Seasons greetings!

Happy holidays from Indonesia –

This post is in lieu of the normal holiday letter sent by I.  Since we cannot be with mom/Grandma Helen on this holiday, this post is also our Christmas gift to her.  It is kind of a “re-gift”, since it is almost the same gift she gave us kids a few years ago.

The original gift was called An Open Letter to my Children on Proper Pronoun Usage.  It was a two-page typed letter given to myself, my brother and sister.  On the front was a detailed lecture about proper pronoun usage. My sister, brother and me all laughed as we read aloud the various “rules.” On the back of the letter were copy-and-pasted examples from each kids’ writing that exhibited their incorrect use of pronouns.

This blog post is a holiday letter, and a sort of “Where’s Waldo” of grammar. As mom reads this, probably aloud to Mike, he and her are going to cringe and gasp as they stumble across incorrect pronouns and terrible grammar.  That is funny to Amy and I!  But it really won’t be that funny to mom, because this post is published to the entire world, and so reflects on she as a parent.  Growing up, grammar was one of the few rules in our house that earned admonishment when broken.

In the comments, please state your favorite poor use of grammar in this post, and feel free to stand on your own little soapbox. If I’ve done my writing correctly, I think you will find many examples to choose from.  Me and mom will compare our counts of poor grammar as well.

On to the letter:

fam-on-bingin-dec19Me, Amy, Mia & Porter are on an extended adventure – four months traveling through Southeast Asia!  I am still in shock, and feel incredibly fortunate to have a family willing and excited to make such a trip happen.  Amy and me wanted to mix up our family patterns, explore new cultures, and adventure together.  So far, so good!

We are currently traveling with another family from Bellingham: the Gray/LaCroix family (Darrell, Renee, Maya and Willow).  The kids are having a blast together; they put up with 1000-stair climbs, temple contemplations, and sweaty air.  When given the chance to play in salt or fresh water, each only need a bit of encouragement to don their suits, like “Go,” or “Water,” or “It’s time to get dressed for going on another temple walk.”

Chesbroughs, Grays a McKenney and a LaCroix atop Ulu Watu

All the McChezennies also had some individual goals for this trip:


Amy walking the world


Amy wants to explore the culture, deepen her awareness, and practice body healing through massage, meditation and yoga.  Some of these pursuits is easier than others.  Over the last week, she has had a delicious massage, and went to yoga twice on the beach.  But today she has a head cold, yesterday she had a migraine, and sleep?  If you know Amy, you may have guessed the answer to that question – the Indonesian word for “no” – na. You can put the traveler in a new country, but you can’t make new country in the traveler.





I want to connect with people and culture outside of my own tribe, explore new natural areas, and go on adventures.  Mornings tend to be adventure time – a hike or run down some unknown road, often ending in some Indiana Jones like decaying structure.  Two days ago, I ran down about a hundred stone steps into a close walled ravine.  The volcanic rock was thick and sturdy, covered by a  soft body hair of mosses and ferns, sort of like my chest that Porter keeps asking me about – “Dad, do you like having chest hair?”  “Don’t you think you should shave it?”

Another:  A few afternoons ago we scrambled up several hundred stone steps to a hilltop temple of black brick.  The only residents was a monkey family.  On the way home, we encountered a festival happening in a small village.  The priest invited us in, and told us about the ceremony.  He spoke decent English, and told us that we were either:  in the middle of a ceremony that occurs only once every 100 years, or in the middle of a ceremony that we should donate 100,000 Rupiah to (about $8).  Irregardless of which was correct, I made the donation.


Mia wants to be open to new experiences and connects with people from different cultures.  She enjoys, especially the shopping and haggling.  Two days ago, we all stopped at an art market to buy Christmas gifts for our exchange.  Mia haggled a 100,000 Rupiah salt-and-pepper shaker down to 30,000.  (My best?  65,000 to 40,000).  She is loving the travel with her close friends Maya and Willow, and she is doing a pretty good job eating food.  At least if you consider chicken to be a protein, carbohydrate, fat, dairy, vitamin and a mineral.



