A Joyful Adventurous Life Together

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Antananarivo, Madagascar
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Friday, December 25, 2009

Voyage Part 1: Road Trip and Families

Our adventure begins!!

On December 18th, Tom and I packed the door-to-door and the Fit to the gills, bid our house and friends goodbye, and hit the road. We were incredibly sad to lose our beloved Boris the day before leaving -- his health had declined and all our efforts failed to get him back to his vibrant state. With many tears, we spread his ashes on Windy Hill the day we left California amidst gorgeous coastal and bay views. I will miss my buddy so very much. Sometimes the sweetest beings get the short straw, which strikes me as patently unfair.

We decided to spend a couple of days puttering in the southwest. We stopped in LA at Erik's and had a lovely meal and a good sleep, visited with Chris, Sonia and Grippa, slept in Sedona the 2nd night (great hills, crappy strip mall of a town), and in the El Tovar fancy shmansy hotel at the Grand Canyon the next night. We hiked down into the canyon, which helped us appreciate its scale. From the rim, it looks a little fake (especially at noon when the shadows and colors are minimal). But from 2000 feet down, looking up, it not only looks very real, but also like a heckuva climb back to the warm shower, red wine, and bed. The snow-covered path was a bit treacherous, but the white highlights cast everything into beautiful relief. We awoke at dawn on day 3 to watch the sun rise over the canyon. We then got on the road (avoiding some elk along the way), and didn't stop until we got to Maryland! We drove for 39 hours straight on Route 40.

After a week-and-a-half visiting the Oleson clan (= gaining 10 pounds and getting creamed by Oma at Scrabble), we headed to South Carolina to visit Ann and Hardy. No sooner did we arrive than we heard Katherine (Tom's sister in New Hampshire) was in labor. We jumped on a plane. Our mission: take care of Ethan (our 2 1/2 year old, adorable nephew). It ended up to be a labor false start, so we headed to Woodstock New York to hang out with Meg and her family (sister 2). We split and stacked 6 cords of wood, and, muscles sore, went back to NH. Max Irving Raphaelson was born at 1:07 am on Jan 12. We had a lovely time with the newest addition to the family, and, despite some untrained-aunt-and-uncle moments, came out relatively unscathed.

Back in SC, we are packing like mad. So much stuff, so few bags. We leave tomorrow!!! We might be the best-outfitted research couple ever going to Madagascar. I feel like we have everything under the sun spread out over Ann and Hardy's living room floor (they will be so glad when we clean it up!!). Of course, undoubtedly, we will forget that crucial bit of goodness. But then again, you all are all coming to visit, right? So we can just ask you to bring it along...

Keep your eye on this space. We'll update as much as we can (or when we have something interesting to relate). Love to all, Kirsten (and Tom, by proxy)