Goodness, we have been gone a long time and away from this space of writing blog posts at least twice a month. We've had such an adventure that we wanted to begin our blog posts for the new year with a mini reflection on our journey away.
We are back in Vermont, now looking out on a snowy landscape, softly falling flakes, white, black and gray nuthatches and scarlet cardinals at the feeders and winter everywhere. It feels so very good to be home. Two months ago, we found ourselves without any of our children or grandchildren for the holidays, (They were with dear in-laws). So we set out across the world, going west from Boston to San Francisco and then to Maui where we settled into a small cottage for a Christmas with leis instead of greens, and hibiscus instead of poinsettias, the beach instead of skiing and snow, and some dear, long lost friends in the place of family.
Then, close to the end of the month, we headed to New Zealand. We lost a day and arrived just before New Year. We marveled at the Southern Cross and the starry southern hemisphere sky as we turned the corner into 2018. We reveled in the landscape, the merino sheep, the glaciers and rainforests and beaches with wild surf and smooth stones. We moved around the South Island and learned so much about the land, the geology and the flora and fauna from guided nature trails and guides at lodges. And it was light from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. So much light and varied, beautiful land and sea. We were amazed most of the time.
In mid January we headed to Thailand where we joined a National Geographic Tour for two weeks.We traveled north to Chang Mai and south to Ko Samui and the rain forest. Our favorite experiences were small group bike rides through the countryside with local guides. We also spent two splendid days with Jackie Alexander and Giovanni Piazza in their ELC schools in Bangkok. We plan to write a blog post dedicated to those days and those schools, coming soon.
Thailand was a world of difference for us. We had never been to Southeast Asia. Bangkok is a big, bustling city with so much to see. Right away we found the Jim Thompson House because I have heard about Jim Thompson most of my life. He and my father were born in the same year and attended Princeton University together. Jim Thompson was an architect, a business man, an agent in the OSS, precursor to the CIA who lived in Thailand most of his adult life. His home, now a museum, is filled with his collection of Asian art. He is known for single handedly revitalizing the silk industry in Thailand. My parents visited him several times in this house and my brother remembers celebrating his birthday at Jim Thompson's while he was stationed in Asia.
We were thrilled to make the connections with both Jim Thompson and Jackie and Giovanni in Bangkok. These personal connections made our pilgrimage worth every effort.
We finished our around the world adventure with five days in Paris. We visited a museum every day and were swept away, once again, by the small streets, the Paris rooftop views, the ambiance, the cafe's, and the ever present charm of this city of love.
So that was our trip! We saw children everywhere, in museums, in schools, in strollers, on bicycles and thought about their lives in these far away places. We felt like children ourselves in many ways, soaking in the new every day, writing in our journals, sketching and painting our impressions and reflections, learning.
We are glad to be home and glad to be back in the swing, posting thoughts and being in touch with all of you. All the very best for the new year and for February, as the light returns.
Louise and Ashley