Highlight – Spring Break 2018…

Once again, this post is weeks late. But it’s ok.

So Spring break for us was back in the middle of April. We had a quiet one this time.

We mainly stayed home, got some things done, went to watch a movie and visited friends. I had to work one day and we got in a couple of rounds of squash as well.

The highlight for us was going to one of the largest labyrinths in Switzerland. It’s in the French part of Switzerland is called Labyrinth Aventure.

It was a long drive from where we are but it was fine with the beautiful scenery along the way and we had good fun there.

We got there just before lunch and got started with the actual maze first. You are given a list of 10 boards/treasures to find in the maze, which was great, otherwise, we would have been wandering around aimlessly. There is no real reward, like a chocolate or something; just a sense of achievement which, i think, is super! Not everything needs a tangible reward; feeling happy about something you have done is also a fantastic reward.

highlightspringbreak_20180516aThen it was lunch. The restaurant serves very simple food but it’s enough for kids and parents. They do have lots of ice cream, snacks, and sweets.

After lunch, we explored the rest of the place. It is not huge but big enough for a good day out. There is a play area for little ones, there are many swings to try, they have lots of game tables with lots of interesting wooden games, there are also pool tables and table tennis. We tried out some pedal cars and the boys did the giant slides. We also did some jousting and the boys had tons of fun on this crazy spinning disc. They also have giant hamster wheels and some chess tables.

And all these in an amazing mountain setting!

highlightspringbreak_20180616bTired out, we made the drive home.

If you are in the area, and are looking for something to do with your kids, do check out this place. Apparently, they have a sister amusement park nearby too.

syc

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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!

happynewyear2018

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

The Danish, the Toy and the Furry… Autumn Hols 2017…

It has been almost 3 weeks since we went back to school for the winter term. As is my habit, i don’t get round to blogging about the hols till well after.

i’m going to try out a different format this time. i’m going to do all the “talking” and then hit you with a whole gallery of pictures.

So we spent a few days in Copenhagen because Walter had to go there for work and he extended after work was concluded so we could make a weekend of it.

i really like Copenhagen and as i have been telling people since my return, it is definitely a city i could see myself living in. i love how everyone cycles everywhere and the bike lanes are almost as big as the road for cars. The pedestrian pavement is raised above the bike lane and the bike lane is raised above the motor lane which makes for quite a safe ride. We were told that in winter, it is the bike lane which gets cleared of snow first because it is the most used mode of transport. The metro and trains are also good, easy to navigate and clean and people are all orderly about it.

The architecture of the city is lovely. There is a good mix of modern and old but not clashing. We liked the Meatpacking District which was warehouses for meat packing (as the name suggests) and is now the trendy dining district. We ate at War Pigs which served pork and only pork. The concept was interesting; its sort of school canteen meets pub meets casual dining.

The night view of the city from across the waters is lovely! It really made me miss the ocean so much more because Switzerland is a land-locked country and while it has beautiful lakes, when one has grown up on an island, the ocean is just something else altogether.

We got to see even more of the lovely ocean when we headed to Den Blå Planet (The Blue Planet), which is supposed to be one of the largest aquariums in northern Europe. It had an interesting layout, like the arms of an octopus spinning outwards and the building looks amazing from the outside; it’s like a big wave rising out of the sea. We really enjoyed the interesting blue wave-like sculpture benches we encountered along the walk from the train station to the aquarium. Watching the feeding show which was presented in both Danish and English was interesting.

Then we did our dues by visiting the “must-see” sculpture of the Little Mermaid (story by Hans C. Andersen). There was just tons of people surrounding her, all trying to get a selfie with this bronze mermaid. It is a nice sculpture but it’s not something that amazing. However, i do love the story behind how and why the sculpture was created. Read it for yourself in the picture i took of the plaque next to her. There is also a genetically modified mermaid but we didn’t go see that one.

Of course, being by the ocean, we had our fill of lovely yummy seafood! Oh, how i miss good seafood. Another thing we did by the waters was to visit Nyhavn (New Habour) on our Segway Tour. It was T’s idea to do the tour and it was a good choice. We did the short tour because the long tour had included a couple of places we had already seen the day before. We had a very nice guide who spoke great English and the tour was very interesting with little bite-sized stories about the city. We did it in a slight drizzle and even that didn’t put us off. If you have children who are 12 and above, i highly recommend doing this tour. Learning to ride a Segway is easy and fun as well. But be warned that if you are not used to standing in one position for more than 15 minutes at a time, it can get quite tiring so wear very comfortable shoes.

Another super place to visit with kids is the Experimentarium. We visited this place in the afternoon but so wished we had given it a whole day. For my Singaporean friends, it’s like the Science Center but way better and more interesting. For my Swiss friends, it’s like Technorama and probably just as good, if not better.

We also managed to catch a very inspiring art exhibition in one of the parks at night, it’s called Reflektion. It was wonderful to see lots of people at this exhibition with kids and all, even though it was a night-time exhibition. It was like an enormous light show but all over the park and exploring different aspects of light – fantastic! Sorry, i cannot find the link to the exhibition anymore.

Last but not least, we cross the channel to Malmö, Sweden, for a really short look around there. It’s a nice little place from what little we saw; we only saw it for like an hour before our flight back.

That was our overseas trip for this autumn.

We did the Suisse Toy Fair as is our tradition for the month of October. This year we went with T’s best friend and his family. It was smaller this year and was missing a few big players such as Lego and Hasbro. We spoke to a vendor there and he says that there might not be a Toy Fair soon because there are fewer and fewer vendors each year. And it is true, we noticed there are few stalls in almost every section except for one; the LAN Gaming got bigger! It’s like a gamers’ heaven; rows upon rows of computers filling the whole hall, you and your friends playing till your heart’s content for 3 whole days, you can sleep there, eat there, they even have shower facilities! There was also a Cosplay section this year as well as all the digital games. Regardless of the size, the kids had fun!

Our next outing was to Barryland. It is a museum i had wanted to visit for a while. It’s the Saint Bernard Dog Musuem! i love dogs! And there were puppies to see when we were there. It’s not very big but it is packed full of information. However, not as interactive as some of the other museums we have been to, so if you have small ones who can not yet read, it might be best to wait till they can and are interested in dogs.

Well, that sort of wraps up the highlights of our autumn holidays this year. Now enjoy the picture gallery!

syc