Souss-Maldonado Newsletter 2021

January 6, 2022 at 4:04 pm

December 2021 – Miami, FL

Dear Family and Friends:

Another pandemic year…who would have thought that thanks to so many people refusing to get vaccinated or even wear a mask (their rights?), we would still be wearing masks and social distancing. Ironically, all the buffoons that politicized the pandemic and promoted crap about the pandemic and not science are probably all vaccinated. An administration that launched the vaccine and never promoted its importance is responsible for the deaths of so many people and the fact that we’re still not out of danger. And then the previous president, a liar, sore looser and autocratic ruler, to get the year started, led the most awful attack on the democracy of this country by inciting his followers on January 6th to attack the capitol so that the elections would not be certified. After having lived in so many third world countries, we felt that we were reliving this experience, this country went low, sadly very low.

On a positive note, we have all been vaccinated and with boosters, even though this still doesn’t guarantee that we will not get the virus, at least we know we will not end up severely ill. And should a 4th booster be required in order to protect ourselves, we’re ready. We all have to contribute to stopping this horrible virus, it’s our responsibility to take care of our loved ones and those around us.

Having been vaccinated and having been inside our homes for over a year, we decided to take the first airplane trip in April to PR to see the family, they were vaccinated. It was so nice to get away, to breathe fresh air, to enjoy the ocean.

The book club decided to take it easy in 2021, not many official readings, and the few times we were able to get together it was to enjoy ourselves, all of us of course vaccinated.

I continued to work remote throughout the year and then hybrid, always careful and disinfecting everything when I would go to the office. Pedro did not travel and was able to keep his clients remotely. I think many people realized projects could continue to be executed remotely. He will start traveling in 2022 and it looks like his first trip will be to Qatar.

Sahid was able to land an amazing job this year and we are so happy for him, most important he is so happy. He is responsible for utilizing various OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) software tools such as Toyota Techstream, Mercedes Xentry, and others to diagnose electrical issues and calibrate sensors and radars in cars. Using various tools provided by the manufacturer, he interprets the data collected to body shop owners, insurance companies, and clients of electrical components and systems such as Advance Safety Systems (ADAS), Safety Restraint System (SRS), and Driver Assist System. He is doing well, working hard and feels accomplished.

Johann is also doing great and we’re so happy to have him home for the holidays after almost two years of not seeing him. He’s recovered from his accident very well except for a small fracture in his back. The swimming he does often helps him alleviate any pain related to this fracture. He was promoted in his job with Sanku in Tanzania and is also loving what he does. He plans to continue working there, especially now with the promotion and the fact that the organization is growing and expanding to other countries in the African continent

For the July 4th weekend we took a trip to Austin, TX to celebrate a dear friend daughter’s 40th birthday. We had never been to Austin and we loved it, most of all we loved spending time with lifetime friends. One of the highlights was watching the bats in downtown, simply amazing.

In mid July we had family visit from PR and took our grandnephew kayaking to John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park in the Keys. What a gorgeous day and what a great time we had. We are really lucky to have the Keys right in our backyard!

One sad event this year was that during the summer we lost our puppies, it was so hard and still is on all of us. Rocket got cancer and after the surgery to remove the tumors, he never recovered as it then spread very rapidly. Lupe could not handle being alone after almost 14 years together and she practically did not want to live after he died – she would cry, would not eat, it was so sad. She died exactly one week after Rocket. To this day, we still miss them and never stop talking about them. They were such a big part of our lives.

In the summer we started planning a trip to France with our dear friends and travel partners, Isa and Colberg. We wanted to go somewhere were we felt safe from the virus, were restrictions were taken more serious than in this country. It was the trip of a lifetime, with France nothing can go wrong. We were gone for 2 whole weeks. We were in Paris the first few days walking all around the city and following the footsteps of my favorite author, Hemingway. We then drove to St. Genis-Pouilly, the town where we lived for two years when Pedro worked at the UN in Switzerland, and used the town as a base to visit Geneva and its surroundings. We then drove to Évian-les-Bains, located right on Lake Geneva, were we stayed for two days, it was absolutely gorgeous. We did a day trip to Gruyère and to Montreaux where we took the panoramic train from there into the Alps, destination Gstaad. It was an absolute gorgeous day and the scenery spectacular. We then returned to Paris for several more days before we returned to Miami. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Hemingway could not have said it better, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”  We will return, one can never get enough of Paris.

These are some of my favorite pictures of Paris throughout the years: 1977, 2015 and 2021 … I do hope I can continue adding to this list :-)!

Visiting Mont St. Michel in September brought back memories from when I studied in France in 1977 and lived as an Au Pair with a French family.

France is an unbelievable country and our September 2021 trip, which included Switzerland, was simply amazing! We were so lucky to have been able to go on this adventure.

While in Paris, I decided to check my LinkedIn and on my feed, a job posting appeared for a job at a university in Puerto Rico in continuing education, my passion and what I’d been doing at FIU all along. I decided to apply and upon my return from the trip a zoom interview was scheduled. The next day the provost called me to let me know that they wanted to fly me to PR for an interview with the President and the Provost’s team. I was in awe – this was a dream come true as professionally it was a promotion and at the same time, we had always talked of going back home. I felt extremely confident about my presentation to the president and my conversations with the Provost’s team. Yet, I didn’t want to raise my hopes. Four days later the offer arrived, we analyzed it, and decided this was the best move for me professionally and to go back to PR was a dream. I started my new job as Executive Director of the Sagrado Global Professional Education Division at the University of Sagrado Corazón in PR on November 8th and it has been an unbelievable learning experience. The campus is absolutely gorgeous. The culture at the university is amazing and the fact that everyone understands the importance of continuing education as a contributor to the future of higher ed is key for its growth.

We love being back home and living in the town of Luquillo, watching the ocean from our balcony every day, the gorgeous sunrises, a total dream.

We did our first 5K back home and the first 5K of the Corredor Ecológico in Luquillo. What a gorgeous run through spectacular lands ending at the beach. We’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful island!

Before we came to Miami for Christmas we were able to get together with Pedro’s family to celebrate the anniversary of the arrival of his grandparents from Lebanon via Ellis Island. We celebrated at a marvelous Arab restaurant in Isla Verde, El Palacio Arabe.

We celebrated with my cousin her daughter’s wedding in Rio Mar. What a beautiful bride and what a gorgeous wedding. The food, the music, and the band were the perfect way to get the holidays off to a start.

And so 2021 ends beautifully for us. As we start 2022 the four of us are together, we are healthy, and this means the world to us.

May 2022 bring you health, love, and joy-we all need it and deserve it! To a great 2022!

All our love, the Souss-Maldonado

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Souss-Maldonado Newsletter 2020


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