The year 2021 presented many unprecedented challenges for all.  These were brought about by the pandemic resulting in a series of lockdowns and health protocols which meant not seeing our family and close friends; businesses closing down; and family and community events being cancelled. In addition to these issues, our family also had some sadness and grieving due to the passing of our dear pet Snoopy who was originally our mother’s pet. Snoopy gave our family unconditional love for 14 years.

Despite all of these unfortunate occurrences, I am thankful that the year ended with a number of positives for me. For one, my husband John and I were able to travel to Germany. We braved the long haul flight and took the other risks of international travel on this worrying time. It was quite ironic though that we could go to Germany but not to Western Australia!

It was all worth it as being with our family here in Bredenbek. We were blessed to meet our new granddaughter who was turning one year old towards the end of December.  It was lovely to meet her in the flesh and be with the rest of the family again, and not just connect through video chats.

Another answered prayer was having an item in my bucket list ticked off.  We had a beautiful White Christmas, with soft snow falling before Christmas Day and staying on for another couple of days. Apparently, the last time that the locals had a White Christmas was five years ago. John enjoyed a snow fight with our four-year-old grandson and together they built a snowman. The scenery of snow-covered homes, trees, gardens and roads was quite picturesque. 

The temperature ranged from minus 12 degrees to about 4 degrees. The cold temperature outside does not really affect us as the heating in the home is good and when we go out, we are all rugged up, with the car also has good heating.

Going back to the topic of Christmas, it was great to note that the Germans’ celebration of Christmas is similar to the Filipino way. They also hold Midnight Mass but as the two children are only aged four years and one year, we attended the earlier children’s Mass. After the Mass, we had a big family dinner which is akin to our Noche Buena. 

On Christmas Day, we had a bit of sleep in and then everyone, together with the pet dog, went for a walk through the woods at minus 12 degree temperature.  It was indeed a very different Christmas Day for John and me. It was a great bonding activity and also uplifting to see the snow-covered scenery and inhaling the fresh air.  We walked a total of 11kms that day.  It was a surprise to see that the snow had melted, the fields and gardens looked so green.

Then on Boxing Day, we had more family bonding and enjoying a sumptuous dinner at our in-laws’ place at Welsee. Earlier in the day we watched about 500 motorcyle riders in Santa Claus attire do a charity ride and spread cheer through the town. That was not the end of these memorable activities as after two days, we had another family get together for the first birthday of our grand-daughter.  We of course had to observe the health rule for the get-together to be limited to 10 people.

In between family bonding activities, we also get to meet up with our friends of many years.  Catching up over coffee/cuppa and yummy cakes felt like we have not away for some time.

The last event for the year was our New Year’s Eve celebration.  As Germany is ten hours later than Australia, we got to watch on TV the fantastic fireworks in Sydney. After dinner we had more hours spent on nibbles and drinking Sherry before we bid 2021 adieu and welcomed 2022. We tuned in to the televised celebration in Berlin, and also looked at the fireworks in the neighbourhood.

Our celebrations did not end there.  There’s one more welcomed news for the year – our eldest son and wife are expecting their first child in April 2022. I am so grateful for 2021 to end with all these wonderful blessings.  Despite all the challenges we endured, indeed we have so many things to be thankful for. This is not to forget that we also have been able to dodge the invisible enemy.

I pray that 2022 will bring us all peace, love, more joy good health and that the COVID 19 situation will truly be under control with the new normal safely occurring.

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