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Christmas Visits

January 18, 2004


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.


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



Frankfurt airport is often crowded and Christmas season is even worse.
I (John) spent Christmas at my sister's house in Maryland with son Geoff and his fiancee Suzanne.

Meanwhile, Marianne had gone to California to see Gabby and other family and friends.

The big pre-Christmas family gathering in Monterey had a whole crowd including Marianne's brothers, step-mom, and their families.
Marianne spent Christmas with her mom and more family in Fresno.
Meanwhile, I had gone to Longmont, Colorado to see Brian and his family. Eventually, Marianne joined me.
The start of the Longmont visit was grandson Richard of course.




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