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First Eagle Sighting

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Swan Lake EagleWe arrived in Swan Lake on Thursday night and Friday morning I jumped in the kayak for my first spin around the lake. I got to the area where a family of eagles have been living for about 5 years. We noticed the eagle for the first time at a family event in September 2008 and it was amazing. Over the past 3 years I have purchased better and better camera equipment so I can photograph the eagles in their habitat. I took some amazing pictures last summer and was able to get my first look at one of the bald eagles in a big pine tree.

I am looking forward to many more kayaks this summer and lot of pictures of the eagles and other beautiful animals that live on the Swan Lake.


NY Arrival

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Kesslin Family Monterey 2011

We arrived in NYC on Wednesday, June 20th, and headed to Queens to pick up Hope’s car (Hope is Ilise’ mom). Of course Hope had prepared a nice meal for us, even though it was close to 10 PM EST. What else is a good Jewish grandmother supposed to do? We were able to make it into NYC that evening and dropped off the kids and Ilise and I went to park the car. Those familiar with parking a car on the streets of Manhattan will appreciate the fact that I returned to the apartment no more than 5 minutes later, having found a parking spot just one block away, at 11:30 PM on a weeknight. That is extremely unusual in NYC!

For those of you who know me well, I have always had a very positive mental attitude (PMA) and I always drive around near my mother-in-laws apartment looking for spots, and we usually find one within 5 -10 minutes. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard my mother-in-law and her boyfriend, Marty, complain about looking for parking spots for an hour or more. One of the reasons I believe this happens is that they go looking assuming there will be NO spots, so they don’t find any spots. True positive mental attitude is an amazing thing, but you can’t fake it you really need to believe it!

So, we spent the morning in NYC and then headed to CT to meet with Ilise and the kid’s best friends, the Rubin family. We were only able to spend a couple of hours with Lizzy, Jessica and Zachary, but everyone had a great time. I headed over to spend some time with Ilise’ cousin, Paul White, who recently went to work for Frontier Communications. Turns out his office was only 1.3 miles from the Rubin’s home. It was really nice to see Paul and get caught up a bit. Then it was time to head to Swan Lake, our home for the next month. We arrived on Thursday night around 10 PM and started to unload the car; happy, happy, joy, joy ๐Ÿ™‚

Swan Lake is Ilise’ happy place and the rest of the family really enjoys it as well. The kids will go to camp for 12 days starting next Sunday, my parents come up from Florida and my mother-in-law will spend a lot of time with us as well. So, lots of family and lots of friends that we don’t get to see since we moved to San Diego. We have two kayaks on the lake that we like to use daily and a waverunner if we can find a car with a hitch. Looking forward to the next month!

Hello world!

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Welcome to the Kesslin Family blog designed to highlight our summer travels. We have an amazing summer planned with a month back in NY and then 3 1/2 weeks in Africa. We are heading to Uganda to volunteer time with a non-profit called U-TOUCHย that we have been working with for the past year. U-TOUCH is installing used computer systems in rural villages in Africa and we will be visiting 3 villages on our trip.

The first village that we will be visiting houses the main U-TOUCH facility, which is in Gulu. We will be spending 3-4 days there. On the way to Gulu we are planning to stop at Merchuson Falls and take lots of pictures. We should be able to see elephants, giraffe, chimpanzees and many other animals during this part of our travels. Once we leave Gulu we will head to Katine.

The U-TOUCH Center in Katine has been sponsored by The Guardian newspaper in London. They have donated $15,000 to help support the center there. Once we are finished in Katine we will be heading to Mbale. Mbale is the home to the Abayudaya Jewish community. There are 1,500 Jews living in Uganda and we are looking to build a U-TOUCH Center there this year. Drew, our daughter, is having her Bat Mtizvah next May and we are excited for her to get connected with the kids from this community.

Our final stop in Uganda will be Kampala, the capital city. I believe that I will have the opportunity to meet with the Minister of ICT and possibly the Minister of Finance to discuss how entrepreneurship and technology can transform Uganda. This should be an amazing journey!

The final portion of our trip will be an 8 day safari in Kenya. We will be visiting the Masai Marra and will be joined by my brother, Kenny. I promise you that I will be taking thousands of pictures so be ready to see Kenya and Uganda through my lens ๐Ÿ™‚

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