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The 2011  Zurfluh  Family  Letter   Here   is   another   edition   of   the   Zurfluh   Family   Letter   with   the   now  traditional  total  family  involvement.  Enjoy!     Jon   We  are  writing  this  while  on  vacation  in  Guangzhou,  China  –  the   place  where  love  brought  Emily  and  I  together  almost  16  years   ago.    Amongst  my  “other  hemisphere”  family  members,  we  are   finding   tremendous   joy   through   the   memories,   food,   and   surroundings.     It   is   truly   amazing   the   transformations   that   emerge   in   this   robust   city   between   visits.     China   never   disappoints.     Moscow,   thus   far,   has   been   an   exhilarating   and   enriching   experience.    As  I  build  new  friendships  and  many  new  working   relationships,   I’m   amazed   at   the   warmth   and   welcome   that   St.  Basils  in  August   surrounds   us.     Staff,   parents,   students   –   all   have   been   tremendously  accommodating  when  I  make  the  usual  mistakes  of  a  new  leader  getting  settled.     It’s   both   an   amazing   school   and   a   wonderful   challenge   because   of   a   robust   array   of   traditions   and   an   established   organizational   culture.     But,   my   message   of   attending   to   the   small   things   has   resonated  with  staff  and  I’m  being  given  the  opportunity  to  build  working  relationships  that  will   lead   to   the   next   level   of   accomplishment   at   AAS.     It   is   a   wonderful   feeling   taking   my   experiences   from  University  Place,  Guangzhou,  White  River,  and  Shanghai  into  this  diverse  environment.    It   seems   like   all   those   small   interactions   that   have   taken   place   over   three   decades   in   education   emerge  each  day  in  new  and  unique  ways.    Whether  it  is  negotiating  with  contractors  on  the  St.   Petersburg  campus  renovation  or  having  a  chat  with  teachers  about  methodology  and  pedagogy   –  I  love  every  minute  of  time  spent  immersed  in  all  aspects  of  my  profession  in  a  near  perfect   synergy  of  both  purpose  and  trajectory.    I  love  the  history.    I  am  overjoyed  at  the  opportunities   that  exist  here.    I  love  the  city  despite  the  occasional  traffic  snarls.    I  cannot  wait  to  enjoy  more  of   the  arts  and  culture;  we  have  had  a  taste  that  only  leaves  us  thirsty  for  more.    I  want  to  fall  in   love   with   the   ballet   again   after   a   recent   trip   to   the   Marinskiy   in   St.   Petersburg   where   I   met   ballerinas   backstage   and   toured   the   halls   and   passages   of   the   oldest   and   most   historic   ballet   theater  in  existence.    I  fell  in  love  with  Peterhoff  and  look   forward   to   greeting   the   fountains   again   in   the   spring.     I’m   awestruck   by   the   Hermitage   and   the   Kremlin’s   temples   and   museums.     There   is   much   on   the   horizon   as   the   excitement   continues   to   build   in   this   fabulous   epicenter  of  history.     Wishing   you   all   equal   excitement   and   joy   in   what   you   plan!     May   the   dawn   of   2012   bring   you   renewal,   hope,   With  the  U.  S.  Ambassador's  wife   Informal  tour  of  Spasso  House   and  faith  for  the  aspirations  you  face!     Emily   2011   is   another   busy,   exciting,   and   fulfilling   year.     In   January,   Jon   and   I   stopped   in   Paris   to   celebrate  our  wedding  anniversary.    We  had  a  great  time.    The  food,  the  wine,  the  Eiffel  Tower,   the   Louvre   Art   Museum,   and   the   street   cafés   –   it   was   such   a   perfect   time   and   perfect   place   to   look  back  on  the  journey  that  we   have  taken  together  over  15  years.    With  the  end  of  2011,  I  am   enjoying   continued   success   in   my   program   with   Western   Governor’s   University.     I   finished   most   of   my   coursework   before   moving   to   Moscow   in   July.     I   also   passed   all   the   required   tests   for   expanding   my   Washington   State   teacher   certification   from   Early   Childhood   to   Elementary   grades.     I   am   getting   very   close   to   completion,   currently   projected   for   this   coming   spring.    

