Hawaiian Adventures


Our first Christmas letter, a few months early!

 

Welcome

Directions and Hotel Info

Renaissance Costumes 

Gift Registry

Wedding Photos

Hawaiian Adventures

Dear Friends and Family, 

 

Michael and I would again like to thank you for your support and kind thoughts for us this past year as we have prepared for our wedding, celebrated it, and begun our new life together! As, unfortunately, we rarely get the opportunity to see most of you, living in different towns and states, and as we hardly had the opportunity to say hello to everyone at the wedding, much less to sit down and talk for awhile, Michael and I wanted both to record our memories of this summer – such an important summer to remember – and to share these experiences with all of you who are interested in hearing more about our honeymoon adventures in Hawaii, and our plans for the upcoming years.

 

- Katrina & Michael Zlatkovsky

 

 

A Busy Year (2008-2009)

The Wedding

Adventures in Hawaii (these stories are posted on Michael's blog)

Our New Home and Plans for Future Years

A Busy Year (2008-2009):

 

This past school-year has been a long year indeed, as both Michael and I finished up our undergraduate degrees; figured out what we would do with these degrees as we chose and applied to graduate schools and then, after much laborious bank-pleading, received a loan that allowed us to choose and buy our very own first home; and finally prepared for a wedding! I spent the year sewing costumes, picking decorations, finding traditions, creating programs, and crafting fairytales, somehow managed amidst the writing of papers, putting together my 27-page honor's project and 100-slide accompanying picture-filled powerpoint about the Russian Culture Alive in Anchorage, sorting through hundreds of graduate programs trying to figure out what the heck I could do with a major in French and a minor in Russian along with all my other time-consuming interests, and re-learning the math I had completely forgotten after four years of literary-arts focused studies (I had even forgotten how to multiply two-digit numbers together without a calculator!) so I could take the GRE (a test required to get into graduate schools, much like the SAT) and not fail the math section, which would hopefully help me to get accepted into the graduate schools I was applying to, and maybe even get a scholarship somewhere. Moreover, amidst all of this, I even managed to continue playing Ultimate Frisbee occasionally (an amazing sport!), and to start the new sport of rock-climbing (a definite challenge for me, not only in having to build muscles that I did not have before, but in overcoming the fear of being suspended vertically 30 feet or more above the ground with nothing supporting my weight but a half-inch foot-hold and a similar hand-hold…! However, I figured this training would be quite beneficial, as my adventures hiking with Michael would certainly not suffer from some added experience and bettered abilities to climb safely, and – more importantly perhaps, as Michael has always assured me that we have never done anything truly dangerous on our adventures – to climb and scramble about with less fear!)

 

Thus said, it was a long year, with many a back-massage required to relieve tension and head-aches, and many a chocolate cake to relieve stress (if you are ever in Evansville, I highly recommend the German-Chocolate cake at PieceofCake!)! Somehow or other, though, I made it through, owing many a thanks to my devoted parents in helping me plan the wedding, and to my absolutely amazing husband! (How many grooms will send hours helping their fiancées hand-make their wedding rings, plan programs, choose invitations, write the ceremony, and craft the music selection?!) With the help of Michael’s family, I completed the research for my honor’s project last summer while in Anchorage, sorted through graduate schools when back at school and chose four that offered programs for both French Translation and Computer Science/Artificial Intelligence, re-learned basic algebra and successfully took the GRE (76th percentile in Math, 91st in Vocabulary, and 97th in Writing!), applied to our chosen graduate schools (and was accepted by all and even offered a teaching assistantship at the University of Massachusetts!), graduated successfully with my bachelor’s degree in French from the University of Evansville, and moved all of my stuff out of my apartment in Evansville. 

 

 

The Wedding:

 

And finally, that long-anticipated day arrived, the 17th day of May! The wedding turned out to be blissful beyond all of my hoped-for imaginings! As you all know, I am a unique person with unique tastes and interests, and seeing the whole wedding party dressed in the costumes I had put so much time and thought into, and seeing my parents in the costumes my mother had herself, purely to please her daughter’s whim, put so much of her own time and thought into, was an amazing feeling! I felt like I had been transported back into time, or at least into some mystical fairy-tale, in which I was the Queen of a royal procession strolling through the enchanted gardens as we all made our way towards the chapel!

 

And then seeing all the relatives and friends who managed to journey down to Kansas simply to celebrate this happy time with me, I felt truly loved! Thank you all! And for any who were not able to attend, or who would like to re-live the wedding through Michael’s own recounting of it, please look at his blog post: http://zlatkovsky.blogspot.com/2009/07/our-very-own-wedding.html.

