Last Day of 2019…

Today is the very last day of 2019! The year has just flown by! i hope your 2019 has been good; filled with joy and laughter, successes and harmony, and even the not-so-good parts, i pray you will be able to look back upon them with wisdom and peace.

Here’s our reflection on our 2019:

Hihi

How are you? Hope this finds you well and enjoying this festive season with loved ones. Do remember to say a little Thank You to Jesus because He is the reason for the season.

Various changes in our own situations and at church have meant that 2019 has been about finding our way through some uncertainty. But by the grace of God, we have managed to get through the year, and things are looking well.

In January, Sandra increased her involvement in SCBWI (Society for Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators); managing their blog and being part of a conference planning team. Tobias and Sandra, together with Lexi continue to attend dog school. At the same time, we started looking for a dog sitter for when we would be away in summer.

February saw us in Laax for our annual ski trip. This time we brought Tobias’ friend with us and it was the first time we had a dog with us. Due to issues with her knee, Sandra did not ski but enjoyed lots of walks with Lexi. As Tobias is going into the next stage of school, called Gymnasium (junior college for people in Singapore), we also attended a couple of school meetings and Tobias had to make a decision on which core subjects he would like to take in the next school year. Walter also spent some time in Singapore with his family.

Lexi went into her first heat in March and it was a learning experience for us. But it was not as terrible as some had described to us. For Sandra, conference planning for SCBWI kicked into high gear. Sandra’s poly classmate, who was travelling with her mother, come to stay for a few days. It was such a nice time of catching up.

April was a difficult time as Lexi had an accident; her tail got clamped in the door which leads to the garden. We rushed her to the emergency vet. Repeated infections saw our poor little dog go through 3 operations, ending with a much-shortened tail.

The SCBWI Europolitian Conference took place the first weekend in May and Sandra was away, helping in that conference for 4 days. Walter and Tobias, together with an injured Lexi, managed quite well by themselves. We also celebrated Tobias’ 15th birthday. It was a quiet celebration; he chose to go watch a movie with a couple of good friends. Good news came at the end of May, when the vet gave the all clear for Lexi’s injury and she didn’t have to wear the cone anymore.

Inspired by the conference, Sandra took part in her very first writing contest in June. She didn’t win but it was a good experience. Lexi got to go back to dog school and spent a trial night at a pet hotel; it all went well.

Just before we left for our summer holidays in July, Tobias met his new violin teacher and he has been quite happy with his new teacher. His previous teacher would be retiring and said it was good to move to another teacher as he is also moving to the next stage of school. Our annual visit to Singapore was very eventful this year as we took Tobias’ best friend with us. It was interesting showing him around and watching him enjoy all the food. This year we only stayed 3 weeks because Lexi was at the pet hotel and we didn’t want to leave her for too long and could not really afford pet hotel for longer.

In August, Tobias was, finally after all these years, able to go to his other best friend’s birthday celebrations (usually we get back from Singapore much later and miss it). Walter started taking on a bigger role in the Pastoral Search Committee at church, as well as continuing as an elder and worship leader. Tobias started his first year in Gymnasium in the middle of August and likes it. He is in the bilingual track (German and English) with biology and chemistry as his core subjects. Tobias has continued with his squash lessons and of course, violin with the new teacher.

Sandra was able to catch up with her university housemate, whom she had not seen since leaving uni, in September. Her housemate was travelling with her parents and was only in Switzerland for one day, but they managed to meet up; it was lovely.

In the middle of September, Sandra’s father was warded into hospital (he had been in hospital a couple of times earlier in the year but only for short periods) and has been there since there had been a couple of complications. But now it seems that things are stable and there’s a positive outlook. We would like to thank all our family and friends for their wonderful prayers and support through this difficult time.

October saw us spending a quiet time here during the school holidays. Sandra started making blackout curtains for the church and became part of the constitution rewrite committee. Throughout the year, Walter has been travelling for work (not as much as last year, thank God) but this is the time when it gets hectic for him.

As always, November is a busy time. This year made busier by the sewing of curtains, many meetings for the constitution and search committees as well as fundraising activities by the Sunday School for our missionaries in India. Sandra has continued as missions coordinator and as a Sunday School teacher so she does her best to combine the two whenever possible.

And finally, we are here, in December, getting ready for Christmas and the end of another jam-packed year. We are grateful for all that we have experienced, the good and the bad, and we pray that we have learned from these experiences and become better for it.

A Christmas Prayer for you and your loved ones:

We pray your spirit is light with hope, your heart is filled with joy and your days are blessed with the glory of God. May His Love bring you peace at Christmas time and always.

Do stay in touch and let us know what’s been happening for you.

With love,

Walter, Sandra, Tobias and Lexi.

We wish you all a most blessed and fulfilling 2020! Let’s make it a year filled with love and kindness, with many moments of shared happiness.

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Our Summer Holiday 2019…

Wow! It has been almost 3 weeks since we got back from our annual trip to Singapore. School started last Monday and we are trying to adjust to a new school timetable and get a routine going.

This year, our trip to Singapore was shorter than previous years because we could not afford to have Lexi (our black Standard Schnauzer) boarding for too long at the pet hotel. So we were in Singapore for just 24 days, instead of the usual 30 or so days. Plus we also brought Tobias’ best friend with us, which meant we did more touristy things, on top of having less time to see the usual number of family and friends.

It felt quite stressful while we were there and looking back, maybe we should have not done both shortening the trip and bringing an extra person with us at the same time, but i think we all did have fun in the end and we learned a bit about more about each other and our little island country while showing it to a new person.

Of course, we had lots of yummy food (it was quite enjoyable to introduce a foreigner to our unique food culture in Singapore) and lots of fun and laughter with our beloved ones. It was also great to have traveled there and back altogether, without the usual split where Walter had to come back first.

Here are some highlights of our trip in pictures (see captions for details):

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In Singapore…

We were in Singapore for our annual visit for about 4 weeks plus, during the summer holidays; it’s the longest we have been there at a stretch since Tobias was a newborn.

It was hot and humid, as always. But it was absolutely fab to see family and friends and, of course, to eat all the yummy foods we missed.

We went a little earlier this year; a dear friend was getting married. So happy for her! It was a lovely wedding ceremony and dinner, with cute, heartwarming little touches throughout. Well done, you two!! The attention to detail was impressive! Because this friend also knew my family, she invited them too and that gave us a rare opportunity to take a very nice family portrait.

singapore20180824aThen we settled into the routine of rushing with the crowds of people on public transport on our way to meet various family and friends for laughter and food. We also got in our exercise in the forms of leisure swimming and some squash games.

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singapore20180824ci am so proud that my brother did Hair for Hope, to raise funds for Children’s Cancer Foundation. He shaved his head, together with members of the 501st Legion (made up of people who enjoy dressing up as Star Wars characters and doing volunteer/charity events).

There was a sad side to our visit this year. Just before we arrived, we heard that a friend had passed away from a second stroke. Our thoughts are with his dear wife and children and family. We also visited another friend in the hospital, whom we had lost contact with for a long time; she was in the final stages of cancer. We were able to say our goodbyes before she passed away, a few days before we flew out of Singapore. Rest In Peace.

singapore20180824dLast but not least, my boy talked his grandparents into keeping hamsters for him again. This time we got 2… Meet Finn and Poe! Can you guess who they are named after?

Oh, my boy also bought his very own gaming laptop, which he saved for 2 years for! He was a very happy boy that day we bought it.

It was a slightly tiring but good trip.

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