Last Night of Home (by Kate)

It is almost time to go to Vietnam. And tomorrow we are leaving to the airport on

Kate working on this blog

January 1st. It is going to be exciting. We are looking forward to having our big adventure. The flight is 20 hours. We go one hour to Chicago, 13 hours to Japan, then 6 hours to Vietnam. We are going to watch a movie on the plane. And we got business class seats so we are going to rest some of the time, too (thanks to our friend Bart Kalkstein for the upgrades!). We will put a picture of the seats when we get on the plane.

I am going with my cousins to my grandparents’ house tonight and I am going to bring my magician set and perform. Every year we go to Bee and David’s house for New

Year’s Eve. We have a big party and we watch the ball drop and we also have a sleep over. The next morning we are going to be picked up early because we are going to get on the plane. And then we’re going to have our big adventure!!

And that’s all for now.

Why Vietnam?

Kate, Anna and Matthew’s teachers at Agnon School did a wonderful thing for them today and yesterday. They asked all the children in their grades to write a farewell letter which they compiled in beautiful books, one for each child. The girls got journals as gifts, too.

In these letters, many of their friends asked them questions about what life would be like in Vietnam.  What would the weather and food be like? How long is the flight? Many drew pictures and said how much they would miss them. Since they attend a Jewish school, one wanted to know if there were any Jews in Vietnam and would we be able to go to Shul or practice speaking Hebrew (good question – we will find out soon — probably no Shul though). Then we read one that was very straightforward: Why do you go to Vietnam? We lost a war with them.Today was the last day of school, so there were lots of goodbyes and hugs. Anna’s friends in third grade surrounded her outside the classroom at the end of the day and were all hugging each other, weeping, faces red. Anna was crying and saying she didn’t want to go over and over.

Later we got some frozen yogurt where we read each of their farewell books word for word, and then we came home and packed for Florida. Off we go tomorrow for one last domestic trip to visit Poppy and Susu!

Bye Bye Pretty!

Pretty at home

Everyone keeps asking me if we’re ready to go to Vietnam. Well, today we checked another to do off our list and took our parakeet to live in a new home today. About three months ago I found this bird in the parking lot of Agnon School.  I have no idea why he was in the parking lot, but I captured him with my bare hands and a little help from my friend Lisa Linden, bought him a cage at Petco and brought him home. I had a couple of birds when I was growing up, so I was excited to save the little guy. The kids were ecstatic! They named the cute green budgie Pretty. If we had not found him, he surely would have died outside as he is a tropical bird.

I made an announcement about it on Cleveland.com hoping to find Pretty’s rightful owner.  The only response I received was from a woman who offered to take the bird in the case we didn’t find the owner. She said she had a good home for him with ten birds in a big cage.

The kids and I were very curious about where Pretty would be living and his new housemates numbering ten.  We went straight to her house after school today to drop Pretty off.  In the back of the house was a large cage with many, many parakeets (Pretty’s new mother said she had15 birds and that they were nesting and probably would be more on the way. Each one had a name. She offered me a baby parakeet when we return.

Pretty was very happy to see so many other birds and took right to his new home. I took a picture, and Kate asked me to shoot a video too. Bye Bye Pretty!

Dear Dog, We’ll Be Home Soon.

In less than a month (okay, 27 days!) we will be on our way to Vietnam.  The visas were issued, the plane tickets have been purchased, and — this is the exciting news — I found a violin teacher who not only speaks great English, but he knows the Suzuki repetoire. Now all we need is a cello teacher.  I am not as worried about it now.

My dad got Kindles for the girls, so now we don’t have to worry about toting around lots of books or trying to find English language books while we are gone.  We can even download books from the library while in Vietnam!

We’ve also been in touch with the teachers at the kids’ new school.  The classes will be very small and the teachers have already been welcoming by sending photos and information about their new classmates. Kate was most interested in learning how many girls would be in her class (6 out of 8!).

Coco Can't Come to Vietnam

All we have left is to pack and say some goodbyes.  The hardest goodbye that I am anticipating is the one we will have to say to our beloved family dog, Coco. My brother and sister in law will be taking great care of her in Atlanta (thank you!!!), she will have the company of their dog and cat to help pass the time (I hope the cat survives Coco’s curiosity), and what person or dog could complain about escaping the freezing Cleveland winter? But I cannot explain to Coco that we have not abandoned her and will be back. I hope she forgives me when we get home. It will plague me while we are away. I did just see a posting about a family looking for a home for their two gerbils in Hanoi – I am seriously thinking of offering to take them when we get there. Somehow that seems comforting to know we’d have pets while we are there.

I think the girls will also be very sad to say goodbye to their girlfriends. I am not looking forward to that, but maybe it won’t be as bad as we think.