No. 6, Volume 5, December 31st, 2002

Happy New Year and welcome to our 5th annual newsletter! This year we have chosen to let the Chinese proverb "a picture tells a thousand words" dominate the newsletter while going through our year 2002 month for month. Enjoy our yearbook!

Pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them; resting the curser on the picture will show the caption.


Newborn Nina with mom Connie and dad Mark  A happy bigsister Lin with her cute littlesister Nina  Nina Ye 10 days old

On Sunday, January 27th a wonder happened. Little Nina Ye was born to her proud parents Connie Wang and Mark Ye. Lin became her big sister by choice and every step in Nina's development was followed with joy by the Kristensen family. 


Same Kirsten as 12 1/2 years ago - but two more Kristensen's  Enjoying gourmet food and fine wine   Copper gifts ...  

On February 12 Per Ole and Kirsten had been married 12 1/2 years. That means Copper Anniversary in Denmark. Kirsten tried on her wedding dress - and yes it still fit! The evening was celebrated with an excellent dinner at Joe & Maggie's Bistro and great gifts highlighted the day.  

Erik, Karin and Rani in eager discussion   Del, Yvonne and Per Ole   Chinese delicacies

To make up for not being able to celebrate the Copper Anniversary with a party we decided to turn the annual Chinese New Year into a Grand Open House on February 16th with almost 50 guests. 

Maj, Maddy and Lin advertising their show  Maj, Maddy and Lin in action  Getting A's not D's

On February 22nd Lin, Maj and their friend Maddy Craig performed the "Upside Down" by A*Teens at the Lip Sync Show at Ocean Township High School. 

Alpha Pi Theta's fundraising table  Kirsten displaying the Illustory project  Alpha Pi Theta chapter ready for the Gala Dinner

On February 22nd - 23rd Kirsten went to the 15th annual Phi Theta Kappa Middle States Regional Convention in Newark with her fellow honor society officers and advisors to compete for the highly valued awards and won an "honorable mention" for the Illustory project she had initiated in the fall of 2001. 


Alpha Pi Theta members and Aslan children ready for bookwriting  Aslan children actively creating books while members mentored

March 1st was the kick-off day for another Illustory project in the honor society. Kirsten and other members of Alpha Pi Theta met with a group of children from Aslan Youth Ministries to spend the next two months' Friday afternoons writing and illustrating books about health.   

Parul and Nate teaching the art of cooking vegetarian  Enjoying a well-cooked vegetarian meal

At Easter the family was honored by a visit by our former exchange student Nate Goetz from Los Angeles and his fiancée Parul Patel. We all got a lesson in how to cook vegetarian (while drinking a lot of red wine).  


A fellow member Trishia Yearwood receives an award  Kirsten met the author Bonnie St. John  The spectacular Gaylord Opryland Conference Center

On April 3rd - 7th Kirsten went to Nashville, Tennessee to participate in the 84th Annual Phi Theta Kappa International Convention. Apart from spending five days at the gorgeous Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Conference Center together with almost 4,000 other fellow honor society members it was exciting to meet the country singer Trisha Yearwood on fairly close hold while she received the 2002 Distinguished Alumna Award from Phi Theta Kappa as a longtime member of the society (since 1983) and also to meet the speaker, author of "Getting Ahead at Word" and Olympic medal winner, Bonnie St. John.    

Kirsten inducted as a Psi Beta member  The new board of Psi Beta  Psi Beta board ready to work

April opened another possibility for joining an honor society for Kirsten. On April 8th she was inducted as a founding member of Brookdale's new chapter of Psi Beta, the honor society for psychology and was was elected Officer of Communications responsible for creating a new psychology publication, Betanings, and website for the chapter.    


Gold Star Gala Dinner with Psi Beta charter president Noel Peters and wife  Gold Star Award winner

May paid off for Kirsten's hard and active work in Brookdale's many clubs and societies. On May 2nd she received a Gold Star Award and a scholarship for extraordinary contributions to Brookdale Community College at the Gold Star Award Gala Dinner at the Grand Marquis in Old Bridge, New Jersey.   

