In addition, we have had the opportunity to visit with old friends who have passed through town. Because we were away from family for so long (except for brief visits in the summer), many of these friends have become sort of replacement family. One set of friends will be moving in to the area soon. And because we are in a central location, we have the chance to visit with them all.
Before we went to China, we planned ahead and decided that we wouldn't weigh ourselves down with a lot of expensive furniture, and things that would need to be stored. So when we moved to China, we just gave away all of the used furniture that we had. Now that we are back, we are slowly acquiring new/used furniture to take its place. One of the first purchases that we have made is a guest bed. I think that was one of our wisest purchases because we have already had several people come stay with us for a short visit.
Living in away from family for so long has really made us appreciate the chances we have to visit with family now. I think being in China amplified that appreciation even more. It sure is good to be back. Here is a picture of a recent family get together at a relative's house.
Here is our dog Bane enjoying the winter weather. I have to admit that the snow is still a novelty for us. We think it's beautiful! :)