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Grabs, December 2008

Dear friends, relatives and whoever is interested…

Another year has rolled by… too fast as usual. And if, in the middle of your busy lives, you are craving a little boredom, here is my annual Christmas update - after getting some complaints about not sending one last year. I personally believe that sending (and of course receiving) Christmas letters is a nice way to keep tracks with the lives of friends and family. So: Read it or leave it, but don't blame me for writing it :o)

Here's a story that happened just a few days ago up at the North Pole. Joe and Moe Jingle, two elves from the Nintendo division, slipped outside the toy factory and quietly raced behind the reindeer barn.

"You got it?" Joe asked. Moe pulled out a small pile of papers and smiled slyly. "Yep," he said. "Got it." They huddled together as Moe unfolded the papers. "So who are we reading about today?"

Joe asked anxiously, trying to peer over Moe's shoulder. Santa had never installed satellite TV at the North Pole, which meant entertainment was mainly limited to watching reindeer games and playing hockey. Joe and Moe were tired of both. So the two had hacked into Santa's recently computerized *Naughty- & Nice list* to read about the lives of the faraway people who awaited the red-suited gentleman's visit every December.

"Let's see. Today we've got… some folks from Grabs in Switzerland ," Moe said.

"Wow! They must have snow there too!" Joe said. Joe's dream was to live in a tiny village like Grabs, with mountains all around, lots of snow in wintertime but also warm sunshine and flowers in summer. He misses the different seasons. "I bet this one's gonna be good."

Moe's eyes skimmed the paper. "Sorry. Don't think so. Doesn't look too exciting. Probably just a normal young couple, working 8 to 6 every day, what do you expect?"

Joe's face fell. "Well, we might as well read it anyway." He leaned against the reindeer barn and stuck his tongue out to catch the snowflakes that had started falling.

"Okay…" Moe said. "Jennifer and Markus are their names. Sounds like they lead a pretty normal life, both on the *nice-list*…"

"Darn. Nice people are always so boring," Joe said. He had moved away from the building and was now leaning this way and that with his tongue out as he manoeuvred to catch the falling snow.

"Let's see. Ok, maybe not too nice. Jennifer has quite a few marks in the *naughty* column, but still got an overall *nice* rating. For instance she used to eat huge amounts of unhealthy food. But now she started a new habit, preparing a few kilos of fresh veggies at once and filling them into zip-locks. So she can continue being a really lazy cook but always has fresh veggies for easy menus ready in the freezer."

"Good idea, but not really exciting."

"True, but it's not all boring. Says here that they went travelling a few times this year."

"Hey, that's always cool. Where did they go?"

"Well, Santa wrote that they had some spare miles, so they booked a free flight to Istanbul in spring and still rave about it. In summer they spent 3 weeks in Cambodia and Thailand . But apparently they had too much rain in Cambodia so they spontaneously hopped to Koh Tao – the dream island that has already changed too much since their last visit. In autumn they went surfing and slacking in Portugal . Ah yes, SLACKING is written in capital letters. It looks like they are addicted to this new sport. I think slacklining is something like tightrope walking - but their line is dynamic, stretching and bouncing like a long and narrow trampoline."

"Sounds like lots of fun. Some more trips? They really seem to be infected by the travel bug!?"

Moe's eyes continued down the page. "Ah yes. As Jennifer has nearly two free months, she's planned quite a few trips. First she spent a week in sunny Turkey with her mum, then a long weekend in Paris with friends and now there's a holiday in Broadstairs with another friend on the itinerary. And for the Xmas dinner of her new employer she's going to Innsbruck with them."

"Oh la la, quite a bit of stuff going on. I'm not surprised she never has time for all her friends… I wonder how she's already managed to go snowboarding a couple of times and climbing with Nanouk in between all the other things. Any big impacts on their lives?"

"Well…. They both changed their jobs!"

"What?!" Joe yelled, forgetting all about catching snow. "I've always wanted to do that!"

"Calm down, calm down," Moe said, motioning with his hand. "I don't think you'd want to do what they do. They work with computers all day long and don't get a lot of time to be outside like us. Markus works as an IT-consultant in a bank and Jennifer stopped working for the software-company ABACUS in November. In January she will start working on IT-projects for trustees in Liechtenstein, just 5 minutes from home. Well, I guess she'll save lots of time not having to drive 1.5 hrs to St.Gallen every day!"

Joe went back to his snowflake catching. "I believe it was time for a change and a new challenge. Hey, these people aren't as boring as I feared." He leaned his head way back to catch a snowflake and his green elf hat fell into the snow with a soft jingle from the bell on top. "I'd like to know how these people live when they're at home!"

"Hmmm… Let me have a look: They live in a cute old house without central heating; they use wood to get some warmth. But that's what they love, the cosy feeling of home. Their house seems to be in the middle of paradise: Beautiful mountains around - perfect for snowboarding and skiing in winter, mountain biking, hiking and cycling along the Rhine in summer."

Joe took a break from catching snowflakes and looked at his watch. "Cool. I guess I'd really get the feeling of the seasons there. Hey, we better get something to eat before we get back to the toy factory. Anything else before we grab some food?"

Moe skimmed the list. "Well, it also says that they had lots of events and parties with families, friends, working colleagues and visitors from all around the world – all filled with lots of fun. But most important of all: They seem really really grateful and happy in their lives."

Joe swiped at one more snowflake with his tongue. "That's good to hear. Think you can get another file tomorrow?"

"Sure. No worries, Santa will never find out." Moe and Joe turned and headed off to the cafeteria to get lunch. They never even saw the man in the red suit who was quietly adding names to his *Nice- & Naughty list*.

Dear reader. I really hope you and your family are well and happy and are enjoying life as much as I am! Wishing you
a very merry Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year. Take care of yourself, love generously and speak kindly.
And remember: Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... It's about learning to dance in the rain!

Love & smiles from Jennifer :o)
Archive New Year letters....2006 - 2005 - 2003 - 2002

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