No. 5, Volume 4, December 31st, 2001
While wishing all of you - here and there - a HAPPY NEW YEAR we have spent the last days recollecting what has happened in our lives since January 1st, 2001. Not much looks as we could have expected it, and the year has certainly shown it ups and downs with good and bad memories. However, everything considered, the year turns out to have been another challenging year for all of us with mostly good happenings.
The year began with frustrations but also hopes for the future since Per Ole was without employment having resigned from Golden Bridge Technology as from January 3rd, 2001. The telephone line was busy and new job offers started coming in. In mid January the whole family was invited to a job interview with the newly founded company, Widax in Cape Cod, Massachusetts run by Joe Garodnick, a former GBT employee. The Cod is a beautiful and peaceful place very similar to Skagen in Northern Jutland, however, the prospects of packing up, changing schools, finding new friends, etc. seemed to be a little too overwhelming at that time, since we all agreed that we really like our lives in Ocean Township, NJ.
(Pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them; resting the curser on the picture will describe it)
Instead Per Ole went to an interview with a company in New Jersey, a less than a year old company, however, already with almost 100 employees and a promising and realistic business plan. End of January Per Ole signed an agreement with Flarion Technologies Inc. as an MTS (member of technical staff) being the lead designer for the company's mobile products. The company wanted Per Ole to start right away, however, the formalities with INS (Immigration) and labor department thought something else. The first hurdle in the process of getting a new working visa for Per Ole was overcome a few months later and Per Ole started his new job on March 21st. Working with Flarion has been a relief for Per Ole in many ways. The tasks are mainly focused on actual design and development which is what Per Ole likes most. However, more than an hour's commute in heavy traffic to Central New Jersey (Bedminster) each way has been an expensive price to pay and a change that we all had to get used to. By the end of this year Per Ole has almost finished the RF-design of the company's first product which is a PCMCIA card for mobile internet access. Currently Flarion is conducting field trials with a major U.S. carrier and the company expects to receive its ASIC around April 2002. This will enable Flarion to actually finalize and manufacture the company's first real product. Hopefully successful field trials will convince the service provider to place the initial order and form the future for Flarion and us.
Leaving Golden Bridge Technology was not an easy step for Per Ole, but with hindsight it was definitely the right decision. Already in June the company had to lay off twelve employees, and in October and December the remainder of them. The only thing left of GBT is the name and the hope that somebody might license their technology.
For Kirsten this year has been a great year in the academic field. In February she was invited to join Brookdale Community College's local chapter, Alpha Pi Theta, of the international honor society, Phi Theta Kappa. Being a member (which is solely based on high grades) is an honor in itself, however, as a member of the executive board as the Vice President of Communications Kirsten has had the opportunity of giving back manifold of what she has learned through many years of experience. Creating newspapers, website and a chapter scrapbook has been one aspect, another is the many, many activities which has kept both Kirsten, Maj and Lin busy most of the year, mainly within the charity area. The four main hallmarks of the honor society are: Leadership, Scholarship, Fellowship, and Service and Kirsten has spent most of the year dedicating herself to all four aspects. Within the Service area Kirsten initiated a goal-setting mentored program called See-Do-Be IT, enabling students to sign up for a one-on-one mentored goal-setting training period, pursuing their most important goals. Another service activity was the "Children as Authors" program in which members of the honor society mentored underprivileged children to write and illustrate their own hardcover book which was published in December.
The honor society invited Kirsten to attend the International Convention in Denver, Colorado in March, the Honors Academy in West Maryland in June, and the New Jersey Leadership Conference in Edison in October which has all been very exciting experiences for Kirsten. On next year's calendar is already scheduled the Regional Convention in Newark in February and the International Convention in Nashville, Tennessee in April.
