Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Adventures of the Summer of '16

The summer of 2016 has been an unusually eventful and exciting time prompting a step out of my blogging hiatus to share thoughts and pictures.

Home of the Giant Panda
Through a perfect storm of circumstances D and I (me as staff, D using up vacation he would lose) volunteered to lead a group to Chengdu, China in May.

China was not on our bucket list but what an experience!  Because of D and another professor in our group our work was educational. We met with teachers in 4 Elementary schools and 2 Universities plus participated in an English Corner student group and a Community Center parent's group.

At the Great Wall
We spent eight days meeting and sharing with so many wonderful Chinese nationals.  They opened our eyes and hearts to a different culture with shared similarities in smiles and hugs that easily crossed the language barrier.

Before we flew home we stopped in Beijing to visit the Great Wall, Palace of Heaven, Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City.

We traveled over the international date line.  A tip about sleeping pills was a lifesaver in China.  Coming home, we struggled with getting our body clocks back on Texas time.  This experience has given us a taste for more international travel but anyone with tips for jet lag PLEASE share!

UT Austin Graduate!
L. graduated from UT Austin in December, 2015 with a double major, Computational Chemistry and Computer Science.  He considered job offers in the computer industry (the lure of $$) but his ambition, since 5th grade, has been to earn his Ph.D.  With acceptance into the Chemistry Graduate program at Rice University in Houston L. moved while we were in China.

Although we were with Logan when he found his apartment earlier in May we made a beeline to Houston the week after we returned to see his new apartment and visit the lab where he will be working.

We wrapped up our summer of 2016 with a 10 day vacation!

My Dad, in 1989, planned a 3 day family reunion that included 3 branches of family.  His intention was for us meet every 4 years.  Summer of 2016 was our 8th gathering of the Fred & Mary Cruckson clans.

Rockin' 55
We began our trip with a stop in Oklahoma to spend 3 fun days with D's family. Being as we are both celebrating our 'double nickel' birthday and no longer embrace the 24 hour driving odyssey we opted to take 2 days to drive to Wisconsin.
Sister, Niece, Grand-Niece

My immediate family of 23 joined with 117 other family members at a Northern woods campground to enjoy 3 days of community meals, horseshoe and volleyball tournaments, an auction, nightly games, talent show and memorial service.

We are back home in the Texas Panhandle.  Both our jobs are involved with prepping for the coming school year and we are busy gearing up.

As the summer of 2016 was so full of unusual adventure it merited chronicling, thanks for reading!