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Christmas Visits in America (2003)

This diary covering the US portion of 2003 Christmas holidays was originally written in January of 2004.  In December of 2016, I added more pictures and reformatted a bit. I also created a 2003 diary to cover Christmas-flavored events in Germany.

Originally written January 18, 2004

Rewritten December, 2016


Dear Friends and Families,


A New Year's resolution: Keep in touch.


For us, this seems harder and harder, although we did manage to see closest family in the States at Christmas. Meanwhile, we are guilty of running out of time before we visit or write (personally) to everyone on our keep-in-touch list. Sorry, but everyone knows the problem. Anyway, we will continue these Diaries in 2004 because they do offer us some chance to "talk", even if it is a bit generic and impersonal.


So, what have we been up to since last time? Our two-week travel in December was a whirlwind of family visits. I went to Maryland, Marianne to California and then we met again in Colorado. In the course of this we saw two sons, one daughter, one mother, two sisters, two brothers, one grandson, one brother-in-law, two sisters-in-law, one daughter-in-law, one niece, one nephew, two significant-others, and Marianne managed to squeeze in a half-dozen friends. Not bad for two weeks.

Bim and Ron in Maryland
I arrived on December 20th and moved into my sister's house for the season.

On Christmas Eve, Geoff and Suzanne came up and we celebrated with a nice dinner.  Nice memories to keep.

d031223_80_wholecrew.jpgMonterey Christmas

Marianne celebrated Christmas in Monterey on the 23rd, a pretty common case of serial celebrations.  All of that branch of the family were there (except Spencer, who was not even born yet!)  In 2016, it is particularly fun to see little Clara and Adam, now both much, much older.  No one else changed.  My story to stick with.


On Christmas Day at Brian and Jen's house in Colorado, Rich was learning about all the festivities of his first Christmas.

One of my favorite series of Rich, enjoying dinner!

We also managed a mountain stroll with the little family.  Fun.  Marianne finally joined us for New Year's Eve (according to dates on pictures anyway.)
Marianne spent Christmas Day in Fresno with Mamo, Babs, and young Henry.

Meet-up With Barbara and Mike
Marianne also managed a visit with Barbara and Mike, before she had to catch a plane to Denver.  No one has changed in 13 years!


Once we got back to Frankfurt, we rested. Seeing everyone was great but we have to admit that we've gotten used to our settled life in Germany. Of course we had little time to rest before work started again. I am into my routine of working most days in southern Germany so I spend three or four nights a week away from home. Marianne continues to try to teach middle school army brats, possibly an impossible job. We try to squeeze in a little weekend touring nearby, but with the winter grays, it is hard to be inspired. (I am writing this in a castle hotel in Bonn on just such a weekend excursion. We'll share as soon as practical after we're done.)


Our future remains a bit unpredictable. I have plenty of work but being away from home during the week gets old so we will have to make a decision on where to live I suppose -- but not until summer. Meanwhile, we hope to have a couple short winter trips to write about. We don't expect any travel too exotic or long - a side effect of being fully employed, I guess.


In any event, stay in touch and don't forget that you have a place to stay in Europe.


John and Marianne

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