The Russell Christmas Letter 2003

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Last year we spent Christmas and New Year at home and enjoyed the usual holiday turkey with all the trimmings, including Marian's Grandmother's famous bread rolls. In early February, we attended the IAEA Ball in the Hofburg Royal Palace in Vienna. If you look closely, you will see our Director General, Mohammed El Baradei, in the top left corner in the background. Also in February, John represented the IAEA staff at a conference in Copenhagen. After that, we took our usual one week ski trip - this year to Bad Hofgastein. In April, the Easter bunny brought lots of chocolate to our house.


The family with the turkey dinner

IAEA Ball in February

The Easter bunny visits Emily & Becky

In April, the Junior Choir of the Vienna International School held its annual Spring Concert and Emily announced one of the songs. In May, John went to England to visit his parents for a long weekend and came back with a bad attack of his trigeminal neuralgia. This attack turned into a major incident and lasted for most of the rest of the year resulting in 40 working days lost to sick leave which was the worst year so far for him since this chronic illness started. In June and July, we spent two weeks in the town of Chamonix, in the mountains near the French/Swiss/Italian borders. We took a train up the mountain and visited the glacier.

Emily introduces a song

The view from the balcony of our apartment

The famous glacier above Chamonix

Marian travelled quite a lot this year for her work - Sweden in August and England in October. John held down the fort at home while she was away. We had the usual round of family birthdays in September (we are all born in September, even the cat!). The cat was 5, Becky was 10, Emily was 12, and Marian was 50 (but don't tell anyone!). John's sister's family sent Marian a beautiful flower arrangement.  

Emily's birthday cake

Becky about to blow out the candles

Beautiful flowers for Marian from the Kimbers

In September, Becky joined the Junior Choir and was one of the announcers at the Junior Choir Fun Fest in October. Becky enjoys music and is very good at sports, playing soccer with some of the boys in her class at lunch time. Emily is now in Secondary School and has her own locker - a major event in her life. She is enjoying learning Spanish and math very much. Believe it or not it snowed at the end of October and the girls were able to build snow people in the back garden.

Becky and her 2 best friends (Jani & Lauren)

Becky announcing the song in German

Snow in October!

Marian visited her sisters and their families in Southern California at Thanksgiving. She had a wonderful time with them cooking and playing music and just hanging out. She would have liked to have stayed longer. Still functioning on European time, she made use of being awake at 3 in the morning by scanning in most of the photos from the family albums while everyone else was still sleeping. Otherwise, she stayed up pretty late every night and generally didn't get as much sleep as everyone else, but that was okay. She plans to edit the photos, burn the collection onto CDs and send them out to other interested family members. If you are interested in the photos, please let Marian know. While in California, Marian learned a new hobby from her sister Kate - bead crochet - and has taught it to Emily and Becky. They all love this hobby and have been busy making many colorful bracelets in the last few weeks.

Marian and her sisters

The finished product - a bracelet
(made by Becky)


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Copyright 2003 John Russell, last updated 24 December 2003, Number of hits =  Counter