Monday, December 26, 2005

2005 Year in Review


Merry Christmas! We hope this letter finds you in good spirits and ready to read yet another exciting Christmas letter!

This was a wonderful first year of marriage for Natalie and I—jam-packed with fun and adventure. We fulfilled our dreams of backpacking Europe with the one we love (each other) and relaxed on a cruise around the Caribbean with the family; we even bought our first home—then decided to move to the Bay Area a few months later… Anyone want to buy or rent a new condo walking distance to the beach in San Diego?

Top ten highlights from Dave and Natalie's 2005:
10. Surveying the beauty of Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower (and the beauty of Vegas from the 1/2 scale version).
9. Coming within a few feet of the new pope in Vatican City .
8. Fleeing the flooded waters of Interlaken by bus (the lakes rose 1.5 meters in one night!)
7. Standing in the actual prison cell were Peter was kept before his upside-down crucifixion around AD 64.
6. Kissing wild sting rays in the Caymans.
5. Discovering the Mayan ruins of Cozumel .
4. Swimming through caves off the Amalfi Coast.
3. Braving the cliffs of Capri and the Cinque Terre on some of the best hikes in the world (in our opinion).
2. Singing 'O Sole Mio in a Venetian gondola, accompanied by a guitarist, 3 Japanese tourists, and 4 musical gondoliers.
1. Walking in the stillness of night past all the lighted sights in Rome starting with a romantic dinner in Campo de' Fiori to the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps.

Natalie built a house from the ground up in Tijuana with 20 high-schoolers and cofounded a non-profit to help women with eating disorders. I got to eat octopus, jellyfish, kim chee, and other interesting "foods" while working in South Korea and studied abroad in Prague and Munich as part of my MBA program.

Now we're temporarily living in a 2 story, 3 bedroom 2 bath guest house in Los Altos Hills. I'm working at a server startup and Natalie is working at a church and searching for the perfect job.

We wish you all the best in 2006 and hope to see you soon!

Love, Dave and Natalie

Friday, October 07, 2005

San Diego Condo

Thursday, September 08, 2005

heading home...

Today we toured St. Peter's basilica (and hiked all the way to the top
of the dome) and went inside the actual jail cell where Peter and Paul
were imprisoned. We head to the airport at 3:30am tomorrow morning so
please pray that all the connections, shuttles, and flights go
smoothly.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

We saw the pope!



As I write we're a block away from the Trevy fountain in the middle of a great night walk across Rome on the pedestrian only streets past all the sights that are lit up at night--led by Rick Steves of course. This morning we heard that the pope was coming out so we headed over to the big square where everyone in town was going and had to have reservations to get in, but somehow we ended up within 10 feet of him. Then went through the sistine chapel with no lines. Enjoyed a good pasta dinner with everyone at our hostel up on the roof overlooking the colosseum, pretty good location for a dinner..

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Amalfi coast...

We really like Sorrento!


The afternoon we arrived the whole town seemed to be closed. We made the short walk from the train station to our B&B and no one was around. We were very happy to have air conditioning for the first time since Interlaken (and we didn't need it then). And happy that
there was a dumbwaiter to lift our bags up the 4 floors to our place. When we went back outside after getting settled the whole town was out and about. I guess they were all having their afternoon siesta. By 10pm the streets were really packed and closed to cars. All the shops
were open and we had a great italian meal down a nice back alley.

At dinner we met a southern italian couple that we could hardly communicate with but had a great time nonetheless. We ended up dancing the night away with them and the old-timer italians in some kind of huge outdoor ballroom dance\line dancing event. Lots of fun. Today on the beach and tomorrow Capri--gotta go, dave and nat

Thursday, September 01, 2005

"if I could be but a glove upon that hand...



...that I might touch that cheek." We went to Juliet's balcony a few days ago, under which Romeo said something like that... actually it's
a fake to bring in the tourists, but it looked nice and romantic and at least it was in Verona. Our friends in vicenza made a wonderful fareawell dinner of bigelli (a local pasta, basically is what it sounds like, big spaghetti) for us that night; it was wonderful to stay with friends for a few nights and rejuvinate after a few weeks of travel.

Yesterday Natalie and I hiked through all 5 towns of the Cinque Terre, amazing. And to our suprise our room in Vernazza was right in the middle of town with an incredible ocean view. Only problem was the four flights of stairs after 4 hours of hiking around the mountains. We also got some time in the afternoon to relax, swim, and lay by the beach. Sorry we weren't on internet in Cinque Terre, the beach was too inviting.

Today we stopped for an hour in Pisa on our way to Florence. We saw the real statue of David today! It's much better and bigger than I thought it would be, and we followed around and english tour group to get the history. Then checked out the Duomo and saw the sun set over
Florence from the piazza michelangelo.

