LONDON — your grandmother’s p.o.v.

I stayed last week with a brilliant and generous former (CA) student, Megan, whom your moms and/or dads know. I also met up with another former (MN) student — & part of his beautiful family. They came and met me, near Megan’s: again, very generous, as I’m pretty sure it meant a 30-45-minute train ride across London.
As for London — you have all been to London or will go or…I hope you want to go (start working on the ‘rents).
The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II was the day before I arrived. Everybody seems hopeful about their new king, Charles III. What do you (seven of you, I mean) know about Elizabeth II or Charles III, I wonder?

I Love My Athens Neighborhood — I think you would, too!

Dear Ceci, Finn, Gus, Kieran, Mary, Seamus, Francis, Joey, Peter, and Genevieve —

Easter with DONKEYS

Happy Easter to you,  Francis, Seamus, Mary, Kieran, Augustine, Finnian, and Cecilia —
Hydra, where I’ve spent Holy Week,  is a small island  not far from Athens. NO CARS ALLOWED here, so it’s donkeys, donkeys everywhere. They meet the ferries to carry luggage up to hotels and guesthouses. 


Mostly, they seem to carry loads of…everything: I’ve seen huge  jars of olive oil, of paper towels, and cases of wine, milk, orange juice.

In my days here, I saw  this woman and her donkey a couple times.


Construction workers and their donkeys, I see all the time.

Oh, and here’s what I eat for lunch — delicious, really. Really!


Here are 10 Greek seconds from Mass. Can you guess what those small green leaves are from? Hint: it’s Palm Sunday, not Easter — all over Greece




“Teacher, Teacher, what means ‘Stand by Me’?”

Dear Francis, Mary, Kieran, Augustine, Finnian, and Cecilia —

Did you watch the Royal Wedding, or anyhow some of it, on Saturday?  I hope you saw the part I showed my students at Melissa today, but if you didn’t, WATCH THIS. Your parents can explain how the song became an anthem, a sort of symbol,  during the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. 

For now, look at these words near the end. See what a great English lesson it was for the young women! 

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
Or the mountain should crumble to the sea, 
I won’t cry, I won’t cry
No, I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me.




Two questions as they listened:

  • “‘I won’t be a friend!’  But,  Teacher, why not?”  I explained, and they understood instantly:  “I won’t be afraid!”
  •  The title of this blog (“What means ‘Stand by Me’?” ) was a little tougher. I really wish one of you had been there to help me out. But then one of the young women shouted and pointed to her friend sitting across the table — “I know, I know — like you, like me, like you AND me. Here at Melissa!”

The women at Melissa are amazing. Sometimes, I just sit back and watch them teach themselves.

Missing you all!
xx —
P.S. Did you know that Auntie Elizabeth has done art with them here?







The Dog and I

Dear Francis and Mary,

(K,A,F& C, this is old news for you, so I’ll write this to the Littlest cousins)

Very early this morning, I came again to the village where Ceci, Finnian, Augustine, and Kieran live. The human Cronin’s aren’t here, but MANGO came out to greet me!

He nearly knocked me over, so we went outside. We played “Fetch”!

This afternoon, Joachim came over to take Mango on a run. I met them along the way. Mango was very tired.

They went back to the house for food and water. I kept walking. That white city is called Lausanne.

I took this video just before the rain began to SPLAT, and the thunder began to ROAR!

You probably can’t hear the cowbells, but they make a sort of CLANG. Mary, you can play that on the piano. Francis, you can make that noise with your mouth!


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