Three year anniversary

We moved out of our home in Boston on March 25 2017 and have leased our condominium to four families since then.  We have been back into the home a few times since but have not lived there.  We have had a second home in the US with our oldest daughter Jennifer and her husband Rob, initially in Melrose Massachusetts and now in Newport Rhode Island.  In all of that time we have never felt homeless as we nest and make a home wherever we happen to be.  Since we are locked down in Madrid initially and now Boston we have a lot of time on our hands and thought that we would do a highlights tour of our first year of traveling.

March 24 2017 last day of radiation for Jim.
start of our retirement dream
March 27, heading out on a one month road trip to Asheville NC and back to Boston.
We made it all the way to Florida on day 1.
First night, Cooperstown New York.
Falling Water, Frank Lloyd Wright designed house in Pennsylvania.
Home of Mary Todd Lincoln in Lexington Kentucky.
Churchill Downs.
Two nights with brother David and wife Lynn in Silver Point Tennessee.
We flew home to Boston for marathon weekend.
Back to Asheville North Carolina where we stay with Bob and Gail MacAlpine.
Jim’s 50th high school reunion, two of his girlfriends of the past.
Granddaughter Freya in Asheville.
We drove back to Boston and boarded a flight to Paris for a four month stay.
First Paris visitors, daughter Jennifer and Rob.
Son Jason and his family, Katia, Nico, Natalia and Catarina.
Running in Paris with Gayle Oulighan.
Lunch at Miznon in the Marais with Neil & Audrey.  We liked this Israeli restaurant so much that we moved to Tel Aviv in January.

Our most memorable, moving and emotional experience in France was a weekend which is summarized in the paragraph below from our pre-blog email.  What follows are our recollections of our most memorable weekend in France to date.  It is very hard to put into words in a condensed version, as the story begins over 100 years ago with the birth of Rebecca Goethe somewhere in Russia.  She was dropped off by her Jewish mother at St. Vincent de Paul hospital, a few blocks from where we live now, with a note outlining her brief life of 2 months.  She became a ward of the state and passed through several abusive families before being taken in by Madame Soupet in the small hamlet of Moiry in Southern Burgundy.  At the age of 16 she fell in love with a 26 year old American Soldier whom she married three years later.  The young couple moved to the US and her youngest child, Lucy DeVries/Duffy has maintained a relationship with her mother’s home of Moiry.  She has also self published her mother’s early memoirs in French and translated them into English, the book is titled Vignettes of Moiry.  The village of Saint-Parize-le-Châtel, next to Moiry, has used the book to teach local history.  This year is the 100th anniversary of the American soldiers coming into that area and building a large hospital.  This town of 2,300 people spent 2 years planning this celebration.  We are good friends of Lucy’s and had committed to attend this event with her about two years ago.  We experienced a full weekend of festivities all oriented around Rebecca Goethe De Vries, her daughter Lucy  De Vries Duffy and 23 American guests, friends and family of Lucy.  The welcome that we received and the planned events were overwhelmingly beautiful, filled with love and emotion and also filled with speech after speech.  Even the local French people we met were awed and amazed by the spectacle.

That’s Lucy in the middle with some of her family on her left and friends on the right.  We felt so privileged to be a part of this.
We are back in Paris now with Dan Hood and wife Marjory Kaplan.
Very special visitors, Ed and Andrea Conley who treated us to a full day tour of the Champagne region of France.  Andrea’s mother, Kathy Collins has been a friend and colleague of Sandy’s since circa 1976.  Near the end of our tour Andrea received a call from MIT Sloane School of Management that she had been accepted into their MBA program which she has since successfully completed.
Bastille Day in Paris with Ed, Andrea and a photo bomber.
Our oldest grandchild Jackson flew to Paris by himself at the age of 15 to spend time with us.
Jack rowed us around the lake in Bois de Vincennes.
We watched the final laps of the Tour de France with Jack.
Our stalkers, King Richard, Prince Henry, the dog, and Saint Andrew drove to Paris from Berlin.  We all crammed into their car for a three day road trip through Bordeaux to Bilbao Spain and on to Sitges Spain.  We are sure that Jack will never forget that trip.
This is how tightly packed the car was for the three day trip.  We had the small red bag.  The rest of the stuff was for Dick and Andrew.
Jack’s final night as a fifteen year old in Sitges.  We have such a special relationship and bond with Jack.
Sixteenth birthday dinner with Jack back in Paris.  He was not a happy camper.  He dislikes fancy restaurants.
Fashion models, Katiti and Sandy.
A true Parisienne with her baguette.

Watch the video above, she is not dancing with Jim.

