The Misadventures of Kai and Pixel »

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Here’s to 2012!

Dear Friends and Family,

Happy New Year to everyone!  Since we don’t really do “paper” anymore in our family, I thought it would be appropriate to post our annual Christmas/New Year’s message on the blog.

2012 has been an amazing year for our family.  We spent the first nine months of the year on sabbatical in Freiburg, Germany where I taught a few classes, Andreas recovered from getting tenure, and Kai learned German at a German kindergarten.  Being in Europe was so fabulous, I can’t quite believe that I was so lucky to live there again as an adult!  We spent most of our weekends exploring the area around Freiburg.  We discovered the joy of climbing over the ubiquitous castle ruins that line the Black Forest such as Hochburg, SchneeburgBaden-Baden, Hornberg, and Hohentwiel.

We had a couple of stunning longer trips during the year.  We went to Tuscany with Dietmar and Alice and to Budapest with Paul and Julia.

We caught up with old friends like Olivia, Neill and Donna, Dietmar and Alice, Paul and Julia, and Kai and Kerstin.  We got to spend some quality time with Andreas’ family, including his cousin Claudia and her kids. My parents came to visit in the spring and they got tour around the Black Forest with cousin Norm and his wife Lynne.

As if this wasn’t enough, we made some lovely new friends in Freiburg!

It was a real treat for us to watch Kai learn German and learn German culture. He got to take part in some classic German kids events like the Laterneumzug (Latern parade) and the “graduation” from Kindergarten.  While he struggled in the beginning with the new language, by the end of the year, he was running around the playground telling everyone what to do. He really gained a lot of confidence from this experience and this meant that starting Grade One in Edmonton was a lot less painful than it could have been.

Yes, our return.  It was rather a shock to return from our European adventures to Edmonton.  I signed on to teach two courses at the University of Alberta.  One of the courses was a large lecture course with 180 students.  The other course, while smaller, was also demanding.  Good thing I was well rested from our time in Europe.  Andreas returned to his full-time work, although he has certainly scaled down the number of hours he works in comparison to what he was doing before he got tenure.

Kai started Grade One and he found that he loves school.  He is learning to read now and add and subtract.  He continues to go to German school on Saturday mornings, but he is already adding many more English words to his German. He did get to take part in the customary Einschulungsfeier at the German school.

Despite these busy times, we also decided to move in the middle of the semester.  The right apartment became available at the right time so we took the jump! Although it took us a couple of months to unpack, we don’t regret our decision!

2013 looks equally as promising.  In May, we will be returning to Freiburg for two months and in July and August, we will be headed to California.  I will continue to teach the big course (hopefully, it will be easier the second time around) and I will start my PhD in September.  Andreas is happy just to continue to work with his students and publish interesting papers.  He talks every once in a while about trying to get a paper published in a science glamour mag like Nature, but I think he is also content with the pace he has right now.

Kai will be 7 in May and we will look forward to celebrating this with our friends and family in Germany!

We are so grateful for all that we have experienced this year, but we feel mostly blessed by all of the wonderful, smart and fun people who are part of our lives!  Here’s to you!


Nancy, Andreas, Kai and Pixel


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