Time Capsule 2021

I started to do Time Capsule posts in 2017. The original idea of time capsules is to pack items into a box that represent the year. In order to minimise clutter in our house, my versions so far have been digital ones in 20182019 and 2020.

This year will be no different. 

It started with the three of us staying home for New Year's Eve. There was nowhere to go: restaurants were closed due to the pandemic lockdown. Friends and Family were not vaccinated yet, and it was strongly suggested not to meet people. 

So we roasted some chestnuts on an open fire. Well, almost. A fake fire and no chestnuts. But I like to think the atmosphere was pretty cozy.

I hid a note with an information about how other countries (that's where my flag drawers came in) celebrate New Year's Eve and a suggested activity in each balloon, and every hour we popped one, read the note and played a game or solved a riddle. It was a fun countdown until midnight. 

While the lockdown continued in January, Colin, being younger than 16, was still allowed to train. Meaning I had nowhere to go. No audience in the arena allowed. No restaurants open, the grocery shops- the only ones open - had to remove all seating areas, and they close at 7pm anyway. They were only helpful to get some dinner, which we were going to eat in the car, and to use the bathroom. No more water for me after that. 

So what did I do for two hours or longer? I literally drove around, admiring the scenery.

It was a beautiful winter, and while I was freezing a lot, I enjoyed exploring the area. 

It was also the time of Donald Trump's White House insurrection and Joe Biden's inauguration. Let's not forget we came to appreciate a whole new winter look ;-)

In Europe we experienced some strange weather. African dessert dust "dyed" our sky. 

Random picture of some laundry ;-)

With restaurants closed, people get inventive. Take-out Sushi on my friend's patio. We pretended it was not cold.

As I was saying, Colin still had practice, restaurants were still closed, so I kept driving around, enjoying the Swiss scenery. This one here is Lake Lucerne and Pilatus (mountain).

Dinner in the car, on our way home. Sandwiches were getting old, so we tried a couple different take-outs.  One was called Mr Big's, and I had my hope up. Read about our experience here.

Being forced to spend more time outside or waiting in my (cold) car, I invested in some waterproof UGGs. Shops were still closed, so it took me a good while to find an online store that actually carried them, that delivered to Switzerland, and in my size, too. 

Valentine's Day is not a huge deal in Switzerland. My husband is not mad about it. Colin didn't mind a heart-shaped donut. We had taken the liberty of sitting down on a non-removable bench at the mall for a minute. Usually there's guards chasing people away.
Why was the mall open, you ask? There are "essential" stores like groceries (and apparently donuts qualify, hooray!) and drugs stores that were allowed to operate if they limited the number of customers at a time. 

Since I didn't get as much as a nice card, I did not make a special effort myself. I did, however, replace the toilet paper roll that somebody left empty. Hey, in pandemic / supply chain crisis, a TP roll is an actual valuable item.

Things began to look up a bit when first signs of spring appeared. I couldn't remember the last time I had seen a blue sky and sunshine. Off to Zurich I went to check out a travel bucket list item, the Corbusier Pavilion that hosts a museum to commemorate the architect's work. 

Hubby's birthday, celebrated at home. I made his favorite chicken curry with fruit, and we cracked a bottle of non-alcoholic Champagne open. 

More signs of spring. Working on my blog offline at the lake. No complaints.

My own birthday. Restaurants still closed. I threw a little something together for my coworkers. Yes, the guy in the orange sweater is too young to be my work colleague. He's my son, Colin, and as I'm typing this I think this might be the last picture in which I'm still taller than him. In the meantime he has (more than) caught up with me. 

Stormy winds at the lake. The ducks didn't give any f****. 
Hahaha, sorry my language. My blog, my swear words ;-)

Easter at my parents' house. It was going to be the last team we went egg hunting there. They were going to sell their house and move into an apartment. Long story, but all went well. As I'm typing this, we already had Christmas coffee ad cake at their new place. The little boy is the church choir's conductor's son. My Mom is his and his younger brother's babysitter.

More take-out food in the car. I think this will be one of the most memorable things for 2021. In the meantime I found a poke bowl place that is much closer to the hockey arena than the one I drove 45 minutes to, but hey, I had time to kill. 

Last practice of the season 2020/21. A fellow Hockey Mom and I got a sandwich to go and took a walk at the lake and got rewarded with a fantastic sunset.

