Merry Christmas from the Crandalls!
2012 was a great year for both of us filled with many highlights and blessings. Maris turned 25, graduated with a Master degree in education (thesis was a killer, but she passed!), and joined a choir with her best friend from high school. She is singing first soprano for the first time and loving it. The choir director heard her beautiful voice and told her that her days of singing alto were over. Maris has enjoyed going to the gym which is something she has wanted to do for a long time but hasn't been able to in years past due to financial reasons. Maris has done a great job as young women's president, she loves the girls and they love her back. She is so loving, kind, smart, and talented. She will be the first to say that it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that has played the biggest role. She was certainly loving, kind, smart, and talented when she was singing viking death metal before she joined, but nothing compared to who she is now. I'm super lucky to be married to Maris!
I also had many highlights in 2012. I got bumped up to full time at work, published my first article, made a pretty big splash in the Estonian media with blog posts, opinion pieces and an in depth interview about Mormonism and Romney, and a short clip on TV. If you can believe it I also started working out. No protein shakes this time, but it feels good to work out after a year or two (or three) of doing nothing. I also enjoyed being in the same calling for the whole year. I get to serve with Brother Lepp and Timakov who are awesome. Going home in the summer for three weeks was a blast, and getting to go to a conference in Salt Lake at the U of U in October was super fun. Going to a Jazz game with my family was a treat that doesn't happen every year. I also was able to go to Bremen Germany for another conference.
2012 has also been a year of Star Trek. Since the new movie came out in 2009 my interest has peaked again and I am really enjoying it. Last year for Christmas we got a fan set of about 20 episodes all about the Borg, we quickly realized that small fan sets weren't going to cut it. For my birthday this year we got all seven seasons of Deep Space Nine, my all time favorite Star Trek series (Star Trek is not very popular in Europe, which means it is also much cheaper! Thank you Amazon.co.uk). We have both really enjoyed watching Star Trek together. Every time we watch it I think to myself how lucky I am to have a wife who likes Star Trek!
One of the biggest highlights for both of us was moving from down town Tallinn to Keila. We went from renting an apartment to being home owners! It is a beautiful place (future blog coming at some point) much bigger and nicer than our old place. While our life style still isn't special compared to American standards, we are very happy living the Estonian dream and couldn't ask for anything more. It's amazing how happy you can be when you have the gospel, each other, all seven seasons of Deep Space Nine and a sauna.
We hope everyone reading this blog Christmas card had a good 2012 as well. Merry Christmas and a happy new year!
Matthew and Maris