Goodbye, Claudia…

Last Friday, 15th June 2018, we had to say goodbye to our little Claudia, our little grey one, one of our pet gerbils. It is very sad but it had to be done.

She had some sort of growth or tumor in her belly and was not getting better after a week of meds from the vet. She was simply sleeping all day, waking only to eat a little and drink a little. Even though her belly was big, you could feel her bones through her fur, and she laid absolutely still when you held her, which is most unusual for rodents. Given that she was a good 2 years and 10 months old, the vet suggested it was time to let her go and we agreed. (Gerbils have a lifespan of 3 to 4 years only.)

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Left: Claudia, having fun in a tissue box, with her sister, Belle, behind her, October 2015. Top Right: All three of them, Claudia, Jules and Belle, June 2016. Bottom Right: Claudia sharing dried bread with Jules,  May 2018.

Goodbye, Claudia. Hope you are having fun in gerbil heaven.

Your sister, Jules, the only one left of the original three, is still going strong and we hope she will be with us for a bit longer.

Click here to see all three of them when we first got them.

syc

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Rest In Peace…

Things have happened over the past few weeks, the biggest of which is the passing of my mother-in-law.

She passed away early on Good Friday, 30th March 2018, in Singapore. It was in a way expected, as in she had been in and out of hospital several times in the past year and had various complex health issues.

But it did happen quickly. i got the call saying she was being taken to the hospital and then an hour later, another call to say she had passed.

It was harder for my poor husband who had to hear about it the moment he got off a 10-hour flight.

We quickly got organised. i am very grateful that T’s teacher was hard working enough to be checking his emails on a holiday weekend and we got leave from his school to go to the funeral. We flew out the next day. Thank God we got seats on a very full flight.

The funeral went well, as far as one can say that of a funeral. It was a sad time, yet at the same time, there was a sense of relief because she is in a better place and would not have to be taking all those numerous meds and going to various doctors’ appointments and be going in and out of hospital.

My relationship with my mother-in-law did not start out in the best way. In the beginning, she did not think i was good enough for her son and to be part of her family. But over the years, she had come to accept me. She mellowed out and we found a way to get along.

So while we have had our difficulties, as i have found out more about her and got to know her more, i have come to respect her as a woman who had to make good of some bad situations and she handled them as best as she could, at that time. i had also come to realise that these bad experiences in her life made her a very defensive person and she also held onto some of these hurts for a long time.

Even though she had done and said things i don’t agree with, i do believe she had done her very best as a wife, a mother, a mother-in-law and a grandmother. And unusually for a woman of her generation, she was very verbally expressive of her love to family, especially to her grandsons.

So for all that, i thank her. LaiLai, rest in peace.

syc

Goodbye 2017… Hello 2018…

It’s the end of another year… time for the usual review (see below for our Christmas letter 2017) … and also looking forward to 2018! Happy New Year!

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HiHi

How are you? We hope this finds you and your family well, all sharing and caring together as we celebrate the birth of love; the birth of Jesus.

2017 has been a year of ups and downs and quite a few medical encounters.

January and February saw us busy with Tobias’ recovery from his two broken arms. One of the consequence of Tobias’ arms being broken was that he was not able to his final primary school exams and it was decided by the school that his average grades would be calculated from his various tests throughout the year and that he would go into the apprenticeship track for secondary school, which was where we felt suited him best.

Another consequence of his injury was that we went to Paris for our Sports holiday in February instead of the usual skiing. It was lovely to finally see Paris in all its beauty.

The doctor finally gave the all clear for sports activities mid-February, much to Tobias’ delight as it was just in time for his class ski trip.

March and April was a time of much traveling for Walter, around Africa and Europe is mostly where he gets to. Sandra continues to teach Chinese class and Sunday School, as well as run her English Playgroup.

In May, Sandra attended her first writers’ conference in Brussels, hosted by SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators). She enjoyed it very much; the first time she has traveled within Europe alone. And she learned a lot.

Of course, Tobias officially turned a teen in May! Now a 13-year-old boy! No longer a little guy,; he is taller than Sandra now.

May was also when Walter’s father fell seriously ill and was hospitalised. His mother’s health also suffered and she was also in hospital. And they both remained in hospital and rehab care respectively until we arrived in Singapore in July.

So much of our July/August holidays was spent caring for Walter’s parents and arranging for long-term carers for them. It was a tiring and trying time for all involved but by God’s grace, we managed it, with lots of help and support from Sandra’s family and all our dear friends.

Mid-August, we came back to Switzerland fairly tired out but got right back into the routine of school and work, while trying to help keep an eye on things in Singapore.

September was filled with the usual school, work, church and weekend activities. Walter still leading worship at church and fulfilling his role as an elder. Sandra continues as Missions coordinator for the church and leading Mission Focus Sundays for the Sunday School. Tobias now enjoys being in the teen class at church.

October meant lots of work travel for Walter. We managed to squeeze in a short few days holiday in Copenhagen. We like the city a lot and Sandra can certainly see us living there… lol. Walter also had to make an emergency trip to Singapore as well, to sort out family issues and his parents’ care.

November was a whirlwind of activity for us; lots of concert rehearsals for Tobias and Sandra, work travel for Walter, as well as having Walter’s best friend and his family stay with us for 2 weeks, which was great!

Tobias also switched to the academic track at the end of November, which meant a new school (further from home), new timetable, new classmates and teachers, and having to catch up on work he’s missed for the last 3 months.

December saw us having our previous pastor and his wife (they are also Tobias’ Godparents) stay with us for a couple of days, which is wonderful because we have not seen them for quite a number of years as they live in New Zealand.

And now here we are at Christmas!

Wow! That was some year. And through all of that, we have to thank God for everything He has provided; in all of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs, giving us amazing people who supported, encouraged and prayed for us. Thank you all!

Wishing you a Happy Christmas and a Blessed 2018!

syc