As mentioned before, we are new to this part of Switzerland. In fact, this is our first Christmas here. When moving here, we gave up a lot: good friends, community, a sense of being established and (not least) a stone’s throw distance to shopping in France and Germany.
Don’t get me wrong – we have been blessed here. We have made some good friends and have gained opportunities to further our cultural integration that we would never have in Basel. Of course I also love being out of the suburbs and closer to the mountains. But I won’t lie. Sometimes I miss Basel and I know my children do too. The older one seems especially nostalgic right now about Basel (and before that, California). To help her and all of us with this, and am trying to build new experiences, traditions and memories that will ground her to this place.
This past weekend saw the establishment of a new family tradition that incorporated some of the things we most liked about Basel: Basel friends, Basel Christmas market, and the kid’s favourite Basel activity (Aquabasilea Water Park). More specifically, we met up with our kids’ old best friends from Basel (and their mom, who is my buddy) and joined them in seeing the wonderful Basel English Pantomime Group’s performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarvz (in which my super talented friend Scott charmed the audience again – yay Scott!). Before and after the panto there was more christmas market fun at the Basel Weihnachtsmarkt (with more raclette, gluhwein, and wurst, of course). We then had the relative novelty of staying overnight in a hotel (kids are crazy for that, for some reason) and tonnes of water fun at Aquabasilea next door.
As a new tradition, I think it was a success. The kids know that the fun stuff about Basel does not need to end. They also might have realized that there is cool stuff in our new home too like the snow that would be falling upon our return (don’t get that much in Basel, kids, do you?). I for one will be looking forward to this trip at the same time next year. And the best thing about the weekend? Coming HOME really felt lovely.