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Salud!

12/14/07 - Albuquerque, NM

Happy Holidays 2007!

Holiday greetings to all of our family, friends - new and old, acquaintances and anybody else who may be reading this letter:

Wow, as usual, it's been an action-packed year for us. 2007 has been a year of transitions, as we've relocated and re-adjusted to life not only back in the States but here in New Mexico, as well (which frequently feels, culturally, more like Mexico than the US!). For those of you who can't quite keep up with us (and I don't blame you - I can barely keep track of us!), here's the rundown of our goings on this past year.

Back in January of this year, we returned to our home in Mexico - San Miguel de Allende to be exact - after spending the holidays with family in Michigan. We had left our home and lives in San Francisco just over 2 years earlier and funds were beginning to run low, so we decided it was time to think about relocating back to the States and try to build the bank accounts back up. We put our San Miguel condo on the market, but weren't very hopeful. Even though we had done quite a bit of work on the place, including creating a beautiful new kitchen, the real estate market in Mexico was suffering from a trickle-down effect from the slowdown 'up north' and local realtors prepared us for our home to be on the market for 6-9 months.

"What better time for a final Mexican vacation," we said! We had been wanting to visit the Yucatan Peninsula since we arrived in Mexico and now was the time. We spent a fabulous Exploring the ruins at Chichen Itza2 weeks in the colonial city of Merida and on the coast near Playa del Carmen, enjoying the Euro-city vibe of Merida and the sun, sand, surf and fruity drinks in Playa…aaaahhhhh! Much to our surprise, one week into our trip, our realtor contacted us to say that she had a buyer and we signed a purchase agreement from an internet café in Merida before we even returned home! The sun was shining on us indeed!

Upon returning to San Miguel from our trip, we packed up all our things into the van, said goodbye to our friends, signed away our Mexican home and drove off, northward-bound. As most of you know, we landed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where we have made our home since April.

After a few final delicious weeks in March back in Puerto Vallarta while we waited to get into our new home, we came back to Albuquerque to settle in to the two-bed, two-bath newer, modern southwest-style home we rented on the banks of the Rio Grande, amidst the cottonwood trees. Although very ugly when we moved in, in the early spring, the cottonwoods quickly bloomed their beautiful, vibrant green leaves, as promised. We spent the spring adjusting to and enjoying life in Albuquerque and New Mexico in general: exploring the Bosque Trail bike path that runs along the river near our house, hiking in the Sandia Mountains on the east side of Albuquerque, playing tennis, learning our way around town and making friends. Scott even located an organic farm nearby, Los Poblanos Organics, and participated in a workshare program in exchange for discounted produce. Needless to say, we've been eating very well, on a budget!

We also made time for some exploring around New Mexico, southern Colorado and Arizona, visiting places like White Sands National Monument, the ancient mesa-top Acoma Pueblo, the beautiful Jemez Mountains near Santa Fe, the Hatch Chile Festival and even Grand Canyon National Park and Scottsdale, AZ.

In July, we hit the road one more time (it's in our blood, I swear!), for a road trip to Vancouver Island that we had planned before relocating to the States. It all started when we accepted a home exchange offer last year from a nice Canadian couple, Donna and Wally, who live near Victoria on Vancouver Island. They stayed in Puerto Vallarta back in November of last year and we had arranged with them to stay in their home this past August. Well, we got to thinking, and we decided if we were going to go all that way, that it would make sense to make some stops along the road. Two weeks on Vancouver Island quickly turned into a 6-week road trip!

It turned out to be one of our best trips yet. We managed to allow plenty of time and took the back roads whenever we could. We visited some amazing places - the great landscapes and wildlife of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, the quaint, flower-filled streets of Victoria, the lovely, lakes, rivers and ocean of southern Vancouver Island and the amazing wilds, including the many black bears, of northern Vancouver Island. We fell in love with Seattle, even during the misty, grey days, and the snow-capped mountains of Olympic National Park. The Oregon Coast was a real show-stopper with its gorgeous, sandy beaches, rocky tide pools and playful sea lions that were difficult to leave behind. Finally, the national parks of southern Utah - Zion, Bryce, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Capitol Reef and Natural Bridges - were nothing short of breathtaking, each in its own unique way.

It was hard to return home, knowing that the fun, excitement and adventure of traveling were over, at least for a little while. We would have loved to stay on the road for longer! But in August, we came home and got down to business. After many months of discussions about where to go from here, we finally made the decision (and the leap!) to start our new business The Alluring Home - A Home Staging Company, (www.thealluringhome.com) here in Albuquerque. It has been slow-going, getting started, as we still manage to have lots of other exciting things going on.

We were fortunate enough to have two sets of visitors during our city's famous Balloon Fiesta in October; Scott's parents, Jerry and Denise, came for a week at the beginning of the month, followed by our friend Leane from San Francisco for a week after that. We'll have many wonderful memories for years to come from those visits and definitely look forward to the opportunity to visit with any other out-of-town visitors who come our way!

In addition to having houseguests, this fall we've also been busy doing background work (as extras) in the New Mexico Film Industry, which seems to be booming. On a tip from an Albuquerque friend, Naomi, we sent in our photographs late this past summer to several local casting agents and have been surprised by how much work we've gotten. Our first background gig was on a Kevin Costner movie called "Swing Vote," which Naomi also worked on. Caroline may be appearing as a US Marshal in an episode of a new TV show on the USA network titled "In Plain Sight," scheduled to air beginning in January, while Scott just finished a background role as the "Postmaster" in a western called "Appaloosa" and recently did some work as a stand-in (typically no on-camera work; a stand-in is a person who is similar in height, hair color, age, etc. to the principal actor and stands in place for the actor while the lighting, camera angles, etc. are set up; better pay than background work!) for Tobey MacGuire on the new movie "Brothers."

So, the excitement continues and we can't wait to see what the New Year manages to bring!

Wishing all of you the happiest of holiday seasons; may 2008 be your best year yet! We look forward to hearing what you've been up to, so please drop us a line!

Love,

Caroline & Scott

For further entertainment, check out these Ghosts of Christmases Past:

Christmas 2006

Christmas 2004

Christmas 2003

Christmas 2002

 
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