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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Life goes on (in keeping with The Plan?)

In Facebook this week, I received a message from Sachie Kelly Hayashi Lin, a late-90's classmate of one of our sons at The Holderness School.  Sachie wrote to introduce me to her friend Eileen O'Connell, who sent me the first message below, and started the following train of minor non-coincidences:

Eileen O'Connell wrote (in Facebook, 11 April, 2011):
Hello Duncan, Sorry for the late response to our introduction. I hope I'm not too late to tell you about a movie event Romanian Children's Relief is having this Thursday, April 14th in Cluj and to ask you to please pass it on to your friends and colleagues there. I have been volunteering with RCR for 12 years and have been fortunate enough to spend quite a bit of time caring for abandoned children and developing programs to prevent future displacements of families. We currently have programs in Bucharest and Bistrita and now we are expanding to Cluj. The Romanian web site is The movie Hand Held is about the founding of RCR.
I'd love to come to NH to visit you and your Romanian guests to talk about our work and to learn more about your experiences. I'm better with E-mail than Face Book [e-mail address].  I look forward to meeting you. Many thanks.
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2011 07:24:19 -0700
From: duncan mcdougall [e-mail address]
Subject: Romania
To: eileenroconnell@e-mail address

Dear Eileen,

With this message we establish normal e-mail contact, without the aid of Facebook. 

You are going to love Cluj, if you will be going there, yourself.

I have copied this message to a few friends in Cluj.  If they have interest in your program, I leave it up to them to get in touch with you, and/or to attend the movie event that the Romanian Children's Relief is having this Thursday, April 14th in Cluj. 

Please do let me know if you get a chance to come to New Hampshire.  I would be delighted to spend some time reviewing our Romanian experiences, and perhaps taking a scenic drive in The White Mountains.

A link to my current blog (which contains many Romanian memories) is below.  Still more are to be found at my earlier blog, "A Fulbright Year in Romania."

Sincerely yours,


Tue, April 12, 2011 10:38:10 AM
RE: Romania
Eileen O'Connell [e-mail address]

To: Duncan McDougall

Thank you Duncan. I appreciate hearing from you. I have read your blogs and enjoyed them very much. They brought me back to similar experiences and reminded me of the kindness of Romanians.
I'll keep you posted on our progress in Cluj. The movie has really helped us connect with so many more people. We depend on volunteers in Romania to help our small staff run successful programs and special outings for the children. The good news is every time we show the movie more people step up to help.

April 12, 2011
RE: Romania
  : "Ratliff, Dan" [e-mail address]

To:Duncan C McDougall [e-mail address]

Thanks for the information about the screening.  I am helping publicize it, too, so it is gratifying to see the word go 'round the world. I think I met Eileen when I visited the NGO in Bistrita.

Sad news: our landlord Cornell Blajan passed away last week.  Quite unexpectedly.  Luci, his wife, found him at the house unconscious, rushed him to the hospital and he never regained consciousness.  Graveside service was yesterday. We were out of town for a conference in Italy and were greeted with the funeral notice on the gate when we returned Sunday.

I hope all is well with you and yours.  I am expecting that Life after Romania will not be as exciting as the Romanian Adventure, but that will be another chapter.  And I will work diligently to find ways to come back---I'm hooked!


Re: Romania
Duncan C McDougall [e-mail address]

To:"Ratliff, Dan"
Cc:Shirley McDougall [e-mail address]

Dear Dan,
I am most sorry to hear about Cornell's death.  Thankfully, it sounds as if he had a natural and a merciful passing.  He certainly impressed me as a wonderful man, to the extent that I knew him.
I understand the feelings you are having for Romania.  I remember that "Fulbrighter's pre-nostalgia" you are expressing.
I would be honored to share another time with you folks in Romania.  Perhaps we can arrange a future visit as two couples.
My very best to you, to Nancy, and to Cami,

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