We have become utterly predictable! Several of you asked me in the past few weeks “say, isn’t it time for you to depart again, on one of those long journeys of yours?” And you know, it is. Just as it is time for one of those annual letters again[i].
Predictable is also the word that comes to mind looking back at the past year. Right, January and February we were traveling, still, in South East Asia, but we returned at the end of February, from 37o C in Thailand to minus 4o at the railway station of Didam, the first time we came outside again after entering Bangkok Airport. The weekend afterwards wasn’t much better, almost getting bogged down in the snow in Bern, where we went to see the somewhat controversial Gurlitt exhibition. And spent the rest of the weekend in Switzerland. Tick, done that before. Not much later we travelled to the Alsace: major crisis, almost ran out of wine! Which we decisively corrected. Tick, done that before.
The summer? Hot and long in TheNetherlands. True, unusual, but we put up the mini-pool and the parasol, and with enough of those Alsace wines managed to survive the hardest part of the summer. Tick, done that before. End of August was time for a holiday, which we took in Austria (rather poor food) and Northern Italy (excellent food), and back through France. Visiting golf courses and buying wine. Tick, done that before. October, a week or so in Scotland with family, and playing more golf. Tick, done that before.
Was there then absolutely nothing original, this year? Well, we did the usual cooking workshops (too many!), but some with a twist: cooking with kids during a Summer school. Which was exhausting, but fun to do. For the first time in many years I went sailing again – for Sofia it was the first in a life time -, a few days in Friesland in The Netherlands, only to find the lakes with not the slightest bit of wind. We found out that our roof was rotten, so we had the wood replaced, and installed isolation at the same time. So now staying at our attic guest room is comfortable whole year round. That elusive golf handicap got lower than ever (still in double digits, and starting with a 2, in case you are interested). Sofia’s scooter driving licence proved even more elusive. And I turned 60, in itself not noteworthy (60is the new 50, after all), but it triggered one of my former employers into starting to pay a humble pension.
When I ask Sofia what she thinks are the highlights of the past year, she answers: “well, cooking workshops, traveling, golfing, but nothing new, nothing to tell our friends about, they already know this”. In other words, utterly predictable. Not much left of those ongoing adventures of Bruno and Sofia of yesteryear.
So it will also not come as a surprise that,soon, we will be taking off again, on one of our “research projects”. Only the destination is different this time: not Asia, but Christmas in Argentina, and then on to Chile and Peru. To come back somewhere next year, but only when it is definitely not freezing anymore. See for our progress and the occasional update https://theonearmedcrab.com/.
As always, keep in touch. Wishing you a good festive season, an even better New Year, and the Best Regards,
Bruno & Sofia
[i] For those unfamiliar with this letter, those new to our circle of friends: this rather irregular, somewhat annual letter started years ago, in our expatriate days, when we still had something new to report… we stubbornly continue the habit even though we have long settled in our Dutch home.