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August and September, 2003

(Written October 4)

Dear Friends and Families,

All trips must end and so did our Summer Road Trip. No sooner were we back than both of us were busy at work again. Weíve been so busy that keeping up Diaries fell pretty far behind on our priority list. But, like always, we need to put down a few notes so that our ever-aging memories donít fail us.

When we came back in mid-August, the weather was still very nice, pretty warm but not unbearably hot. Marianne started her school year with a week and a half in-service training. When the students finally returned, she was pleasantly surprised by good starting attitudes and that makes the rest of the year look far more promising.

My own work is getting pretty busy as we approach a major deadline. Our company is bidding for a power plant in Finland and the negotiations have picked up speed as both Finns and Germans returned from summer vacations.

I made one trip up to the plant site on the western coast of Finland to join in some meetings. It was fun going over roads we had traveled two years ago at the beginning of our Road Trip. Nevertheless, I have to say that rural Finland is pretty ... rural. I am looking forward to the possibility that we could get the work, but I may have a hard time looking forward to frequent trips up there - especially in Winter.

As this is being written, we are within days of knowing if our specific design is still in the running. If we win, and I think we are underdogs but have a chance, our stay in Europe for several more years seems very likely. Everyone in the company is waiting nervously and no one is more nervous than I am.

Well, Iíd better go and start Saturday chores.

Take care and stay in touch.

John and Marianne

ps: Donít miss our trip to the Frankfurt Auto Show

pps: A few snapshots to maintain interest. None of these will make our "Best Pictures" page!

 

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This is still the skyline that greets us "back home". We had to admit that, after almost two months on the road, we were happy to see our own skyline.
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Greeting us at our apartment were these signs of a pretty warm summer.
Marianne had to start work immediuately, getting the classroom ready for a new batch of kids.
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She also adopted a new classroom mascot. At least he is quiet during class, even if all he does is surf the internet all day.
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For over 100 euros per night (>$120), I was treated to a deluxe hotel in Rauma, Finland. Who ever said international business travel wasn't plush and exciting?
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The best feature of the hotel was the all-in-one shower-toilet. This arrangement, where the shower simply sprays the whole room, is common in Scandanavia but I've never gotten used ot it.

 

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