About mebtravelling - West to East, then back to the West, then --

Mother, Grandmother, Teacher-Traveler, often packing or unpacking, esp since 4th COVID jab.

Travels with Benji and Then Some


Hi to Francis and Mary!

Last week I got to take Finn’s great pal Benji to Switzerland for his Spring Break. Benji is  so amazing, so chill, that even our flight attendants thought he went halfway around the world every week or two.

The train ride from the airport was the first time Benji saw Switzerland. I stopped the video before we got to the fields — and the cows with their bells!

Benji arrived, played after Gus and Kieran got home from school — and then he was whisked off to surprise Finn. They went to Verbier, a great place to ski and sled in the Alps, which are the mountains that surround your cousins’ house.

While Benji and the others were gone, my friend Annie  came to visit us. First, we went to Gus’ basketball game.


Afterwards, over his snack,  Annie gave Gus a quick French lesson.


The next day after  church, we went to a Bar Lotto in Lausanne. You can ask mom and dad…😇And then Benji and Finn (and Uncle Chris and Auntie Teresa) returned from the mountains.

One night Benji chose dessert…

One day, he went to school withFinn – I think they chose “Traditional” over “wellness,” that day.
Then Benji and Finn begged Teresa to take them to this HUGE Pokémon store (no photos) Another day we walked into the village. Well, I walked, and they scootered.
The last night of Benji’s visit we had FONDUE. I think you would really like it .

And then just like that, we were back in Minnesota!

“H” is for Hong Kong!

Dear Ceci, Finn, Gus, Kieran, Mary, and Francis,

Happy New Year! I got to talk/video chat/FaceTime  with most of you, so I know you had a great Christmas and New Year. Soon you’ll be back at school, ECFE,  or day care – can you believe it?! 

Before you return, here are a few photos from my days in Hong Kong with Auntie Elizabeth and a Minnesota friend of mine, Jeanne. 

               HONG KONG IS HUGE.

We visited Mongkok, a neighborhood that has more people than ANY PLACE ON EARTH.  Being there was like living inside a kaleidoscope!

This Mongkok  fruit market runs for many blocks.

The 7 towers of Elizabeth’s  complex have more apartments  than St-Saphorin has people —  over 2,000.   On New Year’s Eve, from my bedroom in Elizabeth’s  “Tower 4”  apartment on the 17th floor, I could see a sliver of the wild and beautiful fireworks in Victoria Harbor. 


One  day we visited a huge and beautiful garden inside something called a nunnery. This is a convent for Buddhist nuns. We also visited the temple there, where a Fortune Teller told me I would live a long and lucky life. I told her that I already had, and she laughed and said, “Lucky, more!”


Another time, while Elizabeth worked in her studio on shark’s fin cyanotypes (yes!), Jeanne and I took the Star Ferry to Lamma Island for the day .  We ate mussels, oysters, and shrimp – no shark’s fin for us! It was so sunny, we ate outside looking over the beach.

I loved the time there, and like Elizabeth, I hope you can go visit sometime (and if you go in summer, she has a nice pool…).

PS – A few years ago, Auntie Elizabeth did the drawings and paintings for “H” is for Hong Kong!

Swiss Family Cronin Party!

Hi, Mary and Francis, this post is  for you and your almost-expat cousins. I’ll let mom or dad  explain “expat.”

We had a perfect day for the party hosted by Auntie Rhonda and Uncle Tom.  Soon, the expats will get to know Swiss Chocolate. Today, we had A.MAZ.ING American Chocolate:

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There were many, many  children. Q was too fast for me, but here are Francis and the  Cronin cousins:

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Oh, and there were grownups — I was enjoying the food and Sangria (ask your mom and dad… or not) and wine, and… Anyhow, I didn’t take many Big People photos, but here are some. How many do you know?

I saw many other great photo ops, too, like Dad/Uncle Chris visiting great old friends (like me, old, I mean). And Ceci with some of her girlfriends, who just threw themselves down on the lawn for a picnic. And Mom/Auntie Teresa drying children’s tears (I’m not saying…!). And old (like them) Nativity and college friends, some meeting one another for the first time! 

By the end of the day,  we knew we were all very sad for ourselves, but very happy for them.


                                  (The Grands, by Auntie Elizabeth – July 2016)

Happy First Vespers to KBC: we came for the Sharks & stayed (& stayed) for the Anemone.

Hi, Ceci, Finn, Gus, Mary, and Francis — Tomorrow, Kieran, you will be 5 — great year ahead, but today was just you and I and All. Those.Underwater. Critters. 

I think petting the Stingrays was your favorite moment. Such slime, but (and?) you really liked it.

On the other hand, the Anemone, where we went, then left, then returned, then left and returned again — it was like having your own ROCKPOOLS for an hour.


That Alligator Turtle was impressive for about 10 seconds.

The Sharks were their usual awesome selves. 

INDIA: Not “Wrong” — Different!

Dear Ceci, Finn, Gus, Mary, Kieran, and Francis,

Now that Christmas break has ended, I know some of you are back to school or back home (or mommy is now home, full time!).  Here at the ashram in India this  week, we ended the Christmas Season, too. You can see the  the crèche as it was being taken down … 

 I’m sorry you’re missing  the colored, popping lights, but you can still see how different this is from an American crèche. Do you see the lines of the divided highway? And the sand? The riverbed? 

