A Personal Update: Zaak aged 37 and 1/4

I’m involved in a lot of stuff. A lot. So I haven’t been a mental state to articulate thoughts on my experiences in Africa, recent beer tasting, cohousing activities, educational philosophy, political musings, musical tastes, and Christian thought. At least not on this blog. I have been in conversation about all of these things on a daily basis with a wide variety of people. Maybe this fact brings into question the purpose and role of this blog. I’m currently 95 movies behind on my movie blog too (incidentally, Man of Steel didn’t shake me up any).

I got back from 3 wonderful weeks spread over South Africa and Malawi back in mid April. I left with a great feeling of encouragement and rich for having walked alongside Africans.

I continue to love my church where I am appreciating the diversity of our membership and the growth I am experiencing in my life with God. I’m reading Wendell Berry and listening to podcasts by Tim Keller, This American Life, and CBC’s Ideas. These keep me engaged intellectually.

Two weeks ago, our family joined 20 of my relatives in Canmore. They came from Washington, Florida, New Mexico, British Columbia, North Carolina, Alberta, and Nevada. It was really quite wonderful to reconnect with aunts, uncles, cousins, and my grandmother – all of whom I hadn’t seen in 13-21 years.

The way we are delivering education at my school is changing. We are focusing on giving the students more responsibility for their learning and we teachers become more facilitators and guides and resources for them. This is not an overnight transformation, but some big changes are being implemented. For me the greatest change will be as the only high school math teacher (at some points, there were three of us). I will be teaching 6 different math courses through the year – and that’s it.

My children continue to amaze me and humble me and love me. My wife continues to charm me and support me and love me. I am very grateful to have them in my life and to them lovingly mould me as their husband and father. Blaise is going to lose one of his top front teeth soon. Acadia is the first person I talk to every morning. Amber and I joined an ultimate frisbee team – go Vicious Circles! We have another family living in our home and it has been a joyous experience to share so much and to be living in community.

As time passes, I am less and less interested in national and international politics (I follow it generally through CBC Radio, Colbert Report, & HuffPost). I’m far more interested in local civic issues and process. My city is still recovering from the greatest natural disaster it has ever seen and my esteem for our mayor has only swelled to greater depths (Naheed Nenshi has the highest rating of any mayor in any North American city – or so I am told).

Lately, I’ve been listening to Atoms for Peace, The National, Band of Horses, Mumford and Sons (who we saw in concert a few weeks back), Sufjan Stevens, and City and Colour. Certainly some favourite songs which I may blog about in the near future.

Beerwise, I’m looking forward to tasting some local brews while in Montreal. Lately, I’ve been quite enamoured with 8 Wired Superconductor, a double IPA from New Zealand. As a regular drink, I am quite content with Co-op’s Classic Premium Ale (it’s the very same Big Rock Traditional Ale) and Lagunitas Maximus (another glorious imperial IPA). Picked up a 4-pack of Fuller’s London Porter the other day and I’m enjoying that too.

Cohousing. Well, we were flying really well until 3 weeks ago. We had 33/36 units sold and more members lined up to buy in the coming week. We had $8.7M worth of financing lined up. Our building permit was essentially approved by the city as our building documents were completed. Then the bids came in and our contractor had to break the news (about 8 months too late in our mind) that it was going to cost 75% more to build than he initially told us. We are looking at various options which basically mean way more time for this project to be completed. A couple members have dropped out. The community (myself included) is feeling pretty stressed out.


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