Maj 12 years old   Make-over treatment in action  Barbeque in the back yard

May 10th was Maj's 12th birthday. The theme of this year's birthday was make-overs with spa treatment. After a thorough cleaning and a dip in the spa the birthday guests enjoyed a barbeque on the patio.  

(left) Dr. Shahin Pirzad, Linda Jeffery, Barbara Baron, Dr. Peter Burnham, Diana Morton, Meredith Verona, Kirsten and Tara Bruno   Kirsten sworn in as the new President of Alpha Pi Theta  The 2002-2003 Executive Board of Alpha Pi Theta

As the President-elect of Alpha Pi Theta, the honor society of Phi Theta Kappa at Brookdale, Kirsten was invited to attend the All-USA grand finale celebration on May16th in the State Capitol in Trenton, New Jersey. Honored by the President of Brookdale, Dr. Peter Burnham's presence as well as the advisors of the society, Dr. Shahin Pirzad and Professor Barbara Baron, Kirsten made a promise to herself that she would do what she could to be one of the two selected candidates for the highly valued scholarship next year. (The goal was reached on November 26th!) On May 17th Kirsten was sworn in as the President of Alpha Pi Theta with an executive board of 10 other officers.    

The bedroom was first to have windows replaced  The 2 Pal Drive mansion before ...  ... and after. Now "House of the Rising Sun"

On 2 Pal Drive major decisions had been made regarding the maintenance and home improvement of the 35 year-old house. Replacement windows were bought from and installed by Asbury Window Factory for the total front facade. The house is now the "House of the Rising Sun".    

Maj and schoolmates in the Chorus  (left) Maddy, Madelyn and Maj after a great performance  Grandma and Grandpa with new car

May 8th was the evening of the Spring Concert at Wayside School. Maj and her friends, Maddy and Madeline were great performers in the chorus. In the last week of May Per Ole had a quick business trip to Ireland for Flarion with a chance of a 12-hours stay in Copenhagen. Just enough time to visit Grandma Hanne and Grandpa Ove and get a ride in their new Suzuki.    

Connie and Nina came to see Lin in the Parade  Wayside School Twirling Team  Twirling in action - Lin is #2 in the left row

May 27th was time for the Memorial Day Parade that Lin had practiced hard for in her twirling team at Wayside School. Aunt Connie and little Nina were among the many visitors with flags and appraisals.   


USS New Jersey  5th grade ready to board the battleship  Admiring the big cannons  Interesting info in the control room

On June 3rd Maj and Kirsten went with Mr. Palermo's 5th grade on a class trip to the retired New Jersey Battleship in Camden, New Jersey. It was exciting to imagine a day on the battleship in action. 

Tajh Miller reading his book "Slam"  Happy and proud just published authors  11 great books on display at Monmouth University

Saturday June 8th was a special day for the Aslan Youth children and the officers of Alpha Pi Theta who had worked hard to get the children's Illustory books published and exhibited at the local branch library before the official reading at Monmouth University during the Phi Theta Kappa Regional Middle States Officers Academy and Honors Institute. Eleven books were published and eleven teenagers could proudly add "published author and illustrator" to their resume. 

Lin (3rd from right) dancing in Copelia  Lin (#2 from left)

Lin had continued her ballet training at Margery Carroll's Ballet School on her 4th year and performed excerpts from "Coppelia" on June 14th at  Meadowbrook Elementary School.   

Capturing the adults  and then the daughters

On June 23rd Flarion Technologies Inc. hosted its annual picnic for employees and their families at Basking Ridge. The caricature artist was busy this year capturing all members of the Kristensen family. 

Per Ole at the first window replacement  Ugly surprises appeared: Termites!  Ready to receive a new window

Having had all the windows at the front of the house replaced the back was now up for consideration. After a couple of checks of the wood condition Per Ole soon realized that the job was to be more extensive and time-consuming than first thought. Windows and doors were ordered from Andersen and Pella and from June ALL Per Ole's weekends were to be spent on wood, framework and window replacements. 