Speaking of the riverbed, when I Facetimed with Ceci the other day, she noticed the Cauvery River from my hut. Here’s a satellite photo – can you see the river near the top? The long red building near the bottom holds the kitchen and the dining room where we eat. My hut is just above there.


Ananda Ashram

   Ceci also noticed something different about my bathroom. Look closely and see if you can find what it is!   Do you see my “closet” and my bed? Yes, that mosquito net keeps out…the geckos!

  My broom, up close! 

  Today I arrived early for noon prayer in the chapel, which we call a “temple,” so I whispered this video. 

 Here’s the river, close-up. Not so different-looking, but…  Would you believe that is a fishing boat??!

The  teachers (and 2 of their daughters) out at BLESS School,  are dressed for A WORKDAY. Yes!  

 They worked in groups, and very hard,  on the assignment I gave them.

Before I close, Here’s  a little video I took yesterday when I went into the village to run errands. I looked down, and look what I saw–!

Missing you all. xxoo



Some Wild Things in Kerala!

Hi, Kids —

The south of India has great food and great animals. I could have ridden an elephant, but decided to wait. Maybe in Thailand, where I know how well  their owners take care of them. 


I went on a long boatride one morning and afternoon on the “Backwaters.” That’s where I saw these birds and (wild) dogs

CRANE looking for lunch.

DOGS looking for lunch, too.  

FISHERMEN on Kerala Backwaters…they found their lunch!


Missing you already, but…SO THANKFUL!

You six…SUMMER and FALL — remember these moments?

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The driver wasn’t outside Gate 6, but in a little while he appeared, smiling, and talking on his phone!

This lovely family and I shared stories and tips – they are here for a family wedding – during our very, very long flight. 


Look at the driver tying the suitcase to the top with A SINGLE BUNGEE. And it worked!


I think we could put this sign in my apartment courtyard, don’t you? For the bunnies.


This morning, Thursday, I was able to go out to Jeevan  Jyoti, the orphanage run by the Daughters of Charity here in New Delhi. The sisters were lovely, and since it was a Prayer Day, there was just one other volunteer, a young woman from Poland.

The sisters let me join workers doing physical therapy with very disabled, very young  children.   I didn’t see any  babies as young as you, Francis, but one little boy sounded just like you when you get excited. ! Someday, I will tell you all more about these beautiful kids.


(Prayer Day is  also laundry day for the sisters!)




Blind Kids Learning in Chiang Mai – FIELD TRIPS!

Hi, kids — 

     Special thanks to Ceci and Finn for the great videos telling my students about snow! I know it’s hard to tell  kids who can’t see, about something they’ve never experienced.  BUT YOU DID IT. They  still tell me they don’t really understand how — or why — you go outside and actually PLAY in it, but I think that’s because winter here (now) is 80 degrees or higher,  don’t you?

Today, I thought I’d tell you about 2 trips we’ve taken  (if you click the photos, I think you can make them bigger) —

                          THIS WEEK WE WENT TO THE COUNTRY, TO A RICE FARM.

In fact these students go out to the country nearly every week – to learn where rice (and sometimes other fruits and vegetables) comes from, and how it is harvested.

After working in the morning, we made lunch —



The kids can't see, so this is how they figure out what pukins are like: how they're shaped, and where they come from

As you know, the kids can’t see, so this is how they figure out what pumpkins are like: how they’re shaped, and where they come from



Hi, Kids — 

Mary, I know you’re back home, and Cronin kids, I think you didn’t have school on Wednesday (Finn, you called it: -40 with the wind chill). BRRR I wonder what you did  all day?

Maybe tonight or tomorrow you will have time to look at pictures From a few weeks ago, from  Beijing. As you know,  I was with Uncle Roy and Auntie Elizabeth. There are even videos  for you, Gus, Kieran, and Mary…

Elizabeth toted  my very heavy bags from the airport…

Elizabeth  met me at the airport.

One day I visited a huge palace, with many buildings, and many rooms in those buildings. It is right in the center of Beijing.  Can you guess why this huge palace, many palaces, actually, which is about 600 years old, is known as THE FORBIDDEN CITY?

Inside The Forbidden City

Inside The Forbidden City. This looks like a very old picture doesn’t it? I took it in December 2014!

I also made a very quick visit to TIANANMEN SQUARE (ask mom & dad) —



One evening we went to see many things, starting with the Chinese National Stadium, called The BIRDSNEST.  Nearby, is this tower. If I’d taken a video, you could see that the changing colors make the lights look as if they are moving.


That night we also visited a huge place called The Water Cube. It was built for swimming competition at the 2008 Olympics. Elizabeth took this video for you:

Inside the Water Cube is a long water path, covered with glass — can you see what WE saw as we walked along the path?imageWe went to see a performance of Beijing Opera in the Water Cube. This introduction by the director gives you an idea of why the singers sound strange to our ears:

…and here are a few seconds of the opera. Ceci and Finn, can you read the words on the red sign? That might help understand what is going on here. Beijing Opera is what is called “stylized,” and what I call “complicated.” I’ve known some who just call it HARD on the EARS. What do YOU think?

One morning,  Roy took me out to a great bakery on”Lucky Street,” near their apartment. Best bakery and cafe in Beijing?

He and Auntie Elizabeth think so - best GERMANY bakery,

He and Auntie Elizabeth think so! Mary, tell your mommy and daddy that it is a German bakery, and I think they’d like it, too.