Merry Christmas!!!~Meyer Newsletter 2010



Some of you have recently received a Merry Christmas card either in the mail or handed to you. I think less and less people are doing newsletters and those have always been a pivotal part of the holiday season for me, so I don't want to let this tradition die. However, as postage is increasing, it's not always a financially viable task to mail out 100+ cards. So, lucky you-you get a postcard and a blog post!

A lot has happened over the last year, not just to Aaron and I, but to you too. It's hard to believe that it's been an entire year since we set off from the USA after getting married and moving to Asia. For those of you who haven't been following the blog, I'm going to insert some hyper links for you to relive some of those times. In a nutshell though, we moved to a rural town about 20 minutes outside of Taipei and lived in a high-rise apartment that was fully furnished yet still lacked the modern-American amenities such as a clothes dryer, dishwasher, and oven. We unpacked our two suitcases into our sweet pad and began a life filled with communication errors, exciting adventures, cultural misunderstandings, and just all around fun. Here's where we were for Christmas 1 year ago.

Soon after we arrived in Taiwan and started work, we were dismissed from work to have a holiday over most of January and part of February in celebration of Chinese New Year. Everything in Taiwan shuts down, down to almost every last grocery store so generally it's just a good idea to skip town. And skip town we did. We flew to Thailand for a grand adventure where we scuba dived, rode elephants, made friends with hippies, and did lots of laying on the beautiful beaches. We rode a train that broke down several times and I got bitten up by fleas. We surveyed the beautiful gold Buddhist temples and got taken for a ride (literally) by a money-hungry taxi driver. Vacation was exhausting and we were happy to be back for the last few days of Chinese New Year in Taiwan, only to find that the grocery stores were still closed.

In March, our English school finally opened after all the preparation and planning that we had all done. We had a grand opening a couple weeks after letting our first kids come and had local celebrities and talent attend. It was a big deal for Taipei County to have an outdoor school that not only teaches about nature, but also gives all public schools a week-long crash course in English. So Aaron, and I, and two other English teachers along with four Taiwanese staff ran English camp for one week at a time. Then we would rest for a week...yep, a whole week, while another team did the same thing. And we did this until leaving in August.

On our weeks off, we would travel or mostly just go on day trips to Taipei City or the surrounding areas. We never grew tired of all the cultural differences and challenges and really came to love the country and all the people who befriended us along the way. Read why I still love Taiwan HERE>. We began to get into vintage photography, and Aaron made friends with some local "herpers" and they would go snake hunting (only to look, not to kill) in the nights as the weather began to warm up. We also began our search for jobs in the States and had no idea as to what the future could hold.

We got the call to Rio in May and within days had booked our tickets to go interview for the weekend. Three days, two flights of 14+ hours, and one long interview, and Aaron had secured the job as Assistant Boys Dean for the 2010-2011 year. What a relief to have security at a really great and thriving school! We moved in August and Aaron started work while I, and my brothers and brothers-in-law, drove across the country with all our junk in tow.

Aaron is such a natural as a dean-even and mild mannered, good leader, strong, and he loves those guys. We live next to the lobby of the boys dorm and our apartment is open to the guys, and they hang out and eat and we really love it. For Aaron's birthday, we celebrated by getting a dog named Bam-Bam. (you can see in our christmas pic that he is so patient with us and I kept trying to see how many clothes and accessories he'd tolerate.) Bam is WONDERFUL! AW!

I have since found work at a local Boys and Girls Club and also do freelance writing and photography. I am launching my own portrait and weddings business in January and hope to keep meeting people in the Healdsburg community, because it's just a fabulous place to live!

We are having a blast and are so very blessed and thankful that God has really led us through it all. Really though, you need to visit. We have a hotel room across the hall from us with a private bath and it's at least 3 stars. And free...for you only. Please keep in touch and let us know what you're up to.


Rika and Aaron and Bam