Apart from the many activities within the honor society, the promise of keeping up the good work as a scholar has not been neglected. Kirsten has now finished the courses leading to an Associate Degree in Social Science (Psychology) with a 4.0 GPA (maximum). However, in order to graduate from Brookdale Community College with honors, Kirsten needs to finish four more classes within the honors section. Two have been booked for the 2002 spring semester and the remaining are planned to be finished before spring 2003 enabling Kirsten to graduate with honors and at the same time dedicating her time and efforts to a leading position in the honor society. Not very known to a Dane, good work pays off in the U.S. and on May 3rd Kirsten (and Per Ole) was invited to the college's Gold Star Award Dinner to present her with her first $cholarship. On June 1st Kirsten took up the challenge as one out of two participants from Brookdale Community College and competed with many other scholars from New Jersey and neighboring states in the Beacon Scholar competition at Leheigh County College, Pennsylvania to defend a research paper in Psychology.
For Maj this year has also been a year of a great scholar. She continues to follow the 5th grade Enrichment Program at Wayside School and finishes her extra homework with joy and pride. Her grades, very close to 100% in all subjects, show her engagement in everything she is doing and her first male teacher, Mr. Palermo, let her work on her goal: a class newspaper which she laid out in Microsoft Publisher all by herself (after having created the Alpha Pi Theta newsletter, the Kappanings, for her mom). In spring both Maj and Lin were invited to attend a Danish pilot project called the Netskole (internet school) and both of them enjoyed having Danish classmates all over the world keeping contact via the World Wide Web. Maj's participation in the math program nurtured her creativity in inventing exciting ways to solve math problems on the web. Unfortunately the program hasn't been offered to the public yet. But Maj is still looking forward to joining the Netskole as soon as it opens up again.
Being a 5th grader at Wayside school also means doing the Lip Sync Show. For four years the whole family has attended the show done by other years' 5th graders and finally this year it was Maj's turn. On March 1st Maj was on stage with her best friends Maddy and Madeline and performed and mimed to their favorite song "The Power of Love". The fall semester offered two new activities: chorus and band and Maj eagerly accepted them both. The rest of the family now "enjoys" Maj's practice of the trumpet, however, listening to the 5th graders chorus during the Winter Concert on December 5th was a real joy. The newest activity is basketball which Maj started in December.
Lin is in Mrs. Rodziewitz' 4th grade and enjoys school as much as Maj. She is very lucky to have several of her best friends in her class. At the end of last marking period Lin had fallen a few points below her very high average, and the teacher excused her with math being so much harder now in 4th grade. However, Lin didn't want this spot on her report card, so since then she has excelled and ended with an average of above 100% (including bonus work)!
Lin still enjoys dancing ballet and certainly has a body for it. In June the whole family and "Aunt" Connie went to see her performance at the Meadowbrook School in Eatontown. Both Lin and Maj are still active girl scouts and since Lin's spring "bridging" to junior scouts both girls have been in the same troop. Lin also enjoys having her best friends Kayla, Lisa, and Geneva as new girl scouts in her troop. This way the girl team can spend joyful hours together at meetings, camps, and other girl scout activities, such as selling girl scout cookies.
Also this year we have been blessed with visits from good friends from Denmark. In February the Fischer's (Jan, Pia, Charlotte & Anders) stayed for five days - long enough to make Jan so "bored" that he had to help Per Ole put in our new patio door (which had been waiting for a carpenter's help since June 2000). Wow, what a tremendous help and relief for Per Ole - and a joy to all of us! Next came the finishing of our lavender colored kitchen.
In July we had two short visits of a friend from our years in Hong Kong, Sisse and her friend Bettina. They came with their backpacks and a rental car to drive the East coast thin. The first visit (upon arrival in Newark) was a little too short, we thought - only 1 1/2 days - but our wishes came though - the girls returned on their way back to Denmark - being denied boarding in Newark by SAS and paid to stay over. That gave us another day with time to see pictures, do their laundry, etc.
