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Showing posts from December, 2017

Christmas 2017

The last Christmas we spent with our kids was in 2010.  Last year, 2016, we were in the USA for Christmas, so we did celebrate Christmas early with our kids, but it's just not the same as actually celebrating Christmas.  We do love our Christmases in Niger, spent mostly with friends at church, but there's sure nothing like spending the day with your kin.

Suz, Theo, Tera, Hezekiah, and "Heavenly" (a nickname for our foster grand-daughter) arrived Friday afternoon (they started their trip around 3 a.m.!).  They and the two little ones took naps in the afternoon while John and I played "Seven-Hand Rook" and Chinese Checkers with Heavenly.  We also watched a show on tv before everybody finally got up and then we all went for a walk before it got dark. Daniel and Kelly with Levi and Everett arrived late that night.

On Saturday some people slept in, but that's a bit hard to do when there are kids in the house.  I spent the morning making three pies for Christma…

The People Walking in Darkness Have Seen a Great Light

The short days we experience at this time of year are a sharp contrast to our very even days in Niger.  There is probably only an hour difference between our longest day and our shortest day.  If we think our days here in northeast Pennsylvania are short, they are even shorter in parts of the UK.  And the short day we spent in Iceland was different from anything I've ever experienced.

Here's some trivia for you, as of December 20:

Iceland has 6 h 46 m of visible light and the length of the actual day is 4 h 8 m.
Oxford UK has 9 h 8 m of visible light and the length of the actual day is 7 h 47 m.
Ulverston UKhas 8 h 48 m of visible light and the length of the actual day is 7 h 20 m.
Ypsilanti MIhas 10 h 9 m of visible light and the length of the actual day is 9 h 5 m.
Mt Cobb PA & Manchester CT (I think there was a minute of difference between the two) has 10 h 13 m of visible light and the length of the actual day is 9 h 10 m.
Fairborn OHhas 10 h 21 m of visible light and the len…

A Brief Visit to Iceland

When we went to Oxford for John's doctoral defense, naturally we looked for the cheapest way to get there.  John found amazingly cheap tickets on Iceland Air.  These involved changing planes in Reykjavik on our way to the UK and a 17-hour layover on the way back.  Seventeen hours is way too long to just hang out in the airport, so we began to think about what we could do during those 17 hours.  We knew it wasn't enough time to see much, but we wanted to see what we could.  

Because we were arriving in the middle of the night, we reserved a hotel and took the bus that drops people off at hotels.  Of course, those were at our own expense.  I'd say that getting to Iceland is cheap, but staying is maybe not so cheap! We found a hotel, the T-10, that was really more of a guest house or hostel.  It was $87.16 for the night for two of us and that included a continental breakfast.  On the research that I did, we got one of the cheapest rooms I could find, but that also had good rev…

Days 7, 8, 9 & 10, in Which We Spend Time with Friends

Our last few days in Oxford we spent getting together with friends.  We spent Saturday morning with Vee, a retired missionary who spent years in Niger.  She actually took the bus into Oxford to spend time with us.  We went through the outdoor market near the Gloucester Green Coach Station and then to the Christmas Market in Oxford. 

We also walked through the Covered Market.  I had been in the St. Michael at the North Gate church before, but John and Vee hadn't, so we also went in there. 

John and I took the chance to climb up in the Saxon Tower for a panoramic view of Oxford.  Vee stayed safely downstairs, chatting with the lady in the gift shop.

We ended the morning with lunch at a very busy and crowded pub.  I think everyone in Oxford was out doing their Christmas shopping and then eating at the same pub that morning!

In the afternoon we went to the home of friends of ours from the church that John has attended when he's been in Oxford.  John and Raquelle and their three girls …