Jordan and Alex 2006
Welcome to the second installment of EdelHay year-in-review, following the worldwide adventures of Jordan and Alex.
We started 2006 in the jungles of Costa Rica with the Ellis family, seeing all manner of exotic flora and fauna. We already wrote about that in last year's update, but you can relive the magic.
Alex spent 2006 settling into his new job at IMDb. He delivered a new website for entertainment professionals called IMDb Resume, as well as new features which added more photos to the web site. In 2007 he will continue to work on big ambitious technology projects.
Jordan spent the first half of the year managing Amazon.com's forty-person ordering systems team. For the first time, she managed folks in a different country: Ireland. Visiting Dublin and staffing up a remote team were definite highlights.
In July, Jordan embarked upon a much-deserved four month sabbatical (something which the elite long-time employees get to do). It was a great opportunity to relax, refresh, and really dig in to enjoy the Seattle summer. Jordan biked the Burke Gilman trail, went to the Zoo, read many books, visited Vancouver Island with her Dad, caught up with her friends and family, and countless other small things to unwind from the stress and work of her eight years at Amazon.com.
In June, the Hay Family descended upon Livingston, Montana for a week of rough-riding adventure. We drove Yellowstone, popped a tire on Fred's Jeep while offroading to a non-existant ghost town, shot pool in the Roadkill Cafe, and had cocktails on the deck. Fred was the winner of the golden spatula in the first ever Hay cooking contest, and gave presentations on Montana themes. We now know far more about Lewis and Clark than we ever hoped. Big thanks go to Kerry who took on planning this trip.
In August, we, along with Alex's mom Babette and her fiance Terry, spent a long weekend on Orcas Island to celebrate the wedding of Alex's eldest cousin Jordana to her main man Aaron Uhrmacher. It was the perfect weekend with long languid sunny days, kayaking, football, barbecues, stories, and lots of time to catch up with the family. Jordan and Alex have also started interviewing members of the family, typing as they talk, to capture a digital record of our extended family history. One of our most enjoyable memories of the summer was sitting around the pool with a view of the San Juan Islands, hearing stories from Jack, Marshall and Babette.
Over Labor Day weekend we took a quick jaunt down to San Francisco to visit a pod of friends. We stayed at Cathy and Russell's beautiful new home in San Mateo, saw the city with Kelly and Eric, and had dinner with Christy and Kevin. One memorable moment: we were walking on the beach at Golden Gate park, the wind whipping around our bodies, and were drawn to a tall tower of kites, rising like a sail over the landscape. We happened upon the maker of the kites, a strange fellow, arguably a "kite savant", who was cutting them by hand out of large pieces of plastic tarp. Don't ever change, San Francisco.
In September, the real fun began. For years Jordan has always wanted to improve her Spanish language skills. With two months remaining in her sabbatical, she took the plunge and flew to Mexico to do an immersion school in Cuernavaca. She stayed with a large Mexican family and learned all about: lucha libre, sopa de championges, and how to conjugate the future tense. While she was there they celebrated El Gritar Independencia, the Mexican equivalent to the 4th of July. The whole town assembled and the head of the town stood on a balcony to yell, "Viva Mexico!", after which everyone yelled "VIVA!"
But that's not all. After two weeks in Mexico, she flew down to Buenos Aires, Argentina to attend another immersion school. Alex joined her and worked remotely for IMDb, coding web software in our little apartment during the day while Jordan was at class. At night, we hit the town, exploring "the Paris of Latin America", eating fine food (including lots of steak), drinking fine wine (Argentina is reknown for Malbec), learning about Argentina culture, and desperately trying to stay up past midnight like the Portenos do.
After two weeks in Buenos Aires, we hopped a plane to the west side of the country to spend another week in Bariloche, a lovely town nestled in the Andes mountains, the top of the famous Patagonia region. We rented a teeny tiny car and drove through the mountains and national parks where we saw dozens (over 50) of new species of birds, rode horses, and took in breathtaking vistas of lakes backed by jagged snow-covered peaks. It was a small taste of Patagonia, but enough to hook us and we plan to return for more as soon as possible.
In November, Jordan's brother Owen got hitched to the fabulous Amy Abramski. As record-breaking rain raged outside, we packed inside Lake Union Cafe for a fun-filled night of merriment. We were in the wedding party, standing close as they bound the families together with ceremony and a kiss.
Back from her sabbatical, Jordan decided to switch teams within Amazon. After a long search, she chose a Product Management job at IMDb. She will be bringing her experience to build and improve the customer experience on all of IMDb's websites.
As we write this, we're in our little home drinking tea and talking about the year. We are also waiting for Brandon the tile guy to show up, whereupon we will start a long-awaited remodel of our bathroom. In a couple weeks we will have a new tub and shower and a heated marble floor. While our only bathroom is torn apart, we will spend the last week of the year in Anacortes, hiking, snow shoeing, skiing, and birding. We may do other remodeling projects in 2007, stay tuned for more updates.
Neither rain, nor wind, nor snow has dampened our spirit of happiness and family this winter. As we burrow in for the season, our minds are racing with all that will come in 2007: working together at IMDb, another year of travel, another year together.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and a prosperous new year.
Jordan & Alex