PES-KES News 1990 (January)
Well, we thought we’d send out another newsletter, seeing as how so many of you wrote to us at the same time over Christmas! Thanks for all the Christmas cards and wishes – it was so nice to be thought of so far from Aussieland! We are both doing well, and have had a very busy couple of months lately. Here are some of the highlights:
Paul got a job at Automated Design Systems after being in Atlanta for only 2 weeks! Karen job-hunted for a further 3 weeks before landing one at GE Information Systems. The two offices were only 200 metres apart (until Paul’s office moved a few miles further north), so we were very glad to be able to drive to work together, saving the expense of an extra car. (This is a miracle in Atlanta, population nearly 3 million, since there are many business districts, spread all over the city, also very little public transport, and the traffic is terrible as a result.)
We started going to the Atlanta Vineyard Christian Fellowship after more than 3 months of travelling (a different church every week). It was a relief to get some stable fellowship again. But we still miss Holland Park a lot (nothing’s quite like home!).
We joined the health club at Karen’s work (paid for by GE), and started working out 2 to 3 times a week.
Atlanta had the wettest summer ever! Funnily enough, we heard that at the same time, Queensland was having its wettest weather too!
We bought and moved into our lovely house here. It is a brick / wood split level on nearly 1/2 an acre with lots of trees (we counted 89 taller than us) (mainly pine trees). We are only about 200 metres walking distance from Uncle Harold, Aunt Hildegard, and Sharon, who we lived with for 3 months. We had a great time living with them (all the rellies adore Paul, but have learned what a ruthless yet sweet card player he is!).
We “did” garage sales nearly every weekend in July and August, and the Lord blessed us with some amazing bargains – we can’t stop telling people about our $10 washing machine which is in perfect condition (retails for $500-$600). We virtually had everything we needed by the time we moved into our house. (We only brought clothes, bibles, and a portable stereo with us from Australia.)
The first week in the house was spent mainly mowing the 3-foot grass, and raking it up. Unfortunately, we didn’t see the poison ivy in it, and even more unfortunately, Karen didn’t know she is extremely allergic to it. So she spent a very uncomfortable week off work (on steroids and other wonder drugs ???) wearing tight-fitting clothes to detract from the itching, and another 4 weeks recovering totally. Luckily, the week off corresponded with brother Eugene’s arrival from Erie, PA, for a 5-week stay, so she had lots of company. A few weeks later, she got “Pink-eye” (yes, that’s what it’s called). Apparently, you catch it from cats and babies, and it makes your eyes go pink, with about 100 times the normal amount of sleep in your eyes when you wake up. It only lasts a week or so. Paul managed to avoid any sicknesses this year.
Paul spent every available afternoon and weekend spraying the dreaded P.I.
We were thrilled to be able to have Ray and Tracy Hodge spend 5 days with us in our new home. We had a great time together, mainly just relaxing and talking (this was their last stop before heading to Europe). Tracy learned first-hand how “compassionate” the medical system is here to aliens (that’s what all non-Americans are!). But apart from that, we had a lovely time together, after keeping in regular phone contact since March.
We went on several weekend camping trips to North Georgia with 5 aunts and uncles, and cousins – it was especially pretty this month because of fall – it’s beautiful to see all the leaves “turning” (i.e. changing colours).
It’s been wonderful to be able to spend time with Karen’s relatives, and get to know them better. We’ve mainly spent time with her father’s side, since they all live around here. A few months after we moved to Atlanta, we discovered that Karen’s mother’s cousin and family moved here (we couldn’t believe it!). So we were able to spend time with them and their parents, Karen’s great aunt and uncle for the first time!
We took our annual (4th) anniversary week over Thanksgiving this year (less than a week before our actual anniversary day). You have to make do with what time off you get here, since you only get 10 days vacation a year, and have to work for 6 months before taking any! So we had a fantastic time – went to the ocean (Atlantic) – first ocean we’d seen since April – we stayed at a lovely restored inn in historic Savannah, Georgia, and then went to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina – beautiful beaches there just like Queensland. It is over 5 hours drive to the nearest beach from here, so people don’t tend to go very often (2 or 3 times a year is the average).
We got 3 new kittens for our anniversary (from Paul to Karen). (Our other 2, Misha and Mot, ran away in October, and are now living wild in a creek not too far away.) We have 3 males – a pure white one (Snowy – it snowed the day we got them); and two multi-coloured ones (Blizzard, and Jaffa). We got them from the Humane Society, and after all, we couldn’t just take 2 of them, so we decided to take all three – they are all very playful, affectionate “people” cats.
Our kinship group at Atlanta Vineyard has started meeting at our house (reminded us of the good ol’ days when we had our own home group!). We have a great group of about 30 adults and about 7 or 8 kids (we’re splitting soon).
We had two real snow-falls (both were on weekends, so we could go outside and watch them) – about 2 inches each time – it was the first time Paul had seen snow fall, and we both enjoyed it very much. It’s so quiet, and very beautiful.
Paul quit his job at Automated Design Systems, and started working at GE Information Systems on January 1st (yes, that’s where Karen works!). We make the 4th married couple in this office (there are 2 more couples in our other office in Tampa). He seems to be enjoying himself quite a bit. The flexible hours are the best part.
Mom and Dad Tiller, Eugene Tiller, and Rob Mergard joined us for Christmas and New Year’s. Mom and Dad and Eugene are still here for a while, and Rob goes back to Australia tomorrow (sob!). It has been a fantastic time seeing them again. Eugene had been on a 10-week backpacking trip in Europe since he was here in September. Rob may be back again in a few months, depending on his job situation and alien status (there’s that word again).
We had several family get-togethers over Christmas with the Tiller side of the family. There was a pre-Christmas dinner with all Karen’s fathers’ siblings, a Christmas day dinner with our Aunt and Uncle who live 1 block away, and a post-New-Years’ dinner with 60 or so Tillers in Traveler’s Rest, South Carolina.
Karen won a management award for getting projects in early at work. It’s nicknamed a “night-on-the-town” award, since it’s enough to cover a very nice night on the town.
Paul, Karen, Rob, and cousin Sharon and friends went to Underground Atlanta (“the” place to be, apparently) for New Years’ Eve for the 1st annual Peach dropping (not real peaches) (Atlanta is the “Peach City” – every 2nd street is called Peachtree). There were about 100,000 people there for the event (fireworks, music, etc.) We had a lot of fun seeing in the new decade.
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So as you can see, we have been busy! We have really appreciated all the letters everyone has sent us. We keep an elaborate letter-tracking system (you know how computer programmers are) – and so far we’ve received over 130 letters from family and friends. Thank you all (notice I didn’t say “y’all”)! I know we’ve been a bit slack over Christmas, but things were pretty hectic here for a while (as they seem to be at this time of year!).
Any time any of you venture over this way, please feel free to come and stay with us – we’d love to see you! Just give us a day or so’s notice, and we’ll get the guest room ready!
As far as our future plans go, we are content living each day as it comes for the present. Karen’s sister Ellissa is planning to get married at the end of the year, so we will have to make some decisions in the next eight or nine months or so.
In case any of you ever feel like calling us, at the moment, you in Queensland are 16 hours ahead of us, so if it’s 7:00 a.m. there, then it’s 3:00 p.m. here the day before, and if it’s 10:00 p.m. there, then it’s 6:00 a.m. here the same day. This will change of course when you finish daylight savings (and then we start it again).
So keep well, don’t forget to write and let us know what’s happening down there! We really appreciate the photos that some of you have sent – we do have photos of many of you on our wall, and think about you often.
Love and prayers,
Paul & Karen