Our annual Ek Family Christmas letter is below, and here is a link to the photos that go with it. I'm glad that the only thing I have not managed to get done in the week since mostly recovering from my illness is baking Christmas cookies. Everything else is ready and I can bake a couple of batches tomorrow afternoon, so it's cool.
Merry Christmas to all my loved ones, near and far; including YOU.
2012 is upon us and we are waving goodbye to 2011! In just a few short weeks we will be celebrating our 15th anniversary of moving to Sweden. Imagine: When we first moved here, we had no house, no kids and Liz was unemployed. Things have certainly changed around here since then and this past year was no exception, though mostly things just keep rolling along.
Karin finished up her 5th grade year at our local village school here in Flyinge and then switched to Södra Sandby, the next village over, in August, for her 6th grade year. A bigger school, with more resources and a ton of girlfriends from her soccer and innebandy (indoor floorball) teams. She even had a boyfriend for a while, though Liz is glad it was short-lived. Soccer and innebandy keep her very busy and she is at practice nearly every weeknight and plays matches and tournaments all through the year for both sports. She is growing like a weed as well, and in July she celebrated her 12th birthday!
Martin is now a 14-year-old: taller than Liz and catching rapidly up to Anders. He is enjoying his 8th grade year at the Bilingual Montessori School in Lund, finding French lessons much easier after a year and a half and is still taking piano. He enjoys video games, hogging the iPad, listening to music and beating all his friends & his mom at Wordfeud.
Anders has been a traveling man this year; racking up the miles for Tetra Pak on trips to Italy, Germany, Texas (where he got to see our friends Kathey & Russell), Shanghai and Bangkok. He managed to swing the annual ski trip with the kids up north in Sweden in early March as well. When he’s not traveling, he works on house renovation projects, plays hockey-bockey and reads the occasional murder mystery.
Liz is still on the board of the AWC, this year again as the VP Membership. She’s still active in the book group (surprise!) and many of the other fun activities that go on throughout the year, as well as continuing to organize the bi-monthly sushi nights. Her job at Axis Communications is still going gang-busters but her team of graphical designers has finally grown and so she is slightly less stressed than in previous years.
In July, we vacationed in Iceland for a week. It was really beautiful and there was so much to see. We stayed for a few nights in Reykjavik, and then traveled to the north side of the country, only 100 km from the Arctic Circle, and toured the Myvatn countryside. Waterfalls, volcanos, bubbling mudpits and geysers galore! We even went out on a whale-watching boat tour and as a bonus, got to see puffins flying around as we went by one of the islands they nest on.
Grandma Linda arrived in Sweden right after we got home from Iceland and spent 3 weeks with us. We kept her busy going to soccer tournaments (every weekend!), lunches, dinners, and antiquing in the Scanian countryside. Then she moved on to Germany, to visit with Liz’s brother John & Simone and their new baby boy! Samuel Otto was born July 20th and is officially the cutest baby on the planet.
Liz went to work in Boston again this year, the first 2 weeks of September, and Grandma Linda, not one to rest after a summer abroad, joined her there. We went to the Maine coast, met up with Uncle Sam and Joanne, and attended the Squam Art Workshops in New Hampshire.
The first week of December saw us zooming down to southern Germany for a quick weekend to attend little Samuel’s christening, since Liz was asked to be his godmother :) It was great to spend some time with John and Simone, though far too short!
Now the holidays are upon us once again and we plan to spend them doing all the things we love best at this time of year: baking Christmas cookies, eating traditional Swedish julbord, decorating the tree, giving gifts and hugs, spending time with each other and just relaxing during the “mellandagar” (middle days) between Christmas & New Year’s.
We hope that all of our friends and family enjoy a happy, warm and safe holiday season and are looking forward to 2012 as much as we are!
Love, Liz & Anders, Martin & Karin