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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