Calabina

This of all the photos I have taken of Catriona these now 15 years wouldn’t rank anywhere near the most “share-worthy”. Taken inside the environment we built to house my tangible interface exhibition, the work in which she inspired by her love of making music, with all manner of objects found around our home. She, and Camren, have continued to inspire me and send us in all kinds of directions that we would never have had the joy of exploring if we hadn’t had them. She’s 15 today, and adamant to follow her own path, which is exactly as it should be.


Jordan Peterson as bedtime author

In some political circles admitting that I read from Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life for my son’s bedtime story would constitute a form of child abuse. But thats exactly what I did these past nights, delving right into how we are related to lobsters and tying in our usual talks about zombies (which seems to weave in well with Peterson’s storylines). The whole lobsters brains exploding is perfect stuff for young boys.

Though perhaps beyond the age of having a bedtime story my son always loved listening to my wife read to him in English, a great contrast to his daily use of Chinese, and wonderful mom and son time. They have continued this night time tradition despite being 13 hrs apart, but sometimes the stars don’t align, and we can’t find the time to connect via FaceTime. So I have been filling in.

I’ve seen Jordan Peterson called all manner of vile terms, often from people who prove they are unfamiliar with anything he has written beyond the occasional soundbite. Personally I’ve found him to be a skilled debater and I can find a number of things he has said or written that make particular sense to me. I’ve long hoped that someone far more intelligent than I would debunk him on facts, not ideology, but I haven’t had the privilege of witnessing it. I do find his writing a weird mixture of his interpretation of research, oversimplifications, weak attempts at humour, and conjecture as statement of fact.

I like exposing myself to all kinds of ideas (I like Jocko Willik too), especially from those who are so different from myself, or have ideas I might not readily agree. I would hope my children might do the same, and would study with an open mind the works of a wide range of thought leaders, forming their own opinions. Which is one of the reasons we head to church on Sundays, where they revel in the glow of liberal Canadian ideals, wrapped in a conservative establishment.

After I read chapter 1 of Jordan Peterson’s book, I wanted to discuss the lobsters, wrens, and the more complicated stories within, and what it all might possibly mean. But my son had already fallen asleep which might just make Jordan the best bedtime storyteller ever.


Whereby I torture my son into recording a video

We spent some time on the North Shore on Sunday and it was surprisingly pleasant. It’s a surprise as I hadn’t considered a beach visit during any time other than the summer. It’s a bit like beaches cease to exist once the cold comes – except in Thailand of course, where the beaches become more enjoyable and exist all year round.

My son’s interest in becoming a Youtube star has waned, he blames the fact that we don’t have our old iMac here, but I suspect it’s just part of his changing interests


Spelling will come in time

I think it was my son who tried to fill out “Choir” on our fridge whiteboard. The latin alphabet and their connections to phonic sounds is still taking root, but I’m certain he will be speaking and writing like a local in no time flat.

For kids, putting these events on a physical representation of a schedule, and at eye level, seems to serve as a better reminder of the weeks activities than my preferred method of putting it all in a shared Cal. I’m debating whether to teach them how to manage their time using digital or analog tools; daytimer or iCal/reminders/etc. I’m leaning to the analog.


The start of an adventure

Last week not only marked the first day of Canadian school for my kids but also the first time they have had the opportunity to ride a school bus. In the days since, all seems to have gone well, with the biggest complications being that the girls that my daughter has met “only seem to only talk about their looks”, and the fact that everyone plays Fortnight and my son doesn’t. I think we can live with challenges like that.


Band camp

Camren doing his Freddie Hubbard impression

Camren participated in band camp this past week for fun, and as a means to get a start on playing trumpet in the band program in the fall. His motivation for playing trumpet may have been in part due to my own long history with the instrument.

If the amount of students who participated is any indication, the band program is thriving on Prince Edward Island. Fantastic. The benefits of music education are apparent, and of all the places I have visited PEI would appear to have one the more successful programs. Too often music education is positioned as an extracurricular, at a high cost, forcing parents to make hard choices based on their available resources. More often than not, this results in many children missing out on this valuable experience. In Taiwan in particular, music education is expensive, and often neglected after elementary school, in favour of language or math. It’s a shame but I’m so happy that my son can take advantage of this opportunity, like I did when I was his age, while we live here on the Island.

Look at all these wonderful trumpets:


Things just got real

Last Friday early morning I took my wife Sheryl to the airport so that she could begin her long journey back to Taiwan. That marked the start of what should be a challenging, and I hope rewarding, year here on Prince Edward Island. For all practical purposes I am now an unemployed single parent of two kids.

We’ve been planning this move for years now; saving money, taking on new responsibilities, and making time for experiences that we had procrastinated on. But as my early morning inspiration Jocko Willink has said, the best laid plans don’t survive contact with the enemy, so in the end in order to make this plan a reality, one of us had to stay behind working (we made the move realizing that I likely would never work in a job in Prince Edward Island like I had in Taiwan or China). I could have gone back to China, but there are few jobs as stable as my wife’s, so she volunteered.

We have experience living apart from my year in China, but I was home frequently, just a 90 minute flight away, so this will be very different. We won’t see her but twice this coming year.

So far, other than some boredom on the kids part, something I hope will disappear when school starts, everything seems to be going fine. They are experiencing some culture shock and some communication issues, as am I. It will be a good chance for them to learn some independence, something lacking in their lives in Taiwan, and I can be assured that they will survive, if not thrive, no matter how many mistakes I make.