It was too warm when we arrived in Calgary, Alberta, and there was no snow there. But we had a couple of days of great cross-country skiing at Lake Louise in Banff National Park. There’s always a lot of snow up there at nearly 6,000 feet. And there was snow too at Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park in British Columbia. We love the Canadian Rockies - when the sun shines and skies are blue, and there’s a foot of fresh powder snow.
Canada December 2018
Marilyn has four brothers and a sister in Alberta - and thirteen nephews and three nieces, one of whom is Marilyn’s godchild. We managed, by driving from place to place, to see 43 of the 64 people in her Matthiessen family, as well as some cousins and long time friends. It was good to be back there, where she grew up, and to see so many of her family members, especially two babies born since we visited there a year ago.
Canada December 2018
We drove to Pittsburgh for the ASME Annual Conference, and on our way there, we stopped in Sewickley to spend some time with friends. It was good to be with them. They were married four years ago at Noroton Presbyterian Church in Darien, and since then they have enjoyed their new life in their new home and their new church with their many new friends there.
Pittsburgh November 2018
Marilyn toured Fallingwater, the Kauffman family weekend home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is constructed of sandstone, quarried on the 5,000 area property, and built on rock above a water fall. The Kauffmanns enjoyed communing with nature in this idyllic home from 1935 to 1963.
Pennsylvania November 2018
We flew from Nairobi to Dubai, and then on to Athens, where we stayed for five days in a small hotel just a couple of blocks from the entrance to the Acropolis. We walked to the top to see The Pantheon, which was built in the 6th century BC, and is now a huge reconstruction project.
Athens August 2018
Then we flew to Santorini, an island in the Aegean Sea, which was formed by a volcano eruption four hundred years ago. Today thousands of people go there on holiday in the summer months to see the spectacular cliffs, the white washed buildings and the beautiful sunsets.
Santorini August 2018
We enjoyed a couple of days in Canmore, Alberta, and some cross country skiing at Lake Louise, in Banff National Park. There was lots of fresh snow and sunshine, and the mild temperature was wonderful. Lake Louise is one of our favorite places in the Canadian Rockies.
Lake Louise December 2017
There are now 62 members in Marilyn’s family. She is the eldest, the matriarch, and the youngest is just two months old. Her five siblings and 16 nieces and nephews and their families live in seven locations, so we travelled from place to place to visit 44 of them.
Alberta December 2017
Marilyn and four of her University of Alberta classmates have a tradition of getting together for brunch in Calgary every New Year’s Day. This time only two attended, as one was in bed with a cold and another felt that driving on the icy roads would be too treacherous.
Alberta December 2017
We were in Tampa, Florida for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Conference - and while John was in meetings, Marilyn toured St. Pete’s, the cultural capital of Florida with its 32 museums. The Dale Chihuly Collection was stunning.
After the ASME meeting, we visited a friend in Sarasota and got caught up on what’s happened in our lives during the ten years since we last spent some time together. We walked on the beach - on white sand, like we’ve never seen before - anywhere.
Sarasota November 2017
We spent time in Tampa with Al Barrett and his wife Gail. Al is the founder of the Threads of Hope Sewing School in Kenya. We’ve known him since 2005 (our first summer in Kenya), but only through e-mail and phone calls. One of our Masai students just finished the tailoring course at his school, and now she wants to set up her own small sewing business. Her church in Bissil has a space for her to work in - so all she needs to get started is a sewing machine and some supplies and some textiles.
Tampa November 2017
We visited our Maryknoll Missioner friend Russ in Phnom Penh. Maria, another Maryknoll Missioner, teaches history at a university there and she had given her students a treasure hunt as an assignment. We went in a tuk tuk on the same treasure hunt to see the sights. Russ, who set up the St. John Bosco Education Trust, transferred to Cambodia a year ago after being in Kenya for 15 years.
Phnom Penh September 2017
Then we went to Siem Reep and Angkot Wat, a UN Historical Site, where we walked a lot and went up and down lots of stairs and in and out of lots of temples built in the 12th century. One million people lived there then- and 100,000 of them worked to build these stone structures - with the help of 40,000 elephants who moved the huge stones. These temples were lost in the trees, whose roots found their way through crevices in order to survive.
Cambodia September 2017
Our next stop was Hanoi, where we stayed in the old section. The young people there drive motorbikes, dress fashionably Western, enjoy coffee at Starbucks and like to practice speaking English. There are many new high-rise buildings next to three or four story tube houses - some from the French era.
Hanoi September 2017
The movie “Indochine” is why we wanted to see the 2000 mountain islands in Ha Long Bay. It is also a UN Historical Site, as well as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. We were so blessed, as it was low season and we had our “Indochine Sails” boat (the Valentine) all to ourselves.
Vietnam September 2017