 

 

Adventures in Hawaii:

 

The two evenings following the wedding we spent at the Renaissance-themed Chateau Avalon, in a luxuriant three-storied suite with its own winding staircase, aptly named after the eccentrically-opulent Count of Monté Cristo (an excellent book and movie!), and a few days later, we left for our three-week honeymoon in Hawaii! All of our stories and pictures of our adventures getting scuba-certified in the colorful, coral-reefed world “under the sea”; descriptions of Kauai’s beautiful beaches, mountainesque interior, and botanical gardens; and hiking the strenuous 11-mile, 5,000-foot-elevation-gaining Na Pali trail in order to reach the fabled Kalalau Valley can be found on Michael’s blog at: http://zlatkovsky.blogspot.com/2009/07/hawaiian-adventures-2009.html

 

Our trip in Hawaii ended up being a wonderful honeymoon, though certainly an unusual one. The mere fact that it lasted three weeks showed its unusual nature, along with the lack of fancy hotel-ing and restaurant-dining. To afford the three weeks, we chose to camp, and only occasionally eat out at affordable cafés (though we did discover some amazing Hawaiian pizza and ice cream – if you are ever on Kauai, we highly recommend the Kauai Pie ice cream at Lamperts, and the pizza at Pacific Deli in Waimea!). The delicate “treat” of constantly using the campsite public restrooms, sore backs from continually sleeping on naught but thermarests (however extravagant such deluxe sleeping pads might seem to dedicated campers!), an excessive number of itching bug-bites, no respite from the heat of the afternoon sun, and the daily “pleasure” of plunging into the cold camping showers helped me, at least, look forward to the return home (though our stay was greatly enhanced by the luxury of renting a car for the first two weeks of our stay)! But nonetheless, the natural beauty we experienced on this “garden island” was well-worth the trouble to visit it, natural beauty that was enhanced all the more by recovering from a several-day eye-infection that had caused my watery eyes to take two hours each morning before being able to stay open sufficiently long to see anything outside – it seems a sad fact of humanity that we never truly appreciate all the gifts we have until we come close to loosing them! 

 


Our New Home and Plans for Future Years:

Having spent a long 14-hour night flying back to Kansas, we quickly found our time to rest over for the moment. In the week before we would leave to head off to Alaska to visit Michael’s family and spend the rest of summer, we needed to pack up all my stuff in Kansas and transport it down to Bloomington, Indiana, where we would be closing on our first house and setting up our new home to prepare for the renter we would have for the first month or so. Between packing, garage-sale shopping, caulking, and bug-spraying, it was a busy week, but we can now proudly say that we are home-owners! We love our new home, a charming 1920s house that has been loved and added to by each successive owners, and now offers a whimsical Bohemian charm with its colorful rooms, built-in bookshelves, and a newly-built workshop painted a bright-blue with a sun and a flowering trellis! 

 

It has a variety of fruit trees, from apple, cherry, and pear, to paw-paw and persimmon, though as there are so many trees on the yard, the fruit might have trouble getting enough sun to grow without fungus or disease problems. We also have a variety of hardy perennials that will hardly need watering, and even some raspberries and strawberries! I am hoping to learn a lot about gardening in the upcoming year, and to plant my own vegetable garden next spring! 

 

Now that we have been in Alaska for the past few months, it has been wonderful to have time to rest, to sit and read for hours, and hike and play Frisbee in the cool and beautiful summers here. Our thoughts are full of plans for our new house though, as its old age does leave some room for desired renovations, from replacing the warped windows and rusty screen doors, to renovating the kitchen with its warped cabinets and lack of shelf space. Michael has been getting advice from his father, who built his own house in Anchorage, about how to redo the wiring and prepare the kitchen for the new cabinets, and in the meantime I have been busy designing the kitchen space. We have already ordered new kitchen cabinets (in natural hickory), and are working on a countertop. I am excitedly learning about tiling and mosaics in the hope of making a colorful and unique backsplash! Moreover, I have been dreaming for the past month, ever since I came home to find two new kittens at my parent’s house, of getting my own new kittens once I move into our new home! How I will find the time to transform and beautify our house, take care of kittens, garden, cook, go to school, and maybe even get a part-time job is another question! It is quite amazing how different the world seems when you are suddenly no longer supported monetarily by your parents, you own your own house, and you begin to make the big decisions that will shape your future life, all the while having to find the vision, time, and money to accomplish all this! Poor underappreciated parents throughout the world, who deal with all these troubles to give their children a carefree childhood! 

 

As for our upcoming plans, we will be living for at least the next five-ish years at 6405 S Main St, Bloomington IN, 47401, where we will both be pursuing graduate degrees at Indiana University. Michael will be working towards a dual PhD in Computer Science and Cognitive Science, hoping to be involved with robotics and artificial intelligence. He has been offered a research assistantship for the first year, and promised similar assistantships (either teaching or research) for the following years, which should help us get through the next few years. I will be working towards a dual masters degree, one in Comparative Literature earning a certificate in literary translation, and the other in French Instruction. I was not offered an assistantship this year, and so will only be studying part-time for now, but I am hoping to get one in future years. I am mainly hoping to improve my fluency in French and Russian, working towards being able to be a professional free-lance translator (of fictional and non-fictional books or texts), along with gaining some experience teaching to see if I would be interested in teaching French, or teaching English in France in the future. I would also hope to be able to volunteer translate or interpret for humanitarian organizations like Translators Without Borders, or to help out with local French or Russian families and events. Someday, I would love to live in Europe, and have convinced Michael of the same, so after our five years at IU, maybe we will end up living in France or the UK! In the meantime, if anyone is ever passing through Bloomington, feel free to come see our new house!