The Russell Christmas Letter 2018

We hope that you have had a really good year and that the coming year will be a peaceful, healthy, and prosperous one for you and your loved ones!

We are happy to have Emily and Jasper with us for Christmas again this year. Jasper is now 2 years 4 months old. Even though they live in the UK, we have been able to visit with them on Skype, Emily and Jasper visited us again at Easter, John visited them in February, and Marian visited them in October.

Jasper making sandcastles in February

Jasper and the 2 dogs in March

Jasper playing trains

Jasper in the Gross-Enzersdorf playground

In May, John and Marian joined the running group on a weekend in Drosendorf, a small walled town north of Vienna.

Group photo on Friday evening

Waiting for the train

Found the station sign

Sampling the local wine

Marian travelled to the USA in May for a week's reunion with her sisters in Massachusetts. The reunion was enjoyed by all, and all the sisters hope it will become a regular event. After this, Marian travelled to Florida to visit her daughter, Margaret, and her family in Florida. On the way there, she was met at the Dulles aiport by one of her dearest friends, Donna, who lives in Virginia. It was wonderful to catch up with Donna after not seeing her for more than 15 years. They had lunch together and had a good three hours of conversation. In Florida, in addition to savoring being with family and conversations with Margaret, Marian enjoyed Samantha's birthday celebration and Tiffany's improvisational theatre performance. Another highlight of the Florida trip was a day at the beach with the Snows.

Sisters' reunion

Tiffany and Samantha

Snow family on the beach

In July and August, there were berries, apples, and pears from the garden, so Marian spent some time every week baking various things, including a blackberry pie and several pear tarts. In July, she attended a Raku pottery class, taught by a local potter who has a workshop in the next village. In September, Robin and Gillian (Emily and Rebecca's cousins) had a baby boy, Gregor, pictured here in a warm blanket that Marian began knitting for him in late May, and finally completed in mid-August. Also in September, Emily and Jasper, together with Emily's partner, Sam, moved from Bristol to London, into a house in West Finchley.

Apple & Blackberry Pie

Results of pottery class

Gregor in the blanket

New residence in London

In October, Rebecca moved into a new flat in the 5th district of Vienna. Rebecca has been working at a Heuriger (Wine Tavern) near Daniel's parent's house in Weidling. She has her own alpaca there called Cedric. In November, Emily and Jasper got a cat named Artie.

Rebecca with her keys in her new flat

Rebecca feeding Cedric

Jasper & Artie watching the passersby

In October, Marian travelled to a town near Lyme Regis in the UK for a "Jonifest" - an informal gathering of people, many of them musicians, who enjoy the music of Joni Mitchell. After this, she visited Emily and Jasper, and made a day trip to Surrey for lunch with John's sister and brother-in-law and John's Mum who turned 92 in December. She has been doing quite well in a care home, and enjoys going out occasionally for lunch and shopping.

Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis

Jonifest in session

John's Mum

For the last three and a half years, Marian has been working towards a certification in the Learning Enhancement Acupressure Programme (LEAP). In March, she attended the five-day LEAP Learning seminar in Krasnodar, Russia, and did the final one-day LEAP Assessment exercise in December, in Linz, after which she was awarded "Certified Practitioner" status. The picture in the middle was from an event in April organized by the Vienna Chamber of Commerce.

Krasnodar Training

Gold Siegl

LEAP Certification as Practitioner

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Copyright 2018 John Russell, last updated 26 December 2018, Number of hits =