Friday, January 16, 2009


As of about 8:30 this evening - Friday, January 16, we are the proud owners of two round-trip tickets to China!
We had originally planned on leaving in March and spending two to three weeks in Beijing, Chengde and Hong Kong. We have since decided to spend two weeks in Beijing and Chengde at such places as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Olympics venues (Bird's Nest, Water Cube, etc.), Hutong villages, Chengde and the Mountain Resort among other assorted and sundry locations and activities. We are going to forgo Hong Kong on this trip. Instead we are seriously looking at visiting Hong Kong on another trip in six months to a year when both of us may return to team-teach in the Beijing area. How 'bout them apples? While in China we will spend some time investigating several offers I have received to return and teach at universities in the Beijing metropolitan district and outlying areas in Hebei Province, including Tangshan, Lang Fang and Tianjin.
We have also decided to travel in May instead of March. We will be spending the two weeks leading up to Memorial Day holiday in China. The weather will be much nicer at that time of the year - trees in full greenery, flowers blooming, warm temperatures but not too hot, etc. We are really excited for this trip and I get pumped just thinking about it. Lynne is especially gleeful with anticipation. She has never travelled outside the continental United States and has only been as far West as Utah and Idaho. This will prove to be an altogether new adventure for her.
One unique aspect of this flight to China is the flight path it will pursue. My last trip to Beijing departed from the west coast, travelled north along British Columbia, across the Aleutian Islands and the Bering Sea, south across the Sea of Okhotsk, over Vladivostok to interior China and Beijing. It lasted approximately 20 hours (including layovers) and was mostly at night, about a third of the flight in daylight. This time however - because ours is the only non-stop flight to Beijing from the New York City area - we will travel a distance of approximately 7,800 miles in 14 hours. In order to do this, it will be necessary to fly almost

directly over the North Pole! How freakin' cool is that? Another interesting fact about the flight is that it never flies through the night and stays in bright sunshine all the way. Get outta town! We should be able to get some great photos during the course of the flight. I am including a map that shows our flight path over Canada, the Arctic Circle, North Pole, Siberia (including Lake Baikal, the largest fresh water lake in the world) then Mongolia and finally. .interior China and Beijing! Boop-tee-freakin'-do!

What on earth did we do before the dawn of such things as and internet airfare purchases? Convenient though these modern marvels may be, I still sometimes pine for the simple days of yesteryear when we called good ol' Morris-Murdock Travel to arrange everything for us. . . then I look at how much time and money we saved today
and I shrug off the feathery, wistful mists of nostalgia and shake myself back into the reality of the present. Our passports are in good order and we will be submitting our visa applications to the Chinese Consulate General's Office this coming week.

Can you say . . . . . . .

Thursday, January 1, 2009


We received some nice Christmas cards and photos from family and friends during the Holidays. We are posting a few of them for your perusal. With the recent birth of Maxwell, we now have seven grandchildren with another scheduled for a late April, early May arrival. Cheniel has assured me that she will be sending a copy of her latest sonogram soon. When it arrives, we will post it as well.

We also included a photo card from Jacci McFarlane. She is currently attending Weber State and stays in touch with us. We received several other cards from missionaries who are either still serving in the Louisville Mission or have returned home. It was also a special treat when we received calls from departed but not forgotten missionaries like Sister Roque who called us from the Philipines. Life is good.

Tyler, Kim and the Lehi gang.

The front of Cheniel's homemade card which opened. . . .

. . .to this. . and included. . these photos:

Kayden - the soft-spoken, mishievous dude. . .

and. .
Lexxi - She's a show-stopper already.

Jacci McFarlane's (one of our adopted missionary daughters) family.