Darryl and Kathleen Johnson's
Photos and Journal for 2007-8
Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings of the Season, and for the New Year – the Chinese Year of the Rat (not a bad symbol; rats are clever and quick, and they can get along just about anywhere!).
Our lives in retirement remain moderately busy, with Darryl’s spring-term course on American Foreign Policy at the University of Washington, and his participation on the boards of several organizations involved in global public health. Kathleen remains active in her textile research.
Much of our news from this year is centered on family. This was our son Loren’s year. He completed his MBA last December and then in March, he married Ms. Siriwan Somton (known as “Eim”) in a solemn Buddhist ceremony at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok. That evening we hosted a reception for about 300 people at the elegant home of Prince Poomchai Chumbala, a close Thai friend. Back in the States in July, Cathy and David Hughes, who are almost family, hosted a beautiful garden party at their place for the newly weds. In October, Khun Eim gave birth to a beautiful (and vocally talented) baby girl named Zoe Ariya Johnson. We, the doting grandparents, visited Zoe and her parents later in October; she is our fourth grandchild and third granddaughter.
Elsewhere on the family front, we visited Greg and Ellen and their adorable daughter, Kate (now 1½), in Austin in November. Greg is continuing his law practice, and Ellen is very busy as a devoted mom and the board chairperson for a new school for girls named for her mother, Ann Richards (who was a teacher before becoming a political person). And we saw Dara and Dave and Clarissa (9) and Emmett (7), both in DC and in Seattle when we took a family vacation together.
Our big adventure this year was leading a group of 20 University of Washington undergrads on a month-long study tour of Thailand. We were in Bangkok for the first five days, then in and around Chiang Mai for 25 days. While in Chiang Mai we stayed with friends who own a beautiful villa and spa lodge called “Baan Saen Doei” (We highly recommend it!). The high points of the academic program were “mahout training” at the Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang Province, and visiting a large refugee camp on the Thai-Burmese border. We also visited a clinic run by Dr. Cynthia Maung (herself a Karen refugee) in the Thai border town of Mae Sot.
Following the conclusion of our study tour, Kathleen and a weaving friend went to Burma to do research on textiles and handloom technology in Yangon and Mandalay. Their timing was inauspicious because they arrived after four continuous days of torrential rain, and on the third day of the monks march to protest the repressive regime. Luckily, in Yangon they were staying with a friend in the US Embassy, Kit Young, and were able to leave just as martial law was being declared five days later.
During that same week, Darryl joined a Seattle-area trade delegation visiting Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. Earlier in the year, he had been to Bangkok several times in his capacity as consultant for a US company, and expects to be going back in the coming year.
We have done a lot of work on our hillside landscaping and replaced our unstable old
deck with a spacious new one and built a beautiful sun room at one end. So at
long last Kathleen has her summer outside garden and tropical “wintergarten” which she has been dreaming
about for years. With no more construction work in sight, we are very ready and eager to have guests and ask that you think
of us as you make your future travel plans.
Warmest best wishes,
Darryl and Kathleen Johnson
Loren and Eim's Wedding Loren, Eim and Zoe