Dear Family and Friends,
Life has changed since Micha and Mark attend school in Berne, Switzerland. I have a lot more time to myself. (The teenagers do their own worrying and working). I spend a great deal of time working on writing non-fiction stories and poems. My first published article appeared online at www.narthaki.com in December, 2002. This semester, I am studying Creative Writing at Berne University. While working on an assignment, I discovered how fiction happens. You get a character who is not you and a situation different from your own. Like some kind of magical jigsaw puzzle, events and emotions which have become part of you over the course of your lifetime surface. You patch these onto the story-line to create a composite which is somebody else doing something else with bits and pieces of emotion and physical detail which are yours.
I am volunteer secretary and newsletter editor for the International Club of Berne, and was chairman of the ball committee this year. (I bought a ball gown two-sizes-too-small in Arizona, then had to lose the weight to wear it). I made the pleasant discovery working with the officers of this club that I can make things happen. I do my best to keep up with the housework, cooking, laundry, paying the bills all that stuff, and I've started the second-half-of-life process of whittling down our possessions, trying to Feng Shui our house.
The whole family is into fitness. Micha plays volleyball. I go walking with women from our village. Hubert and I jog the par course in the forest. Mark discovered that he can mold his body by lifting weights 22.5 kilos 30 times with each arm and jumping rope. Recently cleaning his room, I had to lift half of his barbell with both hands, swivel it, set it down, then lift the other half to put it away.
Hubert is very happy in his job.
Micha, nineteen, and her boyfriend, Theo, began their studies at the University of Berne in law and business. During their 4-month's-long break between gymnasium and university, Theo attended fifteen weeks of recruitment school with the Swiss military. He will serve active duty three weeks a year until he is thirty.
Mark just turned seventeen. He was the best in his class in the last physics tests; it was just like a math test. He still struggles with German and French, but he has lots of friends, which helps to compensate for the trials and tribulations of receiving a first class education.
Hubert's mother, Elsa, a.k.a Grossmami, 91 ˝, still rides the train to visit us; still lives on the fourth floor of her apartment building without an elevator. She is amazing, and my role model if I should live so long.
Dad turned 80 this September. He walks 45 minutes a day, 4 miles per hour up a 14 degree slope. He and Elaine treated the kids and me to another great season at the Opera in Logan, Utah, this summer. Mary and John made their home ours while we were there. Eating breakfast in their garden, everyone held their breath while three deer tread delicately across the lawn.
After visiting Utah, Mark, Micha and I traveled to Arizona to visit Mom and Debbie. Mom, nearly eighty, is active in the poetry class she taught for 14 years at the Scottsdale Senior Center. She is creating a new book of poems. While I was in Phoenix, she and I worked together polishing her ocean poems.
Switzerland's Expo 02 was intriguing and thought-provoking. The exhibits caused me to focus on familiar things in new and unexpected ways. On the last day, I went, just to be part of the scene. Everyone -- 70,000 people in four locations -- seemed to feel the same; nobody going anywhere, just being there. That night, in awe, I looked across a sea of heads, witness to my first live rock concert: the famous Swiss rock group, Plüsch. I followed three gugga musik bands, fell into a trance in the tone tower becoming one with the sound (music compiled from natural and man-made sounds enormously enhanced to fill a gigantic 6-story hollow structure). During the grand finalé fireworks, I lay prone on the gravel beneath a bridge and still could not see the top of the display, it was that crowded. It was cool to be part of this historic event. Hubert attended the last Swiss Expo when he was five. Grossmami attended the next-to-last as a young woman.
I grow fonder of Europe the longer I live here. I love and appreciate Switzerland. I am proud of the green zones, the recylcing, the particularly Swiss (neutral and tolerant) style of involvment with foreign countries.
In the fall, Hubert and I rode the TGV to Paris for yet another second honeymoon. ;-)
I wish you good health and contentment.
Merry Christmas from,
Linda, Hubert, Mark, and Micha Eisele