2016 Christmas Newsletter

25 12 2016

Remembering back the whole year is not as easy as it used to be so I’ll start with today and work my way back on what we Windstrups have been doing. Now for Christmas this year we’re skiing with friends. We met the Smiths when we first moved to France and have enjoyed vacationing with them before. This time we’re going to conquer the blue and red family oriented slopes of Les Gets in the French Alps. Hearty mountain food to keep us going like Raclette and Fondue is on the menu. It’s nice for us and the kids to spend winter vacation together. They need a break from school and a big year in school it was. This year both Gabrielle and David changed schools. Gabrielle graduated high school with good grades and is now enrolled at the La Sorbonne University in Paris. She is studying French literature and communications. She likes going into the city everyday. Very cosmopolitan. David graduated junior high and is now enrolled in a private vocational high school in Versailles. He’s studying sales and commerce. He likes it and doesn’t seem to mind too much getting up and off early every day. Very grown up.

What else have the kids been up to? Let me think. David is now playing baseball. There’s not a lot of baseball in France but luckily there’s a team, small stadium even, not far away. When the weather warms up we are looking forward to seeing him play the quintessential American game. He’s getting bigger. He now stands taller than both me and Gabrielle and he’s catching up to his father. Gabrielle is not getting taller but she’s getting older. 18 – an adult in fact. She can now vote, drink, and drive. Hopefully not in that order. For spending money she babysits and teaches English. She’s still taking guitar lessons and she’s decided to start learning Chinese. She hopes to go to China with one of her friends. Already planning a trip I think. Both she and David love to travel. Gabrielle went with her girlfriend to Barcelona last summer to celebrate the end of high school and she will leave in a couple days with her boyfriend to spend the New Year in London. David went to a summer camp in Sardinia for a week of fun in the sun and water sporting activities in the Mediterranean. David and I also went with friends to Brittany to visit the area and go to a well known Celtic music festival. What else? Gabrielle and I had an awesome trip to India with the American Girl Scouts. Going to India has been on my bucket list for decades now. Other travel opportunities included all of us going Arachchon to visit my mom and dad and a long weekend trip to visit the “Mémorial de Caen”.

For Jeff’s big 50 we had a romantic getaway in Prague. It’s a pretty town with a baroque style of architecture and music. We just loved the charm and views of the Charles Bridge. Jeff took some stunning photos and made one of his videos there. We’re all waiting for the video of our summer vacation to Ireland. We met Jeff’s mum and her friend Maureen. We saw the sites in Dublin then we took to the road. We enjoyed seeing the lavish green countryside, the sheer cliffs, various castles and manor houses, and of course the traditional and unpretentious Irish pubs. Jeff still is into photography though he slowed down a bit on the golf. Now his “new thing” is ham radio. When in the US for a work trip he passed some exams to get his call sign. KD9HKJ whatever that means. My “new thing” is that I’ve become a student again. I don’t know. Seeing Gabrielle going to university and David moving to high school must have got me thinking. I was accepted in a 2 year masters program “Formation de Formateurs à l’Accompagnement Professionnel” that will allow me to teach professionals to train others in their profession. It’s basically a high level “train the trainer” program. I have lots of classes and homework. I’m wondering if it was such a good idea now as I have to read, write, and study with all my spare time. I do enjoy the subject and look forward to implementing what I’m learning in my field though there’s hardly any time left for sports or dance. Don’t worry, I’ll always find time for dance…

From all of us to all of you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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