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Einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!

Or rather, Happy New Year!

Now, the funny thing with this German saying about turning the page on an old year to kick start a new one, it literally means: wishing you a great slide into the new year! I find this hyperbole rather clever since for me it brings to mind a fun image of sliding downhill through the snow on a sled or zipping unscathed and unfettered into a brand new, untouched year with a huge smile and a glass of champagne in hand. (I guess since my blog is titled "CHutes & Ladders" it's also rather fitting! sic.)

Whatever the notion, coping with creaky swollen joints, tight muscles, and shooting intermittent pain (insert your symptoms here ______) gliding around is something unfamiliar to me anymore. Happily though, I have taken a few dashes down the slides at the local playgrounds on my son's urging following his many failed attempts  coaxing mommy. Actually, being in the Northern hemisphere in January reminds me of that feeling in my tummy as a kid when plunging downhill on my sled in the snow. Remember that? Just climbing the hill was gratification alone but the looming thrill to swish down with a big "wheeeeeee!!" was what it was all about. That's when we discovered what butterflies in our stomach really feel like. Oh, to be a kid again...well I guess I'm allowed several re-runs being the mom of an active toddler!

It was a rough start into the new year with bad sinusitis for us both to be honest (thinking of the recent CJ post on flu vaccinations and how effective are they when you have a chronic illness anyway?!). Alas, the realities of taking a TNF-alpha blocker like Humira. Double that when coming into contact with each and every bug your little darling brings home... It was hardly the ideal week in the mountains I could've imagined or wished for New Year's. My disappointment and exasperation showed especially given the unpredictability of daily life with RA to then realize my joints were even more swollen because my body was fighting off that nasty virus. Who hasn't been there? So as the calendar turned the page so did we. We got through the first week of 2013 and are now settled back into busy Zurich life.

We've entered the first official work week here in Switzerland. My favorite hangouts are all abuzz with everyone dodging the damp chill (the insistent foggy blanket over Zurich is equal to "duck soup". We are promised though that above 800 meters (2400 feet) there is sun to be had!!) That is something by the way that this Hoosier girl coming from the flat cornfields took awhile to get my head around. How in the world it's possible to escape winter's gray and oppressive damp foggy days? You simply go UP!! Behold, this amazing beautiful country comes alive. The Alps are the HUGE Swiss playground. Many opportunities to slide through the snow, skate on ice, cross-country ski, downhill ski, and more. Dashing through the snow ever so carefully whichever way with RA though, right?!

I do not ski however. Hm-mmm. I cannot iterate enough the challenge this raises and how many times I do or don't choose to explain why I do not ski when stared back with confusion. How is it possible? Am I just plain weird or perhaps I have an "old injury". Maybe I just do other snow sports now? Oh wait. Ok, you never learned how. Well, it's never too late you know. You should really take ski lessons. "No, sorry, just the doctor's orders," I say. It IS frustrating. It'd be like living at the beach I guess and being unable to feel the sand through my toes or swim in the salty sea or ocean. It's right there. All around. Sometimes a constant (painful) reminder of what I'm missing out on. I've always wanted to experience the thrill of that downhill plunge. The real Rutsch effect. So, how do I resolve this after so many years? Well, it is the wish I pass onto my son. He can learn to ski just like he learned to walk. It'll just be natural to him by growing up here! What better reward for us his parents despite all of the sacrifices to settle down here (along with the many benefits mind you!) than realizing he'll have many opportunities which we could never imagine having grown up elsewhere. This offers us some solace:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/01/07/a-surprising-map-of-the-best-and-worst-countries-to-be-born-into-today. Switzerland proudly holds the number one spot for the best place in the world to be born. Pole position. No wonder the Swiss are so proud! Perhaps, he'll share with me someday then (maybe even next year already) just what it's like up on top!

So now with my feet on solid ground and no ski bindings to fiddle with, my calendar is busy filling up and it's caught me a bit by pleasant surprise. I expected a much slower start into the new year for some reason, but with the change of routine we were forced with in December it means no moss can grow on this rolling stone! I'm happy to see many friends are eager to catch up again after the holidays. If my son knew to say it, he'd definitely shout, "SCORE MOMMY!!" His third birthday is around the corner and given the way life is hyper-organized here in Switzerland to start any planning in January is a bit late and wishful thinking. Alas, here I am. I'm gathering a few of my son's friends and their families for a nice distracting afternoon. Maybe there will be a few slides or at least a fun snow-filled downhill plunge awaiting all of us...kids!! ;-)

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