Happy Holidays 2004-2007
Dear Friends and Family, near and far:
Well, it's that time of year again: time for all the guilt and recriminations
over the ethereal Christmas cards and letters of Christmas Past. It's become a
tradition that we fail to get the Christmas letter out, but we are defying
tradition this year (Christmas Present). While trying to cover all the bases
for the last three or four years, I briefly considered simply speculating about
future events (Christmas Future), and calling that good until, say, 2010 (at
least). Thad will soon be graduating from High School....
By the way, it's actually easy and fun to establish traditions using the
"failure" method. For example, it's a Christmas tradition in our family that we
fail to go to Iraq, for example.... Establish some new traditions of your
own this year!
The big news in our family this year is that Thad is quite certain that there
is no Santa Claus (although he believes in ol' Saint Nick). He suspects that
reindeer don't really know how to fly, and doubts sincerely that Frosty the
Snowman ever got any magic out of that old silk hat they found....
Thad's having a blast in Kindergarten. He's starting to get the idea in soccer,
and generally enjoys life, as you can see in these photos. He's a joy for his
parents, and most who know him.
Okay, that's not really the big news. Many of you know that we're in the
process of adopting a 10-year-old girl from Haiti (Rosemanie). We shared our
quarters with her during my sabbatical in Ranquitte, Haiti last school
year. That's proceeding well, although very, very, -- did I mention verrrry? --
slowly, as these things sometimes do. We're currently awaiting four signatures
in the bureau of child welfare, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. When those four
people finally sign off, we'll be almost good to go.
Rosemanie is a vivacious, energetic, and intelligent young lady, and we're
looking forward to having her with us.
Life in Haiti was not a picnic in the park, but it was pretty good, all things
considered. Life was lived at a slower pace, without many of the modern
conveniences; but it turns out that modern conveniences are over-rated. Our
official excuse for not getting out the Yule letter letter last year was that
Christmas was so de-emphasized on a 7th-Day Adventist campus that we pretty
much forgot that it was coming until it had come and gone. Last year at this
time we were celebrating the impending arrival of my mom, brother Steve, and
company to the campus, rather than Santa. They came down to visit us, and to
help the local folks. We spent lots of times with toilets, water treatment
systems, and hiking! Mom was a trooper, but decided that she doesn't need to
visit Haiti again: been there, done that!
We are especially mindful this year of the many people all over the world who
do not have the many advantages and blessing that we enjoy here in the
U.S. Among these are the rights to express our opinions freely, freedom from
obtrusive governmental surveillance, freedom from torture, habeas corpus
-- oops, sorry: almost slipped into an updated version of Auld Lang Syne
Kpandja (Anna's brother) held down the fort for us while we ventured off to
Haiti. He's doing well: one and a half years down, half a year to go and he'll
have a Masters in Public Health from the University of Cincinnati. Then it's
off to pursue a Ph.D in Public Health. Where he goes, nobody knows: Michigan?
Emory? Washington? We're hoping for good things for Kpandja, especially this
year: he's about to blast off on his professional career, after working very
hard for the last five years or so.
|Tchapo's had a pretty good year as a new car salesman (he likes
his Hyundais), but he's not interested in making it a career. His best
day he sold four cars, but there are occasionally long stretches
without much business. So he's headed back to NKU, with thoughts of
majoring in marketing dancing in his head. He's currently a free agent
in the "special friend" department, but I don't believe he's too
lonely. It's still a shock to see him all duded up in his tie, but
then he gives us a silly grin (as in the self-portrait at left), and
we know that it's okay....
Anna and I have returned to our respective workplaces. I'm glad to be back to
teaching (in English), and Anna's glad to be back helping her gang down at the
nursing home. The residents of the nursing home were nigh-on ecstatic to have
Anna back; just a few days post-Fall finals, it's a toss-up as to how my
students are feeling about my return right now....
At church recently Anna made the mistake of stepping out of the room while the
church was looking for elders, and returned to find herself nominated. She's
going through the installation process. I continue working on the mission
committee and singing in the choir. The church was incredibly supportive during
our stay in Haiti, from writing to us, to funding a microloan program for
women. Our church is full of wonderful people, and we're lucky to have such a
Anna's slowly making her way back to exercise classes. I'm playing some old-guy
soccer, which is fun (Tchapo and Kpandja are playing on the same team, as our
token young bucks). It's the first time I've played on the same team with
Tchapo and Kpandja, and is one of life's pleasure.
Upcoming: Anna's headed for Haiti to visit with Rosemanie (and expedite things)
in January, then we'll all go in June, for five weeks (and if we're really
lucky we'll bring Rosemanie back at that time). We're looking forward to those
trips, and to other fun future activities (such as the Cline family reunion in
July). In the meantime, we say to you
Happy Christmas, and a Merry New Year 2008! Make this the year you come for