I must admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed looking through all the pictures taken this year and creating mosaics to share with you tonight. I have never really looked back on the years that have passed, but since started blogging in March 2011, it is now easier than ever to look back on the events of the year and take it all in...
I was amazed to see how few photos I actually have taken "pre-blogging". So the first mosaic is a summary of our first three months in la Suisse. We moved to la Suisse on January 4th 2011 and we were lucky to find a new home in the countryside (something we were very keen on after many years living in Glasgow). We instantly fell in love with Meilen, our balcony view of lake Zürich and the many great places we will find ourselves discovering on foot. Then in February, we adopted Alf from a rescue centre near Zürich and instantly fell in love with him too. During those three months, I was still working remotel for my old job but Alf and I found some spare time to help some Swiss scientists catching roe deers in Western Switzerland for a long-term population study. We had a little bit of snow but mostly we enjoyed clear skies and sunny days.
Made in Suisse was born at the end of March as a way to share with friends and family back in the UK the stories of our new life in la Suisse, but also, let's face it, as a small project to keep me occupied during my unemployment. April saw Alf and I going on several newt catches to help with a study carried out by other scientists at Zürich University. We enjoyed plaing about in ponds catching amphibians very much! On one of our newt trip, we briefly stopped at the Rhine Falls, the largest waterfalls in Europe. Mr T, Alf and I spent many a weekend discovering our new surroundings on walk, and we particularly enjoyed our walk on the Küsnachter Tobel. We also had some guests in our house in April. Do you remember Posh & Beaks (and babies)?
May was mostly spent outside la Suisse, looking after my niece and nephew in the South of France for three weeks while my sister was away for work. This turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience, a bit stressful at time, but it was so lovely to spend so much quality time with the kids and enjoy some great day trips. I went walking in the Réserve du Méjean, searching for flamingos; we went on a family trip to the beach; I spent a day wandering around Montpellier with my camera like a true tourist; and we had a fantastic time visiting the historical heritage of the city of Nîmes.
June was all about the garden, enjoying being outside, enjoying watching the fruits and our crops grow and making the first of my preserves. I took advantage of my unemployed status to go on long walks with Alf in the Meilen countryside. Craft-wise, I had just bought a new sewing machine and my first sewing project involved some Spring bunting to cheer our balcony up. I had my first swim in Lake Zürich in June (Mr T and Alf had already started going to the beach back in May while I was away).
July was a bit of a funny month weather-wise with two almost solid weeks of rain, but this did not stop us from enjoying all that la Suisse had to offer in the summer. First and foremost, there was a lot more of preserving or baking in an attempt to make use of all the lovely fruits growing in our garden. Daily swims in Lake Zürich were enjoyed by all; we visited a nearby goat farm during its open day and enjoyed some lovely farm produces; we attended the Summer Fair in Meilen where we enjoyed some street food and community spirit; and perhaps the highlight of the month was rescuing a bat from certain death on our balcony!
August was a bit of a mixed month as well. On one hand, we were very excited to go on holidays to the French Alps for a week, on the other hand, Mr T was booked in for his back operation after the holidays so it was a little bit stressful. We kicked off August by celebrating the Swiss National Day on the 1st of August and watching the parades in Zürich. We then took 2 trains, a subway, a boat and a taxi to reach Morzine in France for our one week holiday. Once there, we enjoyed a lot of eating out at restaurants, going to markets and visiting some summer pastures during our daily walks. A fantastic holiday!Back in la Suisse, Alf and I conquered Mt Pilatus and I finally revealed to the world my first knitted cardigan!
Before starting my new job in Bern, I surprised another one of my nieces by visiting her for the weekend in the North of France. September was a surprisingly busy month for me craft-wise with sewing my first dress, a beach bag, African animals and some cross-stitching! We enjoyed having some visitors from Glasgow coming over for what turned out to be one of the sunniest weekend of the year which allowed everyone to indulge in more swimming, wine-drinking by the lake and ice-cream eating!September was in many ways quite a relaxing month.
October was without a doubt the month of wine! The grapes had been picked a few weeks beforehand and it was time for a degustation of this year's harvest! It was also time to start thinking about making presents in time for Christmas and I was very pleased with my first attempt at quilting. A very good friend came to visit from Glasgow for a week and his visit coincided with the local Pumpkin Fair where we enjoyed pumpkin soup, pumpkin sausage, pumpkin beer and pumpkin brownies!We also indulged in some not-very-successful storking at Lützelsee. Back at work, I enjoyed a day trip to the Emmental region with some colleagues, visiting dairy farms, touring the Emmental producing factory and eating our weight in cheese and meat! October was also the month of my first trip to Germany, visiting friends in Konstanz and taking lots of photos of fountains!
November was a bit of a stressful and emotional month, leaving Meilen and moving into a new house in Brugg. It took a while to find our marks again but we were soon reassured to find that Brugg had plenty of interesting walks to offer Alf either in the forest across our road, or along the river Aare. I finally used the fabric bought in Morzine in August to make some Alpine-looking cushion covers for our new living room. Back in Bern, colleagues and I sneaked out on work early one afternoon to attend the annual Onion Market, a very unusual Swiss tradition.
Oh December, where art thou gone? It feels like November was only yesterday and yet January will be upon us in a couple of days. December has been very festive indeed despite our underwhelming experiences of Swiss Christmas markets. Christmas decorations were made, and Alf and I went foraging in our local forest for some festive greenery. I took part in my first Swapping event on blogland and decorated our first Swiss Christmas tree.We also enjoyed the first of the snow and showing around some of our UK visitors around our Christmas wonderland. Santa has once again been good to us (even Alf had some treats left for him under the tree) and it is that time of the year to think of the year past and the one yet to come.
I am very thankful for what 2011 has brought us. Our new life in la Suisse has turned out much better than we could have hoped for: we've found two nice houses, enjoyed spending a lot of quality time out in the countryside, we've found a perfect (if not slightly retarted at times) dog to share our walks with and I have found a good job too. There has been patches of greyish skies with health worries and stress during my unemployed days but I feel that I have achieved and enjoyed much more during 2011 than I had in the previous couple of years. Investing some of my spare time crafting and blogging has also helped me achieve some more personal goals and I am ever so glad to have "met" so many of you in Blogland.
May this all continue in 2012. Thank you for following me in 2011, please do come back next year!
Made in Suisse xx