagara on the Lake and the wonderful plays at the famous Shaw Festival Theatre. Very close to Toronto (an hour’s drive) – there’s a whole world of culture and activities happening there as well. St. Catharines/Thorold has a fun blues music scene too with 3 different bars with house bands hosting different guests each week. Spring is fast arriving and the stunning blossoms will be out soon. Niagara Peninsula is one of the best fruit and vegetable growing regions in the world. The peaches, strawberries, cherries, and tomatoes are incredible – aside from the grapes.
I am fluent in Spanish, my French is so so and I still speak some Indonesian. I understand quite a lot of Portuguese, Italian and Catalan. My friend’s daughter did Workaway and I will likely do this in the future. I am a musician – I sing, play viola and violin (I jam and am classically trained) so if you are a musician or appreciate music, even better. I love film and theatre and will go with you or point you in the direction of interesting cultural things happening in the area. I am an environmental scientist/biologist. I also do energy work (Healing Touch – which is like Reiki) and have a budding wellness practice (see The Mobile WellNest on Facebook) currently. I am also a part-time professor at Conestoga College and will teaching again in the fall. I would appreciate good company and help and enjoy exploring what this region has to offer…
IMPORTANT: I have chemical sensitivities - allergies to perfumes, colognes, scented hair and body products, detergents and dryer sheets. If you stay with me, I need you to use unscented detergents and dryer sheets before coming here as these are currently lasting weeks to months (yes, the ads on TV brag about 3 months of scent, which make more and more of us sick!). I would need you to be understanding and collaborate with me on finding products that I can tolerate.
The house/the work I need help with:
I need help with the house I live in -originally my father’s house, which declined along with him. I am slowly renovating this house as time and money allow. It dates back to the 1890s (that’s pretty old for Canada!). It is on a busy street in the front, but the back faces greenspace and walking trails along the historic Welland Canal. There are times of the day when it is lovely because there is less traffic noise. There is a “deck” (that needs work) in the back and it’s a lovely place to be in the early evening. There are big chestnut trees, a black walnut, and a mulberry tree (Niagara has Carolinian flora and fauna) and lots of birds around. I have one cat.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
I have described myself, my interests and the area where I live in the above description. Music, art, culture, nature/hiking - language practice (Spanish or English) - those are the strongest areas of cultural exchange I can offer. Plus a lot of knowledge, ideas and contacts for traveling in Canada and the world. St. Catharines also has the longest running multicultural festival in Canada, celebrating its 50th year this year May 3-28. This festival was an important part of my childhood and had a strong impact on making me who I am, someone who embraces people from cultures around the world.
now and in future:
I need a hand with any of the following: painting (interior and exterior), general maintenance, landscaping/creating gardens, patching holes in the exterior of the house, laying laminate flooring, fixing my driveway (adding gravel and a sidewalk), etc., sanding and treating the deck and shed, cleaning, cooking
The house has unlimited data internet. It has two bathrooms one with shower and one with bathtub. One upstairs and one downstairs.
Bedrooms are upstairs. Back deck (needs work) and greenspace behind the house.
Some rooms are close to completion and others still require new flooring and dry wall. I need your help to make it nice and watch the house blossom with our work together.
Food: I will pay for your food. If you like cooking, then meal prep for both of us could be part of your work - or we could cook separately. Frankly my preference is to do some of each but I am open to discussion. I have sensitivities to dairy, eggs, and potatoes so eating like a vegan can work for me but I do eat meat and it would be in the fridge.
The city bus stops right in front of the house. I have a vehicle which I would not lend (insurance reasons) but I could give you a ride sometimes. I am located close to downtown St. Catharines and I have a bicycle you could borrow sometimes to get around easily. Shopping mall not far away. Restaurants etc. Fun things in the area described above.
I am a morning person. I wake up quite early and go to bed between 10 and 11 usually so as long as we are respectful of each other in terms of noise, it should be fine. If we are working together I need you to get up in the morning :)
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
25 hours per week, 2 days off or flexible as we agree
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