Dear friends and family:
We hope that everyone's New Year was enjoyable (whether that means a quiet evening with friends or raucous partying with strangers). Ours was definitely closer to the "quiet evening" side of things, but that's jumping ahead...
Monday was New Year's Eve of course. However, we really didn't have any huge plans. Following the Adato tradition, everyone got to "order" their choice of New Years meal. Heather requested brussels sprouts. Isabelle asked for brownies. Michael wanted exotic fruits (starfruit, pomegranite, passion fruit, cumquat, pomello). Leon asked for a brioche bread with brie baked inside. And Debbie and Allison agreed on borscht (admittedly a do-it-yourself job as Manaschewitz does not exist here). Since Allison shared her idea with Debbie, she also got an avocado. We all got a good taste of everyone elses's food, and went to bed early (with stomach aches. WE have no idea why.). Actually, Leon and Debbie went to bed around 11:30, and Allison and Michael stayed up to ring in the new year (no Times Square though - midnight here is still only 6:00pm for Dick Clark).
For New Year's day we decided to climb a mountain. A ski resort in Leysin features a "resturaunt tournant panoramique" - it's literally a round glass building that overlooks the alps, lake geneva, and some incredible ski runs. The resturaunt inside turns slowly in place, so that you get to see everything around you as you eat. It was breathtakingly beautiful and pretty cool to boot.
We took our big trip on Wednesday. Waking at 5:00am, we quickly drove down to the train station and headed south-east to Italy. It was only 2 hours and 50 minutes to Milan, so we spent the day exploring. It was relatively warm (40 degrees), sunny, and everyone was friendly and helpful. We picked up a few nice souvenirs and even got to see Leonardo DaVinci's "The Last Supper".
Thursday Michael had another chance to go snowboarding with Luca, the wild and crazy Italian. While he risked life and limb, Debbie Allison, and Joram ventured back to Montreaux for some power-shopping and Leon stayed home with the girls to clean, organize, and veg.
By Friday everyone needed to recharge. The big delimma was that we had to prepare for Shabbat dinner. Our solution was to have a "breakfast for dinner" Sabbath. Pancakes and eggs. It was quite a site.
Saturday was Michael's birthday. As a gift to him, we did NOT drag him to the stained glass museum. Instead, he was left home alone. Everyone else had a fun time looking at some breathtaking windows - some from as far back as the 1100's and others from contemporary artists. The museum itself is in a castle in the village of Romont, so the drive and the area were also fun to see.
When we got home, we had to prepare the birthday feast. Most of the meal was not far out of the ordinary: lamb, potatoes, and green beans. However, we had a special birthday cake planned - cookie dough. Not baked cookie dough, mind you. This was a huge globber of uncooked chocolate chip cookie dough formed into a vaguley cake-shaped mound and topped with candles. Not only tasty, it was entertaining too as we watched the kids bounce from wall to wall after they ate a slice of the stuff.
Today was Allison and Michael's last day here, so they needed to spend time packing. We ran up to a local zoo to get out of the house for a couple of hours, and then spent the rest of the day getting organized for the week ahead.
Of course, this week will mark our return to reality. The kids go back to school, Leon goes back to work, and we have to focus on all those things we've procrastinated on: changing addresses with various companies, getting the dryer fixed (nope, it's still not right), getting the stove top fixed (the top shattered when the guy came to fix the burner 2 weeks ago), etc.
We get a small break on Wednesdy when Doug and Janis come in from Brooklyn, Ohio. They've decided to spend a week skiing the Matterhorn (the resort is named Zermatt), which is only 3 hours from here. So we're going to hang out for the day and ignore our work some more.
And, of course, we're now getting ready for Debbie and Joram's big trip home. For those who missed the details, they are:
Flying home January 23 (arriving that evening)
Flying back January 30.
During that time Debbie has to shop for all those things we can't find here, take a couple of ophthalmic courses, visit every doctor we've ever known to update prescriptions, and visit every person in Cleveland. So if you haven't gotten on the list yet, hurry up.
We hope this letter finds everyone in good health and better spirits.
Debbie, Leon, Heather, Isabelle, and Joram
(and, for another few hours, Allison and Michael)