Looking Back at 2015…

As i have done in the last couple of years, i am posting my Christmas letter here as a way of reflecting on what 2015 has brought me and my family…


Christmas 2015


How are you? We hope this finds you well and enjoying this holiday season together with family and friends; celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ with great joy!

2014 was a year of new things for us and 2015 is a year for settling in.

We have been in our new home for 11 months now! Time has certainly flown by. We celebrated with a little house-warming party in May. We are settled in and really liking living in the middle of the village and being much closer to the shops and bus stop. We have lovely neighbours and get along well with each other. Tobias has only a 5-minute walk to school which is fantastic.

It is also only a 5-minute walk to the playgroup which Sandra runs every Thursday morning. Publicity was done in the months of February and May and there was interest but only 4 have been registered. Although there are only 4 kids for now, it is a nice little group with 3 boys and a girl. The children were unsure at first, as was Sandra, but now it’s running along nicely.

Even though it is only one morning a week, it still takes time to prepare each week and this means that Sandra has had to spend less time on her online shop, www.angelcraftsshop.com, which helps to raise funds for special needs orphans. She hopes to sort out some time management and get new crafts into the shop to boost slightly sluggish sales. As well as continue to advocate for special needs orphans as much as she can.

Tobias is now in 5th Class or 5th year of primary school. There is a lot more homework and more emphasis on academics than before. The school is gearing the students up for taking the major exams in the middle of their 6th year, which for Tobias is in about 13 months. Those exams will determine which stream of studies he gets to go into.

Because of the heavier homework load, Tobias and his friends have had less time outside of school to meet up and play. But most Friday afternoons, they find some time to do something together.

He has given up Unihockey as of the end of September and is now enjoying Hip-Hop classes with his best friend. He continues to go to Chinese class every Saturday morning and is getting better at Mandarin but he still is reluctant to use the language. I suppose there is little opportunity to do so here. Squash is still very much part of Tobias’ weekly routine and although he does get frustrated at how hard it is to be good at squash, he carries on.

In our last letter, you read that Walter had developed a thyroid issue. He had been on daily meds for almost 2 years and recently his doctor decided that he was well enough to stop taking the meds. We are very pleased with that progress. He continues to play football with his colleagues when they can and badminton too.

Walter’s role as elder in our church has seen him more involved in church-life with many meetings and much prayer involved. Walter also continues to lead worship whenever he can. And Sandra teaches Sunday School. She has also stepped into the role of Mission Liaison for the church and is loving the contact with all the mission partners and hopes to help the church be more involved with missions in a more practical way.

Here’s our one piece of sad news: our 3 remaining mice passed away in early September. They had lived a nice long life and it was time, even if it was sudden. However, we weren’t without pets for long. In October, we welcomed 3 new Gerbils: Belle, Jules and Claudia. They are cute and lively and certainly very entertaining.

Our family travels this year has included a trip to Liverpool, a place we love visiting, in April, to catch a football game, and yes, of course it’s a Liverpool game! It was wonderful to experience a live game, especially for Tobias.

Then in October, we went to the Expo in Milan, Italy! It was an eye-opener. Very tiring on the legs with all that walking but well worth it. We also got to spend lovely time exploring a bit of Milan with some friends.

Of course, our annual visit to Singapore is not to be forgotten. This year it was extra-special because we were able to attend a dear friend’s wedding! It was lovely! And we, once again, stuffed ourselves with wonderful local food. Our stay there was extended because Sandra’s father went into hospital unexpectedly and we stayed on to make sure he was recovering before Sandra and Tobias flew back by themselves. Walter stayed on even longer so he could catch up with his best friend whom he hadn’t seen for years.

Walter’s work travels this year have included South Africa, and other parts of Africa, Slovakia and other parts of Europe. He still enjoys his work and looks forward to the coming year.

Well, that’s it from us.

Wishing you a most Blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Please do stay in touch and let us know what has been happening for you.

With love,

walter, sandra & tobias

email: mesandra@hotmail.com, hawkeyesgp@hotmail.com

blog: http://trippingdifferently.com


 t11birthday20150528e Us on Tobias’ 11th Birthday!


What has 2015 been like for you? i know there has been ups and downs for everyone. i hope you have had more ups than downs and i pray that 2016 will bring you and your loved ones a whole ton of blessings!


The Start of Playgroup…

Just 4 days ago, i led my first ever playgroup in English in my little Swiss village in Canton Solothurn 😀

i was so very very nervous and worried about everything; mostly that the kids will not understand me and will not want to participate in the songs and games at all. i packed the books i had bought just for the group, made sure i had spares of the name drawings of the each child, listened like crazy to the Good Morning song i chose to sing, double checked that i printed the right school holiday schedule and heave a huge sigh.

Thursday morning came and i was up before the alarm. Laid in bed thinking, “Oh my, today is it!” Got up, ran through the morning routine with my boy and then got myself ready, kissed the husband goodbye and wheeled my box of stuff up to the playgroup building (it’s just a 5-minute walk away from our house).

i arrived to find the other playgroup leader doing a quick clean up from the previous day’s activities. It was nice and reassuring to have someone to chat with for a bit. Then i set up the book corner, arranged the chairs in a circle, pasted up my weather poster and paced.

This is where we have Circle Time and there are 2 other rooms full of toys, such as a play-store to buy and sell, and lots of cars and train tracks.
This is where we have Circle Time and there are 2 other rooms full of toys, such as a play-store to buy and sell, and lots of cars and train tracks.

The first little girl to come through the door was a delight. She was so ready to come and have fun and was so responsive. i was so very thankful for her. Then another little boy showed up and then another. The boys took a while to warm up to the idea of being at an English-speaking playgroup.

We sang songs and talked a tiny bit about animals and the weather. i asked them to paste up the weather for the day, which was a lovely sunny day. Then off they went to free play time. i followed and joined in as and when they wanted me to play with them.

The boys and the one girl chose to play different things so i switched between them. And soon it was snack time. Everyone was quite ready for snack and we had a lovely quiet snack time (quite different from when i did my internship). Then it was off to play again.

By now, the boys had warmed up and was really into rough-housing with me. Of course, they both decided to “attack” me. After a while, i went to check on the girl who was quietly playing with homemade “playdoh” with one of the visiting grandmothers (her grandson will join the group the week after). i started playing with the doh and the boys joined in. It was a good time of just squashing and rolling orange doh around.

After which, it was time for a story. i had thought one story was all they would want since English isn’t their first language. But they actually asked for a second one! i was thrilled. So i read We Are Going On A Bear Hunt and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, both wonderful classics for pre-school children.

To end, we sang Old MacDonald which they liked and the Goodbye song.

2 hours had just flown by and i am most grateful for the lovely grandmother who came to visit and help, and for the mums who stayed for the first half of the time.

i am excited and so looking forward to the coming Thursday mornings! 😀


PS: if you would like to know about the English Playgroup or the Deutsch Spielgruppe, check out our website!

Find Out More… English Playgroup…

Way back at the beginning of March (okay, just 2 months ago), i wrote about the super opportunity i had to start an English Playgroup right here in our little village.

But things did not go as plan, we did not have enough children to start in Spring. So here´s another effort to get the word out that the English Playgroup in Langendorf, Solothurn, Switzerland is definitely starting 20th August! 🙂

In 9 days, i will be hosting an Information Evening about the English Playgroup so interested parents can find out more. Here are the details:

flyer_infoevening20150502 flyer_infoeveningD20150502And as before, if you don´t have small children or are not interested, would you please help me to spread the word? Thanks so much.