Friday, July 27, 2007

Separated for a few weeks

Wendy and I have been separated for a few weeks already. The reason is a practical one: we both needed to attend conferences that, unfortunately, were on different continents. Last year Wendy wanted to attend a conference in the Netherlands on the topic of Sophia. But it was postponed until the end of June this year. She might not even have attended then, if not for the strike at the university, which was still going on when we left Nigeria (in the meantime, it has ended, though we don't know all the details yet). We left Abuja on June 25 and flew together to Amsterdam.

The next morning I helped Wendy get on the train to Nijmegen, and then I went back into the transit area and flew on to Toronto. Wendy made a presentation at this rather small conference, with scholars coming from many European countries.

After the Nijmegen conference, Wendy went to her sister's place, who lives in the Netherlands, but was visiting Alaska at the time. Wendy stayed there alone for two weeks, until her sister returned. Next week she flies to England to vist friends in Manchester and Durham, before she goes to Oxford for the International Patristics conference, which is held every four years. She will make two presentations at this major international event.

While in the Netherlands, whe visited many people, including her nephew, who had an addition to his family a few months ago, and some friends from our Russia days, who live in the Netherlands now. He is Dutch and she is Russian.

In Toronto I went immediately to our little basement apartment, in the house we own there, where oldest daughter, Sharon, also lives, and which she manages. It is wonderful to have this house as our base when we we are in Canada.

In July I flew to Kansas City for the annual vision conference of the International Institute for Christian Studies, which is the US sister organization of Christian Studies International in Canada. All professors are required to attend this conference every other year. I made two presentations, one of an academic nature. A few years ago scholars were invited to make presentations. This year more than 80 presentations were made. There were also four major speakers: Norman Geisler, J.P. Moreland, Randy Newman and Paul Vitz.

I returned to Toronto by way of Boston, where our youngest daughter, Pauline, lives, together with her husband, Greg, and two young children, Grace and Christopher. It was great to be with them for six days, especially since Pauline has not been well for a while. She is slowly recovering from a major gastro-intestinal infection. Early this week she learned from a specialist in Boston that she will get over this infection eventually, although the symptoms may last another year or so. In spite of this, she is encouraged by the news. The week I was at her place she had a minor recurrence and thus she was happy that I was there to help her take care of the children.

On August 6, David, our son, who works as a journalist and newspaper editor in Istanbul, will arrive in Toronto. He has not been home for several years, although we did visit him last year. At the end of the same week, Wendy will return and the four of us will be reunited again.

In the third week of August, the whole family will be together at a cottage north of Toronto. We are looking forward to that occasion. It will be the first time in many years that all of us will be in the same place. Since a number of birthdays already have occurred or will occur about that time, we hope to celebrate all everyone's birthday at the same time. More on that event later.