Porter wants to wear silky pants and no shoes, see new sights, eat new weird foods, and ride motor scooters.  Basically, he wants to adventure.  For every page Mia reads, he wants to take a barefeet step.  He knows what he wants.  Last night for dinner, he insisted on eating “Fish croquette balls.”  I thought he was crazy.  But, he ordered them and proclaimed their delicious.  At haggling, Porter’s is also better than my efforts – his best is 70,000 down to 40,000.  Also, he was psyched to motorbike for the first time.  Yay!

Poe gets in the pool before breakfast, after breakfast, before activity, after activity, before dinner and after dinner.  Yay swimming!

Porter also got to try scooter biking on Christmas, which was a little terrifying for him and I:

Youtube video of Porter scooter biking in Lombok

Don’t forget to add a comment about your favorite bit of Bad Grammar for our Good Grandma!

Thanks for reading, and here is hoping youall have a wonderful holiday and new year!


John, Amy, Mia and Poe



Author: johnchesbrough

I am a dad from Bellingham, WA, excited to share our family adventure through Asia. I like to play in the mountains and wood, with my family, my dog, and with numbers.

18 thoughts on “Seasons greetings!”

    1. Mom and I….Amy and I…. that’s about all my grammar Corrections John. Love reading your Christmas letter as a Blog of your wonderful trip. We are so looking forward to reading as time goes on and we think that you are giving your children the most marvelous adventure. We love you to pieces


  1. We are enjoying all of your adventures, John and Amy. What great adventure you are having. I was a little shocked when I read the beginning of your letter and then had many good laughs. We’ll let Grandma find the mistakes. Maxine


  2. I just looked at all the wonderful pics of the adventures of the wedding you came upon and your sarong wearing. Porter J. H., you be careful, you daredevil! If your not careful I will lick yur face a hundred times!! Bame, I’m sooo please your doing beach time in such a great manner, ie. meditating and yoga. Love it. Mia Lou, vacationing with your ‘homeys’ is the best!! That is a life long goal to keep, love it! John, a sarong flatters you, keep it up and keep our precious ones safe. Josie is doing very niclely, laying in front of the fire everyday , running in the park with Grandpa and being spoiled . OK, ok I even snuggle with her now and again and give her a treat. Last night after dinner we walked down to Candy Cane Lane and on the way down she spotted a rabbit and pulled away on her leash and ran after that Hare soooooo fast it was a blur, we all went nuts on how fast she is. Good thing she didn’t catch it Love you Mom


  3. Your letter is particularly fantastic this year both in the scope of excitement and horrifying grammar. Cris read it allowed while mom dissolved in laughter and horror on the couch. Love you guys! Ps who was filming while you drove the scooter eeek!


  4. Great fun to read about your adventures, painful grammar and all. 😉 What a bold crew you are. What a fantastic experience and memories together as a family! Thanks for sharing with us so we can live vicariously. You just missed the Bellingham snow days, and c-c-cold spell. Enjoy being Cheeseburgers in Paradise. xo Katrina, Sean, Jasper and Nathan Lyon


  5. Hi John – thank you for the “re-gift.” I don’t exactly like the notoriety, but must say I enjoyed counting up 9 pronoun mistakes and 14 grammatical ones – your count too? (That was a feat!) Love, love all the pics and stories – keep them coming! And I’m with Lana – please (both you and Poe) be careful on that motorbike. Mia – I hope you are taking careful notes so that you can write a book when you come home! Love to all, Mom


  6. Om-na-va-sheeeesh, you guys certainly are having a cool adventure. O, and me not care about talk good…..Wright good….or spel or whatever.


  7. Omg I just realized I made real grammatical error in my post! I am so ashamed! Thankfully I don’t think mom saw it, at least not yet. Hope you guys have a fantastic New Years Eve! Love you bunches!!!


  8. I don’t know your family except for my dear friend Lanas love for her family which she shares with our Fab 5 group.This is blog is wonderfully marvelous to read . Wow what an adventure for your family!


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