Thursday, January 01, 2009

December 30, 2008 - Hudson, Ohio, USA

Sometimes this blog pays unforeseen dividends. This week alone it has enriched our lives three times. First, we spent a wonderful day in upstate New York, visiting Sten's relatives, who, thanks to their regular visits to this blog, know us much better than they would otherwise. That sense of familiarity makes it so easy to drop in for a day and visit. Then, we received an email from a reader who might be interested in buying our boat when we return. And finally, we had an awesome visit with a long lost friend from high school and her beautiful daughter, all because she stumbled across our blog and dropped us an email. The way I figure it, currently the blog's return on investment is much healthier than that of my 401K.

Looking at a wonderful old photo album with Sten's grandmother

We blew back into Hudson late Saturday, just in time to have a late Christmas with my parents and sister on Sunday. The big hit of the day was a laser temperature probe, which my folks gave Sten, ostensibly for checking whether meat is cooked; but, in Sten's hands, it is the perfect tool for diagnosing engine problems. On Monday we drove all over Northeast Ohio in a last ditch effort to find some of the parts on our list and stock up on some can't-live-without-em American food items, including maple syrup and Hellmann's mayonnaise. On Tuesday we finished our packing - a process of sorting everything we've purchased over the past six weeks into ziplock bags, stuffing and padding, weighing, reorganizing, and weighing again and again until everything was packed into three big bags weighing 50.6, 49.9, and 50.2 lbs, and one backpack, which was bursting at the seams. As we diligently made sure that everything breakable was well padded, I suddenly understood why families flying back to India, Pakistan and China always seem to be traveling with hard-sided luggage. Unfortunately, there is no room to store anything that bulky onboard Mata'irea.

Some of my sister's beautiful and delicious Christmas cookies

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