Tomorrow we're doing a little wine tasting tour in the Tuscan countryside.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Wow, Corniglia

On our hike from Vernazza to Corniglia early this morning we came upon what has to be one of my favorite views in the world. I set my camera up on the 200 year old rock wall that lines the entire path to capture our silent amazment of God's creation and man's hard work. We continued the hike through Manarola and Rio Maggiore before taking the train back to Vernazza for a sunset dinner.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

In Interlaken

Class is done! Now the vacation can start.=) We had our farewell
dinner on Friday night in munich and the German teachers wore their
traditional lieterhosen. We saw the olympic park and wandered some
more around the good parts of Munich. I also got to see Weezer!
Great small concert with some guys from class. Saturday morning he
headed up to Kaiserslauten to visit Carmen, a friend of Natalie's
family from Romania. She took us to the beautiful city of Heidelburg
and had a lot of fun hiking up to the good views of the old bridge and
castle. Then we ran back to get on the train to Switzerland. We were
able to get 1st class Eurail tickets for the same price as 2nd class
so it has been really nice lounging in the first class cabins on all
our train trips. We got in to Interlaken at 10pm and walked to our
convent/old folk's home where we stayed for the night. Now we're
checked in at the Backpacker's Villa and ready to walk around the
lakes and explore the town. A little foggy this morning but we hear
it will clear up in the next couple days. Natalie and I have had
colds the last few days, but we're getting much better now. Thanks
for your emails! Talk to you soon!

-dave and natalie

Friday, August 19, 2005

Video: Eurotrip 2005 Part III: Germany

Nuremburg, Munchen, Dachau, Fussen, Kaiserslauten, and Heidelburg...

Monday, August 15, 2005

Mike's Bike Tour


Saw the nymphenburger castle and did mike´s bike tour today. The bike tour hasnt changed a bit since I did it in 2000--just this time we had rain. Our whole group got to ride around in huge yellow ponchos, a great site to see. And of course we visited the hofbrauhaus. Now i´ve gotta write a paper for class tomorrow. We hear the one and only Rick Steves is in Munich at this very moment.... we √§re keeping an eye out for him.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Video: Eurotrip 2005 Part II: Vienna

Side trip to Wien from Praha...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Jazz at the Reduta

We've been enjoying prague this week! Saw the best jazz band we've ever seen last night and have seen about all the sights by now. Tomorrow we're going to check out Vienna, then Sunday off to Munich.

The Reduta is where Clinton played the sax when he was in town:

It's in a pretty bad area of town, down a dark alley, then down some stairs into the basement, then even once you're there it's tough to figure out if there's a band playing or how to get tickets, we didn't run into anyone who spoke English. But the difficulty was well worth it.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Orchestra

Saw an amazing orchestra performance tonight in this beautiful concert hall.



Natalie picking up some groceries for the week...

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Arrival in Praha

We just wanted to let you know we have safely arrived in Prague. The flight were great, no lines and no layovers (we couldn't believe it). This evening we roamed the beautiful and very romantic city of Prague, I felt like we were walking down the streets of Disneyland only 800
years older and more beautiful. The sunset was breath taking and the quaint ally restaurant had fabulous food. We even figured out the metro. Stay tuned for further adventures this is only the first night!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Eurotrip 2005 Itinerary

Below is our itinerary for the upcoming Europe trip. The places listed are where we sleep that night, in parenthesis are the day trips we may go on.

Aug.
7 Prague
8 Prague
9 Prague
10 Prague (Krakow)
11 Prague
12 Prague (Vienna)
13 Prague
14 Munich
15 Munich
16 Munich (Neuschwanstein)
17 Munich
18 Munich
19 Munich (Heidelburg)
20 Romantic Road
21 Interlaken -Backpacker's Villa
22 Interlaken
23 Gimmelwald
24 Gimmelwald
25 Paris -Laura's apartment
26 Paris
27 Train
28 Venice -Jim's house
29 Venice
30 Cinque Terra -Vernazza
31 Cinque Terra
Sept.
1 Florence
2 Florence
3 Siena
4 Sorrento (Capri)
5 Sorrento (Pompei)
6 Rome
7 Rome
8 Rome
9 San Diego!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Seoul Day 4: Made it Home

How do you know it's the 21st century? When you're making reservations for a hotel in Rome on your Japanese wireless laptop logged into a San Diego-based VPN while sitting in a cell phone factory in Korea. Weird.

I made it back safely.. but barely made the flight. There was so much traffic from Seoul to Incheon that I got to the airport as my plane was starting to board. At the ticket counter they said ticketing was closed and I had to get on the next flight the next day! But I said it was important and I didn't have any checked luggage so the called the manager and got me a ticket. Then I had to get through security and immigration in a half hour... with commercial goods (50 cell phones) and of course I got in the slowest immigration line and they tried to make me go to the end of the line and fill out more paperwork and I had to run all the way to the furthest gate to get to the plane, that pulled out as I got on.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Seoul Day 3: Soju

This is what a Korean looks like after a few bottles of Soju.Jhoney and I out on the town. Check out the innovative bar name in the background.
The nice hotel I stayed at, next door to a Starbucks of course.
Street signs...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Seoul Day 2: Cell Phone Parts

Went to Woojeon's main factory in Yong-In today to check on the faceplates for this phone and settle some processing issues on another.
This is what a plastics molding machine looks like:

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Seoul Day 1: Eating and Tool Making

The machine below is cutting a tool that will be used for molding this cell phone's cover. It's an EDM ( Electrical Discharge Machine) and it cuts without touching the workpiece... sparks remove the material through metlting and vaporization, then the particles are washed away with the dialectric fluid shown.These are my buddies Tiger and Jhoney (not a typo) who I work with almost everyday -- it's good to finally meet them in person.
No chairs in the restaurants--not my most comfortable meal, but very tasty.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Denny's Late Night - An American Pastime

Enjoying a few grand slam breakfasts with our Younglife La Jolla kids.

We even won some good prizes at the stuffed-animal-grabber-thing.