Group

When you live on the far side of the world, one of the things you miss the most is just hanging out with family and friends. In our home there never seemed to be a shortage of kids just lying around on the couch and we loved it.

Our first Canadian visitors in our Cayman condo brought back some of those wonderful memories. Dave and his two buddies, Cash and Raul, came to visit for a week. They eventually figured out how to best deal with the snorer in the group and settled in for a really nice visit. They took the car and explored the island by themselves but we also got to visit Sting Ray City and the underwater world with them. In fact, it was so nice that Dave decided it would be worthwhile extending his visit for a further week- and we are sure that we were the attraction.

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It has been ten years since we have had a Christmas tree and I was sort of hankering after one since we will be at home on Cayman for the holiday. However, once I discovered that even a four foot artificial one would set us back about $120 Canadian, I decided that it was not to be. But a few weekends ago we dropped in on one of the endless  funding raising events at this time of year; a tailgate sale in a nearby parking lot. Unbelievably, a month prior to Christmas someone was selling a brand new four foot tree with lights and I got it for 10 bucks. It felt like winning the lottery; or at least as close as I will ever come to it. We are so thrilled to have our little tree and are looking forward to have six or eight of Steve’s co-workers here for a turkey dinner on Christmas Day.

Meanwhile our kids and grandkids are getting prepared for their own Christmas celebrations.

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Immediately on our return to the Caribbean from our Canada trip I was in Cuba for a few days to meet up with our TWR staff and get a sense of the work that is going on there. I also had the joy of attending the official opening and a dedication of the new home and office of the Cuban ministry team. Steve was able to join me for a quick getaway when Steve was able to join me for the weekend.

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Havana is the culturally rich and colourful capital of Cuba and the largest city in the Caribbean. To walk around Vieja Habana (Old Havana) is to step back in time where the 16th century Spanish colonial architecture is evident in the castles, cathedrals and mansions.  Although battered and badly in need of repairs, the city maintains its wonder and attraction. The streets are lined with 1950’s American made cars and the sound of music from the clubs and cabarets floods the streets and alleys. We will definitely go back there soon.

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Miss you guys so much.

jonandnic

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Family (2)

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Introducing


Layla Evelyn Epp


Born: October 21 2015


At: 5:19 a.m.


Weighing: 7 lb 14 oz


Looking: Gorgeous

 

 

 

 

Although the name was chosen long before anyone laid eyes on her, it could not have been more appropriate for her. Layla is a name of Arabic origin which means “dark beauty” which she is and Evelyn means “wished for” which she has been for a long time.

 

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Sometimes it feels like we have been waiting for this baby for a very long time and with a lot of heartache. It seemed too good to be true when Liz got successfully through the first trimester and then at 20 weeks the ultrasound revealed a little baby girl with a perfect little heart. Just as she began to believe that she would be able to relax and enjoy the last ten weeks of a happy healthy pregnancy, Liz experienced a pulmonary embolism. This complication meant daily injections, constant monitoring and a detailed plan for a high risk delivery.

At least with a delivery date scheduled, I was able to plan my visit to Calgary so that I could be there a week before the baby was born. This meant some wonderful times getting to know Russ’s routines, taking some nice walks and playing in the park. Had a bit of a frantic weekend getting the nursery put together and everything ready for her arrival.

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I have lost track of the number of cars I have leased and owned. Certainly around twenty, I would figure. Very few of them have been new. I just can’t justify driving off a new car lot and seeing the value drop in half by the time I reach the road. There are more important things I want to do with my money. So I prefer used.

In Malaysia we had a 1996 Proton. Kind of like a Datson, if you can remember back that far. It had a 1.5 litre Misubishi engine in it that was in good shape, but it was nothing to look at. But at least the aircon worked, which in Malaysia was a must. Coming to the Caymans, we weren’t looking at anything better. We bought a 1996 Mitsubishi Pajero Jr. and a bushel of problems. The tires were bald, the ball joint/tie-rods were loose, the rad leaked and the paint looked like it had spent most of the last 20 years parked under a colony of very loose bowelled birds.

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Tires were first, obviously. The mantra in F1 is that engine and chassis are just devices for keeping the tires connected to the road. Overstatement, perhaps, but it makes the point. Then I found a guy willing to rebuild the control arm assembly with butchered parts. The rad just needed a flush; the oil issue ditto, but the paint was an eyesore so matter which way you looked. And the cheapest quote I could find was $1500 Cayman which is like $2500 Canadian. I just couldn’t do it.

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So armed with little more than a couple of cans of spray paint and some steel wool I took on the job of repainting the hood and roof, the two worst offenders. Dodging tropical storms and mosquitoes on the one hand, and my own bone dead fatigue at the end of a work day on the other, I have persevered until the car looks at least half-decent. I thought to cut myself some slack by replacing the rusted out windshield wipers arms with new, but at $150 Canadian – each! – I decided to do them myself as well. I am done, and at the end we still have a beat-up island car that is twenty years old. But it does look a little less embarrassing.

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