This year we are breaking the rules and sending a Christmas email!
Not much has changed in our household this year, but we have had many adventures and opportunities to travel (we’re taking advantage of that before we have children!). We were so lucky to go to Hawaii during spring break to visit and stay with Jodi’s sister who lives on Oahu. It was fabulous, beautiful, and so fun to visit with family. We always loved visiting Taylor’s sister in San Francisco, and in May the whole Sparks family traveled there to run the Bay to Breakers race in honor of their dad Bill. It was pretty crazy, as would be expected in San Francisco, but definitely something to remember. The highlight of our year was in August when the whole Sparks gang was able to travel to Germany and the Czech Republic for two weeks. We loved being able to visit our German family in Munich, and they provided plenty of adventures. It was SO fun, beautiful, and memorable. Only two weeks after returning home from Germany, Taylor headed to China for almost a month to do research at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He LOVED it and was so brave to go out on his own to explore. He saw The Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and so much more. He is looking forward to going back for 3 months sometime in the near future (Jodi gets to come too!) and will be busy working on his Chinese this next quarter.
We found out in the summer that Taylor’s advisor had accepted a position at Harvard and was requesting that his graduate students follow him to Boston. We were shocked and couldn’t imagine leaving Santa Barbara, but quickly felt that this was the best thing for us. Harvard doesn’t exactly have the engineering reputation of UCSB, but Taylor will at least leave there with a Master’s to show on his record and then get his PhD from Harvard. We are more excited everyday for a new adventure on the east coast and are expecting to move in May.
Taylor has been enjoying school and his research very much. He definitely keeps himself busy, but still makes plenty of time for surfing. Jodi continued to work both jobs (Home Depot and Girls Inc.) up until December because she became full time at Girls Inc. and now only works one job. YAY!!!! Life tends to be much sweeter this way and she still loves teaching and working with all of the girls at Girls Inc. We enjoy beautiful Santa Barbara everyday and are soaking up as much as we can before we leave it.
We hope everyone has enjoyed the holidays and we are sending you our best wishes for 2009. We love and miss seeing you all!
Taylor and Jodi Sparks