January 6, 2012
Dear friends and family:
Happy Epiphany from the Hoslers! We neglected to write an annual letter last year, so we have much to catch up on. In 2010, Josh was accepted as a postulant to the Episcopal priesthood, and we also decided that year that we would move to Virginia so Josh could attend seminary. So the early part of 2011 was full of projects and preparations: getting our West Seattle home up to snuff so it could be leased out, downsizing our possessions, and saying goodbye to many friends and family. We also said goodbye to our beloved cat Epitome, who died in March at the ripe old age of 15. Henry, at age 10, is still with us, although he has already stepped into the newly vacant role of “crotchety old grump.”
At the end of May, Christy completed her full-time contract job with Expedia and started some serious packing and house-cleaning. Josh’s job at St. Thomas continued for a month longer, and Sarah graduated from kindergarten in June as well. Our final weeks in Seattle were marked by celebrations: a very touching fundraising dinner at St. Thomas, a final chance for Josh to preach there and to say goodbye to his youth group, an early birthday party for Sarah, and a visit from Josh’s parents, who helped us pack all our remaining belongings and get them onto the moving van.
We hit the road July 21, and we chronicled our epic eleven-day road trip on Josh’s blog. Highlights included a visit with Christy’s friend Leanne in Oregon; two nights’ stay in Josh’s old hometown of Rupert, Idaho, including a reunion with his best childhood friend, Travis Freeman; crossing the Continental Divide in a Honda Civic as it puffed “I think I can”; a visit to the fantastic science museum in Denver; Sarah making great strides in her swimming abilities in hotel swimming pools; a flat tire in Topeka; Sarah losing her first tooth in St. Louis while we were out to dinner with our friend Angela; and finally, a few nights’ stay in Annandale, VA, at the home of our friends the Hoskinses, while we waited for the moving van to arrive.
August was all about adjusting to life in our two-bedroom apartment … and to a very different climate. Heat and humidity marked our first month, but that’s not all: we experienced both an earthquake and a hurricane! We did get to see both the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral before the earthquake; both were closed immediately afterward for extensive repairs. In the months that followed, we have also visited the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, the American History Museum, and the National Museum of the American Indian.
Also in August, Josh began classes, along with 45 other M.Div. students. So far he has taken Church History, Old Testament, Hebrew, and a couple classes in pastoral care and practical theology. He has joined the seminary choir, volunteered as a hospice chaplain, helped the seminary with a Lilly-funded research project, and visited a number of different Episcopal churches in order to scout out an eventual site for his field education (which will begin next fall). His main impression of his fellow students is that they are amazing: all of them are very accomplished people with a huge variety of gifts, and he’s eagerly learning from them as well as from his classes and professors.
After Labor Day, Sarah started at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School, a large public school with six different first-grade classes and solid music, art, and gym programs. Every morning she waits for the bus with other seminarians’ kids, and she has also made new friends from the population at large. Her favorite subject is math, and her reading is coming along well. Sarah has also joined the children’s choir at Church of the Holy Cross in Dunn Loring, VA, where she also enjoys weekly Godly Play stories. In December she played both an angel and a donkey in a musical Christmas pageant called “Angels Aware!”
At the end of September, Christy began a full-time position at the Cokesbury book store on campus. She was looking forward to getting in-depth retail training from the store manager, so it was something of a shock when he immediately left to take another job. After just ten days of training, Christy was surprised to find herself the only full-time employee at the store! In a few short months, she has learned a lot about receiving merchandise and ordering textbooks, and she struggles valiantly with the store’s ancient, DOS-based inventory system.
At both Thanksgiving and Christmas, we all journeyed to Ridgefield, Connecticut, to spend the holidays with Christy’s sister Patty and her family. Sarah was in paradise, with three cousins near her age to play with all day long. Christmas was particularly special because Christy’s parents and sister Sue flew out from Seattle to join us. After Christmas Day, Brian and Debbie came down to spend a week in Alexandria with us. During their visit, we ate at Gadsby’s Tavern, which was frequented by our nation’s first five presidents, and we visited Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington’s family.
As 2012 begins, we are very thankful for all the new friends who have welcomed us to Virginia and to all those we love back home in the Seattle area who continue to support us on this grand adventure!
Josh, Christy & Sarah Hosler