Executive Director Rod Risley from PTK International  Kirsten's group at the Honors Institute  The beautiful Biltmore Estate  A view over the Blue Ridge Mountains

The week of June 24th Kirsten was sent to Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina to attend the 35th Annual Phi Theta Kappa Honors Institute. Seven days were spent studying the Honors Study Topic "Dimensions and Directions of Health: Choices in the Maze" and the International Service Program "Conquering Cancer: A Prevention and Awareness Program with the American Cancer Society." Besides participating in lectures, group sessions, and fellowship gatherings, there was also time to see the Vanderbilt family's beautiful Biltmore Estate and the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. 


Assembled and opened PC card  CTO Rajiv Laroya summoning to celebrate the good achievements  Cheering  Good teamwork

July 3rd marked a special day at Flarion Technologies, Inc. This was the day when the first PC card was received from the manufacturer and brought to full functionality within a few hours! That called for a celebration. Kirsten and the girls brought a magnum bottle of champagne and pleasantly surprised management and staff at Flarion. 

Per Ole after surgery  Thea enjoying our Jersey Shore at Point Pleasant  A walk in Central Park, NYK

July 8th Per Ole finally made a decision to have the wart on his left cheek surgically removed. None of us had any idea that this would need full anesthesia, but Per Ole survived the operating table and looks handsome after the stitches and scar has disappeared. On July 20 our goddaughter, Thea from Denmark, visited us for ten days which were spent at the beach, in the pool, and in New York trying to cope with the hot and humid weather.      

A happy birthdaygirl  Ready for an ice-cream cake ...  Party - that's Nina ...

On July 27th a happy Nina and friends celebrated her first 1/2 year birthday. No doubt she is a party girl. And everybody liked the ice-cream cake. 


Alpha Pi Theta chapter and friends at Hershey Park  Enjoying one of the many rides  Madelyn, Maj and Lin with some piece of chocolate

One of the benefits of being in the honor society is the Annual Hershey Park picnic in Pennsylvania and on August 2 our advisor Barbara Baron filled up Brookdale's minivan with members and friends and off we rode to a fun day with amusements and lots of chocolate.  

Lin 10 years old  Birthday guests ready for performance  Kayla performing "Space Cowboy"

On August 10th Lin became a two-digit girl. Her 10th birthday was celebrated as a Dance Show Party in the garden with parents and neighbors as an entertained audience before the barbeque was served.  

Shark River visit  Searching for shark teeth  Another way to enjoy the cool sand

On August 14th we got a very pleasant surprise: Kirsten's cousin Jeannette and her 12 year-old son Jessiah from Toronto, Canada paid us a few days visit - with just enough time to go searching for million-year old shark teeth from the Jurrassic Period (yes, we found some!) and a "cool" day at the Jersey Shore. 

Connie's belongings ready to go  I am not sad - all my friends are here ...  Why is my sister Lin hugging me so hard? ...  A difficult goodbye - or so long ...

August 16th was a very sad day - although it doesn't show on the pictures. Little Nina did not feel sad at all, even though this was the last day of her American life so far. Our very good friend and the girl's chosen "Aunt" Connie left for China for good, leaving a deep wound but also many memories of happy times together during the last five years. 

Sea World visitor tower  View from the tower  Shamu in action  Lin feeding the dolphin a little fish

August is also vacation time! This year we had chosen to visit California - Los Angeles and San Diego before attending Nate and Parul's wedding on September 1 in Los Angeles. A great day was spent in San Diego Sea World enjoying the spectacular killer whale Shamu showing off her power in the water, feeding dolphins, and watching all kinds of water animals in beautiful settings and environments. 

Ready for a great day in the Zoo  What a cute koala!  The Kristensen girls  A view over the hilly Zoo

Another wonderful day was spent in San Diego Zoo studying the koalas and enjoying the beautifully landscaped zoo with thousands of different animals and gardens. We sure don't disagree with the promise that this zoo is the most spectacular in the world!

