It's becoming a favorite american tradition at this time of year to sit down at the computer, type in a letter like this, and photo-copy it onto the festive paper you now have in your hand. Not that this makes up for another year of not keeping in touch; but New Year's resolutions to do things differently seem to last only until the first full work-week in January. On the practical side of things, writing the same thing fifty times gets old in a hurry!

With that bit of philosophizing over, Holiday Greetings from Holland! As in the Netherlands, not Michigan. This past May, I put my boat, truck, and most of my other possessions into storage and moved from Connecticut to Amersfoort, a medium-sized city about a half-hour east of Amsterdam. As I'm writing this letter I'm finding it hard to believe myself that I've been living in a foreign country for almost six months.

As you might have wagered, the reason for the move was work-related: at the beginning of June, my company--Bristol Technology--opened a European sales and support office. I've always thought it would be fun to work in Europe someday (Germany is what usually came to mind), but I never actually thought I'd really get the chance. Right now we have a small office of just four people, the other three have been with Bristol just a few months and are all Dutch. Through the phone, FAX, and the Internet, we keep in regular touch with "Corporate" in Ridgefield. Besides opening our first remote office, Bristol also teamed up with Microsoft to port it's Internet Explorer to UNIX using Wind/U; if you don't know what this means, just consider it more of the Internet-hype you've read about in Time.

Speaking of Dutch, yes, I'm trying to learn the language, although it's hardly necessary as nearly everyone speaks English. Because I know some German, understanding Dutch is a bit easier, but at the same time it makes correct pronunciation decidedly more difficult. Holland (actually, Noord Holland and Zuid Holland are two providences in the Netherlands) is very nice country (even though it rains a lot), and the people are all quite friendly. No, I don't live in a windmill and wear wooden shoes to work; but flowers (not just tulips) are plentiful and cheap and the cheese is excellent! Now if I could only find a cute Dutch meisje...

In other news: shortly before getting on the plane this spring, I had arthroscopic knee surgery. After a longer than expected recovery time, and not water-skiing once this past summer, I've started running again. It's something I really do enjoy (call me crazy), and I'd still like to run another marathon someday (insane is more like it). Discussing politics is usually either boring or confrontational, but I enjoyed watching the returns from an american election, on german TV, at my apartment in the Netherlands. While I'm not yet any closer to tying the knot than I was last year, my sister (Linda) is getting married in April. Somehow, I managed to drag myself away from the office long enough to enjoy a few days in Davos, an alpine village in Switzerland. Israel is now on the list of countries I've visited too; the trip was mostly business, but I did swim in the Mediterranean Sea. I also hit the big 3-0.

Seems like just about every week I hear from someone else who is now on-line; you'll find me in cyber-space via email at DanS@bristol.com or on the web at http://www.bristol.com/~DanS. For those of you who aren't quite sure about all this Internet stuff (I actually wonder myself sometimes), it's easiest to reach me at a US address of
P.O. Box 984
Georgetown, CT 06829-0984
the Bristol office sends over my mail every few weeks. After spending almost a month in a hotel at the beginning of the summer, I found a very nice apartment in a nearby small town called Baarn. If you're in the area (even for a lay-over at Schiphol), I'd love to hear from you; please get in touch with me at
Nassaulaan 10
3743 CC Baarn
The Netherlands
+31 35 541 62 14
(from the US replace '+' with 011)
Finally (at long last!), best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Or, prettige kerstdagen en een gelukkig nieuwe jaar!

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