Since we had planned for some time to spend Christmas with family in Utah and, given that it would take two to three months for our household goods to be shipped to Australia, we thought it a good idea to move out before Christmas. And that's about when it became a bit busy. Gaynor and the children drove up a few days before the closing date for the house, leaving myself and a number of volunteering friends to ship, sell, give-away, donate or discard what remained of our possessions, as well as to clean and make minor repairs to the house. I never would have made the deadline were it not for those very good friends who pitched in when it was needed the most and to them I extend my gratitude once again.
I flew up to Utah on Christmas Eve to join the family and had a wonderful time over that break, especially since I didn't have to get rid of anything else, enjoying time with Martin and his lovely family. Gaynor and the children, with the exception of Elijah, sojourned in sunny, snowy Utah for the month following while I returned to southern California in the New Year for the last few weeks of work. The children really got on very well with their cousins and Gaynor kept her sanity by crocheting and cooking. Stacie was pleased to have her own personal cook and highlights of the stay included ice skating with the Parkers, bowling with Erin and spending time again with Donovan. Meanwhile, Elijah had worked on convincing his parents that he desperately needed to spend more time with his friends in southern California before settling across the Pacific and, with plenty of good people willing to take him off our hands and some to drive him back down, we relented with a few specific instructions designed to ease the stay.
After what seemed like ages but at the same time passed very quickly, Gaynor and the children, with Joshua doing most of the driving, travelled back down to California for a few more days before flying out from Los Angeles. We're grateful to our close friends who not only provided places to stay for us and our belongings but also decided to throw us a farewell party. It was lovely to see good friends one more time, for what might be a while, and to receive and give well wishes. Of course, they may have also been looking forward to the even bigger party that was sure to be thrown just after we left. In these days of web logs, Facebook, email and Skype staying in touch is far, far easier that ever before -- so no excuses people! -- but we'll still greatly miss the times spent in the company of fine friends.