Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Year-end Newsletter 2012

From Koozma J. Tarasoff and Kristina Kristova

Dear Friends,

Like last year at this time, Ottawa had only a trace of snow and seasonal temperature. With warmth again we are glad to greet you with the best of the holiday season and wish you and your family good health, happiness, joy, and peace throughout the New Year 2013.

Kristina has again been busy Saturday mornings working as a Site Administrator of the International Languages Program in one of Ottawa’s schools. She supervises 14 teachers and classes in Traditional Mandarin, Dutch and Tigrinya. In July she was very busy as Site Administrator of the 5-week Chinese Summer School.

As volunteer, Kristina has continued to be active with the cultural health of the greater Ottawa Bulgarian Community, in the capacity of President of the Bulgarian Association and the Bulgarian Foundation. In October and November, she spent seven weeks in Sofia, Bulgaria, visiting her son Orlin and helping him renovate his apartment. She met many of her friends from her 27 years as a professional TV anchor person for the National TV as she enjoyed cultural life in the European city. Her daughter Milena (a flute and piano teacher in Ottawa, and Manager of a doctor’s office) had earlier spent two months in Europe visiting friends and exploring new places.

With Kristina away, Koozma renovated his study and that of Kristina’s with a subtle suggestion to his partner and friend to get on with her biography. Otherwise, as he did throughout the year, Koozma was active writing on his website Spirit-Wrestlers.com and blog. Some of the themes that brought interest across the miles were the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative, the 6th Ottawa Peace Festival, the nonkilling paradigm, media and democracy, the Cold War, book reviews, and internal debates amongst those in his Doukhobor-Tolstoyan heritage.

With his webmaster Andrei Conovaloff in Arizona USA, Koozma has continued to explore hidden parallels between Doukhobors and Prygunyespecially how minority zealots in each branch have hijacked the identity of the majority. When Koozma’s co-publisher Legas had no room for his major book (Spirit-Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers’ Strategies of Living, 2002) Andrei purchased most of the remaining inventory as gifts for supporters of his project: Spiritual Christians Around the World.

In February the Bulgarian community in Ottawa along with friends celebrated Koozma’s 80th birthday with messages from home and abroad. A new Sony digital camera was one of the gifts which he now proudly uses in documenting stories of peace, ethnicity, and human interest around him. For his volunteer work, Koozma — the photographer, writer, and bridge-builder — was honoured in September by Ian Prattis’s organization with a Friends of Peace Award at Ottawa’s City Hall.

Koozma’s son Lev is a glaciologist and professor at Memorial University in St. John’s Newfoundland. Earlier this year he was honoured for his work by being provided with a budget for five more years as head of a Science Chair in Glacial Dynamics Modelling. In July he astonished all of us with his 650 km. gruelling trip along the north Atlantic coast, in a kayak, with a team of two other men. (Seakayaking Adventure in Northern Labrador)

Dorothee Bienzle (Lev’s wife) continues to be busy as professor and researcher at Guelph, University. Their children, Jaspar (aged 17) and Katya (aged 13) are good students active in sports. Katya has just earned a place on the U14 provincial team in Soccer.

Koozma’s daughter Tamara, her husband John, and children Nicholas (aged 15) and Elena (aged 11) are all well and active in sports and in their community. Besides being good students in school in a bilingual program (English and French), Nicholas is especially active in hockey. In his work, John this year has made trips to St. Petersburg, Russia, Korea and India. Tamara has shown how democracy works by actively helping to organize the local Wakefield, Quebec community to overturn a political decision that would pollute the pristine Gatineau River. It took three years, many meetings and 134 blog postings to make this happen. (Tamara Tarasoff Awarded for Volunteerism)

Kristina and I had several occasions during the year to host visitors from Canada and abroad. One of these was a delightful visit in June by Nona Kucher and Tammy Verigin-Burk of the interior of British Columbia. They are daughter’s of friends Elmer and Marilyn Verigin of Castlegar. In September, Konstantin Romanov, the young Russian professor from Moscow, stayed with us for three weeks as he got ready to begin his one year post-doc work in Canadian Studies at Carleton University.

The email, telephone and Skype continue to be the common mode of communications with friends and relatives across the country and abroad. However, we are always aware that there is no substitute for face-to-face contact. We therefore strive to meet with relatives and friends directly whenever we can.

As the old year ends and the New Year begins, we join together to wish all of you our friends the best of health, creativity, joy and good works in 2013.


  1. Peace and love to you both, Koozma and Kristina.

  2. Gunter Schaarschmidt21 December 2012 at 03:54

    Well, Koozma, we "young" chickens cannot match your busy lifestyle but we are trying!!! I like everything you wrote except as a cross-country skier I deplore your lack of snow. But we have enough of the stuff already on the Island (Mount Washington near Courtenay/Comox).
    I am hoping to get two papers on Doukhobor Russian confirmed in the programme of the Canadian Association of Slavists Annual Meeting at the University of Victoria, June 1-3, 2013.
    Hoping to meet you sometime in Ottawa this winter providing there is snow there!

  3. Difficult to keep up with you in fact. Very best wishes again for the year to come, peace and may your many endeavours succeed.

  4. Поздравляю с юбилеем и желаю дальнейших успехов, а самое главное - крепкого здоровья!