Anza-Borrego valley  Hot desert life  Tao Ling and Debbie with Maj and Lin   Per Ole and Kirsten in the desert

Per Ole's former colleague from Hong Kong, Tao Ling Fu and his wife Debbie gave us another unforgettable day when driving us into the extremely hot and bare Anza-Borrego desert. Getting closer to the valley's visitor center and leaving the air-conditioned car we learned that there is actually life in the dry and gray sand vegetation. And how quiet and peaceful it is!

Lin in the grapefruit grove   Per Ole studying the grapes, Cabernet?  Wine tasting at Hart Winery

Spending time in a wine producing state of course we had to try out the local wineries. Temecula valley is San Diego's answer to this, but also orange and grapefruit groves alternated the wine fields. Our favorite winery (after many tries) was definitely Hart Winery

Downtown Los Angeles  Starwalk on Hollywood Boulevard  Lin and Maj in front of the Charmed House

After five exciting days in San Diego the tour went to Los Angeles where we had booked a nice little hotel, Hollywood Hills Magic Hotel, in the middle of Hollywood within walking distance to the star-walk on Hollywood Boulevard and all the other world-famous sites of the movie world. Very important for the girls was  a visit to the Charmed House - where their favorite show The Charmed Ones were filmed.  

Shopping on Rodeo Drive  About to enjoy a joyful day in Disneyland  Toe-dipping in the Pacific Sea

Of course we did the "must-see" in Los Angeles, went shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, spent a wonderful day in Disneyland and dipped the feet in Pacific water. 


The Kristensen Family Lin and Maj as flowergirls for Parul Bride, groom, maids and bestmen Hindu prayers in SanskritMrs. Parul Patel and Mr. Nate Goetz Wedding dance Wedding cake Throwing of wedding bouquet Captured by friends

September 1st was a very special day - a day that the girls had been waiting for with excitement for years! "Brother" Nate and Parul had decided that this should finally be their wedding day. Maj and Lin had been asked to be flower girls and after we learned that the wedding would be Indian after Hindu traditions the excitement grew to ecstasy. The wedding was held at the beautiful Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, Los Angeles and everybody enjoyed an unforgettable day. 

Ground Zero - where the towers once were  Memorials at the Tinton Falls fire station  Statues at Sandy Hook  Art project

September will always be remembered for something else, too. On September 11 many memorials were done and in our neighbor town, Tinton Falls, at the fire station, local patriots had donated a copy of the remarkable twin towers in memory of the original World Trade Towers. In Sandy Hook, our national park near the shore, a group of artists had been working on memorial towers symbolizing the towers and the people who were lost in them. A beautiful set of memorabilia. Now they only have to decide where to place the towers on a permanent basis. 

Per Ole in action with the jackhammer  From a patio door to a window  New Pella door in living room

Here is a typical weekend situation in the fall of 2002. Per Ole spent countless hours working on the house. Two patio doors, one balcony door, and six sets of windows were replaced or put in.Yes, we have the best possible contractor and handyman, but don't even think of it - he would be much to expensive for anyone to hire ...   

Fellowship'ing   Friendly talks  Great and healthy food  Lin with the bump of the year!

Lin and Maj therefore spent most of the weekends with Kirsten - who spent them with her honor society! On September 21st the Higgins family in Colts Neck kindly opened their house and huge property for Alpha Pi Theta's annual fellowship picnic and we were happy to be able to welcome friends from our sister chapters at Hudson and Ocean County College. Lin had the accident of the year when the metal ring of a swing hit her forehead. Luckily it looks more scary than it was. After an hour with an icepack the swelling almost disappeared and she was fine. Next day she didn't even have a coloration. Weird but true. 


Halloween month - a witch is in our garden!  Funny invaders in Foodtown  Ooops! One milk got oversized ...  Yes! My town and I won a prize!

October is the month of Halloween and a witch "came" to live in our front yard. Lin and Maj wanted to paint their costumes this year, Lin as a window to our town, Ocean Township; Maj as a mega-container of milk. In our local supermarket, Foodtown, they were lucky again and won 1st and 2nd prize - Maj a $20 giftcard to Toys R'Us; Lin  4 tickets to the movies. Maj couldn't resist comparing her outfit with her 'mates' at the milk rack. 

