Thursday, August 28, 2008

Born in the USA...

Dave and I just returned from what has become an annual pilgrimage home to spend much-needed time with friends and family. From the ranges of the Rockies, the shores of Lake Superior and the crashing close-outs of the Pacific, we experienced a beautiful scope on this trip - both physically and relationally.

We spent five days with the Sheldons in Vail, Colorado. In which time, we welcomed the Olympics, rode a gondola to the mountain top, ate like kings and queens, and got lots of laughs and giggles with brothers, sisters and a gaggle of wonderful nephews and a niece. They are all growing up so quickly...we almost have to re-introduce ourselves each year to these maturing little folks! Last year, Ben was about to start kindergarten. This year, he's headed off to Harvard. Jonah's grown about a foot taller. Jack is ready to run a marathon. And Lily is about to start her own fashion line. It's such a treat to catch up with everyone and let our jaws drop over how much everyone has grown in the last year.

The following week we spent with my family in Minnesota. First, four days up north in Lutsen with the Hutchinsons fly fishing, making LOTS of s'mores, skipping stones on the lake and just hanging out together. We were able to successfully evade the Viking Ghost of Lake Superior in time to get back to the Twin Cities for a roller skating party (classic Hutchinson). And the following days were filled with good time spent with friends, visits to grandpa Bob and my great-aunt Imogene, and a few doctor and dental appointments (no cavities...a miracle!).

(OH! And I can't forget the memorable GNO - Girls' Night Out - with Alaina, and the lunch I had with Maddy! I love you, girls! Miss you so very much...)

Although the visits were all too brief, I somehow managed to see most of my nearest and dearest. This summer has unfortunately brought tragedy to a few close friends, so being in their presence to share hugs and tears was cherished time for me.

On the next leg of our tour, Dave and I met up with Jenn, Asif, Maartje and Jesse in San Francisco. A wonderful stroke of fate that put us Amsterdam-borne friends together on another continent.

Then, down to Los Angeles where I got to meet Ansel Shepherd and meet up with Janae and JBays for a two-day trip in Laguna Beach. The three of us have been trying to get a trip like this together for years, and the pay-off after the pondering was worth the wait. I'll never forget bobbing in the Pacific with J&J, talking about being friends for 30 years and what will hopefully lie ahead for the next 30 or more.

After that, a few days staying in Mandeville Canyon at the Jerde guest house with Maartje and Jesse. I was able to catch up with Jolie and her Little Motek, Clint, and Marcus and Annie. Again, the time was short, but good.

We're both back in Amsterdam now, still trying to convince our bodies that 8am isn't 11pm of the night before. It was a great whirlwind trip home. I miss you all and hope that this next year will somehow find you in our neighborhood for a visit.

With much love,