Monday, June 30, 2014

A bit of Langelaar Alberta history

This post is about the first eight years that my parents lived in Canada.  So, you are welcome to continue reading, but no requirements to finish.

My mom, dad, brothers John, Ben and Case all immigrated to Alberta from Ede, Holland in April of 1952.  My parents were talking about going to three possible places, Australia, New Zealand, or Canada.  The opportunity came to purchase a ride on The Waterman in April of that year.  It was short notice, but if they passed up the chance to go, they would have been bumped down the list.
My mom's brother and sister-in-law were already here in Red Deer, Alberta, so when they arrived on the train, my parents stayed with Ome Niek and Tante Toos for about two months.
First house where my parents stayed in Canada.
When we stopped to take a picture, a lady came out and we talked with her for a little bit, telling her why we stopped.  She said that the house was built in 1905.  She said she fixed it up and used some of the original designs.  Can you imagine two families living in there for two months, six children and four adults?
When my parents immigrated, my dad worked in construction, while also at various times raising animals. 
My parents bought a lot, not terribly far from where Ome Niek and Tante Toos lived.  Dad first built a garage and that's where the family lived while dad was working on building the house.
This is the garage.  The part dad built was where the two green doors are.  The lean-to part was added later. 
The house was framed, but an opportunity came to move to Mirror before it was finished.  During this time dad was working for Louis Victor as a bricklayer.  My brother Nick was born prior to moving to Mirror. 
When the family moved to Mirror, it was a farm share rental opportunity with the Wildeboers. The farm was rented from Henry Nice.  Dad and mom had pigs that they took care of here.
The house is no longer there.
 The house was old when the family moved in.  It was poorly constructed and stories were told of being able to see through the walls.  It would have been located in the trees, before the existing garage, a little to the right. 
The shed.
This shed was there when they lived there.  I thought that was pretty neat.  They lived in the "house with see through walls" for a year when the Wildeboers moved away.  Dad and mom and family moved into the other house after the Wildeboers moved out. 
This was the other house on Henry Nice's property. 
Mirror is a small village.  Here are a few pictures of what it looks like now.

While they were living there, they attended the CRC in Alix.  The small number of families met in what is now the public library in Alix.
A small group of families met in this building most Sundays.
Four times a year the families would meet with the Woodynook CRC so they could partake in Lord's Supper.  When they met in Alix, different men would read sermons.  Dad was one of those men and apparently mom played the organ!
The last place the family lived was in Lacombe.  There was an empty house and some land that the Martina family had available and offered that to dad and mom.  They moved there.  Unfortunately the house is no longer there.  The trees surrounding the house were still there, though.
The house was located in that clump of trees. 
This was the one room schoolhouse that my brothers attended when they were in Lacombe.
That was the end of the tour.  I had been to the different places before, but hadn't paid attention or remembered all the details.  It was good to see all those places.
Afterwards we did stop at Gull Lake and Sylvan Lake.  I do not remember visiting Gull Lake very often, but do remember visiting Sylvan Lake, although it has changed quite a bit since those days.  
Gull Lake was high and choppy today. 
On the way home we stopped to pick up some cheese.  Interestingly enough, this store had a lot of Dutch items for sale.  I just couldn't resist!
Dubbel zout drop!
It was a great day!  I enjoyed touring around Central Alberta and listening to the history of Wynand and Engbertdina Langelaar's eight years of adventures!  It was evident that God was their constant companion! 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Bienvenue au Canada!

So, I've made it safely to Canada!  I've been in the country for about 3 days.  Jet lag is still a part of my day and night.  I'm slowly adjusting to the time zones and getting used to some of the subtle changes from Japan to Canada as well as some of the bigger adjustments, like driving on the right side of the road.  :)  
For the first couple of days in Canada I stayed in Abbotsford, British Columbia.  It's what I consider my hometown.  Abbotsford certainly is not like it was when I was growing up, but it still is a nice place.  I have some good friends and family there.  
This is the view from where I was staying in Abbotsford.  
Friday evening I caught a plane from Abbotsford, BC to Calgary, Alberta, where my brother picked me up.  Alberta has a lot of wide open spaces.  
A residential road, I think we could fit 3 Japanese residential roads in this one!  :)
There are the familiar power lines...
Sure did miss Tim Horton's!  
Here we are!
Look at these lovely scenes.  
A family of Canada geese!
Interesting birds with blue beaks.
Look at that deep blue sky!  Note: no power lines!
All this visiting and seeing the country side has been great, but I also have papers to write for the course I'm taking in July.  It's great to be in North America. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A few things here and there...

I was looking at my pictures on my phone today and realized there were a few that I'd like to share, unfortunately they are not really related to each other, so, this post may seems like a hodge podge of things.
My birthday was at the beginning of June.  The VanderHaak's kindly took me out for dinner to my choice of restaurant (I'm assuming within reason :) ).  I chose Indian as the cuisine and left it up to the VanderHaak's to choose the restaurant.   We went to Shanti.  It has really good Indian food!  YUM!
My dinner.  It was a potato type curry. 
 One of the great things I get to do is walk with Hana.  She's good stress therapists.  Maybe because I can do all the talking and she doesn't talk back?  :)  She's always happy to see me.  Sometimes I think it's because she thinks she'll go for a walk rather than it just being happy to see me.  When I take Hana for a walk, we usually walk along the Yanesegawa. Since it's warmer, she likes to go into the river.  I find all kinds of interesting things.  Sometimes I don't have a chance to take a picture, like the one time a bird, about the size of a duck, looks a bit like a duck, and maybe is in the same family as a duck, swallowed a fish whole!  Hana loves to sniff various places along the way.  She pretty much shows no interest in any of the other dogs or people that may be walking along the river.  One thing I noticed is that the grass along the river is starting to grow.  I remember from last year that the grass was very high when I came back from North America. Yesterday, when Hana and I were walking, I noticed some of the pretty flowers.  I only had my iPhone with me, so some of the pictures aren't that great.