Ready for taping at the ABC News studio  That wasn't too bad .. The interviewer, Ted Ballister (left)

On October 30th Kirsten had been invited to a taping at ABC News in New York for a 20/20 program called "Culture and Obesity". It was a fun session being able to speak freely about our reactions to the growing Americans and their problems with fast food, fat and laziness. More than 30% of the American population is obese. Kirsten's fellow "actors" were from Japan, China, and Switzerland. Interesting how we all felt the same about the Americans and food. As far as we know the program has not been broadcast yet.  


5 bags of Matador Mix, 2 packages of Marcipan, anything else?!  Inspection by the vicar's wife, Merete Holck, before opening  Our friend Ulla Molbo (right) helped out in the "nick-nack" section  Hungry? Danish open sandwiches for all ...

On November 23rd the entire Kristensen family was busy working at the Christmas bazaar in the Danish Seamen's Church in Brooklyn, New York. Per Ole, Lin and Kirsten worked most of the day selling Danish candy (liquorices and marcipan), Maj helped out with the Danish open sandwiches.


Ummm ... American breakfast!  Santa is getting smaller - or the girls bigger and bigger ....  Are you sure it should be this tree?  Christmas tree, Douglas Fur, anno 2002  Longwood Gardens is always worth a visit

December 1st was a very busy day for the Kristensen girls (Per Ole worked on the house of course!) Breakfast was eaten with Santa at the fire station. This year Lin's friend Nina Pirzad was invited and Santa had a candy for her, too. After a good meal of American pancakes, sausages and scrambled eggs, we picked up Per Ole to go cut the Christmas tree at the Lincroft plantation. In the afternoon the girls went with Brookdale on a 3-hour bus ride to Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, to spend the rest of the day at the DuPont Longwood Gardens enjoying the beautiful Christmas decorations and spectacular illuminations and water fountains.     

Lin announces the next song by the Chorus  SNOWDAY! Yubiii ...  Surprise, surprise ... uninvited guests!  Per Ole is an expert in fighting termites and leftovers

 On mornings and during lunch recesses Lin had practiced hard with her fellow 5th graders and finally the hard work paid off. On December 3rd parents, family and friends all enjoyed a beautiful and entertaining concert by the Wayside School Chorus. On December 5th the girls' dream came through. Imagine waking up in the morning ... too late ... why didn't anybody wake us up ... maybe there is ... yes! SNOW outside!!! With the right to stay home and just enjoy every single snowflake falling down from the sky, decorate the Christmas tree, drink hot chocolate, and sneak outside to make snow angels. Per Ole felt different about the cold weather. Another corner turned out to have had visitors: termites. After a thorough repair Per Ole could happily call our siding company and announce that we were finally ready to have them come and do their job.

Christmas Morning - still lots to open!  Total Remodeling replacing the siding  Challenging family members in TriBond

Christmas was celebrated in the Danish Seamen's Church on December 24th as usual. For the girls they have celebrated Christmas in seamen's churches more than anywhere else in the world (3 in Hong Kong, and 5 in New York). For Per Ole and Kirsten we have spent more years (8) outside than in Denmark during our 15 years together. When people ask us if we ever plan on coming home again, our answer is "Yes! We are home!" The crew from Total Remodeling was busy working on our house getting rid of the asbestos shingles replacing them with new vinyl Alside siding. Also the gutters were up for a change. A few days before New Year we got another quick but very pleasant visit by our Canadian family, Jeannette and Jess on their way back from a vacation in Florida. 300 miles off the highway to visit us is nothing for an inveterate driver!

New Year at Times Square, NYK  Happy New Year from the Pirzad's & the Kristensen's The "new" 2 Pal Drive from the front The "new" 2 Pal Drive from the backyard  

And suddenly came the last day of a busy and eventful the year. We were happy to spend it with good Iranian friends, the Pirzad's in Toms River. Our biggest project of the year: our house! was done in 2002 (at least outside) and we (or Kirsten!) has another extensive list ready for Per Ole to begin in the new year! More about that to follow in the next issue of New Jersey News. Take care and enjoy 2003!

Lin, Maj, Per Ole & Kirsten

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