Warm greetings this
beautiful Christmas 2005!
You share a special place
in our hearts, even though distance and time often struggle to separate us.
We want to wish you the Merriest of Christmasses and the Happiest of New
Years, and may God's blessings pour out on you not undeservingly.
Each and every year is
full of memories, expected and unexpected, and this past one was no
exception. After ringing in the New Year in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, we wended
our way across the frozen Russian countryside to Moscow, spread our wings
and stretched our legs a bit in Zurich, Switzerland, and returned to our
apartment in New Haven, CT.
Our weekly routine
consisted of Stan's physics classes throughout the week, a Friday night trip
of about 90 miles up to Southbridge, MA, where Ira tutored her Bay Path
College students Friday night while Stan relaxed in the luxurious
Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center, and then a marathon 6-hour teaching
on Saturday, where Ira taught several courses, and Stan even joined the fun
one session. One of the most relaxing, nicest drives we had was during the
so-called "Blizzard of 2005" which wasn't actually a blizzard at
all, but was indeed a lovely snowfall of well over a foot. Because the
announcers had scared everyone off the roads, that was the only drive we had
when we didn't have to worry about crazy traffic! We just took it easy on
the plowed roads with a bit of snowpack from time to time, and enjoyed the
In the spring, we were
briefly visited by our friends the Kershners. After that, we took a jaunt to
Allen Fuller and Natasha Volkova's wedding just outside of Atlanta, where
Ira was the maid of honor (we knew Natasha from our church in Moscow.) Upon
returning, we learned that our landlord was wanting to raise our rent
We bought a house! After
our May 27 closing, our Memorial Day weekend was occupied by our extreme
makeover, home edition. Our friend Lena Tropinova arrived a few days
earlier, but we had bought the house in such a whirlwind, we weren't able to
change any plans, and she graciously helped us strip out most of the inside
and add a few layers of new paint, as well as new carpet (of course, for
that part, we hired out other people to hurt their knees at a very
Our new house is located
in New Haven, right on the border with Woodbridge, where we attend Trinity
Evangelical Free Church. We started attending there in July of 2004, and
enjoy the small groups, helping out in the nursery, attending ladies Bible
study (no comment on which of us attends that part; guess ;) and singing in
choir. In addition to weekly worship, we sang two annual Christmas concerts
(4 per year!), as well as for a Tenebrae Service, and even once in joint
concerts with an inner city church.
Before we knew we would be
buying a house, we bought season passes to Six Flags, and visited many times throughout
the summer (mostly on Saturday afternoons, after Ira's teaching), including
when Melanie visited us, and when Stan's parents visited. The rest of our
time was spent with various tasks around the house, fun without end.
Backing up a bit, last
spring Stan started working with Prof. Mark Reed, who specializes in
electrical aspects of nanotechnology. Specifically, Stan has been growing
and characterizing III-V semiconducting nanowires with other members of the
research group. The results so far include one paper published (which
contained measurements of 1096 GaN nanowire transistors, when the
total published in the world to that point was well under a thousand) and
another paper on indium oxide recently submitted.
With the blessing of a
great research group, Stan buckled down and finally passed his qualifying
examination, so he is likely to stay in the Ph.D. program a bit longer. In
fact, Yale promises to give a Master of Science degree, so Stan will finally
have as many degrees as Ira. That degree is theoretically for December 2005,
but the ceremony won't be held until Spring 2006.
seemingly-never-ending studies finally ceased, we were able to patch
together the last of the details at our house and finally host over 50
guests at our open house. This is certainly maximum capacity!!!
For Thanksgiving, we spent
celebrated with Dean and Olga Kershner (and their 3 boys) our Third Quasi
Annual Turkey and Liver-filled Thankful Feast. The first two were in Moscow,
which was a tad bit colder than this year's, at their home in West Palm
Beach, FL. It was hard to believe the end of November was upon us, with warm
walks along the beach and swimming in the clear ocean waters!
Jumping backward again,
last spring Ira was accepted to the Economics Ph.D. programs at Cornell,
MIT, and the University of Connecticut, but all without funding.
After driving to all 3 schools, we reinforced what we already knew: they
were all too far away. So Ira declined all their offers, and we bought our
house. But then in July, UConn called up and asked Ira to reconsider, and
to sweeten their offer, not only waived tuition, but provided a
stipend. This was enough to change a mind, and also pay for transportation
expenses, including a 2004 Ford Focus to befriend our 1988 Oldsmobile
Cutlass Supreme. The drive is 90-120 minutes each way, depending on
traffic, but at least Ira only needs to go 4 days a week most of the weeks.
The semester finished very well, with a nice GPA (even though the classes
were really hard!)
Perhaps the biggest
change of the year is due April 29, 2006. Yes, that's right!!! Our yellow
room / guest room will become our yellow room / nursery! Ira was so busy
all semester, that we only started seeing the doctors this past week.
Praise God, everybody is healthy! :) Ira's parents have valid U.S. visas,
and are planning to come in the spring to help out with the baby.
Well, that about wraps
it up for the year! Thanks for reading this far, and for thinking of us.
We think of you often, and would love to hear from you! If you want to see
pictures and more details now and throughout the year, go to our family
--> Stan and Ira