In June we had another visit by the Peitersen's - this year
everybody except Steen. The children enjoyed the garden, pool and new spa and
this year's weather was much better than last year. Beach visits, neighborhood
sightseeing including extensive garage sales hunting and a trip to New York was on the program, and today Lin is very
happy to be the last one in our family to stay on top of the World Trade Center
Tower Two. Steen actually came later. In the fall – to discuss a
job opportunity in the U.S. Today it seems that the whole Peitersen family will
move to New Jersey on April 1st, 2002 - exactly 4 years after us as Maj
realized. We are all looking very much forward to having them within reach
In August it was our turn to be visitors. Our lawyers recommended us to go back to Denmark to get the working visa and extensions in our passports issued by the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen. It wasn't exactly what we had planned, but since this was the best way to please INS (Immigration) we decided to spend two weeks in our old country while getting the papers back in order. It proved to be a very wise decision, since everything went smooth with the visas/passports, and at the same time we had a chance to visit old friends and family and to help Kirsten pack down everything in her mom's apartment which had been left empty since Ulla moved into the nursing home, Birkehaven, in Helsingoer. The apartment was put up for sale and sold very quickly. Also Per Ole's parents were in a state of change. Their new apartment at Kastruplundgade was ready for take over on August 15th and their house on Baaringvej 11 was sold right when we were there. This gave Per Ole a chance to physically say "goodbye" to his childhood home and Hanne & Ove's home for more than 40 years!
Staying with our good friends, The Peitersen's, gave both Lin and Maj a chance of seeing their old friends from kindergarden and 1st grade, since Mette and Mads brought both of them to their respective classes at school and let them follow a week's Danish tuition. One of Maj and Lin's best experiences were the freedom of riding their borrowed bikes to and from school and all around Vaerloese on their own. Visiting 91 year-old great-grandma in Ballerup on bike was also a ride nobody would ever do in the U.S. With the children enjoying themselves at the Peitersen's Per Ole and Kirsten spent a wonderful sunny, summer, Saturday afternoon as tourists in Copenhagen and was just as impressed with the atmosphere in Nyhavn as all the other foreigners. A visit to our best friends from Hong Kong, Yenan, Erik, Thomas & Julie, who had just moved back to Denmark brought back lots of memories from our years in the Far East.
Borrowing one of the Peitersen's cars gave us the opportunity to visit our relatives in Copenhagen - the Fisher's, Frank & Bente, and Uncle Joern and in Northern Zealand - Aunt Iris, cousin Susie and grandma Ulla in her new place at the nursing home. She was very happy to see us all and recognized us - as new visitors every time we went in and out of the door. It was a good experience for all of us to see her in a safe place surrounded by well-educated staff treating all Alzheimer's patients with dignity and the right and proper care. Grandma's disease is progressing and today she has a hard time having a meaningful conversation for more than a few minutes.
On September 4th the family safely reentered the U.S. with our new passports and visas extended until January 2004 and the girls went right back to a new school year. A week later together with the whole country we were all in shock being only an hour from the catastrophic attacks on the World Trade Center. September 11 was also the 25th Wedding Anniversary for our neighbors Clara and Bob, and Kirsten went to get a cup of coffee when the terrifying news were seen on screen. An hour later Kirsten and her friend Yvonne drove up to Sandy Hook, our national recreational park, from where the horrific smoke could be seen coming in over New Jersey. An hours later Sandy Hook was closed and used for receiving the thousands of wounded victims carried by our Seastreak ferry from Manhattan. Per Ole learned about the disaster at the office where everybody cathered around a makeshift television with a fuzzy reception since all the area's TV transmitters were distroyed with the hit of the first tower. Only CBS was still on the air having a backup transmitter at the Empire State tower. Even after several months our TV reception remained in such a bad shape that we finally decided to install cable. In December we brought ourselves to pay our respect to the remains of Ground Zero walking around the whole fenced area watching the relentless cleaning crews and trucks lining up for loading of the horrific debris. On our way back through Staten Island the big piles of debris was seen on top of the dumping ground being thoroughly investigated and sorted out.
