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December 25, 1999
our Christmas Letter
Greetings from Jolly Olde England! In last year's Christmas letter, we wrote
"Caryn is still with Amoco Corp, but, with the merger scheduled for December, will soon be working for British Petroleum. In fact, there is an ever-increasing chance that we will find ourselves overseas for a stint in London, England, starting soon and lasting a couple of years! (The hardships we'll suffer! Shopping in Paris, vacationing in Spain! Sight-seeing in Italy! Blimey!)"
Well, here we are! Caryn moved over in February as CFO of Oil Trading Int'l, bought a very cute house in Hampstead, and took a flat in London while construction began to turn a house with 3 flats into a single home. Ron asked for a leave of absence from Evanston High School, Andrew and Katy said goodbye to their friends and Jinx (6-month quarantine laws for dogs encouraged us to "lend" her to Ron's brother Jeff) and the three of them followed in late June.
Caryn's flat was much too small for the four of us, so our good friends Kathy and Doug Swain let us "house-sit" for them for two weeks in their beautiful home in Walton-On-Thames. Katy and Andrew attended summer camp at what would later become their school, The American School in London (ASL). As summer drew to a close, we made a day trip out to Brighton by train to see the ocean and to eat fish and chips (i.e. French fries).
August 11 brought Ron and Caryn's 20th wedding anniversary, as well as a total eclipse of the sun! We traveled to Balatonfüred on the shores of Lake Balaton in Hungary to witness the spectacle of a lifetime. We were not disappointed! In September Caryn attended an energy seminar in Oxford and invited us up for a tour of the Cotswolds, lovely villages in the hill country. We took a train to York in October and saw the huge Minster (cathedral) and spectacular Viking excavations. Thanksgiving was celebrated back at the Swain's, and then a weekend in Paris (only 3 hours by train!) where we climbed the Arc de Triumph and went to the top of the Eiffel Tower. We plan to celebrate the coming of the new millennium in Greenwich, right on the zero meridian, and watch as London actually sets the Thames on fire!
Andrew is now in the 8th grade and taller than his dad. He plays sax in the school band and does community service in a 3rd grade class. He's making some good friends, but misses his pals in the U.S. a lot. Katy is in the 3rd grade and taking advantage of the many after-school classes to learn international cooking, fencing, calligraphy, etc. etc. Ron is teaching high school algebra part-time at the same school, and often sees Andrew and Katy at lunch or in the halls. He commutes every day by bicycle, 2.5 miles downhill to school, 2.5 miles uphill home. Caryn is enjoying the variety of local shops, learning to make flower arrangements "British style," and learning to bake in metric. We live in Hampstead, a very lovely city just 5 miles north of London. Hampstead Heath is a large (nearly 1000 acres) area of open fields, woods, ponds and paths. Our house is in the Vale of Health, a road which extends part way into the Heath. As I write this, I can look out the window at a pond with a swan and ducks, and beyond that, the woods, and beyond that, the distant lights of London. We've found a new church, too, even smaller than the one we left!
You can see photos of our house, environs, and travels, and keep up with the news, by visiting our web page at http://wkweb5.cableinet.co.uk/ryanpedelty. In addition to the address on the envelope, you can reach us by email at email@example.com or by phone at 011-44-171-435-5524.
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a most blessed New Year. Please keep in touch with us, and visit us if you can.
Ron, Caryn, Andrew and Katy