This is 2009/2010 Christmas/NewYear Letter
Hi there,
It’s the 15th day of the 1st month of the year 2010… a new year… a new decade… about 5% of the year has gone by or so I have been told… & I still find it strange to write 2010 instead of 2009.

Well, this is the Yoongz’ Christmas (slash) New Year’s letter. So why did this Christmas letter not make it for Christmas? Well, it was as usual a busy time & this year was extra busy & extra special – Sandra’s parents & brother were here for 3 weeks – over Christmas & New Year. & we really wanted to include their visit as part of our Christmas letter to you.

Now 2009 was a year of changes for us. There were 2 major changes – we moved & Tobias started Kindergarten.

That’s right we moved to a new apartment – not far from our last one – just the next block in fact! It is a small more space-efficient apartment with a better view. Why?-you ask. Well, in March 2009, Walter was given the heads-up that the company isn’t doing well & employees may have to take a pay-cut in the second half of the year. So we decided that rather than wait for it to happen, we will be pro-active & start cutting back on some expenses. The major expense for us was our lovely big rented apartment. So we gave the required 3-months notice & started looking for somewhere else – a smaller place. We looked for a long while, not finding anything suitable. By the end of May, we were still looking & we had to move out by the end of June – God helped us – He did indeed – in a week we got a place & it was just the next block! Which means we got to stay in the neighbourhood we like & Tobias can keep the friends he made. But there was a glitch – the website ad had the incorrect move-in date – the correct move-in date was a month later than specified. A month too late for us – but God worked it all out – because the whole quartier was run by the same agency, the lady-in-charge simply said that we could stay in our old apartment till the new one became available. The move went well – we had lots of friends came help – which we are so grateful for. The last time we moved the company paid for movers & cleaners (they were taking Walter away on a business trip during our move) so I just packed & unpacked. This time we did everything ourselves. It all went great! Thank God. For those of you who don’t or never have lived in Switzerland, when you give back your old apartment, you can’t just up & go – you have to clean it very well, leaving it the way you found it or even better. Over here, expats say that the apartment has to be “Swiss Clean”!

So how do we like our new place? Very much, thank you. It’s on the 2nd floor (according to the Swiss way of counting) – so it’s the 3rd apartment up, & we ‘tower’ over the terrace houses in front of us & get a lovely view of the mountains. At our old apartment, it was the ground floor & did have a lovely view when we 1st moved in there but they started lots of construction in front of us & the view is now mostly blocked. So we got our view back. The one drawback is that there is no lift. It took some getting used to when dragging shopping up 3 flights. We still have 3 bedrooms but now we have an open concept living/dining/kitchen area. It’s enough space & in fact the open kitchen seems to have more work-top space, much to Sandra’s delight. Of cos, less cleaning to do – hehehhe 😉
The picture shows what the view looks like from our balcony now. Sorry don’t have pictures yet of the interior – still working on it.

Well, we moved on the 1st of August 2009 & Tobias started Kindergarten on 10th of August 2009. He had been excited to start Kindergarten ever since we received the notification in January of 2009. Then he started counting down the days after we went for the Introduction Day in June. Each child was given a lovely paper fish & a box of colourful dots to help them count day till the 1st day of school. Each dot is a scale for the fish & also represents a day. They are to paste 1 dot everyday & when they have pasted the last dot, it would be time to start Kindergarten. What a lovely idea! They also got to print scales on their cushion cover that day. They started with the theme Fish – needless to say, Tobias was & is still now obsessed (ok, maybe that’s putting it a little too strong) with fish & all things sealife related. So much so he now has his own digital fish tank on Sandra’s Facebook account.
Anyhow, Tobias is enjoying Kindergarten. He doesn’t mind the having to wake up early to go 3 mornings a week. He goes for 3.5hrs and also 1.5hrs on Tuesday afternoons. He likes his teachers & his friends. Over here, all the kids in the village go to the same school & this school has 3 Kindergarten classes. Each Kindergarten is in a different building & each kid is assigned the one closest to his home. So all the kids in our neighbour go to the same Kindergarten, everyone waits for each other on the corner of our street & walk to school together. It’s great!
Here Tobias is all decked out in his rain gear on the 1st day of school.

The last major event for us was Sandra’s parents & brother visiting us over the Christmas & New Year period. They arrived on the 13th of Dec & stayed 3 weeks. It was nice that they got a chance to walk Tobias to school, meet some of his friends as well as do the regular stuff like grocery shopping, hanging around the house, playing games with Tobias. They also got to decorate a real Christmas tree. But the highlight for them was that it snowed! It had not snowed that much at out level since our 1st winter here which was 7 years ago. They enjoyed it very much, although they did find putting on the layers of clothes to keep warm a hassle. We also spend 3 days up in the ski resort of Murren. Sandra’s parents did some walking around while her brother tried his hand at snow-boarding. We also visited the Stuttgart Christmas Market – it was lovely but freezing cold (-16C) when we were there. Every hour spent outside had to be followed by some refuge in a building. We covered the major tourist stuff as well. Here is all of us in front of the tree (picture is a little over exposed).

So that was 2009 for us. We look forward to 2010 with much hope & expectations.
Do stay in touch & let us know what is happening for you & your loved ones.
From the Yoongz – Wishing you & your family lots of love & may your dreams come true.

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