grabs, january 2007

dear friends...

as always i feel that time flies much too fast and it's already more than a year ago since we moved into the house in grabs and i started working at abacus (a company that programs business software). for this i attend a course of book-keeping once a week to learn what the programs are all about.

during the summer months i managed to go and visit my godson nanouk and my sister natalie and family in wil a few times. it's beautiful to cycle over the toggenburg which i enjoyed much – cycling with my racing bike became a kind of meditation for me - to think and at the same time turn off the brain. nanouk also came to grabs a couple of times to sleep here over night and play in/along the rivers.

after the year on the road we enjoyed being closer to our swiss and austrian friends again and had a few fun events - skiing, cooking, playing, going out, brewing beer, climbing, hiking or rollerblading, sledging, having fondue on the mountain or just talking and listening to the stories of life... we also spent more time with ben & gaby which is always good fun – and there will be one big event in the second half of this year that for sure will be really special for the two... now that they live in wil i can meet up with my brother and sister in one go.

in march i went to vevey (the french part of switzerland) where i had a small presentation for the company and later an exhibition in lausanne. i love the french language and am glad that i get the chance to improve it at work.

in april tine and kai came to visit from germany. we met them about 4 times in new zealand – and even though they are 10 years younger than us it feels as if we had known each other forever. the weekend after their visit we had a big family reunion with all the cousins of my mother's side. i hardly ever see these people but we all shared the same grandparents... so it was really nice to meet them all again and talk about the old times.

this year's family weekend in may was organized by us – a weekend with the 9 milsoms in konstanz and lindau - germany - where we went to sealife and walked along the lake in hot sunshine.

our friends sabina and richard got married in june and got their wonderful baby boy nino just a few weeks ago - nearly at the same time as ilaria and ursin, who are the proud parents of the cute boy fynn. in july maleah nita was born, the charming smiling daughter of natalie and matthias and my first niece. nanouk is such a loving brother and helps his parents incredibly much – i enjoy every minute with him and am impressed how much he already knows!

in july stefan (an austrian friend whom we met in australia) came to our house with his motorbike on his way to andorra. it's always good to talk about the days on the road, the gipsy-life with no worries or stress... or as william hazl expressed it: "the soul of a journey is liberty, perfect liberty, to think, feel, do just as one pleases."

for the world championship of football we often had some friends here and watched the games over the projector on the big screen – having a bbq and some beers besides.

this year we managed to go to england twice – but both times just for a long weekend... first my cousine michelle got married which was a fantastic party. i loved every minute of the time up north as i don't often get the chance to see my english-french cousines and the rest of the english family – which has grown since angelique's son noah frederick was born just a few days before christmas 06! the second weekend we spent with my parents in broadstairs where we stayed in their flat just next to the beach. we are really lucky and grateful to be able to fly over for next to nothing with ryan-air and stay in such a great flat. thank you so much, m&d!

in sunny august we had a day out with our team from work – canoeing down the river rhine, having several unintended swims and ending the day with a huge bbq. it is really a great company, where i work. they manage to make work feel “not so bad” in providing great surroundings like a table tennis table in the garden where i spent lots of lunchtimes running around the table... also in august our friends dani and petra got married before going traveling for a loooong time.

in autumn i visited a course to get some info about teaching adults. soon after i held my first course to teach the customers how to use our software – this is a good mixture of my work now and teaching kids.

declan (with whom we spent 10 days traveling in china) came over from london in october – to mountainbike, hike and visit feldkirch. autumn is also the time to pack up the caravan in the ticino – which gave us the chance to spend some time up in the mountains, walking in the golden leaves and collecting sweet chessnuts.

after a whole year with no holidays it was high time to go on the road again. this time it's a month in morocco – a country that fascinated me – with it's high sand dunes, the wild coasts, black deserts, lonely forests, gorges and valleys... and especially with the open and warmhearted berbers playing their tam-tam-music and sharing their food, time and traditions with us.

we often come home from work late in the evening (we drive 1.5hrs every day to- and back from st. gallen) so there was not so much time for sports as in other years. but i spent lots of time working on several websites which i still love doing extremely much... especially if it's about travelling – as i miss this really much. so looking at some nice photos of far-away-countries or reading travel-stories warms my heart and feeds my travel-bug... but, as marcel proust said: "the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." for me traveling is not about the amount of pages stamped in the passport, it's about opening your mind, meeting people to learn from each other and reflecting your life.

for the coming year i wish that we all can enjoy life - every day - as if it were our last... (inspired by paulo coelho's “veronika decides to die”) smell the roses along the way, smile at the people coming towards us and be grateful for what we have!

:-) jennifer

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