Swiss Winter Wonderland

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Author:  Pete
Location:  Europe

Past the chilly months in a winter wonderland that is the Alps.  Coaching the school’s ski team kept me happily on the slopes and learning the best places to find powder.  The school has its own chalet in Wengen, so we were there often, as well as other little mountain villages like Zermatt under the Matterhorn.

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Miranda looks more and more like a real pregnant lady every week.  Maybe it’s good that we ease into parenthood.  It still doesn’t seem real yet.  It’s all fun and games until someone’s water breaks.  We do get a lot of nods from passerbys.  Everyone seems to smile at us knowingly.

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Miranda and I feel well loved.  We’ve had a small army of family and friends make the pilgrimage from all over to come and see us.  I think everyone is worried we’ll drop off the radar again once there’s an infant in our midst.  Miranda’s brother Casey and his buddies Mike and Stacy came for a week of rowdy fun.  We drove up to Munich for some historical tavern-crawling.  In the Munich Hofbrauhaus they only serve liters of beer!  Let me reiterate, beer is served only in liters!  Back in the Alps we went night tobogganing down kilometers of tooth-chattering, unlit trails.

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Miranda’s other sibs, Adam and Becky, came to see us too.  We piled in the car and drove over the mountains to Italy.  Venice during Carnival was full of energy.  The gloomy weather made the ambiance even better, swirling around the plague masks and the elaborate costumes.  Back Swiss-side we jumped on the slopes and spent a day battling gravity.

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Not to be outdone, Liza, Felix, and Jovia came down from Frankfurt a couple of weekends this winter.  The idea was to hit the slopes together, and although we never hit great snow, but we did have a great time with them.

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My folks came in on a European baby-flyby trip.  We went up hiking in Engelberg as the spring thaw relinquished the slopes to the grass.  Paragliders soared like clouds of bees.  I’m salivating to get my kit over here.

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Also our climbing buddies Ben and Elizabeth came from Abu Dhabi to see us.  We used to climb twice a week when we were teaching in Chile.  It’s been three years since we last climbed together and it was so great to be back on the crag with them!

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So that was our flood of friends and family!  It’s so wonderful to spend time with everyone, especially after being off radar for several years.  Although it’s sad to part ways at then end, Winnie the Pooh’s words give me comfort.  “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”  How lucky we are indeed.

 

 

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First Fall in Europe

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Location:  Europe
Author:  Pete

Writing this post is helping me to feel not quite so much like a chump.  I’ve been feeling a little under-adventured.  Who’d have guessed, right?  This semester is quickly coming to a close and it doesn’t feel like we’ve done much besides keep our heads above water in a new apartment, school, and country.  But assembling the shots from the past months is just the ticket to shut my whiny mouth!

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We started off the year running with my folks visiting!  Having visitors is always a good way to make you slow down and appreciate the place you live.  We spent time walking around cute Zug, finding our orientation around a new town together.

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Just a few weeks into the first semester our school sends the students out on Personal Development Week to spread their wings and stretch their boundaries.  I deemed it prudent to weasel my way into a group taking students onto the high seas in the Netherlands, sailing the Zuiderzee on nineteenth-century sail ships.

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Miranda and I bought a fancy car and have been making good use of it.  It’s striking to travel so fast!  We’ve been up to Frankfurt twice to see my niece!  Both trips we filled the trunk with cases of German beer.  The smuggling continues!

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We’ve also explored the Alps close by with my parents.  Our school has a chalet in Wengen, near Interlaken, so we braved the switchbacked roads and got ourselves some alpine hiking in, overlooking quaint Swiss towns tucked into the valleys.

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Over our fall break we drove five hours to the in Cinque Terre region in Italy.  We rented an apartment overlooking the Med, touristed around the seaside villages, and took a great cooking class in Lucca!  Five hours is the distance we used to drive from Charlevoix to get to Detroit a couple times a year!

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We used Miranda’s birthday as a good excuse to drive into France over a weekend for a fall color tour. Belfort, just over the border from us, held an antiques market which splattered in the main square and oozed out into the winding streets.  We rummaged around for treasures and engorged ourselves on French pastry delights.

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So there we go.  Sailing in the Netherlands, a new niece in Germany, cooking in Cinque Terre, Italy, exploring the Alps with my folks, and rummaging through French markets.  All in a semester’s work.  It’s getting colder now in Switzerland.  We’ve been getting dustings of snow that ices the bergs for a few days here and there.  I haven’t touched real snow in at least two years.

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Oh… and Miranda’s pregnant!

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