Craig's Travels
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2015 Holiday Letter

Another year come and gone; so we pause to reflect on the changing calendar.  We had a busy and exciting year filled with rewards and losses. We started the year with a fun ski trip to Andorra and Barcelona. We also traveled to South Africa to meet up with our friends Dan and Angela to do some safari’ing in Kruger National Park and attend the Bushfire jazz festival in Swaziland.  During the summer we headed back to California for some time with friends and family. Shai had his first taste of summer camp at JCA Shalom, and is already looking forward to camp during summer 2016. We also made it up to Portland to celebrate Grandma Annette’s 90th birthday. With family joining from across the country, it was a wonderful reunion. We had a few successful trips out to Fougoulou (Ro’s Peace Corps village), and our projects there continue to progress.

Ronit continued to develop her career at USAID, as the Deputy Office Director of the Economic Growth Office of the Dakar Mission.  She has taken on additional tasks with the Mission’s Local Solutions team, and re-upped for another stint on the Embassy’s Interagency Dakar Employee (iDea) Board, as their Vice-Chair. Ronit continued her passion for triathlons, though this year’s race was sidelined by a broken finger while in training, which lead to two surgeries during our time in the U.S.  She continues to run and go to spinning, but has also (much to Craig’s delight) gotten more passionate about Ultimate.

In February, Craig took a different job at the embassy, as a Public Diplomacy Officer in the Public Affairs Section.  This is the “spouse” job he has been aiming for since before leaving Cambodia, so having the opportunity to contribute to the embassy in a meaningful way has been a highlight of his Foreign Service experience.  Craig continues to manage the weekly Ultimate game, and this fall took on being assistant coach of the Sand Sharks softball team.  When not tracking the latest social media trends, he still finds some time for homebrewing and guitar playing.

Currently in 3rd grade at the French Lycee Jean Mermoz, Shai has now (reluctantly) moved into his role as family translator.  During a typical afternoon, the house is a constant barrage of neighborhood kids coming over to see if Shai is available to play.  They play soccer or basketball in the street most days, though Shai sometimes convinces them to play Frisbee or baseball. He’s now in his second year of piano lessons and has also taken to running a number of science experiments.

Micah continues to grow into his expanding personality.  He is definitely the goofball of the family, always quick with a tickle or giggle.  He is quick to share whatever he has with his brother, parents or friends.  He loves playing soccer and this year started weekly practice at the international school, where he spends the majority of his time sliding to the ground.  He tags along with Shai’s friends when he can, but also has a good group from his French school, Ecole en Couleurs.
This year we said a tearful goodbye to Grandma (GG) Janet, who passed away in September at the age of 95.  While it is always difficult to be on the other side of the world and miss these family events, I was comforted by the fact that we spent time with her this summer while in California. The boys definitely had a chance to get to know her more. She had a long, full, happy life. We should all be so lucky.

As we look forward to another year of fun and adventure, we hope to keep in touch better, see more of you, and cherish the small gifts we have.  You know our door is always open, the homebrews are cold, and we love visitors. Wherever you are in the world, we wish you a happy, safe, and healthy year ahead.

Craig, Ronit, Shai, Micah, and Rocket

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