Moving to   Moscow   in   July   marked   another   beginning   of   a   new   chapter  in   our   lives.     We   really   enjoy   our   new   home,   new   school,   and   the   new   friends   that   we   made.     Jaisen   and   Erin   did   amazingly  well  settling  into  the  new  environment.    I,  for  the  first  time,  experience  the  struggle  of   living  in  a  foreign  country  with  a  language  that  I  don’t  understand.    Thank  goodness  for  all  the   support   I   have   received   from   new   friends,   school   staff,   Google   Translate,   and   my   iPhone.     I   managed   to   find   most   of   what   we   need   to   live   and   work   in   a   new   and   sometimes   challenging   city.     During   Christmas   break,   we   stopped   in   Shanghai   before   flying   to   Guangzhou   to   spend   time   with  my  family.    It  was  nice  to  see  some  of  the  familiar  places  and  meet  up  with  old  friends.    It   brought  back  many  fond  memories  of  our  many  experiences  in  this  exciting  city.    Times  spent  in   Guangzhou   with   my   family   made   me   realize   how   much   I   have   missed   them   (of   course,   I   also   missed   my   mom’s   homemade   soup   and   the   Cantonese   food,   too)   and   how   blessed   and   fortunate   that  I  am  to  be  able  to  spend  more  time  with  them.    Hoping  this  greeting  finds  you  surrounded   by  family,  friends,  love,  health,  and  peace!     Jaisen   2011  has  been  an  amazing,  and  eventful  year!    In  January,  my  classmates  at   Drum  Intermediate  School  and  I  returned  from  winter  break  to  continue  the   school   year   in   2011.     School   got   harder,   but   I   managed   to   keep   about   an   “A-­‐“   average.     I   also   started   my   second   year   in   Lacrosse.     I   primarily   played   Middie  on  the  second  line  of  the  team,  so  I  got  to  see  quite  a  bit  of  playtime   with   substitutions.     That   continued   from   February   until   about   May.     When   the  last  day  of  school  arrived,  I  knew  I  would  miss  all  of  my  friends  at  Drum   deeply,  and  I  still  do.    I  wish  I  could  have  had  more  time  with  all  of  them,  but  I   hung   out   with   many   during   the   early   part   of   summer.     My   summer   was   filled   with   parties,   playing   football   (soccer),   and   various   activities,   in   both   Washington   and   Moscow.     I   also   practiced   with   my   original   football   team   until   the   day   I   left   Washington   for   my   new   home   in   Moscow,  Russia.    We  arrived  in  Moscow  on  July  9th  and  got  to  our  house.    It  was  summer  and  it   was  boiling  hot.    The  air  conditioning  in  our  house  was  turned   up  all  the  way  and  had  only  moderate  effect.    We  unpacked  and   settled  in  a  few  short  days.    I  made  new  friends  much  quicker   than   I   thought   I   would.     I   played   football   and   hung   out   with   them  during  the  last  bit  of  summer.    Then  school  started,  and  it   has   been   a   bit   challenging.     Despite   that,   I   am   holding   a   “B”   average   in   most   classes.     I’ve   made   many   new   friends   since   the   beginning  of  the  school  year.     Now,   with  half  the  year  gone,  I  really  feel  like  I  am  having  a  great  time.    I   made  the  CEESA  Football  team,  the  top  football  team  of  the  middle   school,   which   consists   of   15   boys.     We   traveled   to   Budapest,   Hungary  and  placed  fifth  in  an  Eastern  European  tournament.    I  am   currently  trying  out  for  the  CEESA  Basketball  team  and  I  am  hoping   to  go  to  Helsinki  or  Bucharest,  depending  on  how  the  teams  end  up   forming.    Wish  me  luck  and  have  a  great  New  Year!    -­‐-­‐Jaisen     Erin   So  much  has  filled  this  year  such  as  taking  risks  and  leaving  friends  and  family.     While   it   has   been   challenging,   I   would   like   to   tell   you   all   about   2011.     In   January,   it   was   a   blast   to   finally   start   2011   and   to   celebrate   it   with   friends   and   family.    On  New  Year’s  Eve,  we  stayed  up  until  midnight  having  fun  but  we  did   not   care   because   we   were   together.     I   could   not   wait   until   the   school   year   was   over  but  I  worried  about  how  I  was  going  to  do  on  the  MSP  (Measurement  of   Student  Progress).    When  it  was  almost  time  for  it,  I  was  nervous  because  I  did  

not know  if  I  was  going  to  do  well  or  not.    Shortly  after   this  we  found  out  about  the  traveling  side  of  the  story.     Our   dad   told   us   that   we   were   moving   to   Moscow,   Russia!    I  was  a  little  bit  excited  but  how  was  I  going  to   tell   my   friends?     How   would   they   take   it?     When   my   friends   found   out,   they   were   amazed   and   surprised.     But,   I   also   noticed   that   they   were   a   bit   mad   at   me.     On   the  last  day  of  school,  the  madness  changed  to  sadness   and   tears,   but   it   was   still   fun   to   spend   the   last   few   hours   with   my   good   friends.     Now   that   we   are   in   Erin's  debut  as  TweedleDee  in  Alice  in  Wonderland   Moscow,   it   has   been   a   blast!     I   have   made   friends   with   about   50   girls   in   the   5th   grade   and   I   am   fitting   in   wonderfully.     I   like   Moscow   because   there   is   lots   of   history   to   learn.     At   school,   we   have   students   from   many   different   countries.     We   celebrate   different   cultures   around  the  world.    However,  in  Moscow,  there  are  also  many  smokers  and   I  am  bothered  by  the  smell  a  bit.    With  an  international  school  comes  the   occasional  changes  and  one  of  my  new  best  friends  that  I  have  only  known   for  about  4  months  just  left  for  Thailand  .    I’m  super  sad,  but  I  know  that   we  will  always  be  friends  even  though  we’re  too  far  apart,  just  like  all  my   friends  back  in  Washington  and  Shanghai.  Wherever   you   are,   I   hope   you   have  a  great  year!!    I  love  that  we  are  getting  back  to  an  even  number!    :p       -­‐-­‐Erin          

The Archangel’s  Cathedral  at  the  Kremlin  

Zurfluh Family Christmas Letter 2011  

Our annual letter for general publication.