Lan and I came to America in 1995 with the intention of staying 9 to 12 months but it has now been eight years (2003)! As much as anything, I write these letters to document our experiences and impressions for our own benefit - a glorified photo album. I also hope that they keep us in touch with our friends and family so that they will know who we are when we go home. Originally the letters were mailed but that became unnecessarily expensive so now most get an email from me to tell them that a new letter is available for download.

You will notice that Lan appears in lots of photos and I appear in only a few. This is because Lan is able to "smile on demand" and I can't; she adds value to a photo but I detract from it.

Come along for the ride. Summaries are below; make selection from menu at left.

Letter 19 (20 Dec 08)

  • We are still (thankfully) employed
  • Comments on the 2008 election
  • Being a tourist at home and away
  • Health issues, good and bad

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Letter 18 (10 Dec 06)

  • Move to Alexandria, Virginia
  • Sightseeing—Utah, Washington DC and Canada
  • Fooling only a few of the people
  • Boats

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Letter 17 (2 Apr 05)

  • 10-year anniversary special! Has it really been that long?
  • Work
  • Washington D.C.
  • Election and American politics. I considered calling this part, "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection" but thought it a bit obscure.
  • Miscellaneous including our visit to Australia
  • Bumper stickers. I suspect this is the only section that get’s read.
  • The future as best we can tell

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Letter 16 (6 Jul 03)

  • Employment, or lack thereof
  • New York: Where "budget hotel" has new meaning.
  • The Netherlands Trains, canals, a wonderful family and their dog.
  • France Viva la difference.
  • Guns, germs and steel: Why the aborigines didn't discover Captain Cook.
  • Other items of interest: Centenary of flight, bumper stickers

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Letter 15 (25 Jul 02)

  • News: Visitors. Jobs. Goal!
  • New Orleans: Where we ate too much and slept too little.
  • September 11 and all that: Observations and "that photo".
  • It's all based on the constitution: Two current topics.
  • Bumper stickers: A poor crop

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Letter 14 (7 Mar 01)

  • 2½ years for this!? On the final approval of our application for permanent resident status.
  • Out and about: Trips to Chicago and Dinosaur National Monument.
  • Bumper stickers: "I still miss my ex. ..."
  • In other news: My speech class, life in America.

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Letter 13 (22 Jan 00)

  • Activities: Catch up on a full year of news which includes Peter being able to work ... and get paid for it.
  • Travels: Our trip to the south-eastern states, including some attractions that I saw almost 30 years ago.
  • America: Comments on the news and lots of bumper stickers.

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Letter 12 (12 Jan 99)

  • News: Peter back in America and not sure about the future. House renovation woes. Adventure to California: Trip to Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles and Grand Canyon.
  • Life in America: The good, the bad and the bizarre, including bumper stickers.
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Letter 11 (8 Nov 98)

  • World Cup edition. Peter about to leave Australia; Lan's "green card" application; renovating house; bumper stickers.

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Letter 10 (19 Mar 98)

  • Home again: Peter back in Australia; father just died; new job.
  • Australia: impressions of being home.
  • America: cold weather in Minnesota; Denver Broncos; bumper stickers; interesting things.

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Letter 9 (23 Nov 97)

  • News: Buying a unit; moving twice.
  • Travels: Trip to Minnesota
  • Interesting things: Bumper stickers; America's Dumbest Criminals; odds and ends.

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Blizzard report (24 Oct 97)

  • On the blizzard that shut down Denver and my adventure getting back from the airport.

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Letter 8 (10 May 97)

  • News: Going to buy the unit, getting a "green card" through Peter's work at La Calhene, changes at the company, Lan looking for work.
  • Trip to south-west corner: including car trouble, Mesa Verde and Arches National Parks.
  • Life in America: Post-election wrap-up, spectator sports, interesting things and bumper stickers.

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Letter 7 (12 Dec 96)

  • News: We moved; upheaval at my work; Thanksgiving; electric piano.
  • The holiday: Trip to Seattle, Anchorage, cruise and then Vancouver/Victoria.
  • America: Vietnam memorial; post-election comments; bumper stickers.

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Letter 6 (11 Aug 96)

  • News about us: We haven't moved, I'm taking the bus. Trip to South Dakota! Now on the internet, difficulty being understood.
  • News about US: Conspiracies, American taxes, bumper stickers, mixed marriages, welfare reform, coming election and wastefulness.

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Letter 5 (2 Mar 96)

  • (There was so much to include in this letter that it was formatted as an aerogram so that the envelope formed part of the package and kept the weight under half an ounce for air mail.)
  • Lan's letter from Madrid.
  • Our news: One year in the US. I finally got a working visa; considering real estate; banks; the weather; friends; cheap movies.
  • Trip to California: Cup holders; Nevada, Los Angeles, Solvang, Monteray, San Francisco; US 50.
  • Life in America: Christmas lighting; supermarkets; pills; busing; interesting things; election 96; bumper stickers.

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Letter 4 (26 Nov 95)

  • Our life-serious stuff: work and visas.
  • Our life-fun stuff: Getting to know people; Lan's trip to South Dakota; bicycles; music.
  • News in America: OJ Simpson; American politics; fighting crime in New York; health care.
  • Strange and curious things: Christian books; local drivers; women's' swimsuits; pumpkin ballistics.
  • Letter from Lan: Comments on Denver, Halloween, church, shopping and friends.

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Letter 3 (4 Aug 95)

  • (Also done in aerogram style.)
  • What we have been doing: Lan working long hours; applying for jobs; seeing Colorado and then a trip to Santa Fe and Taos in New Mexico plus Great Sand Dune National Monument.
  • Church: Catholic and Baptist
  • Life in America: "Blacks" and "indians"; ghettos; guns; things I like; difficulty being understood; odd things; normalization of relations with Vietnam.

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Letter 2 (22 Apr 95)

  • Just settling in Colorado; finding a place to live, a car and furniture, sales tax, possibility of work.

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Letter 1 (20 Mar 95)

  • First impressions as it was written just a week after we arrived.

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