Saturday, January 26, 2008

home for the holidays

The past month and a half since we got back to Massachusetts have been busy, festive, and delightfully filled with friends and family. My mother's brother John came from Melbourne for Christmas, flying in the day after we arrived back home. He was lucky enough to arrive just ahead of one of the most beautiful snowstorms of the season. Actually, given the beautiful snowstorm, he was lucky to have made it through Chicago in the first place. I woke him up early the next morning to see the lovely snow. While he did seem genuinely appreciative of the view from inside the house, he was strangely reluctant to accept my offer to teach him how to shovel the driveway.

Concord is a delightfully Norman Rockwellian place to spend Christmas. The town decorates the 50 foot pine tree in the center of the town green, and every year about 300 people show up to sing carols on Christmas Eve. This year I was especially happy that Erika's mother Lilli and sister Lisa could come up for Christmas Eve, which we spent at my mother's best friend’s house with the usual crowd. Mum made a gingerbread house, I decorated it, and the several toddlers present a Christmas Eve joyfully decimated it with a hammer at the end of evening.

After a lovely Christmas morning at my parents’, characterized by gifts of interesting books, delicious food, and the collecting of commemorative quarters, we said a temporary farewell to Lilli and Lisa. Mum, dad, Erika, me, and John all piled into the car and drove north. Four hours later we arrived in my father's hometown of Lancaster New Hampshire, to celebrate Christmas with my state-side extended family. They're wonderful. Aunt Sylvia made oyster stew. Cousins Chris and Lorna teased us about being flat-landers and Democrats, cousins Peter and Dennis continued my education in the key New Hampshire industries of hunting and skiing, and we all ate a bit too much.

Taking the very very scenic route home via my parents’ new summer place on the coast of Maine, we were surprised to come upon an Elk farm. I love Maine. And I love elk. My uncle John was delighted by them.

We got a chance to visit twice this holiday season with Erika's older brother Reed and his wife Sue. As they wound their way from North Carolina to northern Maine, we met up at their uncle's house in Connecticut for great food, visiting, and carol singing. We were lucky enough to corner them again on their way back down for New Years at Lilli's house. We played with our new Christmas toys (webcams! bwa ha ha, you’ve been warned), learned a new card game, and ate ALL of the delicious food in pretty boxes that mysteriously proliferates around the holidays. Despite valiant efforts—no, really, we didn’t even try—none of us stayed up until midnight. We’re officially old.

Since then we've been continually preparing for overseas moves: first helping Lisa get ready for a four-month teaching engagement in Siena, Italy (where she is now), and then preparing for our own move to Australia. More news on that front soon!

1 comment:

Janet said...

It sounds like you're having a lovely winter in New England.

I was so thrilled to get Erika's 2008 calendar -- thank you! My favorite months are August and October, but all the photos are beautiful.

Congrats, Erika, on your acceptance to U of Melbourne! And best wishes to you both for a happy stay in Australia -- I'm looking forward to following your adventures down under.

Much love,
Janet