St. Patrick's Day. My best friend who works in the medical field, already had her Covid vaccination and was brave enough to visit us. I, for my part, was brave enough to make a cake using beer. That's right. This is a Guinness Chocolate Cake. 

Spring progressed, and I became obsessed with cherry and magnolia blossoms. I took several trips to locations that are known for - or that I discovered by accident - these gorgeous trees. 

For my own record, these are the places to go in Zurich: Rieterpark, Patumbah Park and Stauf-facher, Kurpark in Baden, the "Chriesiweg" in Fricktal and our very own Burghaldehaus as well as near Schützenmatte in Lenzburg where I live. 

Sadly we had rejoiced too soon: on April 7, and again on April 12 we got another dusting of snow. It was going to ruin many farmer's produce, and Switzerland was going to suffer from a shortage in various veggies and fruits.

As of April 20 restaurants were allowed to open their outdoor patios and serve hungry guests. We were among them. What a joy! For the first time in my life I had a pinsa, which may look like a mixture between a pizza and a flatbread but is something unique. I explained the difference in this post. 

Early May, after only about  a 5 weeks' break, Colin's team kicked off "summer practice". It's off ice training: endurance, strength, skills. They don't love it. It's hard, Since they now belong to the U15 category they got new coaches, and they mean business. This season they also got assigned to a new gym, which happens to be located in the art / museum district, so I had stuff to explore.

Sh** happened on May 6: I slightly hit a tree with my car and it needed to be towed. Long story. 

Great stuff happened on May 7: our hockey team became Swiss champion for the second time in their history!

Since my car needed a spare part that wasn't available until October, I depended on hubby's goodwill to use his car, used public transportation or walked. We carpooled with two other families for summer practice, which eased my load a little. Subway opened a store - well, the outdoor patio - to which I took the boys for dinner one night after practice.

As always though, I kept exploring, as indoor lingering was still not in the cards. Meet my fuzzy buddies!

My sweet Starbucks friend Sophia invited me to her Coffee Master presentation. What an honor and joy!

A few weeks later, I reconnected with a long lost Starbucks friend, a store manager. We are connected by a special history and thus bond.

Another few weeks later, another ong lost Starbucks friend :-)

I forgot to mention that as of beginning of June, restaurants were back open. Our sports bar exhibited the championship trophy our team worked to hard for. So this is what it looks like. Take a good look, Colin!!!

Unfortunately the Swiss National team did not achieve any medals at this year's World Championship. Well, we were happy they were able to play at all. Plus we're always happy for Team Canada to win a tournament!

This next picture needs some explaining: The gentleman in the suit is Jann Billeter, a hockey aficionado whose career was finished due to health reasons before it even started. He ended up becoming the Swiss sports reporter working for our national TV for over 20 years. 

We kept hearing rumors about him leaving the station and joining a private sports channel, which of course was a huge loss for one party and a great win for the other one. 

The guy in the purple shirt is Mario Rottaris, a former hockey professional who manages a golf and country club and served as a TV hockey expert during playoffs and world championships. 

So the both of them go way back, had good and also tough times. Either way, they became friends, and what you can see on the picture is their last TV moment: Mario gave Jann a bottle of beer with every individual IIHF logo of the respective world championship they covered together.

We met both of them at some point, and they feel like friends of ours, so it was a special moment.

Luckily we're subscribed to Jann's new channel, so it's all good.

Just a random picture of my sweet son and I. He may very well be a suitable successor for when Jann above is ready to retire ;-)

Until then he's still a student. In 2021 he participated in the Freischarenmanöver for the first time. It's a very old summer tradition at our town. Here's a post that talks about it. There are also colourful videos to watch.

This year's edition was a "youth festival light version", due to Covid. No audience, but the guys hat fun.

Wonderful meeting my Swiss / Turkish friend Nihal in Switzerland. Her parents came from Turkey to Switzerland before she was born, and she grew up here, did all of her schooling and most of her professional career in Switzerland before she met her Turkish husband. He didn't like living here, so they went back to Turkey. It's been almost 20 years now I think, so it's always a treat when she visits. Nihal is an important reason why I like San Diego so much. When she attended language school with another friend, I visited them and got hooked.

On my way to get the second jab, also to be back home in time to watch the European Soccer Championships semi-finals between Switzerland and Spain. Unfortunately our team lost after shootouts. Oh, wait, that's a hockey term. In football it's penalty kicks I think. 

