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Meet Léane and Philippe, high school teachers

1 Dec 2020

This small, united clan has a secret strength: a precious bond that has been formed and forged over the years. Both as parents and as a couple, the mother and father have always focused on the comfort of family life, which has allowed them to appreciate the moments they spend together.

Léane Laforest, Philippe Sabourin, and their daughters, Maude and Lili, look forward to the holiday season as a time to come together, to relax, and, above all else, to share magical moments at their chalet.

Since Léane and Philippe are high school teachers, it is also an opportunity to take a break from everyday life and enjoy Christmas celebrations to the fullest. Whether it’s Maude and Lili’s highly anticipated advent calendars, the gigantic fir tree that tickles the chalet’s ceiling, their intimate Christmas Eve feast, or Santa’s visit during movie time (they’ve heard him tiptoeing around the house, but have never seen him!), these cherished traditions start spreading their magic as November comes to an end.

Every year, after spending Christmas day with Philippe’s family, the Laforest-Sabourins head to their chalet and meet Léane’s family. “This is where we celebrate the most. Where we decorate, listen to music, and experience it all.” Located in the Outaouais region on a large lot that once belonged to a religious congregation, the chalet neighbours those of Léane’s parents, sister, and brother. Now that everyone has children, each family enjoys their own space while having the joy of seeing each other every day, even if it's just for a few moments. This year, the traditional family dinner will most likely be replaced by a bonfire, sledding, and mulled wine. But one thing remains certain: the presence of their loved ones will warm everyone’s hearts. 

More than ever before, the chalet has become a refuge filled with conversations, games, and joy. Transformed into the family’s headquarters during quarantine, it allowed them to witness the beauty of springtime at the edge of the lake, where the ice melted before their eyes. “We usually waited for long weekends to go. Now, we go often! There, our masks remain in our pockets. We forget about them. The change of scenery feels great.” 

Léane and Philippe experienced an unusual start to the school year, one with its fair share of apprehension, unknowns, and daily adjustments. “It’s touching to see young 15-year-olds showing solidarity, to see these students as citizens taking the recommended measures seriously. They’re doing it for their family, for their grandparents.”

They’re focusing on the positive, on the benefits of alternating between virtual and regular classes, which sometimes strengthens the student-teacher bond. Formerly nonexistent, online messaging paradoxically provides human connection. And though it’s not perfect, the part-time schedule seems to work. Once at school, the masks and visors become secondary. Léane and Philippe dedicate themselves to their classes. Despite the situation, their students seem motivated and willing to do their best. Everyone adapts, even if the mood is a bit different due to the lack of activities. After all, a day at school is more than just four periods of class!

Taking one day at a time, they look on the bright side of things, energized by their family and hoping for a return to normal. Until then, Christmas will undoubtedly bring its share of magic, comfort, and happiness. And who knows, they might finally see Santa! 

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