Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holiday Letter 2009

Dear Friends and Family,

Happy Holidays and a Great 2010 to you!  It’s amazing that another year has passed and we are looking at the start of a new decade.

And what a wonderful year it was.  The biggest news for us was our engagement this July!



Will and I continued our overflowing schedule of family, friends, and interesting things to learn and see.  We started 2009 with a long trip to Maui, Hawaii, where we scoped out the sites that would become the basis for our suggested itinerary of the week before our July 2010 wedding.  Lahaina, Maui was the centerpiece of our trip, including amazing sunset ocean views and delicious Hula Pie at Kimo’s Restaurant.  We can’t wait to share Maui with everyone in 2010!

In February, Will and I spent Valentine’s day taking a trip to Japan with one of my colleagues from Wilcox High School, Rushton Hurley, and 16 of his high school juniors.  This was Will’s first exposure to the life of running after teenagers, an experience that rivaled the myriad sights and sounds of Japan.  We ate udon noodles at Kiyomizu-dera, visited the Peace Museum and Memorial Park, and dealt with several teenage dramas.  It was an amazing trip.



I spent much of the winter and spring of 2009 working for Community Leaders at the Service of Society (CLASS), a pro bono consulting group that does work for nonprofits.  We completed a marketing analysis for an internet mentoring company for women in technology.  This was the beginning of my long and fascinating exploration of the Bay Area nonprofit scene, a learning process which has defined my 2009.  In addition to CLASS, I also worked with the Resource Area for Teachers (RAFT) in San Jose and the New Teacher Center in Santa Cruz.

In March I was hired by Huckleberry Youth Programs, a San Francisco nonprofit that serves adolescent youth and their families.  I have enjoyed working with the staff of Huckleberry, especially the Executive Director, Bruce Fisher, who has become a role model and mentor to me.  Huckleberry supports youth through counseling, crisis shelter, health care, health education, and juvenile justice prevention programs.  We have locations in both San Francisco and Marin.  During my time at Huckleberry, I have learned how nonprofits can navigate in communities and become essential community members.

This year is a special year because of the grand entrance of Soren Robinson Alldredge, Anna and Nathan’s first baby!


We have spent several weekends gazing in wonder and awe at little Soren, who started off about the size of a loaf of bread and who has grown and developed.  It is so much fun to watch a little human being with personality and everything emerge from the tiny baby.  Soren has the Robinson eyes, large and blue, and spends all his time guarded by Ziska, the giant German Shepard.

2009 was also the year of graduate school preparations.  Although I had the GMAT under my belt from November 2008, I put lots of time in 2009 in studying for the LSAT and considering law school.  Ultimately, I am hoping to get a JD-MBA, a joint degree that would allow me to learn both organizational management and also how to shape policy reform in the area of education.

Summer of 2009 brought the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, at which Will and I frequented about half a dozen wonderful Shakespeare plays, including a couple assistant directed by Ed Iskander, our close friend.  It was wonderful to join our theater friends in watching and discussing the plays that we not only know well, but also may have directed or performed in at some point.


Also during Summer 2009, Will and I returned to Hawaii.  My best friend, Eugenie Pacopac, got married to Vishal Rana on July 17, 2009, one day short of exactly a year before Will and I will get married.  They had a lovely ceremony on the beach at Kualoa Ranch, surrounded by the Hawaiian mountains.  It was a traditional Indian ceremony, very different from anything I had seen before.  Eugenie, of course, looked exquisite.
In the Fall, Will and I moved from Strongbadia to the Park Place apartment complex, still in Mountain View, California.  We spent several weeks setting up the apartment before life got back to normal again.  One of the highlights of this year was seeing Margaret Atwood and Michael Chabon, both of whom released new books and spoke at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco.  Will and I did a book swap, where I read Chabon’s Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay, and Will read Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, in preparation for the book talks.  It was fun reading together and Chabon has joined my list of favorite writers.

The year is closing with trips to Hawaii for Thanksgiving and last-minute wedding planning, and to Tampa for my first Christmas ever at Will’s childhood home.  I can’t wait to see the Robinsons again and to spend more time on Tampa Bay.  We have had a wonderful, full 2009 and are looking forward to next year.

Love, Lauren