Christmas 2003

Dear Family and Friends,

 Greetings as we joyfully celebrate the long-awaited, still-celebrated birth of Jesus Christ! We trust and pray that all is well with you this year. We are finally settled in New England, after a mix of international and interstate travel. But to get to that point, let's back up a little.

As you probably recall, Ira was issued a U.S. visa in November 2002, but after a quick mandatory trip, returned to Moscow, Russia. In February 2003, Stan needed to renew his Russian visa, so we took a trip to Italy to do so. We flew into the coastal city of Rimini, and after a relaxing night in a room with a lovely view of waves breaking on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, we boarded a bus which transported us through the volcanic backbone of Italy's boot, to Rome on the other side of the mountains.

After a tour of Rome's many sights, we visited Naples and Pompei, a wealthy, hedonistic center of Greek indulgence filled with everything from brothels to bakeries, indoor plumbing to outdoor theatre. With fanciful frescos and ornate marble carvings uniquely preserved in solid ash two millennia against the relentless onslaught of time, Pompei offers a colorful glimpse into the lives of those so long ago, resting in the shadow of the mighty snow-capped Vesuvius.

Returning to Rome, we stayed an extra week to soak up the history of this amazing city. Highlights included the Roman forum, at the end of which lies the underground prison where both Peter and Paul were kept, and where portions of the New Testament were written. On the site of Peter's inverted crucifixion arose a mighty church, razed to make way for a second, then eventually the modern structure, Saint Peter's Basilica towers above the city, its 137-meter dome and ornately decorated cavernous expanse almost too large to believe possible.

We wrapped up the trip with views of Pisa's almost-toppling Bell Tower, Florence's rich marketplaces, and Venice's romantic waterways, then returned from the Mediterranean warmth of Italy to the snow and ice of Moscow.

In April, Ira was invited, based on her essay entitled "Mastering Volatility: Success in a Changing World", to participate in the 9th World Business Dialogue as well as the 3rd Semi-Annual World Students Summit, organized by Organisationsforum Wirtschaftskongress e.V., held at the University of Cologne, in Cologne, Germany.

In May, Ira completed another epoch in her glorious academic career. Specializing in International Economics, International Monetary and Financial Relations, she titled her thesis "Information Economy as an Aspect of Information Society." Similarly to how she finished her Bachelors earlier, Ira raced to a flying finish with perfect 5.0's in all her classes and thesis defense at Moscow State University.

In the middle of May, we packed our bags and headed down to Rostov-on-Don, Russia, to visit Ira's parents and take down as many things as we could, thus lightening our load for our imminent international move. After selling as many of our remaining heavy furniture and belongings as others were willing to buy, we packed what was left into six bags (each over 70 pounds) plus backpacks, carry-on suitcases, and various smaller bags, and lumbered to Sheremetevo Airport, where we traveled through JFK and SLC to Helena, where we were met and driven to Bozeman.

After a short stint in beautiful Montana, we drove out to New Haven, CT, where Stan started work in a lab prior to entering the Ph.D. program in physics at Yale University. Thanks to Mom's help as far as Chicago, the 2500-mile trip was bearable. We made a brief stop at Mount Rushmore, as well as a visit to the Wallas in Chicago, but other than that just drove. A month later, we reversed the process, riding with Grandma and Grandpa Sutterlin in their high-top via a scenic route which included the majestic Niagra Falls, a bit of Canada, and the Badlands of South Dakota. We remained in MT just long enough to pack up a 6x6x12 trailer pulled by Mom & Dad's Windstar van across the great U.S. of A.

In three and one half years of marriage, we have moved eight times. Making international, cross-country, and even shorter moves certainly causes one to think about what is needed and what isn't!

Here in Connecticut, Stan is very busy with five physics graduate classes plus an undergraduate lab to teach, and Ira is also auditing several graduate courses from the economics department. On Wednesday evenings, we lead Scooters (club for 4- and 5-year-olds) at church.

Even though Stan is (or should that be was? or claims to be?) the programmer around here, Ira is the one who has designed our family web site and several other sites. If you go to you will find dozens of pages documenting the amazing things we have been privileged to see in the past few years!

What we're most excited about currently is the fact that both of Ira's parents were issued U.S. visas, and will be making their first trip to America in just a few days! They will be here a month, arriving December 18. We plan to take a great American road tour, driving some 5000+ miles from CT to MT and back, enjoying a sure-to-be-white Christmas in the Rockies, then driving back through a more southerly route, hopefully hitting cities like St. Louis and Washington, D.C.

So that's a brief update about what's happened with us of late. We'd love to hear from you! We're excited to receive both  e-mail and snail mail! Please let us know your current email address, so we can keep in touch better. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers in the past, present, and future!


Have a Merry Christmas!


Stan and Irina Guthrie

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This page is created and maintained by Irina Guthrie, copyright 2003.