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Archive for December 22nd, 2009

Dear Family & Friends,

Remember the 350 pounds of luggage I brought here on the plane?

Well, approximately half a pound of those super-sized bags was my Christmas stationary.  I’m not really a fan of the cliche Christmas “update letter” but it really is more personal than an email (albeit not by much) and can sometimes be the only communication you have with distant family and friends in an entire year.  The only problem?

You actually have to send it.

Which brings me to the point of this entry. It’s December 22 and all 25 copies of my cute Christmas stationary remain empty and unsent.  Surely it’s not due to a lack of update, as we have plenty to talk about this year!  So I’m taking the “Christmas update letter” to a whole new level.

Close your eyes and imagine with me…you get home from a long day, open the mailbox and find a brightly coloured festive envelope with your name on it. Excitement sweeps over you as you wonder who loves you so much that they would send you such a delight (after all, there are only 25 copies remember?).  You pull out a quaint Christmas-scented letter filled with the oh-so-exhilarating activities of our family’s über-exciting lives.  Am I sweeping you off your feet yet?!

Now seriously.  Look at the photo, imagine the letter I’ve written below is on it, and BINGO — we’ve saved one more piece of paper from your recycling bin and me from having to buy 25 international stamps.  That’s like, 1.5 lattes.

Dear Family & Friends,

2009 may have been a year of growing pains for our family but we are thrilled to be moving forward into 2010 as we embark on a long-time dream of ours — living in Europe!

Jack and Liam turned four this year and are becoming quite the little men. They continue to boggle our minds with how different they are from one another.  Right-handed, left-handed.  Extrovert, introvert. Morning person, night person. Go-go-go, slow-slow-slow. They even like different girls (thank goodness!).

Moving to Switzerland has been exciting, challenging and stressful, all at once.  There are times of total ecstasy, where you feel so blessed to be experiencing such incredible things and then other times of total frustration with not being able to understand or communicate.  Times where you breathe a little sigh and smile at the lifelong memories you’re creating and then other times where you would give anything for a two-buck Starbucks Americano and some Dairyland cream-o.

Leaving Genologics in Victoria was a very difficult decision for Tim to make. He loved his position, the company and everyone in it.  Thankfully, his new role is challenging him in new ways and broadening his already extensive skill set.  It’s certainly a different environment than he’s used to (let’s just say people looked at him funny when he walked down the hall in his socks), but he also enjoys some of the differences.

In the past year, Tim has also achieved some incredible feats including completing his first Olympic-distance triathlon in 2:50:52!  That’s a 1.5 km swim, 40km bike and 10km run in less than three hours! Phew! I’m tired just writing that out.  He has also taught himself to play the guitar and the harmonica, often playing both at the same time! The boys love sitting with him as he plays guitar and have started coming up with their own “rock songs”.

This August, the boys will start their first year of school…in German! Everyone says that their children picked up the language easily at this age and we’re confident it will be the same for J&L. They have already memorized many common phrases in German and we try to use them with each other as much as possible.   “Thank you very much (danke schön)”I would like some water please” (Ich möchte Wasser bitte), numbers and things like that.

As for me, I’m proudly wearing the label of “Hausfrau” and loving it.  Contrary to North America, where you’re considered “unemployed” if you’re a homemaker, the Swiss think highly of their stay-at-home-moms.  This year I got seriously domestic after quitting my demanding job in late 2008 to be home with the boys.  I’ve been perfecting my cookie recipes, cooking up a storm, and even learning to knit.  I’m also looking forward to starting a new passion of mine — refinishing furniture. We’ve got an entire house to furnish here in Basel and I can’t wait to start building our collection, piece by piece!

In the meantime, our home still has a touch of bachelor-pad but we do have our first real tree up and decorated!  We are also trying out a Swiss tradition and have real candles poised and waiting for Christmas Eve’s flame.  Sounds absurd and ridiculous to me but when in Rome…

Speaking of which, we have already welcomed our first two visitors since moving here two months ago and will be welcoming my younger sister Zeanna in a few days. Will you be next?

Merry Christmas from Tim, Tasha, Jack & Liam!

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