Well, Spain dropped out, so Italy and England ended up competing. The Squara Azzurra won.

Summer in Switzerland? Covered skies. I found this outdoor bar that only was going to be open at certain times and only when the weather was nice. Needless to say I never made it there.

In part because our summer break is really, really short. As in four weeks, in case you're wondering. In part because I was busy as usual. Colin grew a (shoe) size or two. 

That's why he needed new hockey gear prior to leaving for summer camp. So the cooler weather was actually appropriate, because for him, Christmas happens in July!

Since it's recommended to break in new skates I took Colin and his best buddy to one of the two hockey arenas that have ice as early as in July. Depending on traffic it's a 90 minutes' ride, but seeing their happy smiles made it all worth it.

Meanwhile I enjoyed hanging out in the mountain resort of Engelberg.

However, before he left for camp, we enjoyed a few days doing the things we love: getting a burger at Five Guys, even if i'ts a three hours' drive...

And exploring the French part of Switzerland: the beautiful lakeside town of Montreux. We didn't know it yet, but we were going to come back for their Christmas market. 

Celebrating our anniversary. Wow, 17 years of wedded bliss. Well, most of the time.

And then he was off. All we got was this team picture. 

Hubby and I make it a tradition to not only drive to Engelberg on Saturday in oder to pick up Colin but to make it a short trip. This year we left after lunch and stopped in Lucerne for some quality time. He thoroughly enjoyed playing hooky from work. 

Colin's best friends are two brothers (who are part of triplets) and a girl. 

It was her birthday, and she didn't want any stuff. Just cash. That's where thmoney growing tree came in. It came with instructions on how to make sure the bills actually regrow. Daily watering with Champagne was one of them.

Pumpkin patch time!

So great that two busy working Moms actually managed to meet for lunch!

First pre-season game of the grown-up team! Finally back at the arena, cheering on them! Most of the previous season had been ghost games, meaning no audience.

Thanks to being fully vaccinated, we got access.

Stierenmarkt = Bull's Market is in town!

At Colin's age it's becoming important to think about what they want to be when they grow up. Realistically he needs a plan B in case he doesn't make it as a hockey pro. So his plan is to go to college and become a (sports) journalist. See Jann Billeter earlier in this post.

As part of their orientation program, however, they also need to actually get some hands-on work experience. And so, for one day, he followed in his father's footsteps and spent a few hours at an information technology company.

How did this happen? My baby turned 13!

Hubby and I decided to trust the teenager enough to go out for dinner and let them enjoy a movie night at our house. How did that go? I received a lengthy expenses report from McD. When we came home, some of the kids were still there, even though we agreed they needed to go home by a certain time. We were not amused. As it turned out later, they were watching a horror movie, and the ones who stayed did Colin a favor as he was afraid to be home alone. So I guess we can call ourselves lucky that our son has such great friends. 

Introducing - the great Mac and Cheese challenge aka KD vs "regular". Note the difference in measurements when it comes to butter. 

At the beginning of the youth season our franchise was being cheap and didn't want to pay for security staff, which is needed to check people's Covid Certification, proof of vaccination, having recovered or tested negative. So it was ghost games. Except I got lucky. A hockey Dad is on staff, sometimes as a timekeeper, sometimes as a speaker, and he got me a "job". 

I worked the at penalty box! Sounded easy enough: open the door for the bad guy who commuted a foul. After two minutes, open the door and release him. 

Since my real reason for wanting to be there was to film the game, it became somewhat stressful. You know, with one guy sitting out his penalty, the other team gets a power play, meaning there might be a goal that I want to film. So I filmed and glanced at the time display at the same time. 

October - that's when we take our only family vacation. This would be our time to fly to North America. For the third time in a row we were not able to do so. Instead we were exploring our own country.

Bern, our capital, for example. 

We even visited the Bundeshaus, our capitol.

The lovely city of Murten

Avenches or using its Latin name, Aventicum, where we got to see a wonderfully preserved amphitheater. Be honest, outside of history books, have you ever seen something like this? I haven't. 

Gruyères, yes, where the cheese comes from. Keep your eyes open for a post about it. It's going to be published on January 3rd.

Porrentruy, where the Swiss Hockey League's youngest member comes from. Ajoie, as the team and the region are called, is also located in Switzerland's youngest canton (state).  

When we arrived in Grindelwald, which is usually a wonderful little mountain village, the weather was super ugly. We stayed for a Cheese Fondue, a night at an outdated hotel and left around lunchtime on the next morning.

