Monday, July 27, 2009

Welcome Welcome!

Hi, everyone! Welcome to the beginnings of our blog. We're still reshuffling old email accounts, and figuring out what to post where (long story) If you want to see what we've written so far, go here or here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's 6:15 in the morning, and we're hopping on a train to Chicago at 8:00, but I thought I'd start a tradition of at least posting a quick photo online once per day.


This one's from our eight-hour excursion into New York (more here). National symbols have been on my mind a bit. China's is a very long, old, and crumbling wall, and ours is a huge lady in a bathrobe carrying something that's on fire. Hmmm....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

America wrap-up, part one (Rocky Mountain Edition)

I'm writing this one week before we fly out of the country, and a week and a day (due to a day layover in Toronto) before we leave the continent. It has occurred to me that there is no way we're going to be able to give you a day-by-day accounting of our travels across the country, but that's okay - you're here to read about us in China, right? So, to tide you over until we get there, a few hastily selected pics of us on our trip. [Apologies if it's a bit Christmas-Card like, but hey, we've got Grandparents reading this...]

First, the obligatory family shot to prove that we are alive and can stand together in front of a waterfall, though the boys don't look too convinced...

...then the kids looking cute...

...followed by Mom and Dad doing Something Important. (The Manitou Incline Trail, in this case. One mile, 2,000 vertical feet, finished in 45 minutes!)

Then, some adventure shots of the kids...
Ysa in the Great Sand Dunes
Xander bungee bouncing
and Zekey taking on ... the escalator. (Did I mention that these were hastily selected?)
Okay, time to add some photos to symbolize the various modes of transportation we've taken, and then it's a wrap! More next post...

Friday, July 17, 2009

What we've REALLY been up to... (abbreviated truthful version) simpler than joining the French Foreign Legion in some ways, but not by much. Jane and I have gotten used to repeating our "Rock Star Tour of America" schedule to anyone who asks, but just in case you haven't heard it (or forgot), here it is...

Accomplished so far:
  • One week of Suzuki Institute for Xander in Beaver Creek, Colorado (think piano, not motorcycles)
  • Two weeks (or so) visiting with friends and family in various Colorado locations, including Broomfield, Fort Collins, Berthoud, Pueblo, the Great Sand Dunes, and Salida.
  • A mule-packing trip into Gila Canyon in Southwestern New Mexico with 25 international friends of Jane's from high school.
  • Eight days of program orientation with 60 people going to 20 different countries, located at the Mennonite Central Committee's headquarters (our sponsoring organization) in Akron, Pennsylvania.
Next on the list:

  • An overnight train trip (with a 2-hour layover in Washington DC!) on our way to...
  • Four days in Lansing, Michigan with my mom.
  • Four more days in Chicago, with a little final packing and a lot of getting together with friends.
  • One day in the Toronto area seeing Jane's grandparents, and
  • A 13-hour flight to Beijing on Air Canada!
More details may (or may not) be coming soon - watch this space. You can also follow us on Facebook, if you aren't doing so already, or check out my account on Flickr. Hope to hear from you all as our journey progresses!

What we've REALLY been up to...


The astute reader of this blog will have noticed by now that I have added very few clues as to what I and my family have actually been up to since leaving Chicago in the middle of June. This is because we have secretly joined the French Foreign Legion, and are now camped out in the deserts of Morocco with no internet access. The kids are coping well with the heat and lack of water, but are as of yet lagging in their marching ability...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009



I'm up at about 4:30 in the morning, and this set of photos captures my mood in more ways than one. Blurry-eyed, but also blurry in the sense that all of the events of the past couple of months are running together in my brain right now.

When I was a kid, we took lots of family vacations, and my mom made us write "Vacation Books" during a couple of them. A Vacation Book is simply a spiral notebook, with diary entries for what we did each day and all manner of postcards, pamphlets and maps taped inside to show what we did. I still have mine in a box in the basement. As I was packing up and going through my paperwork, I had to resist the temptation to read through them cover to cover to find out exactly what I did in Philadelphia and Washington D.C. in the summer of 1977.

I do remember, however, that nearly every entry started with the phrase "We woke up, ate breakfast, then we...". Not the most original, but it did get me writing about the day. Now that I'm starting my own online "Vacation Book", I'm wrestling with the impossibility of Getting Everthing Recorded. Maybe the simple fact that I'm up and eating breakfast is a good place to start...

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Place for my Stuff

It should come as no surprise that we've been thinking a lot about the stuff we have lately. First, answers to a few more frequently asked questions: Yes, all of our stuff is now stored in a 10' x 15' storage area in our basement, on loan to friends (think our furniture and my paintings), packed and ready to go to China, or given away. On one hand, it seems like we have next to nothing, but having spent the last five weeks packing and unpacking it and carrying it from Colorado to New Mexico to Pennsylvania, it still seems like we've got wayyy to much. (Big challenge coming up: what to do with seven suitcases during a day's layover in Toronto while visiting Jane's grandparents before we leave for China the next day.)


Photo: Some of our stuff spread out to be sorted on my Mother in Law's dining room table in Colorado. And hey, (speaking of useless gizmos...), my new digital camera can do spot coloring in a black and white photo!