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Christmas letter 2011

December 22, 2011

Dear Friends and Family,

2011 has been another year of adventures for John and Elena! Beginning with the snowiest and longest winter both of us can remember (nicknamed “snowmaggedon” and “snowpocalypse” by locals), we were eager for nice weather to come. This winter by comparison has been surprisingly mild, and we may not even have a white Christmas this year (a first for Minneosta?).

John continues his studies as a chiropractic  student at Northwestern Health Sciences University. He has officially completed his 7th trimester out of 10, meaning that he will graduate in less than a year—November 12th, 2012 to be exact! We are excited that the end is in sight, and eager for what adventures lie ahead. He continues to sharpen his skills in chiropractic technique using the Gonstead method. This past term brought John’s first chiropractic    Internship at an office in Minneapolis, where John  prepared x-rays, did patient exams, and adjusted patients. This coming trimester will bring more internship hours and less class time, a welcome change.

Elena had a new adventure this year as well. After a year and a half as Program Coordinator at nonprofit Community Thread, Elena was surprised by the news that her supervisor was leaving for a new job. She interviewed for the position, and received the promotion to Volunteer Center Program Manager. The position brings greater   responsibilities and decision-making, and has been a wonderful new challenge for Elena. She is currently wrapping up her work with the Holiday Bureau program, which has been much smoother the second time around! Elena also continues to volunteer as Compassion International’s Volunteer Coordinator for Minnesota events.

We filled our summer with fun activities and trips. Minnesota is a veritable  outdoor adventure wonderland. We spent many weekends biking, hiking, swimming, and just generally exploring nature. We took a trip this fall with John’s parents to our favorite Minnesota destination, the north shore of Lake Superior, to track down Susan Ballam’s parents’ childhood homes, as well as tour some of the sites.

Additionally, in August we took a family vacation with Elena’s family (minus Chris—who had just begun a new job at Google) to the Black Hills in South Dakota. Encounters with hundreds of buffalo, seeing the four faces, hiking   beautiful trails, and driving through the Badlands National Park were just a few of the highlights. We also took a trip to visit the Ballams in Ocean City, NJ and enjoyed a week of boogie boarding, attempting to surf, and walking the boardwalk.

We hope this letter finds you healthy and happy. We treasure each and every one of our friends and family, and hope to connect with you soon! Any takers to visit Minnesota in 2012??? We hope you all have a blessed holiday season, and your best year yet!  Love, John and Elena

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