Donkey Crossing

Welcome to Donkey Crossing! Donkey Crossing is an on-line account of one Limey and one Yank living one Dream. From September 2006 until the end of 2007, we plan to visit friends and family on five continents and immerse ourselves into various cultures, natural phenomena and ways of life. We hope you enjoy our tales and visit often! Cheers, Jason and Rachel Napoli

Monday, June 04, 2007


One of the hardest things about spending a year and a half backpacking around the world is being separated from loved ones. Our family has particularly felt the distance during Marty's recent cancer treatment and recovery from heart surgery. It has certainly been a double whammy nobody ever could've predicted. To coincide with the end of dad's long ten weeks of radiation treatment, we flew home for a visit. Our arrival made for an emotional reunion with Marty, Teena and MJ, but was the start of an amazing two weeks on our home turf.
A very memorable Mother's Day was spent on the South side of Chicago cheering on Chicago's "second" baseball team, the White Sox. Although the White Sox forgot to bring their offensive abilities to US Cellular Field on this particular afternoon (the Kansas City Royals won 11-1), we had an excellent time together at the ballpark. MJ, Rachel, Teena, Marty and I took a moment away from the action on the field for this quick self-timer shot.
A not so familiar glimpse of Chicago's skyline from the South side.

Although our time in the area was mostly spent in Naperville, we managed to get a few friends together in the city and dressed them up in traditional Dogon Country hats from Mali. Aaron and Rob (pictured above) were surely making a fashion statement in their "Dogon Country traditional meets Michigan Avenue chic" ensembles.

Rob, Amanda and Frieda pose with me for a photo after a bubbly toast in honor of Rob's 35th birthday.

A definite highlight of our visit was attending the opening game of the three game series between the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox at Wrigley Field. It was a great day at "The Friendly Confines" with our cousin Jack (a lifelong White Sox fanatic). Although I was outnumbered by White Sox fans being with Jack and Rachel, it was a wonderful feeling watching the Cubs defeat their crosstown rival 6-3.

A trip to Naperville certainly wouldn't be complete without a night at the home of our mates Neal and Jen. Drinking their delicious home brews and enjoying a BBQ feast always promises to be a great time. This time around, they had a fresh batch of delicious Mexican style pilsner. Delicious! We were also introduced to one of technology's latest marvels, the Nintendo Wii system. A little bowling after a large meal and a few brews can certainly assist the digestion process.

Our visit to Naperville flew by faster than we could imagine. A highlight we unfortunately didn't capture on film is the day we spent at Geneva South Middle School speaking to Ms. Beyer's sixth grade Social Studies classes. Our cousin Tyler is a student in one of the classes and we were invited to talk about our travels, show some photos and field some questions for a few hours. A big thanks goes out to Ms. Beyer and her students for such a wonderful welcome!

Another highlight was visiting the Edwards Hospital Cancer Center on our first day home. Marty needed to go in for a quick test, so we accompanied him to meet all the wonderful doctors, nurses and technicians we had been hearing so much about over the previous weeks. We thank them very much and appreciate all the care they have provided.

Since our visit to Naperville, we've been in the country of sauna, salmon, lakes and birch trees...Finland! We just enjoyed a wonderful ten days visiting our friends Matt and Elina Wuethrich in the wooded bliss of central Finland and look forward to sharing the stories and pictures with you soon. Also, for Donkey Crossing fans in the Western Suburbs of Chicago, be sure to pick up a copy of this Sunday's Daily Herald. One of my photos from our time in the Sahara was chosen for publication in their travel section's Best Shot feature. I'll be willing to sign autographs next time we're home!


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