Dear Loved Ones Far and Near,
This year was a milestone for the Family family: we have now lived in Amsterdam longer than anywhere else since we got married. We celebrated three years together with our adopted city in March. To inaugurate our happy state of being true Amsterdammers, we finally had a bike stolen! The advice generally given to newcomers here is to buy a cheap, old bike and a lock that costs more than the bike. Everyone uses two locks. In fact, after my bike was stolen, a helpful friend even told me about the “three lock rule”. I’m hoping my new bike sticks around for longer before becoming part of the thriving stolen bicycle black market in Amsterdam.
In any case, this year also marked three years car-free, although Tony’s goal for 2019 is to get a Dutch driver’s license so we can also take advantage of one of the city’s car-share programmes.
In May we took a nostalgic trip back to the tiny town in Italy where we lived ten years ago. It’s where Axa went to preschool in Italian, and Raj took his first steps.
Chiusa di Pesio is as beautiful as ever, and our trip ended up unintentionally more nostalgic than we had even planned when Tony forgot his American driver’s license, resulting in us not being able to pick up our rental car. Undaunted, in typical Familia fashion we loaded ourselves up with way too many groceries (just like we always did when we lived there before) and walked several kilometres with them up to the quaint little AirBnB we’d found on the side of the mountain.
In June Tony won the best husband of the year award for surprising me with an overnight trip to London to see Hamilton! We laughed, we cried, and I sang along to every word of every song only in my head.
This summer we made the epic trek back to brave the wildfire smoke in California and spent a whirlwind month with family on both sides.
Highlights included a trip to the Bringhursts’ traditional campsite in the coastal redwoods, rollercoasters at Six Flags, a Familia family reunion, and a road trip to Utah to meet some new(ish) cousins.
As well as large numbers of tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tamales and every other bit of Mexican food we could get our mouths on.
Back home in Amsterdam, Axa (13) is halfway through her second year at Dutch middle/high school, and along with Tony, recently took up squash.
Raj (11) won his first fencing tournament a month ago, and sang and danced his heart out in the school musical, Aladdin.
I (Sarah) had a very busy first few months of the year working on Saudade, an art exhibition and book celebrating the Expatriate Archive Centre’s 10th anniversary. Tony, meanwhile, has written enough reviews of local cafes to unlock the proud achievement of “Google Local Guide”.
In September Tony and I took the grand leap of quitting our jobs to start a new company: Boonfroggle. We build direct sales teams based in Amsterdam for tech companies looking to access new markets. It’s been fun working together again and so nice being able to set our own schedule.
2018 was a wonderful year for the Familia family, and we look forward to an even better 2019. We wish all of you love, light and peace during this holiday season, and hope the new year will bring you beautiful things.
Sarah, Tony, Axa, Raj & Lyra