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Family update, 12/11/08

It is pretty quiet at Casa Burlak. No guests, no preparations for a fun trip, the holiday spirit is tempered by the overall dullness of our plans for the coming weeks.

Ok, I’m exaggerating.

The youngest family member is pretty excited about the holidays. She spent several hours yesterday decorating the living room, and then kept imploring her parents throughout the evening that she was desperate for a tree (emphasis hers). Natasha will likely look into buying one within a couple of days, although whether to buy a real or an artificial one is an open question. The box with tree decorations is already prominently positioned by the door to the living room, so that I can trip over it every time I walk by.

Becky, meanwhile, is immersed in her social life, with going to a school theater performance one day and having a holiday “ball” – with boys! – on another. She is undoubtedly best-positioned in the entire family for the almost three-weeks-long holiday break: There will be plenty of hanging out with friends at the village, trips to movies, sleep-overs (no boys!), etc.

Actually, Becky is the only person in the family who also has firm travel plans. She is joining the school trip to China at the end of the next spring. Too good an opportunity for her to pass by – and we signed up as soon as we more or less confirmed that we’d be staying in London until at least next summer. Her participation in the trip caused a bit of a panic at school this week, when the organizers realized that one of the traveling students is a US citizen. You see, the Chinese ask for £30 in visa fees from a UK (or a European Union) citizen. But a US citizen, for some reason, has to pay £70. Which, of course, had to come out of our pocket on top of the cost of the trip which we had already covered. We grumbled, but ponied up. I’m petitioning the US government to slap some new tariffs on the Chinese for this.

Natasha has been acquiring tickets for various performances and activities to keep Kimmy occupied during her lengthy school vacation. Maybe, it won’t be as dull as it seems.

Well, for me, it will. I’ll be off with the rest of the country on the 25th, 26th and 1st, but at work otherwise, with little to be looking forward to. Poor me!


  1. Cheryl

    It’s a very busy time for people all around. Work is exhausting (nice time to change procedures), the days are short and it’s going to be Christmas!!

    As for the tree, we spend a fortune every year on one but hubby wouldn’t get one until a week before Christmas because they dry out and with the cold and heaters on they dry out even faster. I never get to enjoy seeing it for very long and I find the process depressing. Putting it up then taking it down. Every year I get allergies when I am around fresh trees. So, this is the first year we said we would try a fake tree and we put it up last weekend and I am loving it!! My thoughts for you is a fresh one is always nice but a fake one can be just as nice and when you move you can either take it with you or donate it to an organization like Willen Hospice or somethign like that. Either way you will be out about £60-£100 but it’s what makes everyone happy.

  2. Ilya

    I’m trying to convince Natasha with my very similar thought process. And if we manage to use the fake tree for just two-three years, we’ll even save money over the cost of a yearly fresh tree purchase 🙂

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