Wednesday, December 24, 2003

First off, and let me get this out of the way - Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope this holiday season finds everyone in good health and in good cheer. Or at least, it should, once the Christmas liquor starts flowing anyway.

This is Amy and my second Christmas in Korea, which I guess is a milestone of sorts. We’ve dusted off our mini Christmas tree once again and set it up in our living room, making the whole house feel a little more festive anyway.

Unfortunately, we don’t get a lot of time off over the holiday and tonight being Christmas Eve - we’re off to work. Luckily, I’m not planning on doing anything but play Christmas carols and get the kids to make Christmas cards for a few hours. I’m chalking it up to a ‘cultural experience’.

No snow in Ulsan yet and the weather is definitely chilly. Still, it’s hard to get in the holiday spirit when it’s a beautiful clear blue, sunny day outside. We’re planning on heading up to Gyeongju tomorrow on Christmas Day. They had quite an expansive buffet last year at the Hilton Hotel, so we’re planning a repeat visit.

With Christmas comes New Year’s on the horizon, which means we will ring in 2004, as we did 2003, once again in the Land of the Morning Calm. When I look at the calendar of activities that are already planned for January, I have to wonder if next year will be any more tranquil than the last.

But with ice climbing on Mt. Sorak, snow boarding at Muju Mountain, another trip to Seoul and the DMZ and five days in Shanghai planned in January alone, I have a hunch that it may be even more hectic. Certainly it will provide consistent fodder for these updates if nothing else.

Couple that with the preparations for Amy and my wedding in August and I’m sure 2004 will be a fun, but busy year. I trust everyone on this email list knew we were getting married. If not, well… we are!

On that note, not much news on the wedding front really, other than we’re slowly making progress ironing out an invite list and sorting out some of the logistics for some of our overseas guests. I’ve also thrown together a quick web site for the wedding, where I hope to post any important information as it becomes available. Check it out at www.burslem.ca/wedding

Anyway, the last few weeks have been busy as usual. Amy participated in a Hapkido competition a couple of weekends ago, where she was demonstrating a number of blocks and takedowns. I was still sidelined with my knee problems, so I attended as official photographer and for moral support.

It was quite the sight too – there she was, a lone blonde head standing tall in a sea of black hair. Nevertheless, she did excellently and won the silver medal for her class. We both go for our red belts this week, which will mean we are only one belt shy of our black belts! I’ve attached a few photos of the competition for your viewing pleasure!

At any rate, hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas with all of your loved ones. If you get a chance, spare a second while you’re chowing down on your turkey and mashed potatoes and give a moment’s thought to Amy and I, as we’re more than likely snacking on kimchi and rice.

Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

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