Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us. This page is a photographic annotation of the email (or regular post) that you may have received. [If you want to see a bigger (and sometimes also wider) version of the pictures, just click on them.]
One of the more interesting events of the year was Katherine's semester abroad at PUCP in Lima, Peru. As you can see from the photograph, it's pretty nice in the Southern Hemisphere in December! It can be a little dangerous in Peru, so Katherine was careful to avoid trouble. She stayed wth a host family in one of the wealthier, safer areas. The slightly fuzzy frame captured from a video shows her juggling clubs with some street jugglers at their place, which looks a little like an abandoned warehouse. They are all guys since not many Peruvian jugglers are women. Perfectly safe here. (There's no video on this year's web site--maybe next year.)
Katherine also traveled to Machu Picchu, as shown in the picture. Again it can be a little dangerous, so she went with a fellow female foreign student for security. Nobody would mess with them.
Katherine's studies went well; among her classes were anthropology, Peruvian history, and Quechua, the language of the Incas, which is still spoken in Peru. She did some social juggling with her friends shown in the picture, and even did a regular juggling gig for money at a rather colorful festival (shown below) which ran pretty much all night. If the college thing doesn't work out, she can always fall back on the entertainment industry. Katherine is headed back to finish her junior year at the University of Rochester studying human rights, linguistics and Spanish.
Another first: Katherine and Laura went on a mission trip in July to the Dominican Republic, a first mission trip for both of them. It was mighty hot, but the week long vacation Bible school they helped with was a great experience. Katherine was one of two in the group of about 15 Americans who were fluent in Spanish so that was a huge help. We also witnessed what one person, a woman named Sofia, can do to transform the lives of the poor in her community. Here is a photo of Katherine sitting on a wall with one of our mission hosts at one of the schools Sofia raised money for in a poor neighborhood. The house behind them illustrates the poverty of that area.
Matt graduated from Bedford High School and headed off to Fitchburg State College. He has really enjoyed FSC with a good roommate, interesting classes, and new friends. He also did well academically. Unfortunately we don't have any pics of Matt this year -- he is a bit elusive!
Laura's long term 30 hour/week contract job (6 1/2 years) ended in February when the management decided to phase out the division. That meant 10 weeks out of work, spending many hours in seminars and networking. She ended up taking a 10 week contract job doing software testing for a medical instrumentation company. The job extended to almost 8 months and ended at the end of 2005. She is looking for another contract job but won't be disappointed to have a bit of time off after 8 months full time.
Another first for us: an empty nest, at least for a time. Laura joined Tim in the church choir and that has been fun. Tim is continuing his hobbies, such as turning this pile of tree trunks into small logs that will dry and end up as our heat a year from now. He is also still working with the Men's ministry at church and helping Laura teach the 4 and 5 year olds in Sunday School.
We enjoyed having Laura's father and his wife in Bedford for a bunch of months in the summer. Here is a picture from a family reunion in honor of Blaine's 80th birthday. All of Blaine's siblings and children are here, and all but one grandchild (can you guess who?). Back row: Beth, Sally, Laura, Virgina (Sally's daughter), Charlie (Blaine's brother), Katherine, Ian (Beth's son and the artist that did the painting), Blaine. Front row: Kurt (Sally's son), Nancy (Blaine's sister), and Eric (Beth's son).
We went to the Cape as usual but this year Tim and Matt had one week there without Laura and Katherine who were in the Dominican Republic. As always, we have enjoyed having Tim's dad and mom just 2 miles away and Tim's brother Mark, his wife Anna and their 3 kids only 1 mile away. If only Tim's sister and her family would move here from Cinci.... Laura's sister Beth and her family are only one hour away and her other sister Sally and her family in Georgia. Laura went to see them early in the year (here she is enjoying a cake they made for her birthday) and will go again in a couple weeks.
So blessings to you this season and may you experience his bountiful riches to us.
Tim, Laura, Katherine, and Matt