Remembering in December

My wandering field life passed the ten-year mark earlier this year. That’s ten years of finding my way into a new work environment and getting to know new colleagues once a year or so. In a more mundane way, it’s ten years worth of photo files to keep up-to-date and to try to remember to share on my blog. A cousin (thanks, Juliette!) noticed that the entries from my earliest days had lost their photos: mine was a rather early blog, and the ways of uploading photos have changed since then.  (Many of those earliest posts appear frankly so embarrassingly shallow to me now that I’m tempted to simply wave my editorial wand and have done with them…but thus far my sense for historical accuracy is controlling that temptation…) If my continued research succeeds, many of those photos will be directly restored onto the blog as I find their originals in backup hard drives and other obscure locations: ah, new year’s resolutions before the old year has even wrapped up!

In the meantime, I’m uncovering little treasures that never made it up here, while fondly remembering where I’ve been and what I’ve done. I was recently saddened to learn that Nancy Schrom Dye, former president of Oberlin College, had passed this year. During my years of active alumni-association work I greatly appreciated her contributions to my alma mater – so I was proud to join some other colleagues in taking her for an end-of-year meal which, the digital date stamp tells me, occurred in Beijing on December 31, in 2005. Up above are also a few rediscovered December 2005 Beijing-area shots which somehow didn’t get posted at the time. (Posting photos was more challenging in those early days…)

Just below are some previously-unposted 2015 shots: early-morning moonset at my home here in Haiti; me with my brother and a colleague when I gave a talk at Carnegie Mellon University earlier this year; and some shots from the lovely Frick House & museum in Pittsburgh, from the same visit. And since this put me in the mood, I’ve wandered through the many countries & continents, family meals & trips & assignments on four continents that have filled the years between these two sets of photos so very fully. Assembling them’s been fun for me so I hope viewing them is fun for you too :-).

This time last year? In December 2014, I returned from Sierra Leone & later went with great friends to enjoy the Ai WeiWei exhibit on Alcatraz Island (more photos from that one in the original post….though that particular set of great friends – you know who you are! – are remarkably camera-resistant):

Where’d I spend 2013? Living in PNG, participating in meetings in Amsterdam & dive trips in Australia, then celebrating the holidays with Steve & Mom in New Zealand:

I began 2012 in the US (where I visited Washington, DC in cherry-blossom season), turned 50 in the company of Howard & Gene at Kakadu National Park in Australia, and finished the year in PNG:

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2011 was mostly Mweso, a little Lamu, a little London and a year-end back home seeing Frank Lloyd Wright homes of Pennsylvania with family:

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2010…wow, what a year. Just seeing all the continents and countries where I spent time (actually meaningful time, with friends and family and work) makes my head spin even now. The photos evoked so much for me that I just couldn’t narrow it down to three or four…so I’m giving you a lot from 2010, a mix of Manipur (start of year) and Mweso (end of year), with a sprinkling of Sweden, Berlin, Paris & California in between:

House, Valley, Hills on Hike - Pre-Monsoon Season

I entered 2009 in Tahiti, yes it’s true: during the year I took off from work to help Mom with her house, I dedicated two months to exploring Australia (and watching the Australian Open!) and New Zealand, flying in via Tahiti with a few nights in Papeete, just because I could. The year ended, of course, in Manipur and included a great trip to see excellent sites of Rajasthan with Howard & Gene:

Ngauruhoe Summit View of Lakes & Clouds

2008 started in Nigeria, and ended in Tahiti…with a lot of good work in Nigeria, a short assignment for the earthquake in China, visits in Germany with my exchange family friends there….and a good deal of time in and around NYC (Mom, aunt Judy & I enjoyed a harbor trip past Ellis Island where our own immigrant ancestors entered the country, and also a trip to our favorite sculpture park up th Husdon)…with a side trip for some hiking in Sequoia and other California adventures:
Rivers-Abia Border Boats & River

2007…I began the year based in Colombo but spend the new year’s period with Mom & Steve at  Angkor Wat, returned to Colombo to finish out an assignment, headed on for training in Paris where I also got celebrate Mom’s 71st birthday…back to the US to reorganize my life after my first two years in the field, and then off for a new assignment in Nigeria. At the time it felt big. Now it’s all fond memories:

…which will bring us back to year two of this current phase of life’s great adventure, the lovely year 2006. From Beijing & Yunnan in China, to Polonnaruwa & Sigiriya in Sri Lanka (where I was based at year’s end), with family time on Cumberland Island (Mom’s 70th birthday dinner!) and in Germany in between. With a special souvenir from Seoul, where I had the opportunity to work a bit with the young ladies pictured with their daffodils. In a small-world twist, I had dinner with one of those two young ladies just a few nights ago in Port au Prince, which she visits sometimes in her current work with the CDC. So much small world, so little time for it all. Happy end of 2015, and many good hopes for a 2016 of more peace and health to everyone, everywhere.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Seeing Sweden – The Old Country

I left India in early May, and spent most of the month exploring and visiting friends and family in Germany, Sweden & Denmark. Above & below are some of my very favorite images from the wonderful week I spent in Stockholm & Gothenburg. Despite having actual relatives in Sweden, I’d never yet been there. I began with several lovely days en famille with one of my cousins and her kids & husband at their cottage on a hillside overlooking a truly gorgeous lake in the country outside Gothenburg. I also met/saw other cousins and toured Gothenburg a bit, as well as seeing some of the lovely archipelago of islands off the coast of Gothenburg, on one of which my cousin’s daughter goes to school. After that I spent a few days on my own exploring stunning Stockholm. Above & below, the country-looking shots above are all from around Gothenburg, and the city-looking ones are all around Stockholm. More explanations as we move along…and as I as I learn what I can and can’t do with this new blog host…

Stockholm is an impressive and gorgeous city laid out on islands, a few isthmuses, and various peninsulas surrounded by lakes and rivers and harbors which all connect up at some point through twisty channels with the northern Baltic sea – witness my photos with a few of the cruise ships that ply the various northern & eastern Baltic routes. There’s an island old town complete with large royal palace (whence the impressive bronze lion you saw above) and cobblestone streets, a really lovely harbor dotted with islands and a well-organized city with parks on hills and lovely streets in all directions. When I was there in mid-May, the days were long and most were spectactularly sunny — even this early in the year, the sky was not dark until after 23:00 and already getting light again at 03:00. Wow! My most memorable day was a wander around Djurgarden, a long and green royal hunting park on an island in Stockholm’s extensive harbor. Aside from being a hunting park, it seems to also have several private homes and I found myself envying the folks lucky enough to live on this gorgeous green oasis surrounded by the city.  This next set of shots are all from Djurgarden, including outdoor sculpture both at the actual museum situated on the island, and dotted around the island in many other locations…just because they could, I guess. 🙂

…I’m not sure what these guys are, but they were wandering around the Djurgarden and I found them both interesting and somewhat intimidating.

Next up, more shots from Gothenburg and the archipelago — islands with names like Ockero, which when spelled correctly has umlauts over both O’s, but my keyboard doesn’t allow that. I’m belatedly thanking Cecilia, Lars, Sara & Alexander for being such great hosts, and Johanna & Charles & Erika for coming out to spend time with me also. While the city of Gothenburg isn’t quite so spectacular as the city of Stockholm, it’s got a great feel to it, the surrounding countryside is gorgeous, and the archipelago sits like a string of jewels in the clean blue seas of the Kattegat — which is the name of that stetch of water between Jutland and Sweden which connects the Baltic Sea with the North Sea (who knew?).