2015 Christmas Newsletter

25 12 2015

It’s the holiday time of the year again. We would like to take this opportunity as we’ve done for many years now to give a quick shout out, say hello, and let you know what we’ve been up to. Last year we celebrated Christmas with my brother in his new condominium just a few kilometers down the street. This year we’re 1,500 km away spending the holiday with my family in Poland. Jeff likes to say, “we have family all around the world”. It’s good to see my aunt and uncles, cousin and godson at this wonderful time of the year. We’re kind of lucky to be able to travel and see them. We were also fortunate this year to go to the United States. Couple weeks with family in Chicago and a couple weeks visiting Washington D.C., Historic Williamsburg, New York City, and Philadelphia. As usual Jeff captured the highlights in photos and on video. It was great to see Mike, Jen and the kids. We got to spend some time in their new house, go Geocaching, play games including some Topgolf and trampoline center fun, and have a nice dinner out. Over at grandma’s we had a backyard carnival experience for the kids replete with tickets and prizes. It was so great to spend time with and see Gloria in good health and recovered from her cancer scare. She was doing so well in fact that she came with us on the East Coast trip. It was an excellent trip for all of us. We discovered new cities and places, saw many monuments, and learned much more up close and personal about American history.

The trip from beginning to end was nonstop adventure and fun. After seeing all the sites and spending quality time with family and friends we needed to head back to home and prepare for the school year. David is now in the last year of middle school and Gabrielle is a senior now. Big school years for both of them. Later next year David will have a test that determines what type of high school he can enter and Gabrielle will have to pass her baccalauréat test to get her diploma and be eligible to go to university. She’s already had and passed some preparatory tests for “le bac” as its called here. Quite a stressful time in a young woman’s life. Young woman indeed. Gabrielle now has a steady boyfriend, is learning to drive, and very soon will be able to go to discotheques and bars if she wants as the drinking age in France is 3 years lower that in the US. In addition to these new distractions she still continues to take guitar lessons and is taking Zumba classes as of late. Jeff and I can’t believe how much she is growing up. She even gets paid weekly to give private English lessons for two 11 year old kids since September. David continues with handball he loves even though the games are getting technically harder and physically rougher. He’s come home a bit bruised up a few times. Like Jeff says, “you play with the big boys you might get hurt”. David’s not put off though. Jeff got a new camera and has been taking even more photos that usual. Also, he’s still addicted to golf whereas I’ve gone a bit rusty. I do hit a bucket of balls now and then. For me it’s dance as usual and I’m still with yoga. I don’t think I’ll ever stop dancing. Work is the same job wise though I did change from a junior high with 600 students to a high school with 2500. Bigger kids bigger problems and there are more of them. I like changing where I work from time to time. It keeps me current and keeps me on my toes.

Other notable events this year included a visit from some good friends from Chicago, their son and girlfriend on a separate visit months earlier. Got the opportunity to meet up with a couple of Jeff’s cousins while they were on vacations in France. Good meals and even fireworks at the base of the Eiffel Tower on Bastille Day. The kids of course spent time in Arcachon with Mami and Papi. And the 4 of us got some additional family trips first visiting Futuroscope a futuristic theme park halfway between our house and my parents. Then we had a few days in the Burgundy region and enjoyed visiting the “Hospices de Beaune” and “Château de Savigny-Lès-Beaune” where Jeff took a ton of photos. There are some of the highlights of another year for the Windstrups in France. Hope this finds you well. All the best in 2016.