Dear Family and Friends,
How are you? We hope you are enjoying the holiday season!
Last February, our little family spent
a week in Zermatt
skiing. Theo joined us. We waited until the last minute to rent a vacation apartment
because, with global warming, it was difficult to know which location would have snow.
With over 200 kilometers of ski slopes and some of the highest slopes in Switzerland
(up to 4000 meters on the glacier) Zermatt had the deepest snow. We rented a large, older, three-bedroom apartment on a ridge with views down to Zermatt on one side and
directly onto the Matterhorn on the other. In
the evenings, we played a Swiss card game. Theo and I teamed up against Micha
and Mark. Hubert acted as my personal advisor.
It was great fun.
Not much later, Micha and Theo broke up. They had been together for six years since they were eighteen! Theo was like a third child in our family. We miss having
him around and are grateful that we have all remained friends.
Micha’s new boyfriend, Christian,
comes from Germany. He spent the last four months working in Finnland. Micha and
Christian manage to meet in Helsinki, Berlin,
or Zuerich every few weeks. It will be lovely for both of them when he moves
back to Switzerland this month.
Micha loves her apartment in Zuerich. She moved in a month ago. The two-room
flat is in an old, established neighbourhood. There is a lot of space between
her building and the villas surrounding it. Ancient trees grow in between. There is so much green looking out her many windows and it is so quiet, it’s
hard to believe she is living in the second largest city in Switzerland. She began working full time for Pricewaterhouse Coopers in October and she loves the
demands and challenges of her job. Over the Christmas holidays, she will work
on finishing her master’s thesis for the University of
Mark continues his studies in business
at the University in Berne. He is living at
home. That’s pretty common for students in Switzerland where housing is so expensive.
With great patience, he recently taught me to play the computer game he has been playing for the past six years. I am hooked. (Clever how these games
are programmed to keep you playing!) I’m learning new skills and understand
now why it’s not always possible to drop everything to show up at the dinner table on time. After all, real people out there somewhere (mostly in Germany)
are depending on you! My character is a cute little gnome named Leil. She is everything I wish I could be. She doesn’t even
blink while walking along a cliff edge.
Last March and April, I spent four weeks
in America visiting Dad and Elaine, my
sister Debbie, and Aunt Marjorie. My cousin Wendy joined me at Marjorie’s. Whispering late into the night in the bed our grandmother slept in was like sleepovers
when we were children growing up in Whittier California in the fifties. It was
a heavenly trip. I hope to return very soon; this time adding a stopover in Santa Barbara to visit my brother Brian.
Hubert has been very busy working with
the 10 new member states of the European Union. He interacts at the highest levels
of Swiss government. The work is challenging and rewarding and he comes home
tired but happy. He and I visited Latvia
last spring. Latvia
is an undiscovered traveller’s paradise with hundreds of kilometres of pristine white sand beaches at the edges of the
forests… and nobody there! The food is delicious! Ice cold vodka is cheap! Amber washes up on the beach.
In the fall, we travelled once again to
Italy where I could practice my Italian. (Micha and Mark gave me language CD’s for Christmas). We visited Bologna, Sienna, Rome, Naples, Pompei, Capri, and the lovely small town of Bolsena
at the edge of a perfectly round lake inside the remains of a shallow volcano. Hubert
picked up a treacherous virus, perhaps from a misquito bite. He lay for four
days in a darkened hotel room in Modena just kilometres away from Pavoratti who died the day
after Hubert recovered enough to drive us home to Switzerland.
After waiting one-and-a-half years, Hubert’s
mother is second in line for a room at a lovely “Old Folk’s Home” in Winterthur. It’s not easy when you’re 96 ½ to leave your home of half-a-century. However, it will be good to know that there are people around to assist her 24-hours
a day. She will dine three times a day in the lovely restaurant – like
in a Swiss ski resort – downstairs. She will no longer have to climb four
flights of stairs but can ride the lift! Visiting the doctor or the coiffeur
will be so much easier. With her positive attitude, openness and intelligence,
I feel certain she will make new friends. We hope she feels at home quickly.
It is less than a year until the next
US presidential elections. Please register and vote! Help all your friends and acquaintances
to register, too.
We hope you are well and happy and that
2007 was a good year for you. We wish you all the best for 2008.
Linda, Hubert, Micha, and Mark