Like most people, I have worn a wide variety of hats. I am Eric the father, Eric the Realtor, Eric the former Elder (at Westminster Presbyterian Church), I am Eric, former Member of the Board of Directors of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors (GRAR) and Member of several Committees and Task Forces.
I enjoy each of the hats I wear, and am thankful for the many opportunities to be of service to my family, clients and community.
I've made my home in the Grand Rapids area since 1989, after visiting GR for a Gordon's Food Service show (I owned and operated restaurants in my prior life). Sitting at the Grand Plaza Hotel downtown, I concluded that Grand Rapids would be a great place to live, and raise my family.
It was a great decision. My kids are now adults, and I am more able to take part in all the amazing activities that call Grand Rapids home!
My kids are grown (I'm never sure how to refer to them in this context) and are scattered around the country. My son, Jared has finished his Masters Degree from the College Conservatory of Music at the Univesity of Cincinnati. He regularly substitutes with orchestras throughout the mid-west, plays a variety of Jazz and Big Band gigs. He also is part of a brass ensemble that plays for weddings, cocktail parties etc.
The end of July 2008, I welcomed home my daughter, Kirstin, who has been a Peace Corps volunteer living in Petrosani, Romania. She taught English language in two schools to middle school aged kids and was involved in several health care education groups as well. It was a 27-month commitment. Thankfully I was able to visit here in 2007 for a couple weeks. Here's a photo of Kirstin and Me in Budapest Hungary. Now she's living and working in West Michigan, and it's so great to have her close enough that we can see each other and stay connected.
My photo album from the trip (which included stops in Bucharest, Romania, Budapest and Heviz, Hungary and Vienna, Austria) is at Flicker.com.
I had not been to Europe before so it was an amazing 14 days. We toured castles, museums, opera houses, cathedrals. We saw the Mozart Requiem performed on what would have been his wedding anniversary in a beautiful church built in 1715. We enjoyed a wonderful and interesting variety of foods and beverages. Rode on trains and buses and subways. Found out that 9-hour international flights have no more leg room than domestic flights. (but we did discover the joy of flying on Lufthansa airlines. Every flight exactly on time, every employee we encountered was helpful and friendly.
We found amazing, helpful people everywhere we went. We'd be looking at our map and scratching our heads and someone would step up to see if they could be of assistance. One lovely, older gentleman actually accompanied us to the train station in Budapest (because it can be fairly confusing and there are no signs in English). We were treated warmly everywhere we went.
While I'm not sure what's next for Kirstin, I'll be happy to spend time in her company, hear stories, laugh a lot. I'm reminded how very lucky I am when I look at the lives of my children.