Happy new year! We hope everyone has had a great, relaxing holiday season. We’ve just returned to Ghana from a really wonderful few weeks in Switzerland and France.
Our holiday started in Geneva, where we soaked up the European Christmas atmosphere; the lights, cold air and the madness of pre-Christmas retail. Each of which are variably diminished in Ghana. We ate fondue, drank coffee, wandered the streets, climbed church towers, and indulged in the aforementioned retail madness. We hired a car and conducted our own mini Contiki tour; visiting 3 countries in one day: drove from Switzerland, played in the snow in Chamonix in France, and blasted through the Mont Blanc tunnel into Italy, for more playing in the snow.
We skied for a week in Le Grand Domain in France. We skied, we ate, we saw Père Noël on a dogsled (reindeer’s saving their energy for later that evening), we ate and skied some more. It was a brilliant week.
A skiing holiday is an active holiday, which means the eating frenzy which started in Geneva, could continue with much less guilt attached. The plan was to send children (and sometimes ourselves) off for lessons in the morning, which has the added advantage of allowing Bill and I some skiing together. Then we reconvened for lunch (more cheese, a little wine) and a rundown of the activities of the morning, followed by skiing as a family in the afternoon, so all can proudly demonstrate what they learnt that morning. The evenings comprised of more eating, drinking and for the girls in particular, a hefty amount of socialising. Given we are quite isolated in Ghana, it was lovely to see the girls making friends with some lovely families from around the world. However, we were mildly resentful when Lill had to cut short skiing a few days to attend rehearsals (can you guess where we stayed?). I guess since she sorely missed her annual ballet concert, this late night flurry of costumes, make-up, and accompanying lolly feast (at 10.45pm! groan….clearing these people are not yet parents); made up for it somewhat.
Delving back into a predominantly European gene pool meant Bill and I could play our favourite game away from home, finding total strangers who look like friends and family. It’s a hoot. Then we have conversations all week about them, “Have you seen the dentist this morning?” “Yes, he was looking well, and asked whether you had been flossing “. Oh dear, maybe we are more homesick than we imagine.
Most satisfying was to watch how everyone’s (Bill and myself included) skiing improved over the week. One of the highlights was Jock skiing down a hill, stocks raised above his head, shouting “I’m going like a rocket!”. Good times.
Then onto Lyon, to meet up with some very old friends; or let’s say, some friends we have known for a long time. We celebrated two big birthdays (one’s that end with a 0), new years eve and just being able to see each other after many years. Again, more cheese, coffee, wandering cobblestone streets and visiting churches. And best of all, lots of laughter and bad jokes.
2012 was an extraordinary year for us. We left gorgeous Newcastle, and moved to Ghana. We explored our new local neighbourhood, we saw markets and lives different to ours. We travelled to London, Paris, Greece and finished the year in France. And while living here has its challenges and frustrations, and we have all had to make compromises, we know it is not forever. And the payoffs have been pretty amazing. This year we hope to see more of Ghana and greater Africa, another trip to Europe, and best of all, a trip home.
Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy 2013.