Saturday, March 9, 2013

Gitzel Update from the countryside of Canada

It's been almost four months since we arrived back in Canada. The truth is that time hasn't flown by. Four months seems just about right. A lot has been happening around here.

The first thing to say is that the timing of everything worked out well. We got to spend a lot of time with Barbara's dad and her family all the way up until his passing in December. I recall a moment in the hospital, probably 2 weeks before he passed. We had the boys there and we all said goodbye to him for the day. By that time he had not been very responsive to people; mostly just laying down and watching the people and things going on around him. That day, as we were leaving for the day, he was sitting up at the edge of his bed. As I said goodbye he looked up and winked at me. I smiled at him and somewhere in there we made a connection. One last joke for the son-in-law. Something I'll take along with me, that's for sure.  He was a great father-in-law.

I can't say that those days are distant memories. It will be a long year for Barbara, her sisters and her mom without their man. He will be missed. Along the way, the girls will have the solid foundation of love that their mom and dad started so long ago. The girls have each other, and that's much more than most people can say.

January was full of a lot of different activities.  The main highlight was when Barbara and I went down to Washington to visit the Wilsons and dabble in a bit of China processing. We put that on hold all through December, so it was nice to process things with the wise Wilsons. We also had a good time with their boys; playing football by the water, building a stick fort, and watching them tear up the skate park. Jeff and Carrianne cooked delicious for us. We eat delicious, and it was amazing. We owe them some Canadian hospitality whenever they can take a break from their busy, selfless lives.

February came and a bit of normalcy arrive with it. I started my job out at Camp Nakamun. My official title is Program Director, but really, its been a lot of everything so far. Thus is the life out at camp. I handle summer registrations, staff applications, some interviews, organize the video material, answer questions on the phone, set up sound systems, straighten out the website, and shovel snow once in a while. It's a busy, active job where I work with a lot of great people in preparation for hiring 40 or so more great people for the upcoming summer.

Barbara has found a lot of things to do. She's teaching preschool at the local school down the road from camp. She'll also be working on a diploma in Early Childhood Development.

Miles goes to Kindergarten and Jonas attends the preschool. They both act out here and there; not quite settled in to Canada life. Can't really blame them with all of the changes going on.

We're hoping to be out at camp for at least a year or so. That might depend on how much work they have for me when the slow season rolls around again next winter. We'll cross that bridge when we get there.

As far as integrating back into Canada, Barbara mentioned that being out in the countryside helps a lot. The city is full of a lot of noise and static. The countryside is quiet and patient with us. We're thankful for it and its healing work in our souls.

The photos shown here tell a little bit about the last few months. Take a look.  Click on them for a closer look.

Thanks for reading.

Grocery Shopping in comfort and style

Miles Canadian pose

The Wilsons cooking up some delicious

Miles first day of Canadian Kindergarten

On the lake

Hockey and ice fishing

Our new car

Bedtime stories at the cottage

Jonas the movie star

Our home at camp; cottage #10

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Some people turn in Facebook statuses that read like Oscar acceptance speeches.

"I'd like to thank @jamie and @philip for being with me at #hipaurant for the consumption of the burger I ate that's the focal point of the photo I am attaching."

"Great weekend! Couldn't have done it without my best friend, @squirrlythedog and the great folks at Universal."

At first, it was kind of amusing when people did this sort of "public thanking ritual" every other day.

It's your daughter's birthday? Well, that's nice. She's too young to read but I'm sure that she still appreciates the Facebook shout out.

Some people seem to go to concerts and events strictly for the Instagram opportunities.

Making fun of yourself for not knowing how to use hash tags is the new way to use hash tags.

After all of these years, many of us still seem to forget that hundreds of random "friends" must have their eyes ambushed with every little thought that comes to our minds.

Can we call Facebook an addiction if everyone is addicted to it? Would alcoholism still exist if we were all continuously drunk?

In all of this I am reminded of my own social sins. It takes daily reminders to remember that I am not the centre of the world and that everyone else strongly agrees with that fact.

Lets all take a deep breath and stop trying to stroke our egos with so much white noise. Limit your status updates. Unfriend people you don't really know. Focus in on a bit of life. Communicate with your community. You are not Bono. You are not Oprah. Downsize your marketing campaign and focus in on the voters that matter; close family, real friends, and the neighbours that will only listen to you when you step over to their yard and knock on their wooden door.