I know. We haven’t posted anything lately. I know.

It’s not that we didn’t want to. We’ve all been writing furiously every day about something, we just don’t always have the most reliable internet connection to post things. And if we do, we’re trying to figure out our travel plans for the next leg of our trip. And sometimes we’re just too tired to try to download our photos, edit them, compress them, and upload them again. So we’re going to try to catch up over the next few weeks, before we head off to Asia for Christmas. Next week I’ll post Magno’s reflection on our first month, and then Calla’s review of our second month, and then we’ll round it out with a family summary of the third month.

The most recent bit of our trip involved lots of trains through Central and Eastern Europe, some CouchSurfing, and a week of eating our way through Istanbul. We’re off to Cappadoccia to see the cave cities and fairy chimneys for the weekend, and then heading to Amman, Jordan to catch up with some old friends, and see some very old places.

We finally decided where we’ll spend Christmas, and the winner is… Malaysia! We were tempted by the warm weather, the cheap flight from Amman, and a vague plan to spend New Years Eve with one of John’s college buddies, who is also on an extended family trip. Of course, it was only after booking our flights this week that we started looking for a place to stay… and, well, being the holidays and all… let’s just say that it will be a Christmas to remember in a guest house in Melaka.

The girls are making lots of plans to decorate our rooms at the guest house, and we’re hoping we can convince the proprietor to let us borrow her oven to make cookies. In the meantime, we’ve loaded up our ipods with our favorite Christmas tunes. Calla went straight for the Beach Boys’ Little Saint Nick, and Surfin’ Santa by Little Lord Byron. Perhaps she’s thinking about the 90 degree weather in Malaysia? We are all really looking forward to that, after a cold and rainy week in Istanbul. And several cold and cloudy weeks before that. Plus we are really tired of our cold-weather clothes.

We’ve done pretty well, clothing-wise, on this trip. We’ve only needed to purchase a couple of things, and we’ve sent a few things home or tossed them out. We’ve been fortunate to have washing machines in most of the places we’ve stayed. This week was the first time we’ve resorted to washing things in the sink and hanging them on the radiator, and it worked out just fine. But I am really looking forward to wearing my summer clothes in a couple of weeks, if only for a change of pace. Since I opted for the all-black wardrobe, it’s especially tired now.

It would have served me well if I had stayed home, though. All black is the costume to be worn by the members of Batala, the percussion band I play with in Washington, when they play in a series of shows this weekend and next with one of my favorite bands of all time [oops, I’m not allowed to post the name of the band. But trust me, they’re huge.] And I am not there. I can’t even believe that it’s happening. And I am not there.

But the good news is, I am here, in this amazing city of Istanbul, which has been an amazing city for millennia, with my family, and we don’t want to kill each other yet. At least not all at the same time. We’ve had our moments, but mostly we’re having a great time and enjoying each other’s company. The girls were really reluctant to embark on this adventure, and they could have made this trip pretty miserable if they had adopted the sullen teen attitude we fear so much. But they’ve been real troopers: jumping right into new experiences; trying new foods and getting great enjoyment from them; walking for miles, sometimes in the rain, just because their parents think it might be interesting, even though on more than one occasion this has led them through some less-than-savory environments. I’m thankful for this every day.

My wonderful family at the Spice Bazaar </a srcset=Now we’re officially 1/4 of the way through our trip.