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Holiday Letter from Spain

December 20, 2006

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Dearest Family and Friends,

We send you all great big “cyber-hugs” from our little ancient village abode here in Espana and wish you the happiest of Holiday seasons and great blessings for the New Year! What an opportunity and adventure this past year has been and what a joy. Some of it was stressful in the preparation phase, but we more than made up for it once we took off.

Many of you have just now become aware of our world travels and this website and blog through our Christmas cards. Sorry if we shocked you. (We sometimes still need to pinch ourselves that this is our life now.) We were so busy with preparations for this trip and transition that we just did not get any cards out for the last two years, and “the plan” just kept evolving. We did not mean to leave you out, the ball just seemed to be rolling fast once we decided and there never seemed time to do a big mailing to tell everyone, altho that was our intention. We are so used to internet communication now, that snail mail seems too time consuming and just plain difficult to do at this point, from out of the country. But we did want to find a way to stay connected and keep you in the loop.

If you look at the website and follow the blog thru the archives, you can see what we have been up to
and why. We are soooo enjoying ourselves and are absolutely delighted that we have made this choice.
The traveling has been so enriching for all of us and we are just loving our village life here in Spain. It is
a simple life and we enjoy having more time for one another. You never really know when you take such a big leap of faith if it will work out and there are always worries and concerns, especially with a child, but this has been better the best decision of our lives.

The weather is sunny and warm and I never tire of that or the endless beauty that I see here. The mountains and beaches are stunning and different than any I have seen before. Early retirement definitely agrees with us and we are so grateful to have this new perspective on time and this magnificent opportunity. My deepest gratitude is seeing how awesome this has been for our child and watching her thrive on it. What a lucky girl! She is a natural adventurer and has already been so enriched and I love seeing it in her play or things she says or writes about in her diary.

I think one of the best things about this way of life is we are living more in the now. Travel and living in different lands seems to bring that out as well as a simplicity that is very peaceful. Wandering and exploring on whims, seeing so many new delights everywhere we go, never knowing quite what the day will bring and time to just bask in the joy of life has been a very nurturing experience for us. We enjoy having more time for our little angel and each other which some how was harder to do in our old life. Even every day rituals like making meals and reading seem richer. Just as I love how Mozart hums away joyfully as she does things, I find myself often singing that haunting song from Zeffirelli’s “Brother Sun Sister Moon”:

“If you want your dream to be
Build it slow and surely
Small beginnings greater ends
Heartfelt works grow purely
If you want to live life free
Take your time go slowly
Do few things but do them well
Simple joys are holy
Day by day stone by stone
Build your secret slowly
Day by day you’ll grow too
You’ll know heaven’s glory”

It has been very invigorating and revitalizing. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? (Grin). We seem to learn something new every day and as much as I enjoyed travel when I was younger, I am enjoying this trip even more. I am not sure if that is because of being older or because we are doing it together as a family, perhaps both. I think I expected it to be more unsettling, but I am finding it much more comfortable and easy than I would have guessed. It is just avant-garde enough to keep it exciting. There is just something about doing things differently that adds a little special effervescence to life. We have had to learn all kinds of things that we never would have known about had we not come. New friends, new sights, new ways of being, yet in a way the foundation is always cozily familiar because we are doing it as a family and that dynamic remains constant.

Webcams, skype and email have been wonderful to help keep us connected so don’t hesitate to write or call. We love hearing from you! Sometimes Mozart likes to just chat with friends or I call my mom to tell her something funny before her day gets rolling. Our email addy  is soultravelers3@hotmail.com and if you write to us there we can give you a California local phone number that allows you to call us for free from any local phone. Or go to http://skype  and just download it for free in about 10 minutes  and you can call or webcam call us any time for free. Just remember we are 9 hours later here. And if you are interested in a road trip to this side of the pond, let us know so we can maybe hook up.Come visit!

In the Spring (April 1st) we will leave here and experience Seville in their world famous Holy Week Celebrations, then we will be onto Italy, Greece and maybe Turkey. Then as the weather warms up we will focus on Croatia, Prague and the Eastern European countries this summer. We only have a sketchy plan thus far as I will put more serious work into it after the holidays. We also plan to take a quick trip into Russia seeing St Pete and Moscow as they made quite an impression on me years ago, so I want to share them with my best beloveds. We will make our way back to this delicious village by next November for another sweet winter in our home away from home.

This time of year always makes me think of the fantastic friends and incredible family that we have been blessed with our entire lives. I feel your love with me  and rejoice in the many warm memories that come to mind as I write the cards and hunt down the addresses. How lucky we are to have so much love in our lives. Thank you for your love and goodness and how you have touched and enriched our lives. Happy Hanukkah, Good Kwanzaa, Joyous Solstice and Merry Christmas! May God’s love enfold you in this Holy Season and always!

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

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