“Are you in Canada?”

“Are you on another course?”

“Have you left the country again?”

“Where ARE Scott and Karen?”

Alright, alright, alright. It’s been a long while since anyone heard from us and we’ve received a lot of notes from many people. So we’re very sorry. On the other hand, it is kind of nice to know people actually still read our long-winded blog. This one will be short.

We flew home to Canada from Thailand on December 21. We spent a short time over the holidays with family before we headed off to a place called Coldwater in the mountains outside of Merritt, BC. We conducted two ten-day meditation retreats there at the BC Vipassana Centre in January. The bright, cold weather was a refreshing change from the suffocating heat of the tropics.

The cozy little meditation hall at Dhamma Surabhi, the Vipassana centre near Merritt, BC.

When we returned, Karen and I separated, she off to Toronto for a couple of weeks in the office and I to help my father recover from knee replacement surgery. I also got the chance to do a little photography in what was mostly spectacular weather, though Vancouver got more than a little wintry dusting. It’s easy to forget how beautiful Vancouver can be.

Vancouver’s spectacular sunset reflections.
English Bay at sunset.
We miss home cooking when we travel. Homemade pizza at Dad and Sue’s.
Dad and Sue looking sharp and heading out for New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Scott and Karen were asleep by 9 pm.
Sunrise from Coal Harbour in Stanley Park.
Our good friend and recent immigrant to Vancouver, a refugee from Toronto.
A freighter anchored in English Bay.
Yes. This is snow. In Vancouver. I had gloated a bit when Karen went to Toronto and flew into a snow storm. Then this happened.
Vancouver from Fairview Slopes after a snowstorm.
Our new most favourite Blue Jays fan.
A post-Christmas visit with a brand new friend.
Vancouver’s sunset skyline from Jericho.
Mount Baker looming over downtown Vancouver. 
Vancouver ‘snowpocalypse’. 
Vancouver from Mount Cypress.
Scott trying to capture long-exposures from Coal Harbour in Stanley Park.
Karen and her mother trying to snap a selfie.
The selfie.

Karen, of course, had the quintessential February Toronto experience. The usual mix of slush and ice. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Typical February day in Toronto.
Karen waves hello to her husband from her office in Toronto.
Karen brought back her new most treasured possession. An Armenian cookbook given to her mother by her grandmother before she died.
It’s nothing if not sincere. The preface to the Armenian cookbook.

While Karen worked in Toronto, and I was busy here in Vancouver, we made some decisions about what to do next. In April and May, we will be in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Israel to conduct a few meditation courses there, but we will fill in the details on all of that later.

Tomorrow we will fly to Mexico for a few weeks. There is a small Vipassana centre in the mountains a few hours west of Mexico City. We will conduct a course there and then have a couple of weeks to visit with Mexican friends from Monterrey who will join us in Mexico City for a few days. These are good friends we’ve never met. And we’re very excited to see Jorge and his wife Julie. We also have the chance to spend some time with family who will be in Mexico at the same time. I have a family history in Mexico and will write a bit about that while we’re there. I visited the country many times in my childhood, but it’s been almost 30 years since my last visit. It’ll be fascinating to see how much has changed. Then we return to the centre to conduct another course before we return to Vancouver to get ready to head back to Asia and the Middle East.

So we’ll have a lot more to share in a short while. For now, hasta luego nuestros amigos.

A selfie from English Bay at sunset.

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