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When Christmas isn’t ho ho ho

by Michael on December 24, 2011

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Christmas 2011 ~ We’re halfway around the world for Christmas this year, the first time we’ve ever spent the holidays away from home and family. On the surface, it appears that our year-long around-the-world journey is a grand lark taken by a couple seeking adventure, and perhaps going through a bit of a midlife crisis. It actually masks a sad reality that drove us to take this trip.

We’ve mentioned before that one of the driving forces for our journey has been that family life did not work out as we had hoped. After we were unable to have children we adopted a nine-year old girl from Russia. Life with her started out full of hope but eventually became mired down in a tragic and violent situation beyond our control. Despite all our efforts, by the time our daughter became an adult our relationship with her was broken, as were we. It is the great sadness of our lives that we were not able to remain as a family with her. We still hope that we will someday be together again.

The decision we made to take off for a year was not taken lightly. We sought advice from family, friends and professionals, both secular and religious. Traveling the world will not solve any of these problems but it was hoped that by being on the move we would no longer sit and dwell on how bad things had turned out. In our travels people often tell us that we are “living the dream.” But the reality is there is a continuing nightmare in the background that is never far from our thoughts.

Last week we visited Christchurch, New Zealand which earlier in the year suffered devastating loss of life and damage from a major earthquake. The picture above is of an angel, representing hope, that hovers from a construction crane over the city. We left Christchurch inspired by the spirit of the people to overcome adversity in their lives.

We wish everyone out there a Merry Christmas and a happy, and hopeful, New Year.

Peace,

Larissa and Michael

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Barb December 25, 2011 at 3:47 am

Hi Michael & Larissa,
Happy holidays.
I was absolutlely delighted to find your blog via the Philly.com site.
Thumbs up to you both! I honestly think that travel can be very healing .
Certainly, do it for yourselves and enjoy it everyday.
I will follow you guys & little Rocky! Philly is one of my fav cities & I am proud to have some of my family’s roots there.

Peace

Us December 25, 2011 at 9:23 am

Thanks for your kind words, Barb. Glad you like the blog. Keep in touch.

Hannah Lee December 25, 2011 at 6:51 am

Wow, I didn’t guess your private pain from your blog. I think it’s brave of the two of you to embark on this journey, knowing that it’s not to run away from your sorrow. May you find some solace in the people you meet along your pilgrimage as well as the feedback from your readers!

Us December 25, 2011 at 9:24 am

Thanks for the encouragement, Hannah. Your feedback is always welcome.

Gusto December 25, 2011 at 7:15 am

Mike snd Larissa,

Buon Natale a tutti, and God Bless.

You have to write the book.

Gusto

Us December 25, 2011 at 9:25 am

Yo Gusto! Grazie. Safe Christmas in Roch.

Paul Touhey December 25, 2011 at 7:22 am

Larissa and Michael,
I have enjoyed keeping up with your travels since I saw the first article in the Inquirer. I wondered about your daughter and am sorry to hear how that turned out.
I hope your travels are safe and be sure several of us here are enjoying your journal.
Merry Christmas!
Paul Touhey

Us December 25, 2011 at 9:27 am

Hi Paul, Glad to have you following along. Say hi to the gang at FDI for me.

Marian December 25, 2011 at 8:29 am

You are not the only ones praying for a happy and hopeful New Year. Perhaps your daughter will move from the darkness into the light and be all that you would hope her to be.

Us December 25, 2011 at 9:28 am

Thanks Marian. Hope springs eternal. Merry Christmas.

Alex & Ryan December 25, 2011 at 9:10 am

Merry Christmas! We are thinking of you today.

Us December 25, 2011 at 9:30 am

Hey guys! Hope Santa was good to you–did you know that kangaroos pull his sleigh in Australia?

MissElaineous December 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Amen, Sister. Literally.

Love that you’ve chosen to make some new memories. A Merry Christmas to you both!!!!

Us December 28, 2011 at 1:56 am

Thx to you and John.

John Discepoli December 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Love you

Us December 28, 2011 at 1:57 am

Ditto my brother from another mother.

Joanne December 26, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to both of you. Missed you at Christmas dinner. Stay well and God bless.

Us December 28, 2011 at 1:57 am

Thx Joanne. Enjoy retirement. You’ve earned it!

elise December 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm

May you find the peace you deserve. love to you.

Us December 28, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Hi Litha, Thx for keeping in touch.

Jane December 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Hi Larissa and Michael,
Here’s to hoping that 2012 will bring forth all your dreams and wishes.
Peace,
Jane

Us December 28, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Thanks Jane. Hope all is well with you.

Josephine December 28, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Hope 2012 brings all you wish for. Happy new year!

Us December 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Thx Josephine. We wish for one thing only.

Amy December 30, 2011 at 8:36 am

Larissa & Michael,

A big hug to both of you! We could share a very meaningful conversation about nature versus nurture. I know love & heroic, herculean efforts are sadly not always enough. May 2012 bring you what you wish for most, instill hope & peace. Travel Safe!

Us December 30, 2011 at 8:43 am

Great to hear from you Amy. Best wishes in the New Year as well.

elise December 28, 2011 at 10:55 pm

mmmmmwah. thinking of you often, my girl.

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