It has been construction/renovating season the last couple of months.  Here when you work on the exterior of your building or if you are actually building a structure, you put up the scaffolding and then hang a cloth around the building.  I'm not 100% sure why, if it's an inside/outside thing, or if it's just to make it look nicer.  A few weeks ago, the apartment buildings by the river were all covered up.  From what I can tell, they were either cleaning or painting the exterior walls.
These views were from across the river.

A little closer up.
Neighborhoods can be distinctive, but most look very much alike.  Every once in a while you find houses that seem to just stand out.
Many of the houses tend to be the off white/cream color on the exterior, but these certainly are not.
One Saturday a while back, I took a short bicycle ride around the neighborhood.  I wanted to go down some paths I hadn't been down before and see what there was to see.  
Some paths were quite small.

There are lots of fields nearby.
There was some sort of restricted area. Not sure what that was for though.
Small paths.  I saw car/truck tracks, so they actually drive down this road/path.
Harvest time!
Tall grass!
I ended up at one of the stores I enjoy shopping at, Rogers!

So, there you have it, the hodge podge post.  :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

School Year 2013 - 2014

Today I took some time to reflect on this past year.  Probably because I was riding the train for a while and well, that is a good time to do some reflecting.  Also the last week or so I have had the question posed to me, asking, "How was your first year as MS principal?
My general answer has been, "Good."  It was a steep learning curve and I have to admit I enjoyed the learning.  I have by no means fully learned everything that needed to be learned, but I believe the 2nd year will start to have some familiarity to it.  There were some difficult things I had to do, but there were some blessings as well. 
During our wrap up meeting for 2013-2014, I asked the teachers if they could come up with 100 blessings they experienced this past year.  I'm sure if I asked for 1000 they may have been able to come up with that many, given some more time.  I have the privilege of posting the sheets where they put the 100 blessings (actually we only had 96) up on my wall in my office.  Every once in while when I'm sitting there reading through emails, or working on some project, I glance up at the list and remember that God blesses us abundantly, daily!  Sometimes I need to be reminded of the blessings, especially when I have to bicycle home in the down pour rain a third time that week, or a student made a bad decision that has costly consequences. 
I am privileged to work at Christian Academy in Japan.  Just getting to know the Leadership Team and being able to collaborate with them has made the year a good one.  The staff that I get to work with, seeing their dedication to the students and presenting that Christian perspective in all their subjects, is a blessing for me to watch.  I also enjoyed getting to know the parents of the Middle School students, seeing their dedication to their child's education.
I have been watching some of the graduation speeches given at various institutions recently.  One piece of advice that was given to graduates was to pursue a job that they love.  I love working in Christian Schools.  For the 32 years I have been an educator, I have worked in Christian schools and I believe it is truly what God has called and is calling me to do.  I love my job and enjoy the students and adults I work with. 
I also love the country that I am living in presently.  It is an interesting country with interesting culture.  Sometimes I think about the fact that less than 1% of the people in Japan are Christian.  That number 1% seems so small, but I also rejoice with the fact that 1% also means about one to two million Japanese are Christians.  They need prayer as they deal with various issues as Christians in a Japanese culture.  They, also with foreign missionaries are God's messengers to spread the Gospel to their Japanese neighbors. 
Yes, School year 2013-2014 has been a good year.  

Trinity Sunday

A friend of mine invited me to come visit Tokyo Union Church.  I thought today would be a good day.   I found out that today is Trinity Sunday, so the sermon was about the Trinity, God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit based on 2 Corinthians 13: 11 - 13 and Matthew 28: 16 - 20.  
Front of Tokyo Union Church
Inside during the service.  The pastor was behind the head but he was projected on the wall. 
It is truly an international church.  There were people from Africa, North America, Asia and Europe.  Those were the only ones I knew, there may have been folks from South America, Australia and Russia.  It was interesting. The service was all in English, except there was a soloist during the offering, who sang in English and Japanese.  I did enjoy the service, although it was a bit of train ride to get to the church. 
The church is just down the street from the Oriental Bazaar.  I popped in after church to see what sorts of gifts they had.  I was able to make a few purchases. 
I am always fascinated by Tokyo, the busyness and just how many people are walking down the sidewalk.  The street where the church is on, they have a Ralph Lauren, Dior, Burberry, Armani and many high end stores, the kind where they have a man in a black suit standing at the door.  If you walk down the street, chances are fairly high someone would be speaking English, at least that was my experience.
It was a good service and had a chance to walk down some of the streets of Tokyo on a Sunday afternoon.  I hope you had a good Trinity Sunday and Happy Father's Day!