The Beebes did it again! Late for the annual end or beginning of the year letter; however not so late if the letter is redefined as a mid-year letter. The past year was marked by travel, lots of travel. Sometime in August 2002, the Beebes were in four continents – James was in South Africa, Maria was in the Netherlands, Ligaya was in Taiwan and, David was holding down the fort, he was in Boston, where, for the past four years, he works, lives, and plays.
David finally got his retrenchment wish from WorldCom and is working at what he calls “something fun that I really like to do but pays a little more than minimum wage.” His trips this year were all in the U.S. – Atlanta, Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga. We asked him what his favorite trip was. His response: “I fell in love with Chattanooga. Great pizza place. Pizza by the slice with many toppings, 21 bottles of beer, friendly service, nice walking trail, great outdoor art, nice library, and a neat electric bus that is a free service that takes you around downtown. Rode the mile long steepest incline railway. They have a microbrewery with a great Scottish ale. I lived that tourist surreal life of "everyone here is nice and friendly." It was not unlike going to a different country.”
Ligaya is looking forward to her thesis notes burning on May 2 and her graduation on May 19. She is both excited and feeling trepidation about what comes after graduation. She spent seven weeks in July and August in a Buddhist monastery in Kaohsiung, Taiwan where she was also able to practice her Mandarin when not practicing silent meditation. Part of her emails home: “We're in Taipei now. During this cultural part of the Buddhist experience, I've seen beautiful palmtree jungle hills, swam in the Taiwan straight, eaten a million and a half mangoes, rolled taro balls in a sunflower farm, rowed a boat in a lake called "sun" or "moon," danced with Taiwanese teenagers, laughed on a bus with 40 of my new closest friends, enjoyed a new method of Chinese tea ceremony, and witnessed the immense power and prosperity of the mighty Fo Guang Shan empire (there's the main mountain in Kaohsiung and 80 branch temples in Taiwan alone).” Since she was just a short hop away, Ligaya spent several weeks in the Philippines where she met hundreds of relatives and adopted aunts and uncles and James and Maria’s odd assortment of friends from Peace Corps and people power days.
James did his share of flying while maintaining a full teaching load at Gonzaga University and while studying to be a Unitarian minister. His favorite trip was a Rockefeller-funded workshop in Bellagio, Italy. At the workshop, he taught African scientists, mainly plant breeders how to mine the Internet for up-to-date scientific information, how to put together web pages, and how to use Rapid Assessment Process (RAP) for their work. He received a Senior Fullbright Lectureship Award which he spent at the Ateneo de Manila in December. Maria tagged along. While he lectured on Leadership and Business, Maria stimulated business. David was not able to join us for Christmas. Ligaya did join us. And we spent time visiting with June Brett and her children and children’s children in Baguio City, looking for any beach between Baguio and Manila, reminiscing about people power days with Gicer and Tita, marveling at the orchids and cell phones with adopted Gugo family, and talking about those good old Peace Corps days in 1970 with Paul Rodell and John and Gloria Boren. James did get a chance to rethink his career path when he was offered the job of being Santa at one of the upscale shopping malls in Manila. Not because he had Santa’s belly--James is now proud of his healthiest and fittest look ever since--but because he had a real snowy beard, a twinkle in his eyes, and he can say “Ho, ho, ho” in Tagalog.
Maria wins the most air miles logged between several African countries and Spokane. She reports that she finds it strange to be called to do face-to-face meetings, seminars, and conferences about information and communication technologies (ICTs), particularly the use of the Internet when these could be done with video-conferencing, audio-conferencing, or doing instant messages. One fun trip Maria did last year was with Ligaya exploring Amsterdam, inhaling secondhand smoke, and drinking wine at any one of those outdoor cafes. Maria started this letter while in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and sends a Happy Ethiopian Orthodox Easter greetings to everyone.
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