I’m lagging behind on my videos of “one second every day”, but happy that I at least keep remembering to film 1s of most of my days. So, here is December!
Ah, how I love December. There is my birthday and Christmas and, at least because of those, I get back in touch with many of my friends, I see so many people I love, there is delicious food, kind gestures, beautiful words, presents and, since I am in Switzerland, a copious amount of chocolate. One of my reflections from this month is that there is probably a correlation between how well integrated you are in this country and the amount of chocolate people give you. I am happy to say that, in 2017, I got a lot of chocolate.
December 2017 was crafty. I carried on with the watercolours and tried to make Christmas cards to send out to some of my favourite people (they only arrived in January, but I was happy about my effort – next year I will be more successful). There was a lot of time spent talking with friends and some of those conversations were in beautiful places.
Christmas time in Lausanne is buzzing with Christmas markets and lights. When leaving the metro on my way back from work, I was willingly forced to walk through crowds of people smiling and chatting over mulled wine, looking cheerful, chatty and cosy. I met some friends there and caught up with them over a few cups of warm, fragrant wine. There was a soirée fondue with the running club. I went to a cooking class organised by two marketeer ladies turned foodies who now run a cooking school and we made delicious food.
Z has been spending some time playing simple songs in a duet with S, who has a very pretty voice. They showed some of their work live, in open mic sessions at the music school.
Then there was my birthday with chocolate, sending silly videos to Jo on my way back from work, friends who came over in the weekend, sushi for dinner, lots of calls from all over the world, cooking books also from all over the world and from those who know me best and a special birthday party with the dear kids that I have been looking after since I arrived in Switzerland.
Just before the holidays, I had a promising interview for a new job with two very inspiring, intelligent women. There was also a Christmas dinner with my colleagues and I felt really grateful about working with funny and intelligent people. I hope my French gets better and better so I can match their sense of humour.
Finally, Christmas. We didn’t go to Portugal and so our Christmas was quite different from the family Christmas we are used to (and love). It wasn’t the first time, and we still have mixed feelings about it but, in the end, Christmas this year was about appreciating the bonds we have created in the past few years. We had a wonderful Christmas dinner with the kids and their parents, with songs, games and lots of laughter, we had our own traditional bacalhau at home, and on Christmas day we had lunch with friends, walked around in the snow and in pretty Swiss villages with lots of lights and mountain views.
Toward the end of the month, my sister came over to Switzerland, before going off to Greece as a volunteer. We also had dinner with my ERASMUS friend C, with her husband and their second lovely baby.
There were also a few boring work days; on one in particular, I was the first human to step on the fresh dawn snow, just after the cats. On another one, the only inspiration I could find was my relieved face in the elevator, finally reaching home.
The year ended with a bang, with a final day on skis, with my sister and an old family friend whom I love and who always makes me laugh and gives the best advice, and with fondue, wine and Swiss radio programmes with classic music.
And that’s it for this epic month of December!