Sunday, January 24, 2016

Official End Of The Holidays!

The holiday season officially ended the other day with the arrival of the last card! Why was it delayed so much, nearly a month late after 5 weeks in transit? Well, it came from our friend Sergey Karpov, via air mail from Krasnoyarsk, Russia! It is a very long way away - almost exactly opposite us in Longitude (93 degees east), though closer to us if we headed due north over the pole (56 degrees north latitude). Sergey sent a Christmas Eve e-mail, telling me the card and desktop calendar the astronomy club put together from astro-photos they had taken would be late as he had suffered from flu and didn't get it off till mid-December. Still, 5 weeks for air mail seems slow!

The story of Sergey and "our Russian children" is pretty simple - as then-president of the Tucson astronomy club in the mid-90s, he wrote to me asking for help in arranging a tour for a few members of his astronomy club. I jumped at the chance, and one youngster came, along with 3 chaperones! Over a decade later, Sergey again contacted me and wanted to do it again! This time he had 11 teenagers and just him to keep an eye on things! Melinda and I had a great time spending 8 days with them as we kept them busy every day with activities from attending an American high school, touring Observatories at Mount Graham, Mount Lemmon and Kitt Peak, Pima Air Museum, then a trip to northern Arizona to Meteor Crater, Grand Canyon and finally Lowell Observatory. And after each of our long days, I would post a blog about our activities so their parents could keep an eye on us from around the world! It was great! They are considering another trip in August of 2017 to observe the total solar eclipse that occurs in the middle part of the country. I hope it happens!

So it is always nice to hear from Sergey. The card was beautiful - the front (at left) had some holographic printing to outline parts of the image of Snegurochka (more on her in a moment). At right is part of the inside. Of course, it is in Russian (duh!), and while I do not speak (or read) Russian, our neighbor across the cul-de-sac Cheryl does. She even brought it to school to show one of her native Russian students who seemed awfully interested in how such a card made it to Tucson! My thought of the card's cover girl was sort of a knockout Mother Nature, but Cheryl immediately recognized the image of Snegurochka, the Snowmaiden, daughter of Spring and Winter. She even supplied the legend of Snegurochka, who is eventually melted when she falls in love with a mortal. You should also check out some of the impressive images that Google turns up!

Cheryl's supplied translation:

For New Year's:
When the clock
strikes twelve,
we are given again
the gift of childhood,
We dream & dreams are realized,
and wonders/miracles occur!

May all in life
be wonderful,
May you find yourself
believing in wonders
and the amazing anew,
May this coming year
be like an amazing fairytale!

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