Craig's Travels
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2010 Holiday Letter

It feels as if I just wrote the 2009 holiday letter last week.  And yet, so much has happened between last December and this one.  So it goes.  Time marches on uncontrolled, but life has its way of inserting itself into every day.

The big happening for the Gerard Clan this year was, of course, the 33.33% increase in our family size.  This summer, the family traveled to the United States for home leave combined with maternity leave.  Micah F. Kirshner Gerard was born on July 27, coming out smiling and has been smiling ever since (actually, he came out peeing, getting some on mommy. How’s that for a “Thanks for carrying me around for the last 40 weeks Mom”).  His smile is infectious, and his giggles adorable.  We cannot wait to see his little personality emerge.

 Shai, for the most part, has been a wonderful big brother.  He literally smothers Micah with affection.  He is precocious and loves to test his mommy and daddy. Yet, he has the sweetest disposition and excels at politeness.  His teacher at Gecko & Garden preschool commented how much he says, “excuse me” before he talks.  And though he pretends not to hear our commands, his sponge-like ears swallow everything we offer up, whether it was intended for him or not. And of course, his three and a half year old brain is coming up with some gems.  For a list, click here.

This fall, Ronit started her second two-year “tour” in Cambodia, this time switching jobs to manage a $56million food security project called HARVEST, Helping Address Rural Vulnerabilities and Ecosystem STability, which is part of the presidential initiative, Feed the Future.  For Ronit, it is exciting on many levels.  First, she is finally getting back to her agricultural roots, working with a team of self-described ag-geeks, helping to make sure Cambodians have access to enough nutritious foods.  Secondly, she sits at the helm of USAID Cambodia’s flagship project, something that will provide many high profile opportunities. Look for her on Cambodian TV. She’ll be the blonde.  Outside of work, exercise keeps her fit and she has even caught some of the Ultimate Frisbee fever that has plagued the Gerard family for the last few years.  She has also started taking flute lessons again, picking up where she left off in high school.  Designing gourmet menus also feeds her creative passions, when time permits.

Craig still works in the Community Liaison Office at the Embassy making sure the US Government families living in Cambodia have a comfortable stay.  After four years in the job (two in Cairo and two in Phnom Penh), he is starting to look at other positions in the Embassy to round out the resume. But for now he is still pleased to be planning brewery tours for a living. He still does some writing for Asia Life magazine, though that slowed down considerably during home leave. And of course, Ultimate still plays a key role in staying fit and providing a social outlet.  Craig participated in four different international tournaments this year, and is again busy planning Phnom Penh’s Hat tournament in the beginning of March.

It was wonderful to see so many of you this summer when we were back in the US.  And of course, we wish we could have seen everyone.  The distance still acts as an inexcusable excuse for why we don’t stay in touch more often. We are always a Vonage call or webcam away from speaking or seeing all of you, and hope to do more of that this year.  It is also a very short 14-hour flight, and we would love to see more of you visit.
Much love from Cambodia,

Craig, Ronit, Shai and Micah
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