Water Lillies in Giverny.
Any guesses as to where this is in Paris, not very well known?  It is the Canal Saint-Martin which is part of a network of Paris canals.
Jim’s best friend since fifth grade, Bob MacAlpine and his wife Gail.  They are our penultimate hosts any time that we visit family and friends in Asheville, NC.
Can you tell how much she is loving Paris?
Saying goodby to the friendly vendors at our local street market.  Goodby Paris.
Back home in Boston after four months in Paris we party with Sandy’s former colleagues and friends.
Next stop is San Francisco for two months.  Son Geoffrey, wife Sofi, Bhavanii and Freya joined us for the first two weeks.
Sons Geoffrey and Matthew at Matt’s soon to be father-in-laws home in Sausalito.
Matt and wife Claire with their daughter Mae Louise, just married in Bolinas California.
Jim’s three children, Geoffrey, Emily and Matthew in Bolinas.
We took in a San Francisco Giants game at Oracle Park.d
Had an outdoor dinner in Sausalito with the newlyweds.
We had to see this after spending four months in Paris.
With Tom and Donna Quirk in Haight Ashbury.
We ran over the Golden Gate Bridge and back with Donna Quirk.
Grandson Jackson also came to visit us in San Francisco.
Jim rented this MINI to take Jackson to Muir Woods, Marin Headlands and also to drive the streets of San Francisco.
Had dinner in Oakland with three of Jim’s first cousins.  Just Evelyn, Joe Scott and Sylvia Ahn.  This was the first time Jim had ever met Joe.
Tank Hill Park, a short walk from our home in Duboce Triangle.  The smoke from the Napa fires was much worse than it looks although you can see the smoke on the horizon.
This is how bad the smoke from the Napa fires was in San Francisco.
Jim’s cousin Jeffrey Steen who lives in Napa Valley.  We spent time with Jeff and his wife Patricia at their home in Napa valley and also went to Lake Tahoe with them.
Next stop was New York City for six weeks.
A beautiful warm fall day in Central Park.
Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade.
Friendsgiving spent with Jim’s nephew Peter, husband Kurt and a bunch of their friends.
Our daughter-in-law Catarina came down from Boston and surprised Sandy for a weekend visit.  Skating in Bryant Park while it is snowing.
Granddaughters Natalia and Katia, it doesn’t get better than this.  We have brought them both to NYC for individual visits prior to this.
NYC at Christmas time.
We did a tour of the UN and got to stand on the dais of the General Assembly which is not usually allowed.
We returned to Boston for a few days to attend the wedding of Allison Lee and Peter Hirst.  Allison is the daughter of our longtime friend Susanna Lee.  We got to know Allison when she spent a week in Tuscany with us in 2015.
Christmas Eve in Reading Massachusetts with son Jason and family.  Hanging on the couch with Katia and Natalia.
Christmas morning in Melrose at daughter Jennifer’s home.  We took the bus back to NYC early afternoon.
We met up with John Shade, Walter LaLiberte and Brian Gerhardson to celebrate Walter’s birthday.
New Years Eve.  Bucket list item – Midnight run in Central Park.  Coldest New Years Eve ever.
35 minutes to the start of the run in Central Park.  It was so cold that the champagne was frozen.  We had our own fireworks and a nice run in the park.  Much better than Times Square.
January 14 2018 we arrive in Israel, a country that we know very little about and have never had a desire to visit.  We are here because of Miznon in Paris.  The food was so good and we loved the exuberance and friendliness of the young Israeli wait staff.
We are in Jaffa looking back at Tel Aviv.
IDF and guns were startling at first but they are so common that we got used to it quickly.
Jim at Miznon with the ill fated backpack
Miznon in Tel Aviv.
We took 8 sculling lessons and just loved it.  See the video below, not bad for a couple of old farts.
We just loved the Tel Aviv boardwalk along the Mediterranean.
Running along the water was so exhilarating.
We rented a car for a day and drove to the Southern District.
Our Airbnb host Guy took us on a day tour to Caesarea.
We ran a 5K the day of the Tel Aviv marathon.
Bahá’í Gardens in Haifa.  We took the train here for the day.
Port city of Haifa looking north to Acre.
We took a bus to Nazareth for the day.
Our only visitors in Israel were five who came at the same time.  Our stalkers, Andrew and Dick came from Berlin.  Tina Scarlata who worked with Sandy and Margaret Deutsch who is one of our neighbors in Boston.  We have all traveled together in the past.  Tina and Margaret stayed March 1-11.  Dick and Andrew stayed until March 15.
On the Mount of Olives looking towards Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Garden of Gethsemane.
Old city of Jerusalem.
Wailing wall.
Prayers stuffed in the wall.
Temple wall on the left.
Looking south from the temple steps.
Heading downhill out of Jerusalem towards the Dead Sea and Masada.
The Dead Sea from Masada.
Floating in the Dead Sea.
Having drinks at the King David Hotel.
Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Center.  Quite moving.
We did three days of touring with Zvi Levran who is an American born zionist with a BA and MA in Jewish history and education.  He was a bit intense for our relaxed group.
Dipping our toes in the Sea of Galilee.
This is contested land on the Golan Heights, Syrian border.
Done with our three day tour we are now on our own.  We walked the three miles to Jaffa.
After Margaret and Tina left we flew to Eilat at the southern tip of Israel.  From our hotel balcony we can see Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Israel.
We crossed the border into Jordan.
Walking through no-mans-land by ourselves.
Our guide stopped at this rest stop and the store salesman had Andrew and Sandy dressed like this in an instant.
We rented a car in Eilat and drove home through the Negev to Tel Aviv.
Mitzpeh Ramon, Israel
Mitzpe Ramon crater.
Mitzpe Ramon visitor center.  We were there with a group of Israeli Defense Forces who carry their guns like Gucci bags.

