Oh my god you guys! Oh my god. 2014 was just nuts. Let me tell you about it (but just the good stuff, as is the custom)!
We started the year with a trip to Beijing, the Chinese capital of the world! We visited a bunch of sites, but the family’s consensus on best attraction is the Summer Palace. It might have been the great wall, but a certain member of the group would not shut up about “6,000 years more like 300 years; science.” Haha, it was me! WHAT YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT THE GREAT WALL IS A LIE.
Man, it gets really cold in Beijing in the winter! We really had to work to stay warm, especially in the Forbidden City. We bought some chemical warming sachets, but then we used Google Translate on the warnings section of the package insert and we got Very Frightened. They’re still in a drawer in our bedroom!
In all, it was a great trip, and China is my new favorite Notmerican country. Oh lord, the food. So good. After Sophia got over the weather’s being UNACCEPTABLE, we all had a great time. Sophia was a total rock star in Beijing—so many Chinese people stopped us so they could take snapshots with the little blonde girl. We learned new customs and new words, and two thirds of us learned how to use squatty-potties—and how to hate them. China is recommended. Would visit again.
Later in the year, back in the States, Sophia made her first solo plane trip from Atlanta to West Palm Beach to see Janet and John, then back again. When I picked her up in Atlanta, some family who’d been sitting near her waited a long time for her to get off the plane so they could identify her parent and say what a champ she was. I was like duh, obvs she’s a champ.
Janet and John came to visit us in Switzerland, land of cheese, chocolate, and glowering. (You think I’m being mean, but two out of three is pretty good.) During their visit, they kept Sophia while Arica and I went to Venice and Rome. Rome is fine; we’ll talk about Rome later. But Venice! It turns out that Venice is the best city in the world. I’m going to move there for a few years because it is the only way I can be sure that I will be there on a midnight that is foggy. For Venice, I would be willing to put up with the rest of Italy!
Arica took a business trip to Kuala Lumpur, where she got to see the sites and meet monkeys and elephants. Monkeys and elephants are boring in Malaysia, but you know what’s exciting all around the world? Baby albino hedgehogs.
You are probably thinking that all of this sounds pretty acute. We had chronic happiness, too! There have been sheep in the field across the street for most of the year, and we have watched a crop (is that the right word? do sheep come in crops? I know a super lot about agriculture) of baby sheep grow from dumb little wobblers the size of puppies into big dumb shaggy sweater machines. Throughout the year, we have continued to learn about—and learn to love—Switzerland, including a trip to Geneva with some good friends from back home! And we continue to party crash at Twiddyheim im Gärtringen on a regular basis. Last time around, Arica and Sophia went to a German Christmas market! And I totally did not have to go!
There has been sadness as well, like the loss of a canine eyeball and the permanent relocation of the canine that tried to eat the aforementioned eyeball. But these are topics for some other letter. Like maybe a Halloween letter.
It could be the lack of sunlight conspiring with my pineal gland to produce a sense of hazy sentimentality, but I sincerely hope you had an acceptable 2014, and that you’ll have a great 2015! Looks like we’ll be in Switzerland until mid-2016, so come see us!