Thank God, the next day, the weather was back on track. We went to Fribourg, where I absolutely love the bridges.

In the evening we went to the newly renovated arena to support the local team. I spotted three girls, all with long blond hair and wearing jersey #5 "Papi". Ha, they are Philippe Furrer's daughters, the local and national defense legend. Later this season he ws going to announce his retirement, so we were lucky to see him play that night. 

In between our short trips we kept going home for Colin's practice or games. Back on the road we went to Brienz in the Bernese Oberland. So pretty!

Steep steam cog railroad ride to the Rothorn at 2,350 meters = 7,700 feet. Now we wait for the blue sky 

The blue sky never showed up. Well, whatareyougonnado?

Away game in Engelberg on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon!

Eight years ago, my son started Hockey School, a program for young kids who want to learn to skate and play the game. It takes place every Wednesday afternoon between late Ocotber and late February.

It's a very popular program, and in order to reduce the responsible staff's workload, a handful of U15 players are encouraged to act a junior coaches. So the big boy in the blue jersey is my son Colin. He took care of a bunch of 4-/5-yeard olds. It was the cutest thing. 

"They are so playful" he told me later. "One kept asking if after hockey practice they may play hide and seek."

From the youngsters to the pros. They played a charity game in favor of breast cancer awareness, and look at those cute jerseys! They were later offered for auction. Unfortunately I couldn't afford one.

This was a first: I headed to a location I found on Instagram!! Or was it Facebook? Anyway. A member of an International Mommy group I belong to, posted some pictures of her backyard. She encouraged people who live nearby to visit since you were able to see it without trespassing. What a treat!

The municipal assembly is the most original form of direct democracy in Switzerland. Local voters testify their support of a proposed business by raising their hands. 

At our town this happens once a quarter (or, if there's nothing urgent to discuss, bi-annually). We just had one last month,  and it was a special one. Our "mayor" retired after 20+ years. Since the event was open to everyone no matter their vaccination status, there was not going to be a farewell cocktail. 

Or so they said. His successor - who happens to be a friend of mine - secretly arranged for a bonfire, some Glühwein, mulled wine, and snacks outdoors. No arguing there! What a lovely surprise! 

If you barely have a social life because of hockey, you need to make your hockey life social. The people who run the restaurant at one of the away arenas understand this perfectly. Look at the pretty Christmas tree they set up for their guests!
Also: whenever we play at this location, I arrange for pizza dinner for the hockey families. I cherish these get-togethers.

I wasn't sure whether the elves still visit teenagers' houses, but in our case they do! As always they managed to get us some fun holiday PJs.

I was lucky to get a few minutes with just the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck to myself. 

I realized a crafty decorating dream I've been having: my very own Holiday themed miniature Starbucks Store.

Speaking of dreaming... here's some ornaments I would not mind getting. Aren't they pretty? Globus, Switzerland's fancy department store always has the most amazing stuff. OK some years they trip. Like when they thought people would really hang Brussels sprouts on their tree.

Some cold night wandering around in beautiful Lucerne while Colin trained.

Redeeming all the effort put into practice: game day in the most remote location of his category: Lavizzara, in the Italian part of Switzerland. Mario Botta, star architect, happened to build this unique chapel not far from the hockey rink. 

Back in our own small town, two high school girlfriends and I were supposed to have lunch. One opted out. Coincidence had it that another classmate of ours walked in, so we still had a little reunion. 

Every season, Colin and his teammates, along with the entire franchise, need to raise money for youth sports. In order to thank their sponsors, they get these fancy autograph cards they can use to write thank you notes. He managed to get then all out a day or two before Christmas.

Traditional Holiday visit at our beloved Canadian grocery store, located between home and hockey arena. We like to purchase their wild salmon they import from British Columbia. 

Bucket list item: Christmas market in Montreux!

I asked hubby to help Colin set up the Christmas tree while I was doing my thing in the kitchen. Looks like fair division of labor. He still did well.

For a change we invited the friends at whose place we usually celebrate New Year's Eve. Hubby held up amazingly well. See, one of our coworkers - who had been working from home for a while - had tested positive despite of being vaccinated. So my husband thought it was a good idea to run and get the booster. He felt poorly but managed to sit with us.

Here's to happy new year! Hope it brings all you wish for!

Thank you for being part of my 2021 - see you on the other side!