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Thursday, December 25th 2003

12:00 AM

Christmas 2003

Dear Friends,

Once again we would like to wish everyone a very happy Christmas and a merry New Year! Our hopes are that this past year has been filled with pleasant memories and good times. For us, the past year was filled with exciting change and some new adventures.

We began the year by consulting with a Real Estate agent. These consultations led us to the purchase of our first home. The two-bedroom condominium we purchased is a bit further from downtown, but slightly bigger than our old apartment - most importantly it is ours. During our search Chris was busy putting the finishing touches on his thesis. In March, two days before leaving for Moose Jaw Saskatchewan, Chris defended his thesis (successfully). He was the first person to graduate from the philosophy masters programme at the University of Victoria.

In the early spring Christa left for Halifax to take the Naval Operations Course for three months. During this time Chris was undergoing pilot training in Moose Jaw. Over the Easter weekend we took possession of our new condominium, flew back to Victoria, emptied our apartment, piled up the condo with boxes and then flew back to Halifax and Moose Jaw. It was a busy weekend.

A few weeks later Christa's parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary and Christa was able to fly home to Newmarket for the celebration. Unfortunately Chris was unable to escape Moose Jaw. It was around this time that Chris requested a transfer out of pilot training in order to secure a more permanent posting alongside Christa. By June Chris was flying back to Victoria - he was greeted by a rather large pile of boxes and disassembled furniture. So, instead of cleaning up, Chris decided to renovate and make a bigger mess. Two weeks later Christa came home to new paint and hardwood floors in the bedroom.

Over the summer Christa worked onboard her ship, the HMCS Protecteur, and sailed a few times. Meanwhile Chris began working for the navy by teaching English writing skills to future engine room artificers. In July we took some holidays, visited Vancouver and Washington State, and played host to Chris' parents. Over their weeklong visit we embarked on a whirlwind tour of Victoria, old friends and Vancouver Island.

We were back at work for August, but again, in September, we were on holiday. This time we went north to the remote Strathcona Park to hike the tallest mountain on Vancouver Island. It was a gruelling five day hike along mountain ridges, over ice and through dense bush. The magnificent scenery was well worth the effort.

The rest of the year was concerned primarily with work. Chris began his naval training and Christa was busy finishing hers. She was studying for her naval competency board, which marks the end of her training and promotion to Lieutenant. She passed easily. During the fall we escaped our work by taking a German class at the University.

The year is now coming to a close; Christa has returned from three weeks at sea; Chris is back teaching English. We will spend the last two weeks of the year visiting family in Ontario. Again, we wish you all the best joy and happiness this Christmas season.

Chris and Christa
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