|Isabella's parents, before they were parents: Jim and Mickey, with puppy Doogie, Queensland, Australia, 1990|
Australians are known for their hospitality, and Bob's family excelled at the art of hosting and entertaining. When my parents and grandparents travelled to Australia to visit me during a university holiday, the Blanch family showed us the sights, fed us and helped us feel right at home down under.
|Dad, Jim, Granddad O'D(+), me, Mom, Grandma O'D, Gloria, Michele, and Michelle at a Queensland Wildlife Refuge|
As newlyweds Tim and I hosted Michele and a group of her friends in our little apartment on their visit to the US. Very shortly thereafter, three of our groomsmen set off to visit Michele and company in Australia, and thus began the forming of a wide web of cross Pacific friendships. Several trips ensued, and our connections remain intact through the decades, following our many combined moves, marriages, births, employments, and life changes.
|Grandma O'D, Mom, me, Dad, and Granddad O'D(+) in Sydney, Australia, 1990|
|Michele with her parents (Isabella's grandparents) Gloria and Bob (or Ma and Pa as they are affectionately known) on their arrival at SeaTac in 1997.|
|Renee, Sean and their kids, with Isabella, Eric and Kristy and their son|
We offered Isabella a hearty must-do, must-see, and must-meet itinerary during her short stay in the Pacific Northwest. The fun started with a stop at Sean and Renee's newly acquired and fantastically remodeled Edmonds house en route home to Bellingham from the SeaTac Airport. Renee served up supper and Isabella had the chance to meet a gang of her Aunt Michele's friends and their growing families on a brief stop-over that allowed us to re-fuel and avoid a bit of I5's rush hour madness.
Day 1 follows.