Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Summer trip to MN/CA - Part 2 (of 2)

OK - so I keep mentioning the smokey air in Sacto. and why we were indoors most of the time. Well - hopefully you can tell from this picture that the air was "nicht sehr gut." We stayed with my girlfriend, Sissy, for the first half of the Sac trip. They live at the base of the foothills (toward Tahoe) and the air was thick. The kids are used to spending all day in the pool together but this year - maybe an hour or two.
Needless to say - I've had several comments re: the lack of CA suntan this summer. That's OK - my skin will look younger, right?

We had a terrific time with them as usual! Ah - the comfort that home brings. My cousin Julie has generously opened her home for many family events (she shares hosting big family functions with her mom) and we really appreciate everyone getting together while we were in town. Kris and Jason also flew up from SoCal so they could show off the baby and visit before Jason starts working full-time for Calvary again (oh, answer to prayer - will have to update later). Obviously Rachel and Niko share the same love for draping themselves over comfy cushions.
The girls with their Grandma Vel and Dr. Frank. They(girls) really love spending time with them. Even though they seem to spend little time actually sitting with Gma & Dr. F, they can repeat for me every story Dr. F has told them and everything they love to play with at Gma's house.

We have very much enjoyed the addition of Dr. Frank to the family since he married my Gma a couple summers ago. He worked as a Medical Missionary near Brazil for many years with his own family and has many interesting stories and life experiences that the girls (we all) enjoy hearing about. And a wonderfully strong faith in God. My Gma and Dr. F have a very active social life - really serve others - and we are glad to enjoy their company.

Quick - "It's a Small World" story - My friend Michelle, from Cal Baptist days, worked it out to visit family in the Sacto area with her kids and come to our family get-together so we could visit. First - thank you Michelle. Now, M homeschools her kids in Redding and I knew Dr. F's daughter, also in Redding, also homeschools her kids. Over the past couple year's I've wondered if, by chance, they knew each other.

Next thing you know, Michelle's oldest daughter Nicole is telling Gma and Dr. F how she used to take violin lessons from Dr. F's grandson. And Michelle would be seeing his daughter the very next day. So - random connection once again in our little Olson world.

Gpa Paul with his little girls. Again - all we need is Deb's bambino's to complete the picture. He loves his grandchildren. We bought and sent over baseball gloves for the girls so I/we can teach them to play catch. By time Gpa visits next, they should be able to play catch with him - like my sister's and I did when we were younger.

Interestingly, it didn't feel quite as unreal to be back in the States this trip even though it had been a year. (HI in Dec. doesn't count - it's different enough from the Mainland) And it wasn't hard coming back either. I don't have as much trouble switching from the English to German as I used to - I never once said 'entschuldigung' to someone at the Mall of A!

Our friends at church are really missing the States after their recent visit - and they've lived in Switzerland for 10 yrs. They've never experienced 'homesickness' in this way and wondered if we did. I said there was a sense of ease at being 'home.' They felt the same. But we know we have a shorter time-line in staying here than they do.

In the States, stores are open later, you don't have to plan meals around days when stores will be closed, eating out was so much cheaper ($9 for our family to eat at McD's vs $34) - it just seemed easier. The language is part of it. And the ease people have with each other is part of it.

But I have to say - I love the clean public restrooms in Switzerland. And that's all I'm going to say on that note.

Enjoy your day!

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