After Dick and Andrew left on March 15 we had exactly one more month in Israel.  We rented another car and drove north to the Lebanese border.  We then followed the border as closely as possible enjoying beautiful green mountains, so different from the southern region and the Negev.IMG_0702

Lebanese border, not passable.
Mt. Hermon, on the border of Lebanon and Syria, skiable in winter.
After leaving Mt. Hermon we drove along the Syrian border on the Golan Heights
We went to Bethlehem for a long weekend to participate in the Palestine Marathon activities running a fun run.  We stayed in the Presidential suite of The Walled Off Hotel which is owned by Banksy.  Our suite comprised all of the visible windows on the upper floor.
Our balcony looks over the wall back into Israel.
A very fun run.
The Palestinians were so warm and welcoming.
Jim showing his Palestinian support.
Living room of our suite coordinated with Sandy.
We hung out on the front porch of our hotel and made friends with all of these runners from around the world.  Went out to dinner with all of them that night.
All local Israeli produce was so good.  You can’t buy anything that is out of season.
Our host Guy invited us to his home for a Passover barbecue.  We were able to meet his wife, children and parents.  The grilled meats and vegetables were spectacular.  Thanks so much Guy.  We still think of you often.
Walked the three miles down the beach to Jaffa many times.  These are the snacks before we even ordered lunch at this seafood restaurant.
Looking south to Jaffa from Tel Aviv.
Jim practiced a few weeks in order to do this.
Saying goodby to Micha.  He would always give us big tastes of the soups he was making and his hummus and pita’s were soooo good.

So that is a “brief” review of March 25 2017 to April 14 2018.  We started this blog in December of 2017 so the rest of our history is in prior blogs and will not be summarized any further.  Our plans now are to move back into our home when the present tenants move out at the end of July.  We will freshen up the condo and then decide on the next steps of our life which will be either: 1. sell our home and continue traveling. 2. sell our home and move to NYC where we will rent a new home there. 3. keep our home, lease it out again and continue traveling. 4. keep our home and slow or stop the traveling.  We feel so privileged to have enjoyed three wonderful years living around the world as it has been a dream come true for both of us.  We do miss our family and friends at times but have also been fortunate to have so many of them visit us wherever we have been.  We were quite disappointed at so many recent cancellations due to COVID19 but certainly understand and strongly agree with each decision made.  The future appears quite uncertain at this point in time but we are just taking one day at a time and trying our best to be compliant with self quarantine, social distancing and sheltering in place.

5 responses to “Three year anniversary”

  1. Claude E Steen, III Avatar
    Claude E Steen, III

    Beautifully done, Sandy & Jim! This is so much fun for us to experience even though we weren’t there. Donna and I sure missed a great opportunity to join you in Tel Aviv, a place we’ve never visited but want to. And to think, you had so few visitors there! We had some “good reason” to make the decision we did, but it doesn’t look so good in hindsight! We’re so proud of you for making such great memories with so many friends and family.

  2. Glorious! Thank you

  3. What wonderful memories these pictures have captured. Thank you for sharing both them and your experience with us. Thanks to your generosity and adventurous spirit we have gone to places we probably would not have and enjoyed them the more because you are SUCH GOOD hosts and company.😘😘

    1. We love having YOU along for the ride. It has been great.

    2. We were so privileged to have you guys visit us in Paris, Mexico City, NYC, Seville and Melbourne. No one else came to visit us in Melbourne. We have loved hosting you and treasure your friendship.

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