It is said that home is where the heart is – and that having a home is not about the perfect HGTV worthy historic colonial with an impeccably manicured lawn, but rather about having a sense of place, security, and comfort, especially in the company of loved ones. We have found ourselves at the end of our lovely experience over on the other side of the “pond”, and are now back home with friends and family whom we had missed so much.
Not quite four and a half years ago, my husband and I set off across the world, to arrive in a charming snow-covered city on Lake Geneva. Since then, living in Europe has been an incredible set of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, but like all good things must at some point come to an end, in order to start the next chapter in our lives. But really, while my husband and I always thought of our time in Switzerland as merely a place to live (we never even bothered to decorate because well, what was the point if one day we’d have to pack it all up anyways?), in a way for that time at least, Switzerland was home too. After all, Switzerland is the only home that our daughter has ever known, and I know it’s been hard for her as she doesn’t quite understand why Mama and Daddy have been packing up every single item we owned into boxes to send off – but she’ll figure it out soon enough. When it was time for bed the first night out of our little apartment and in the hotel room, she told us, “No, night-night home!” When she figured out we weren’t going to be going back to our apartment that night, she expressed her disappointment in the clearest way that a toddler can – by crying. I felt so bad that my attempts at explaining that we were moving had failed to be articulated in a way that she could understand.
For us too, leaving was a little bittersweet – over Easter , we decided to spend one of our last Swiss weekends with our good friends Jonell and Peter up in the Alps of Villars – The mountains were still snow-capped even in mid-April, and we enjoyed our last trip into the scenic Swiss alpine landscape with an equally fitting last Swiss dinner – la fondue aux tomates and la raclette at the Refuge de Solalex.
This month marks 6 years since I created this blog, and 5 years since I began using a DSLR camera and started learning photography (Ok, actually I got my first DSLR about 6 months before that as a wedding gift, but it literally took me several months to figure out how to turn it on and take a picture that didn’t result in a solid black rectangle rather than an image – so I decided it’s better to start counting from when I actually took photos). It’s kinda crazy to think that I’ve been doing this for the better part of a decade now, but it’s been extremely rewarding. I’ve come a long way (at least I like to think so), and am really excited for where the future will take me.
What better place to spend a family Valentine’s weekend? Baby girl loved the canals, pointing out everywhere “wah wah” (water) and “boat” (of which there were many, haha). It was fun to have a little change of scenery from the dreary gray up here on the lake, try some delicious food (amarone risotto is an awesome idea by the way), and admire a gorgeous market filled with sea critters that even this New England gal had never set eyes upon before. Sometimes it’s just fun to get away for a couple days. As an added pleasant bonus, there was no precipitation nor wading through flooded streets this time like our last visit three years ago at Christmas. No, instead the sun came out in the afternoons, warming everyone up after a chilly morning.
So why don’t you relax, macchiato in hand, and come take a stroll with me through one of my favorite cities?
I always look forward to going back to the States for the holidays, especially for being able to reconnect with family and friends – we cook, we laugh, we watch our little ones with pride as we see them interact and grow – but really, it’s the coming together that is most important. One of the things I love is that when our family grows because someone gets married, their family becomes part of our family too.
Todd and Joyclyn are part of our extended family – an honest and down-to-earth couple with a cheery disposition, they pour their heart into their family-run business, Wright’s Orchard – and it shows in the quality of food that they grow. There’s a variety of all sorts of delicious and beautiful products from the height of summer and all throughout autumn. There is produce from apples to peaches to pumpkins, an exquisite selection of dried flowers and even Christmas trees during the end of the year, along several other delights. This New England orchard is simply a beautiful place, set in the rural hills of northeastern Connecticut.
I’m not normally one for resolutions. I usually find the structure of putting a personal habit onto a calendar makes it work rather than the soulful introspection it was intended to be. But even still, I’m always up for turning over a new leaf, looking back at where I’ve been, and seeing if/what I want to change.
So what did I really learn this year? I learned to take myself less seriously. To blog less, and live more. To take fewer photos, and make more of them count. I learned to commit only to what is really important. I learned to take risks, and that when I am presented with a challenge, if I relax and trust myself, I will rise up to it. I got to see how an amazing publication, Simply Gluten Free, has grown over the past year, and see what kind of food writer I am (yes, shameless link plug, I am a paid contributor to Simply Gluten Free mag and therefore of course think you all should subscribe). I’ve developed my artistic style more, and even when I couldn’t really see, I was still always thinking about light and shape – while I still have a long journey ahead of me, these will always be at the core of my being.
And with that in mind, I think it’s fun to reflect on my path over 2013 -
We hiked high up in the Alps:
And snowshoed with some photography friends in view of the stunning Matterhorn:
Disclaimer: I am NOT a licensed medical professional NOR am I a certified nutritionist. This site is NOT meant to be used in place of medical advice. You are responsible for your own consumption of foods. Consult a licensed medical professional before making any dietary changes. Contact manufacturer to inquire about allergy risks in specific food products.