Hazel to Sybille Kovacs on July 1, 1993

The third of a batch of eleven letters taken from Hazel's laptop.

2189 Sharon Road
Menlo Park
California 84025

1 July 1993

Der Sybille, Alan and Owen,

Many thanks for your card which was much gentler than the cards I received from my sisters with unkind references to "wrinkley little eyes" and "worn out bras". And thank you for sending the photos. We have practically no photos of Sydney with us so your photos have been pored over and we return to them again and again. They are our measure of how much Joshua and Zoë have changed. We'd rather not think about how much we've changed.

We are all well except that Rob has had increasing occurrences of gout which make him miserable -- the pain is bad enough but the pills flush his system out so efficiently that he is incapacitated for several days. Joshua seems to have some sleeping problem -- that's my inadequate description for his laboured sleeping at night time. His sleeping starts off OK but then despite an open mouth and an expanding chest he can't seem to get enough air and he partially wakes up and starts again. We are a bit nervous about our health insurance here so we are putting off doing anything about it until we return. The insurance has refused to cover us for a tooth I broke and we are waiting to hear if they will cover us for another bill for over US$800 which simply diagnosed that I had a virus. At first I thought that Joshua just had adenoid problems but now I'm not so sure so I'm anxious to get it sorted out.

Rob has just returned from Greece and the UK and a good time he had too. He's been trying to satisfy my curiosity about Greece, which I have never properly visited, and the UK which I have never properly left. Next time a trip like that comes around it would be nice to go.

I'm glad that Defence is working out well -- I have to add this new information to my profile on you -- I haven't caught up with the new Sybille -- I still think of you as a consultant on immigrant women's health problems and before that an expert on developing translating and interpretor skills and before that ......... I have this fantasy of you pacifying the military, counselling them to cut their budgets and close their installations. I'm very glad that you haven't changed your address -- it's been with you for so long that I'd have difficulty in computing the new information.

I look forward to catching up with Owen and his violin and I'm glad you're puttering along and not overdoing it. A friend who works with me in Sydney who has ME has just been told by her doctor that if she does not reduce her hours she has no chance of getting better. I hope by the time I get back to Sydney she will have done something about it. Judy in England is a lot better and also works part-time now. She vows she will never go back full-time again and that's the way I feel (but don't tell Attorney-General's that).

Joshua has developed an American accent but it's not full-scale. It's a curious blend of me, Rob and America. Zoë is less American but not too far behind y'all. Joshua has had a curious reaction to our meanderings -- he adopts people and insists he stay overnight with them. It's really interesting. Perhaps he's trying to tell us something. Like every second child, Zoë spends most of her life trying to copy her older brother except, perhaps, in toilet habits which is a bit of a shame. They've had a great time here -- one of Rob's closest friends and his wife and their dog play a big part in their lives -- like part of the family -- and they won't have that in Sydney.

We have done a bit of travelling about but not as much as I'd like. We made a great trip to New Mexico via Arizona and the Grand Canyon and stayed at a wonderful place called Santa Fe in NM where Rob worked for 2 weeks. Santa Fe is a collection of adobe houses and churches surrounded by snow capped peaks, with a relaxed artistic mood and interesting mix of Indians, Hispanics and white folk. It snowed off and on while we were there -- gentle snow interspersed with brilliant sunshine. A lovely spot. We've seen something of California including Yosemite National Park which we visited with my sister Pat who will be visiting again for 3 weeks just before we leave in August. I would love to have visited my cousin Elaine in Vancouver but it hasn't happened although they have visited us a couple of times -- most enjoyably. I would also love to visit the east coast -- it's more European in flavour -- but not on this trip.

I wonder if you heard about Denise and Michael. They were living in Texas for several months and Michael suffered cardiac arrest. He was in intensive care for a while but is now back in Sydney making good progress. He is still being monitored to determine what further treatment is required. He is back working almost full-time but the long-term prognosis is not clear. They have been amazingly positive through an incredible ordeal. They had no problems with their insurance company, thank God.

Rob feels the year has been productive for him. Stanford is an amazing (what an amazingly useful word amazing is, especially in this letter) place for bringing all sorts of people together -- different disciplines and different nationalities. A man many consider to be the best economist in the world, Nobel prize winner etc., phoned Rob up one day and invited him for lunch. Likewise the Santa Fe Institute. It's full of chaos and artificial intelligence researchers and one day Douglas Adams of "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" came to lunch. For my part I have learned to love leisure. The kids have been good fun and a lot of people have been very nice to us. I'm not looking forward to saying goodbye to everyone.

Well, I'd better close before the kids go berserk -- thanks again for the card and the photos -- I will enclose more up-to-date versions -- take care, All our love,

Last Updated 10 December 2000