Even though no Americans were in the mood of celebrations Flarion decided to proceed with the planned company picnic on September 16th and the one hour trip to Baskin Ridge in Central New Jersey was a kind of memorial tour watching all the thousands of Stars and Stripes on cars, houses, highways and from office buildings. And for weeks the radio mostly played American patriotic songs.
In the middle of this depressed and sad war-stricken atmosphere the cases of Anthrax scared the population even more and for weeks we had a weird feeling not knowing if our mail would be contaminated - with a post office in Belmar, only 15 minutes from us being possibly infected. Thank God for virus-free e-mails!
Even though the "U.S. war against terrorists" situation has put a grinding touch on our daily lives we are doing well and have taken time to enjoy the entertainment possibilities in this great country. Being a student at Brookdale Kirsten has been able to buy tickets at student rate and Brookdale has taken us by bus to interesting places in the area such as the Pennsylvania Flower Show in Philadelphia, the Ringling Barnum Brothers' world-class Circus in Newark, to the newly opened New York Wax Museum, the Museum of Natural History, and latest in December to the Radio City's Christmas Spectacular Show next to the Rockefeller Center with the beautifully red-white-&-blue illuminated Christmas tree and the fascinating ice-skating New Yorkers.
In August the honor society provided a minibus to bring members and family to Hershey Park in Pennsylvania to meet other fellow Kappans, and Kirsten, Maj, Lin and Lin's friend Kayla enjoyed an exciting day in the fabulous amusement park.
In October the Kristensen family drove the seven hours south to Virginia to spend a weekend in Williamsburg in the historic atmosphere of the colonial America. To our great pleasure we discovered that Virginia also produces great wines!
Halloween was a little weird this year, since everybody had been warned not to dress up too scary or horrific considering the recent September 11-attack. Maj was did some thinking and created the most American she could think of: A Thanksgiving table. Lin wanted to be a World Trade Center volunteer nurse. Both girls won prizes for their outfits and Maj was happy to bring home a gorgeous blue mountain bike and Lin a wide-screen camera from the local food store plus money gifts from the local fire station.
Thanksgiving this year was if possible even more American all over the country and we thankfully enjoyed the holiday with a 23 pounds turkey and our good friends Ulla Molbo from New York, Flemming Oernskov from Princeton, and our Chinese "aunt" Connie who has become "more family" since her pregnancy with Nina and lots of time to spend with Lin and Maj since the closing of GBT.
The party of the year was on August 4th when Josephine and Leo, the sister and brother-in-law of our neighbor, Clara, invited family and friends to celebrate Bob and Clara's silver anniversary in their country club in Lakewood - to the big surprise of the guest of honors. Bob having waved goodbye to Per Ole half an hour before working in the garden.
The annual Flarion Holiday Party was held at AT&T's convention center up north and being a party for grown-ups only, Maj and Lin "hid" themselves in front of the television with lots of goodies in the rented hotel room having as much fun as the parents dining and dancing in the ball room.
Santa was sure busy this year, and the real Santa, by the name of Noel Peters (Peter's Jul in Danish?!) entertained the children of the Aslan Ministeries being brought to Brookdale to a party arranged by the honor society. Enjoying the puppet theatre, doing crafts, tasting home made gingerbread cookies and the colorful ribbon candy, Kirsten, Lin and Maj got into the true Christmas spirit. For the 4th time we celebrated a traditional Danish Christmas Eve in the Danish Seamen's Church in Brooklyn, New York. Adding our three years in Hong Kong this makes it 7 times we have celebrated Christmas in a seamen's church worldwide.
New Year's Eve was spent with our good friends, the Rodrigues', and their family, with lots of delicacies, wine and music. And suddenly it was 11:59 .... and BOOM with the ball falling from Times Square the year was gone and we wish you all a
HAPPY NEW YEAR
with all the best for a
healthy, happy and successful year!
Lin, Maj, Per Ole & Kirsten
VISITORS since 12/31/2001
Last update 08-Jan-2009