Sunday, December 21, 2008
So... it is Christmas (or rather Advent) again. As you can see from the picture, it actually snowed in Vancouver. :) This year Keith and I are with Keith's family in Iowa. (Luckily we managed to get out of there before more snow came!) There will be 10 adults, 2 children, and 4 dogs, all sleeping in the same house. It will be quite the wild time. :) I like being here, because, now that I am finished marking Hebrew finals, all my responsibilities are finished, and I don't need to worry about schoolwork for the next couple weeks. At present, there is a lot of snow, and nothing to do outside the house, so staying in the house and loafing--knitting, sleeping, reading, talking, watching movies, etc.--is the order of the day. Yay! We worked hard, and now it's time to rest.
Traditionally, this is the time of year to reflect on what has happened in the past year. We don't have too much earth-shattering news at present. We have been very busy at school and at church. However, in spite of that, I think we traveled more miles this year than ever before. We started the year with a trip to North Dakota to witness our nephew, Michael's baptism, went to Kauai in May with my family, took a road trip through the Midwest to visit Keith's family in May and June, visited our friends, Alan, Libby, and Anna Thorp in New Zealand in August, I went to Peru to visit another friend in October, and now we are in Iowa again! Anyone want to add up the miles and tell me the total? Really, the purpose of all this travel was to see people who are dear to us and far away. We had wonderful times with both our families, enjoyed hanging out in New Zealand with the Thorps, and I got to meet Sindy face to face for the first time in Peru! This is typical for us; scenery and activities are nice, but people are more important.
At school, this has been our busiest year ever! I am working on my Arts Thesis, which is a series of four carefully planned worship services making use of lots and lots of string instruments. I will also be writing a paper on this subject. Meanwhile, I am also keeping myself sane by working as a Hebrew TA (teaching assistant)--I get to keep up on my Hebrew skills, while helping other students learn.
Keith has been working as a TA as well, for Greek! My, aren't we a nerdy pair! A common sight over the summer was the two of us sitting together at a table in the Atrium at school marking the daily quizzes for summer language classes. Keith has been very busy taking upper level seminars and language classes, as well as studying for comprehensive exams. He successfully completed the New Testament exam at the beginning of December, and will be taking the Old Testament exam in the spring. He has been supported through the process by some very helpful professors.
At church, I worked as a worship intern from October 2007 until August 2008. It was an amazing learning experience, which has helped me greatly in my arts thesis. In particular, I learned how to better craft a worship service and how to better encourage others to use their musical gifts. Now that I'm done with my internship, we're both still regularly involved in music at church.
On an entirely different music-related note, I've been teaching cello in an after-school music program. I have three students, whom I share with my friend, Cat. They had their first performance in June. We were so proud of them! A few weeks later, we all gathered at my house (with moms) for a tea party to celebrate their accomplishments.
What's next? We're graduating in the spring (April)! I will complete my thesis, and Keith will complete his exams! Then I think we're done with full-time school for a while, or maybe permanently. That will total 10 years of college for me, and 8 years for Keith! As for what comes after that, we have some ideas, but nothing is certain just yet. Stay tuned for next year's Christmas letter! (Or read our blog.)
I hope all of you, our dear friends and family, have a marvelous Christmas, wherever you are, and whatever you are doing! May you always remember our incarnate Lord who came to dwell among us. Blessings on your celebrations!
Love, Keith and Celia
p.s. We'll have an Olson family picture up on our blog soon, too! We haven't gotten to it yet...