Goodness, I had no idea that it has been so long since my last post... Guess that's what being busy does to me. That, and aging. I'm losing my sense of time passing - maybe that comes with retirement, too???
Since we arrived in central PA, we've had a parade of friends and family coming to see us in our new home. Nearly every other weekend we entertained someone from here or there - which was great fun and very, very different from our life in NJ. There, we rarely had visitors for dinner, let alone as house guests. Now that we have all these extra bedrooms, people have been making up for lost time!
The first to arrive was Michelle, our eldest grandchild. She moved in with us several days after we moved in. She is now attending Penn State University, majoring in Asian Studies and languages. She spent two years at Philadelphia U, but decided to transfer to Penn State after changing her major from art to Asian Studies. Here's a shot of Michelle taken this week at Millbrook Marsh.
My best oldest, dearest, best friend from high school and college days is Mary Ellen Fredericks Kelly. Frank's closest friend from college days is Patrick Kelly. We introduced these friends to one another and they managed to get married ahead of us! They now live in the boondocks of Missouri where Patrick is a lawyer and Mary Ellen, a shepherdess and genealogical researcher. They stopped by after delivering some lambs to upstate NY and we had a stroll down memory lane, laced with hilarity aplenty.
Let's see... after the Kelly's visit, JD came to live with us so he could work and save money for his August journey to the Czech Republic. In rural VT, it's extremely hard to find employment, particularly when the family had only one car and our son needed it to drive 35 miles each way to work and back. He is now living abroad studying the Czech language and teaching conversational/idiomatic English. He hopes to pass the exams for entry into Prague University next spring. Here's a typical shot of J.D. - he's playing the Chinese two-string that he bought in Mongolia a few years ago. He plays numerous instruments, many of them self-taught. And he plays amazing music on his baritone sax!
Then came the visit of Katerina Marova's family. Kat, from the Czech Rebublic, has spent the past year as a foreign exchange student attending school with our high school aged grandchildren. She and J.D. have formed a very close friendship and he is now living with her family. We had a wonderful visit - all but the youngest were able to speak English so we had great dinner conversations! Here we are together: L to R - Lubor + Jana; their son, Jon; Frank and myself; J.D. and Katerina with her little sister, Elishka.
Then our daughter-in-law came to pick up our J.D. and bring him home to VT. It was almost time for him to pack up his belongings and fly off to his new life. Here is Peggy with her three kids: L to R - Alyssa, (17), J.D. (18), Michelle (20) and Peggy Sue.
The last photo of the three grandkids together prior to J.D's departure.
Our son and daughter-in-law have taken in foreign exchange students (2 per year) for the past 3-4 years. We have met some wonderful young people for many different countries over that time and deeply admire the family for their open-hearted acceptance of so many who wish to come to our country to study for a year. Below is a photo of our son, who came to see us a few weeks ago, bringing with him their newest exchange students. L to R: Mike with Michelle seated in front of him; Alyssa; Song, from Thailand; and Ale, from Mexico.
Here are four cooks creating an international dinner.
And finally, Alyssa holding Keegan (our granddog) and our daughter, Chris.
And we've had our daughter and son-in-law over often - it's wonderful having family in town. This is the first time ever, in our 43 years of marriage, where we've lived in the same town as another member of our family (other than those years when other family members lived WITH us!). This is Steve, Chris, Keegan and myself, taken last spring.
We're thrilled to be close by, share meals, go wandering through the woods together, and share our lives together. Retirement has many blessings!