Meyer Christmas Newsletter 2011


Hello friends and family!

Thanks for saving us time, paper, and postage by coming to our blog to catch up with all things Aaron and Rika in 2011. If you didn't know already, Christmas letter time is one of my favorite times of years, because I love seeing what everyone else has done, even if we've lost touch a little bit. It gives me a chance to live a little vicariously through all of you. (so if I'm not on your mailing list yet, add me! Really! I wanna know!)

After returning from a delightful trip back east to see my family, we got right back into school/work/fun mode. We met up with some friends, Kelli and David from Tennessee-to go snowboarding in Tahoe one weekend, and are still in shock that we live that close to glorious snowboarding.

I was working part time for an after school program, and Aaron was working hard in the dorm and preparing for a mission trip to Thailand. He left in March with many other students and faculty from Rio and together, they helped install a water system in a village to help the nomadic villagers get one step closer to citizenship. Along with working hard, Aaron and the team was treated to a nice dinner and a trip down south to Phuket to spend time on the beach and shopping.

Shortly after Aaron returned from his 2 week trip, I left for Southeast Asia to visit Hong Kong and Taipei for a recruiting trip for Rio. I visited many schools and families over there and learned more than I could comprehend about the school systems and expectations for kids in both places. There were several families who were excited about sending their kids to a less-stressful environment that would give their children more options for universities. I was able to reconnect with friends from high school and our time in Taiwan, and got to mark Hong Kong off of my world travel list.

In April, I also got a call from family that my Grandma Margy was in pretty serious condition. I left that weekend and spent some time with her talking, telling her stories, and listening to her breathe. She passed away a little over a week later, and I was so glad that I got those couple of days to tell her goodbye. She was one of my favorite people in the world and our family celebrated her life together, remembering how special and God-led she was. We're relieved that she is no longer a slave to her Alzheimer's and failing body, but miss her so much.

We were so glad to have a real life summer break! Our dream for the summer was simple. Have tons of fun, act like little kids, and go to Disney Land. We spent a week in June house/dog sitting for the cousins in Southern California and were reminded as we sat in traffic each day, of how lucky we are to live in Nor-Cal. (No offense, guys). Our dreams came true at Disneyland and we even had a friend get us in for free! Best day ever! We spent a day in Loma Linda Land seeing all our doctor friends who are going to let us sleep in their backyards someday when we're broke and homeless, and we gave Bam Bam his first dog beach experience.

In late June and July, both sets of our parents came out to visit and we got to show them our stomping grounds. We spent a lot of time hiking, canoeing & paddleboarding, and showing Aaron's parents the Pacific Ocean and Redwoods. We really wanted to give them a relaxing summer vacation without any pressure, and lots of adventure, and it gave us an excuse to re-visit all of our favorite places up here.

The week that Aaron's parents came, we also decided to adopt a baby. Not like a human baby, but a puppy. We named her Ema (her original name was Mae), and she melted our hearts from the very beginning. Ema is half Olde English Bulldog and half boxer and she's got a mind of her own. We're hoping that Bam's perfect personality will rub off on her, or at least a manner or two.

In mid-July, I started working full-time with the organization I had been with. In becoming a manager, I was suddenly in charge of staffing, programming, discipline, facility management....the list goes on and on. I am glad to get to know the kids and community of our town of Healdsburg better, and it's really challenged and grown my leadership experience.

We put in a garden and barbecued our monster squash and tomatoes all summer and fall. Aaron took off on a motorcycle trip to Northern California and Oregon, and we both got hooked on go-cart racing. (Not to brag or anything, but I am currently second in our Rio staff races).

By fall with school starting, both Aaron and I threw ourselves into work and the last three months have been a blur of projects, kid-stories, highs & lows, and lessons learned. Aaron's a great dean and is teaching an outdoor education class to a group of nature-deprived kids. But most kids are, right?

Our goals for next year? Balance! More travel! No babies! More fun, music, laughter, and peace! And I hope all those things for you as well.

Merry Christmas!