Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Christmas Greetings 2012

Christmas Letter 2012

Greetings to friends and family!  I wrote only an email letter last year as we were traveling most of December and all of January, so this will be the first actual letter that many of you have received since Kent and I joined our lives together in April 2011. Here is the link to last year’s letter:

Our journey to Turkey, Pakistan, and India one year ago was filled with wonder. We We rented a little flat in beautiful, historic Istanbul, and also spent five days visiting the ancient ruins of Ephesus, Pergamon, Pamukkale, and other sites in southwestern Turkey.  In Karachi, we attended three days of wedding celebrations for Linnea’s daughter Psyche Philips and her husband Saad Hasan.  We stayed at the historic old British Sind Club, and were generously welcomed and looked after by the entire extended families of Asrar and Naushaba Hasan.  Karachi was a chaotics mix of old and new, rich and poor.  Camels and donkey carts shared the streets with sleek cars and wildly decorated buses with passengers clinging to roofs and sides.  We saw entire families on loaded motorcycles – fathers, mothers (with silk scarves flying), babies, children, and bundles of goods weaving in and out of crazy traffic.
We celebrated Kent’s birthday and the new year in Delhi, India, where we experienced the first of many hair-raising rides on chook-chooks (auto rickshaws), noisy open three-wheeled vehicles on motorcycle bases with manic betel-nut fueled drivers.  We took an overnight train to Varanasi where devout Hindus travel to die and be cremated in open fires on the banks of the beautiful, sacred Ganges.  Overnight by train again to Khajuraho, site of the temples known for their erotic carvings, and by taxi (in dense fog) to Orccha where we stayed in a maharajah’s palace turned into a hotel.  We enjoyed Agra and the Taj Mahal, wildlife watching at Bharaptur and Ranthambore (a Siberian crane and a tiger!), and the small village of Bundi, one of the few places where we were alone as we explored ruined palaces and an overgrown fort inhabited solely by monkeys.  After 2 nights in romantic Udaipur, we flew to the southern tip of India where Linnea waded (along with crowds of Indians) in the water where 3 oceans meet.  A few days in lovely Cochin, and then in Mumbai (which pleased us more than Delhi, or perhaps we were used to the chaos and throbbing energy of India by then) concluded our month in India.  We returned home after an overnight in a very chilly Istanbul where snow fell through the darkness onto the illuminated Blue Mosque.   An indelible memory.

We spent the next four months getting the house and grounds ready for Saad and Psyche’s U.S. wedding on May 27.  It was an amazing and joyous occasion, with Saad’s father and sisters and an uncle, most of the Philips children and grandchildren, plus an international array of young friends of Saad and Psyche. Wedding video (5 minutes) here: http://vimeo.com/44022373 and the video created by Saad’s sisters here:

Psyche left for a research project in Botswana within a week of the wedding, sending back wonderful reports: http://www.iwannabotswana.blogspot.com/2012_06_01_archive.html

Linnea and Kent made two trips to Michigan, one for Linnea’s 50 year class reunion, visiting friends and family en route, including Kent’s sons Andy in Minneapolis and Jake and his family in Lamberton, MN.   We enjoyed opera in Santa Fe in August, and then the last trip of the year, a 210-mile, nineteen-day walk on the Chemin de Saint Jacques de Compostelle (Camino de Santiago de Compostela) from Geneva, Switzerland, to Le Puy-en-Velay, France, where Linnea had begun her solo walk to Santiago in 2010.  For Linnea this was a pilgrimage of gratitude for her new life with Kent.  For Kent it was a chance to walk through part of France, and for both of us it was a rewarding experience and an opportunity to get in shape.  Blog account at http://www.caminobleu.blogspot.com

We had some sad losses this year:  my friend Angela Clarke to cancer in June, and Saad’s mother Naushaba in November.

Kent has done major remodeling of two bathrooms, and countless smaller projects.  There is never an end to maintenance, but we did have everything looking beautiful for the wedding, including stacking the biggest woodpile I’ve ever seen, and making countless trips to the dump with Kent’s trailer. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary with a trip to the dump!  We do have a lot of fun together!  Kent has also turned our former dump of a garage (which has possibly never seen a car) into a beautiful workshop.  We putter at home, Linnea with emails, trip research, and lately (again) genealogy, Kent with building and maintenance, Linnea with online word games, Kent with Sudoku.  We try to hike regularly.  We (especially Kent!) also spend way too much time watching Turner Classic Movies.  

We are grateful for each other, for this unanticipated happiness in our twilight years, and we wish for all of you peace, love, gratitude and happiness during this holiday season and the coming year.

Linnea Hendrickson and Kent Kedl
Albuquerque, New Mexico