Craig's Travels
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2012 Holiday Letter

Ho hum, general introduction invoking the fact we haven’t spoken often enough. On with the show.

During the first half of 2012, the Gerards finished up our four-year tour in Cambodia, leaving behind some amazing friends and a country we had grown to love.  We spent June in California (with a quick sojourn up to Portland and the Bay Area), and in July moved to Arlington, VA where we began French Language studies in preparation for our upcoming move to Dakar, Senegal.

Ronit, aside from excelling in French, has had a busy and productive year.  Finishing out her work in Phnom Penh, she co-led a forestry and economic development working group with other donor countries and organizations.  This year, Ronit also realized her passion for triathlons, competing in the Ventura Breath of Life and the San Diego Classic Olympic-distance races.  She also has continued her love for cooking, whipping up gourmet concoctions at the drop of a hat.  On top of all that, Ronit continues to find time to be a creative and caring mother to Micah and Shai.  Of course, if you asked her about her year, she would probably say “French, French, and French.”

Craig finished out his time in Cambodia in the Public Affairs office, running the embassy’s Twitter feed and fully embracing new media (you can follow him @CraigDGerard).  The job also allowed him to accelerate his photography hobby and meet some of Cambodia’s fascinating youth leaders.  Much of his spare time in Cambodia (and some in Arlington as well) was taken up on the Ultimate Frisbee field.  Craig, who started the Phnom Penh team (named Angelina’s Orphans), is proud of his legacy, a team that continues to thrive in an active Asian ultimate scene.  While only getting two months of paid French classes, Craig has taken to studying on his own during the day, trying to keep pace with Ronit and attempting to figure out just what the hell the subjunctive is.

Shai began kindergarten in the fall at a wonderful local school.  He played organized soccer with his classmates, and was among a few of his teammates who consistently knew which direction the ball should be kicked.  We were quite proud. He is learning to read and is a whiz at numbers.

Micah continues to be a sweet little goofball, making fun faces and laughing tons.  He is quite the little flirt and gets many compliments from strangers on his looks and cute mannerisms.  He is certainly a unique character, but also loves to copy everything that big brother does.

Each year, we try to recap for you the ups and downs of the past 12 months.  And while the Gerard family is doing well these days, 2012 has been a year of difficult tragedies and transitions.  Leaving behind our friends in Cambodia was not easy, and now the boys are getting bigger, those transitions will become more and more challenging.  Our time in Arlington has been wonderful, but there is a very temporary feeling to our Virginia lives.  We are hesitant to set down any real roots, knowing they will need to be uprooted come February.  Luckily, our dear friends Josh and Amanda and their two children (both slightly older than Shai) moved to Arlington around the same time for Josh’s State Department job.  They have made our time in Virginia a true blessing.  However, by far the most difficult part of our year was the passing of Ronit’s brother Jason.  Jason died unexpectedly in June, and losing him has overshadowed much of what we have done in the months since.  He was loved by so many.  We miss him with such crushing pain.  For me, 2012 will always be remembered as the year we lost Jason.

As we look forward to 2013, we all have many reasons to hold our loved ones a little tighter.  We hope the New Year is filled with love, friendship, understanding and prosperity.  We’ll be in Dakar, Senegal by March, and we love having visitors.  Drop us a line if you’d like to visit the western most point in Africa.  

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