December 2007

Dear Family and Friends,

Each day in my rush from task to task I try to enjoy the beauty of the world around me, and to think of those I love. This year it has been harder to find the moment to do so, but you are never far from our thoughts. We hope that this letter finds you well and taking the time to enjoy the colors, sounds and joys of this most blessed season.

This past year has brought the biggest (or second biggest after the arrival of kids) change in our lives over the last 30+ years. In June Jenk retired from teaching after 31 years at Saugus High School, and 34 years of teaching. But he didn’t have too much time to think about it as he left the day after his last graduation ceremony to travel to Xi’an, China with a group of Saugus students who were participating in our exchange He spent 7 weeks there living with the family of Yanli Dong – the Chinese teacher who lived with us last year. Yanli and her family treated him like a member of the family, and the most useful Chinese expression he learned was the equivalent of “I’m full!”

Marc continues to enjoy teaching, though this year has been a bit more stressful as he began a Master’s Degree program. He has spent one long evening per week at the university in Northridge, though luckily he is doing the program with two colleagues who help with the driving. In his “spare time” Marc also helps with the school sports program either running a clock, or providing supervision.

Beth changed jobs this past year, leaving her first event planning job to move to a slightly bigger company which does more corporate events. In November she spent a week working as the project manager for the grand opening of Town Square in Las Vegas that required her to become an expert in how to move a reindeer across state lines. In her free time Beth is trying to learn a little Spanish in preparation for a big trip to South America next summer which will involve lots of outdoor adventure.

For me this has been the most busy and in many ways most stressful year of teaching. Although I love all that I do, there has been too much. Two days after Jenk left for China this summer I set off with a group of my students for a month in France. Then after 24 hours home I headed to China to join Jenk and our students for the last 2 weeks of their stay, and provided a female chaperone for our time in Beijing. Two weeks later a new group of Chinese students arrived. The fall brought me more classes, more students and lots of extra responsibility. A new pacemaker has given me a “boost” but I am looking forward to a winter break.

Last night we finally had a moment to get our Christmas tree. The fresh smell of the forest (we continue to get a fresh tree every year) brings to mind so many memories of Christmases past. You are part of those memories. Jenk and I (and the kids who live their own lives but continue to enrich ours) wish you a healthy and happy 2008.