Teaching and Learning in a Net-Centric World

My Solstice Epistle – Personal

A break from tradition and sending this annual post publicly this year.

Dec. 2013

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Family

Fast away another year has passed and it is time to recollect and share our lives with those we see too little of!  Thus the Annual Christmas/Solstice Epistle below:

The year 2013 began with reflective time as we mourned the passing of my Mother and Grandmother Ethel. In many ways she was “ready to go” but after she died,  I realized I may not have been ready to let her go. In any case, life goes on, but it was a different Christmas and New Years without her.

My first trip of the year  was to do a keynote at a Thailand E-Learning Conference in Bangkok that turned to be somewhat eventful. The weeks before, Sue and I had attended a study on Buddhism at our Unitarian Congregation and learned that the First Noble Truth was that all life is suffering. Being a relatively healthy, happy, overconfident, middle (barely) aged guy, I had to put my hand up and say that I didn’t really think of my life as all suffering. A week later in Northern Thailand I was struck down with an acute gastritis attack and spent 2.5 days in a hotel room watching Thai television and suffering!!

I survived the winter with a bit of skiing, a few good books, a bit of music (I’m picking away at the hammer dulcimer lately) and the usual teaching, marking and grad student advising. Sue continues to work at her two counseling positions. She is a partner in the Community Counseling Centre and sees a diverse set of clients with a host of concerns and issues. Her initial focus on suicide issues has expanded with her practice to include couples, family and individual counseling. She also travels to Leduc once a week for work with Karuni a variety of clients at a counseling service run by a friend.

Solanna has remained in Vancouver and is now working at The BC Centre of Excellence in HIV/Aides research and is a qualitative research working on assessing a variety of strategies for AIDES control and prevention. Her partner Andres, successfully completed a Web Design program at BCIT and has been developing web sites for a variety of clients.  His latest was a 3 month contract to develop a Spanish web site for the World Bank and he is now in Washington DC fulfilling that contract.  Both Solanna and Andres will be home for the holiday so we look forward to hearing of their adventures in the US capital.

Leif continues to pursue his degree in Philosophy and Psychology at Grant McEwen University.  He spent a good summer tree planting in Central BC and then rented a small apartment in an historic apartment building in Rossdale, not far from our home.

Our long term tenant Dwight has moved out to his own apartment after 12 years with us, and we are relieved to say that he seems to be doing OK on his own. So, the Anderson nest is empty and we are enjoying the freedom associated with that and have a spare bedroom.

Our big event from the past year was to accept an offer to be a visiting professor for two months at the Open University of Catalonia in Barcelona Spain. Barcelona is a truly amazing City and we fell in love with the architecture (especially the Sagrada Familia Basilica), the people, the food and the climate. We had our first taste of high-rise living, on the 20th floor of an apartment overlooking the city and the harbour. My work tasks at UOC included giving 5 talks, consulting with a variety of masters, PhD and project teams and leading an evaluation team for their E-Learn Centre. This was our longest time away from Canada and it was a great change and opportunity for both touristing and getting to know our Catalonian colleagues and their families.  Despite our challenges with the Spanish Internet servers, and with lots of help from our Catalonian friends, Sue was also able to maintain contact with 7 of her clients using telephone and Skype.

The summer found us for 10 great days with Susan’s Father at his cabin near Blind River, Ont.  He is well and we connected with Susan’s brothers.  We had a great drive back home across the prairies. However, WARNING don’t get home with 1 Audio CD left (of 10 in the series) in a such a gripping novel, that you can’t now bother to find out the ending.

My summer continued with a week bare-boating a 30 Catalonia sailboat out of Nanimo and except for the Captain (me) running us aground briefly it was a great trip.  Finally, all four of the Anderson Bros and their partners rendezvoused in Canmore for a week of bicycle riding, hikes, hot tubs, laughs and talks. I was relieved to actually try an extended bike trip (well 30 kms. anyways) and find it was fun, and not too taxing. Of course, I didn’t try to pass my younger brothers!

This Fall found us back at work, busy with Westwood Unitarian Church activities (Sue is on the Board and I edit the newsletter). I was also back on the keynote circuit with visits in Mexico, Costa Rica, China, Germany and Spain.

Which brings us back to preparations for the coming festivities.

We hope this Season is special for you and your families and that you find the peace, the quiet and the rest of many warm winter evenings.

All the best!


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