Christmas Letter 2008…

This is the Yoongz 2nd year writing their Christmas Letter.

So what has 2008 brought to us? What adventures? What thrills? Well, i must say that it has been a fairly calm year – there were a few highlights but not overwhelmingly many.

We all enjoyed some pampering in Feb/Mar in Singapore as we made our annual visit there – we think Tobias especially enjoyed this visit compared to previous ones as this one he is so much more aware of how all these people who live in this other sunny country are related to him.

This year also marks the 2nd year of skiing for Tobias – he still loves it but is getting really stubbon about following instructions – very into doing things his way – doesn’t help him get down the hill unfortunately. No worries we will work on that this upcoming season.

April saw Tobias starting Chinese/Mandarin classes – he loves it! He can’t sit still in class but he listens and knows the words, however he’s not wonderful at writing yet. He is still attending his Kinderkrippe (Swiss Daycare) once a week. He has also started a “Pre-Kindergarten” type class at Gymboree – it is not exactly pre-kindi but is structured as much as possible like a kindi class – with the same games, story time, play time & activity time. Another addition to Tobias’ week is 1x morning at Kangaroo Club – this is a bilingual pre-school ran by an Ozzie lady – she is very nice. He has really taken to going here – he has fun in a much smaller group setting than at Daycare and more structured time as well. i know this sounds like a lot for a 4yr old – but really it’s only 1x full day, 2x afternoons (1hr and 2hrs) and 1x morning (4hrs) so that’s not too much. We still get to spend 1x full day, 2x half days at home and the weekends are for the family, besides he loves going to all his activities 😉

Oh besides all these classes, the other thing he loves is being at the computer – not surprising really, seeing how much time we (his parents) spent at the computer. He is getting really good at navigating his way around the computer but still hasn’t figure out the typing part yet. He regualrly plays his online games – Thomas the Tank Engine & other cartoon websites. Some may say such early exposure is not good – but early exposure with good parental guidance (limiting time and what is played) will benefit him – more tech-savvy, better able to handle media. Anyhow, it’s amazing to watch him at it.

Tobias is also well-exposed to books – Sandra is into her 2nd yr as an Usborne Books rep & enjoying it greatly. It’s really hard work constantly moving all those heavy boxes of books, carrying them to sales and setting up, checking stocks, selling, packing & posting etc… Early in the year the sales were slow but it really picked up from Sept onwards – 11x book fairs in 4x months 😀 – Thank God for such good sales! Walter was wonderful, taking leave to take Tobias to classes when Sandra can’t, taking care of Tobias on Sats when there were book sales. Our family has been extended by the addition of 2x “uncles” – Filippo and Carlos – Walter’s colleagues. They were wonderful; babysitting Tobias when Walter wasn’t around and Sandra needed to work. They both live very nearby and Carlos even stayed with us for 2x months when he 1st arrived in Switzerland in May. He was Tobias’ constant playmate for those 2x months. Walter was away for almost 5x weeks in June so it was good to have “extended” family around.

Sandra had stepped down from Sunday School Coordination in Aug, only to be asked to be part of a 3-person coordination team – which she agreed to as it meant that all the load was not on her alone. This happened as a result of a change of structure in Sunday School as well as the fact that the church is looking for a new pastor as the previous pastor had to move (family reasons). So we now have an interium pastor – he & his wife were pastoring the church about 10 years ago.

November marked a new adventure for Sandra – she joined NaNoWriMo! The aim of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30x days. The idea is that many people will say they will one day write a novel but that day would never come unless they were pushed – NaNo is that push! Sandra was hit by the writing bug quite some time before Nov already so when a friend asked her to join – she jumped at it – she didn’t finish, managing 32,191 words – but it has started something wonderful ;D BSF and the Women’s Day Away Association are still very much a part of Sandra’s regular schedule.

Walter has been travelling quite a bit for work this past year – here’s where he has been to: Berlin, Paris, Moldval, USA (a couple of times, 1x he stayed 5x weeks), Romania, twice to Canada and France. Travelling isn’t all that bad – Walter managed to purchase rather cheaply a new laptop – anniversary present to ourselves – in Canada. It was also because of his travels to Canada that he was able to meet up with a long-lost best friend, much to his delight and joy. With the interium pastor & his wife very much into worship, he is also more involved in that aspect of church life.

Walter awaits his favourite season of the year – winter – as he is dying to take to the slopes on his snowboard. There have already been good snowfalls but we just haven’t had the time to get up to the mountains. Rest assured we will get there. Tobias has been outfitted with new (2nd hand) ski boots – his feet have really grown in the last year. Sandra got 2nd-hand skis and boots for just SFr22/- unbelievable but true – Switzerland is the only place, i know, where you can get good quality 2nd-hand stuff for almost nothing. Walter will be getting new back protection to add to his equipment. So we are all looking to try these out.

Our 1x traditional Swiss thing we did this year was to go to the Schwingen Fest – Swiss Wrestling. It’s sort of like Sumo but with more close contact. It was fun to have gone with another Singaporean family – the kids had fun watching for a while and then spending the rest of the time “wrestling” each other.

We look forward to the new year with great anticipation… do write and tell us what has been happening / will happen for you – we await news 😉 Better yet – come visit us!

Email: mesandra,

Have a most blessed Christmas & a fulfilling New Year!

Lots of love


(walter, Sandra & tobias)


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