Merry Christmas to everyone!
I had a great Christmas and got some really cool presents. It was great to spend Christmas with my family again. I was able to a couple of years ago but this year felt a lot more like it used to.
I got some really cool presents this year. One of which was an iPod dock for my iPod which has a radio, alarm clock and much more built in. I also got a home brewing kit to make some... um... delicious beverages.
My favorite present of all is:
I've only been back for about three and a half weeks but I've already got a job. I've agreed to work for Professional EDGE, a computer consulting firm that I interned at while I was in college. They are very happy to have me back and I'm excited to be working for them again. I'll be doing a mishmash of different jobs that can be defined as "Computer Consulting" and are in the general area of anything a business might want in a custom computer program. This will probably involve a lot of programming and other support.
One of the countries I did not visit in Central Asia is Turkmenistan. It sounded like one of the wackiest countries in the world with a very active personality cult for their leader, Turkmenbashi (Head of the Turkmen) or Saparmurat Niyazov. The personality cult included only government run bookstores that sold little besides books written by him, cities, seaports and many other things named after him (including a meteorite!) If you want to get an idea for just how weird the country is, read Lonely Planet's Central Asia book in the section about Turkmenistan.
This Sunday was a day full of weddings. After church we went to the first one. My sister-in-laws father got married to another widower. It was a great ceremony and they looked really happy together. After the reception and a 30 minute break, we went to the next one. The second one is the sister of some friends. After that we went home and watched the end of The Santa Clause 2 which has a wedding (sorry if I spoiled the ending!) It definitely felt like a theme for the day.
As you can probably tell from the title, Yoda didn't make it. We went to the vet to visit him this morning and he could barely move. In the two hours we were with him he only was able to lift his head three times and couldn't stand or wag his tail. None of the medications were working so we decided it was time for him to go.
The vet determined that his bone marrow wasn't producing red blood cells for whatever reason and that there really wasn't any chance of him recovering. Ben was able to come down and say goodbye since it was his dog.
We have thoroughly enjoyed this trip and are glad to have shared it with you. I'll try to keep posting to my blog about my life which is still interesting, at least to me. I love hearing from all of you so please feel free to send me an e-mail anytime.
Now I'm back in Dallas trying to set up my life again and get over jetlag. So far I've gotten a cell phone (with 3G, internet and TV!), gym membership and am still looking for a car and job. Its good to be home.
We arrived in St. Petersburg after an overnight train from Moscow for our last destination. It proved to be one of the most beautiful and amazing cities we had been to on this trip, well worth the effort of getting there.
St. Petersburg was founded by Peter the Great of Russia and was designed after European cities, created to Europeanizing the Russian Empire. It was the capital of Russia until the Soviet Revolution which actually began in St. Petersburg with Lenin.