We drove to the lovely towns of Salzburg in Austria and Munich in Germany to see the Christmas markets. It was like being transported back in time. Perhaps it was the medieval charm of the castles, cobbled-stone pavements, baroque cathedrals and folk music playing in the background. The Christmas markets were filled with stalls selling hanging decorations, many of which were hand-made; grilled sausages, christmas cakes and gluhwein. I spotted a stall displaying all things made of lace, one selling wooden toys, another selling eggshells with the loveliest hand-painted motifs and a shop selling the most intricate knick-knacks to make your own dollhouse. I know a Dutch guy who built a dollhouse from scratch for his 5 year-old daughter. Every single room in the dollhouse has its own light switch and different flooring, and he bought all the tiny furniture and white goods from the internet.
In this era of battery-operated toys and ipad touch-screen games, I wonder how many kids can still appreciate building ice-cream stick houses and a simple game of Snakes & Ladders?
I am getting a little nostalgic and contemplative here. The year is coming to a close. And yes, I am getting older.
I passed by a shop in Zurich yesterday and spotted this cute little vintage Minnie Mouse smiling at me whilst my face was being pelted relentlessly by snow. Last night my husband and I watched the Woody Allen movie Midnight in Paris, about a guy who went to Paris for a holiday and when the clock struck 12 at night, he hopped into a car and was transported to the 1920s where he met literary greats like Hemingway, T.S Elliot and the artist Picasso. Then he went to the Romantic era of the 1890s, but soon had an epiphany that everyone wants to escape from their life to a time long forgotten because they think that the other time is the best; instead, they should be making the most of their present and appreciate what they have now.
I am thankful for so many things in this past year. We found a lovely new place to call home – we received a call from the agent last Christmas eve that our bid went through; my little boy is growing up so fast and has filled our lives with so much laughter and wet, sloppy kisses; we travelled and were kept safe despite all the natural calamities in the world. I finally plucked up courage to drive after living here for 2 years. I have many close friends to lean on for support in Switzerland; our families in Australia and Singapore are safe and healthy too.
My wish for the new year is that I will not take for granted the health, family and friends I have, to show appreciation wherever possible. Be it a kind word, a whispered prayer, or a little facebook poke to say Hi are u still alive?. And of course, I want to read at least one book from Ernest Hemingway and T.S Elliot.