Texpat Travel and a Ralston Ritual

Papa Jack with six of his fifteen grandchildren - what lovely ladies!

As we prepared to move to Dubai in the summer of 2010, one of the things that filled me with anticipation was the travel possibilities promised by my expatriate friends.  It’s true, one of the greatest benefits of expatriate life is accessible and affordable travel. Those of us living in the Middle East are fortunate. Our airports, especially in Doha and Dubai, have become hubs for travel all over the world. We can scratch that adventurous itch without breaking the bank. This year, when Hannah’s spring break from the American School of Dubai approached, we recognized the opportunity to finally fulfill a Ralston family tradition thanks to her grandparent’s legacy.  Jack and Jeannette Ralston were themselves an expat family. In the early 70’s, Jack Ralston’s position with Eastman took them abroad to Zug, Switzerland for four years. That experience left the senior Ralstons with a desire to pass on the travel tradition to each one of their fifteen grandchildren. One by one, in the year of their sixteenth birthday, they were the recipients of a grand trip to Europe with Gram and Papa (and without Mom and Dad), ending in a visit to Zug, where their parents had lived as children. For fifteen years the tradition continued but as grandchild number ten approached sixteen, it became clear that the Europe trip might be in jeopardy. In spite of being the most energetic octogenarians around, Gram and Papa decided it was ok  to pass on the role of travel guide to someone else. Since it wasn’t possible for Hannah’s grandparents to take her, they agreed to let Jeff and I take their place. The Ralston Europe trips are stuff of legend, now intertwined in the family folklore and ours will be no exception.  Boy, do I have some stories! I look forward to sharing our times with you over the next couple of weeks as I reflect back on this amazing trek. Especially poignant is Jeff’s visit to his childhood home of Zug.

Jack, Jeannette, Jack, Janyce, Jeff, Jeannie, Jim and Judi - An expat family all grown up

About texpatfaith

I'm a returned Christian expat living in Texas after several years residing in the Middle East and the South Pacific. I have the great privilege of writing about my experiences through the eyes of my faith, and to know and love my brothers and sisters serving in Christ's name all over the world. I have a special heart for the missionary community whom I now serve through the Missionary Care Team at my church. I am a writer, researcher, teacher, and archaeology enthusiast who also loves peering into the heavens any chance I get - but most importantly I am a wife, mother and grandmother who loves the Lord. "The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman." Elisabeth Elliott Shirley Ralston (MA Christian Education, Dallas Theological Seminary)
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4 Responses to Texpat Travel and a Ralston Ritual

  1. Leah says:

    I can’t wait to hear all the stories!

  2. Katie Foster says:

    Grandparents play such an important role in creating memories. On their 12th birthday, We treat our granchildren to a long weekend in New York doing Broadway and sightseeing. It is just the best time!!! Two down and five to go. May have to hand this ritual off like your grandparents did as our youngest is only one! This summer we offered each of them a trip to Dubai,sans parents . . no takers yet but we are still hopeful! Memories…Memories…Memories

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