We hope this message finds you and your family healthy! As I write this message in January 2021, I recognize that we did not send out a 2019 Holiday Letter – at the end of this post are 2019 highlights chronicled through our iPhone photos.
Evans Family 2020 News
The Weisbaum-Evans family is very fortunate; so far no one in our extended family has caught the virus and everyone is still “kicking.” We had a special event this year: the birth of our great-niece, Hopie Gehlen-Wingate in Santa Barbara, CA. Ali Gehlen and Graeme Lee-Wingate are her parents – she is a happy and curious baby. Not everyone in our family has been fortunate to meet Hopie in person but Ali shares lots of videos and facetimes with us. At the top of our family list (when the pandemic abates) will be a large gathering to welcome Hopie into our Big Family.
Hopie was born in April – Claudia and I visited in early August when she moved back to LMU
Continues medical retirement, continues to have significant back pain, continues to never complain about anything. She kept sane by watching cooking shows, walking (and listening to podcasts), and stays connected with friends through zoom calls. We recently outfitted a home gym with recumbent bicycle and large TV – she is working out almost every day.
As her friends know, Karen loves to travel. She had 2020 planned trips for us to Hawaii, New York, and Sedona, and was beginning the planning process for a visit to eastern Europe late last year. Of course these were all cancelled – we stayed mostly in the Bay Area this year except for a short trip to New Orleans in early March (we learned later this was an initial COVID hot spot):
When Claudia returned in January 2020 to Loyola Marymount University (LMU) for her Junior Year Spring semester she had lots of plans: she moved into an apartment near school with 2 friends and began her 1 year reign as President of the LMU Pi Phi Sorority. Due to COVID all those plans changed – she moved home in March, continued school remotely, and led sorority zoom calls. Hard to explain Claudia’s disappointment – she was happy to be back at LMU after a semester away and then finds herself at home – opposite of an exciting college experience. She spent her 2020 summer working as a camp counselor in San Francisco with a friend, and then moved back to LA in August to a group house near LMU with 5 friends. She lives within a ½ mile of the LMU campus, but all school work in the Fall semester was remote. Still, living with friends while going to school was much better than living at home – she is hopeful there will be a mix of remote and in-person learning during the 2021 spring semester. Claudia will graduate from LMU in May with an undergraduate degree in Political Science with minors in International Relations and Spanish. She is starting to look for work and may go to an immersive Spanish course in Vermont this summer – she was accepted last year but it was cancelled.
Drew came home in March 2020 when COVID hit but quickly learned it was more comfortable living in his group house in Tacoma – he missed his friends and girlfriend Emily – he went back in April. He finished his Junior year at University of Puget Sound and then stayed in Tacoma for the summer taking classes. In July he moved to a new group house with some Fraternity brothers and socializes with his house, Emily’s house and one other – pod of 15? He lives within a ¼ mile of the Puget Sound campus and is also hopeful there will be a mix of remote and in-person learning during the 2021 spring semester. Drew will graduate in May with an undergraduate degree in Economics with minors in Math and Business Administration. He is trying to line up a job or internship in London this summer – he was accepted last year but it was cancelled.
Grant started 2020 working for Avanade – he joined them in September 2018 after graduation and summer travel. He was assigned to large financial project with Microsoft as the customer – this started in 2019 and continued into 2020. In the spring it was decided that the intellectual property of this project would be sold to another company; at this point he was not sure of his next Avanade assignment. Through a series of fortunate events, Grant and several others from this project moved directly to Microsoft in June. He transitioned between jobs smoothly all while working remotely – he even did his Microsoft onboarding remotely.
He lived through the year with his UW Fraternity Brothers in condos – as his roommates’ situations changed, they moved to another condo in the middle of the year but remained in Seattle. Grant just moved in mid-January to a townhouse with girlfriend Lauren Shade – in the Green Lake area in north central Seattle. Lauren works as a Nurse in the oncology department at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Karen and I had the good fortune to meet her parents Carol and Bill in Fall 2019 – we have a lot in common.
Zack started 2020 at home and ended the year in Portland Oregon. He became unemployed in March due to COVID, collecting unemployment benefits. As he worked in the service industry it did not look good regarding reopening, at least as a full-time job (he was right). Zack connected with a friend from Los Angeles and they moved to Portland in July. He continued collecting unemployment in Oregon and had been searching for a job for the last few months. He came home for Thanksgiving but stayed in Portland for Christmas with his friends. He enjoys living in Portland and started a new job in January.
How we Spent our December Holiday
This year the tree went up right after Thanksgiving and went down after New Year. Karen collects ornaments including adding to our collection on most vacations. I always enjoy reliving the memories of years past through her collection.
We were fortunate that Grant, Drew, and Claudia came home a few days before and stayed 1 (Grant) or 2 (Claudia & Drew) weeks with us. In comparison to Christmas past it was quiet (no gathering with either side of our families) but very memorable.
OUR EXTENDED BIG FAMILY
As mentioned at the beginning of this holiday letter our best news of 2020 was the arrival of Hopie Gehlen-Wingate. We have been holding Zoom Family Gatherings – we celebrated August Birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays this year. When we are in person we enjoy playing games – always a laugh to see how competitive we can be even though the prize is just bragging rights. This year several of our youngest generations (Chris and Carson Claas and Rose and Bea Houssain) helped us play Kahoot games.
Retired, got involved in a neighborhood group, helped the kids move (Zack to Portland; Claudia back to LA), and remodeled 2 units at our apartment building in Oakland (finishing in February). This is the short version – if you would like to read the longer version please see blog post “Marc’s First Retirement Year” – it will be posted in the “near” future.
OK: that is enough for now – until next year’s Holiday Letter ….. wishing you and yours great Health & much Happiness.
Evans Family 2019 Blitz
Claudia continued at LMU and spent her Fall Semester in Florence Italy and traveled in Europe; Drew continued at University of Puget Sound in Tacoma; Grant continued as a Software Engineer for Avanade in Seattle; Zack continued working and living at home in Orinda; Marc continued working at TCO in Kazakhstan; and Karen planned and travelled the year away.
Marc, Zack and Grant visited Whistler in January
Karen & Marc visited Mexico in March with
Patty & Mark Thompson and Michelle & Andy Winter
Karen, Marc & Dick Weisbaum (aka Papa) visited England and Scotland in July
While in England we visited with friends Mark & Pippa Wardman
August in the Bay Area
Zack and Papa visited India in November & December
Karen and Claudia visited Paris in November
Thanksgiving at Home
Marc and Sisters Joanne and Robin went to Warriors Game in December
Karen, Zack, Grant, Drew, Claudia and Papa visited Portugal over Christmas Holidays
Karen and Claudia visited London in late December