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It’s dificult to comprehend that we have already been here for half a year. Even our first Christmas and New Year’s in Germany is behind us – so Happy New Year! It was a time to reflect on 2011 and all the miracles and adventures we have experienced. Making a calendar for my hubby, I realized just how much we much we traveled. We “rang” in (or were rung in) 2011 in a hospital room in Cebu, Philippines – watching fireworks out the window with feelings of desperation. Fortunately, the new year brought us the best news and a speedy recovery for Patrick. With no time to waste, we quickly planned CNY in Singapore, then Taiwan and Zhangjiajie – our last trips in Asia before we began our farewells. And what farewells those were! Our companies, colleagues, and friends were so gracious and really made us feel very loved/appreciated. Our last party in our apartment in Shanghai was Kaya’s first birthday. Just a few weeks after we found out that he would become a brother the following February. How very appropriate!

End of June we arrived in blistering hot Germany and found our temporary apartment (which turned out to be “not so temporary”). July the Culpan grandparents helped out with Kaya while Patrick and I took turns apartment hunting/working. August was Patrick’s last month in China where he returned to the wild & free days of “work hard, play hard” – cut to Kaya and I relaxing on the beaches of Southern Turkey (actually I don’t think I had even a minute of lounging, as I spent most of it running after Kaya on the beaches of Southern Turkey)…

The Fall marked the true start of Scherr family life in Germany – and excellent weather that continued till the end of November. We made the best of those wonderfully colorful heaps of leaves and crisp sunny days on the Rhein. We had many visitors as we also made arrangements to move into our new apartment. By October, we were moved in and enjoying Cecillienallee 33 with my brother and Leigh Ann (sans kitchen for about a week, mind you, but that story deserves a ‘nother post). Being on the continent makes travel to see friends and family so much easier  – we took advantage of that in the Fall with 2 trips to Austria. November Kaya started his new day care – a Tagesmutter who had one other little boy a few months older. We also had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving with anneanne & dede (Kaya now calls my parents “nani” and “didi”). And before we knew it, we were in holiday spirit – Amsterdam “Maroni” (you know who you are) reunion to kick of December and then 10 calm, cosy days with Kaya’s 86-year-old great grandmother over Christmas. She flew alone for the first time in her life to come visit us. Just before the year was over, we had dear friends from Istanbul visiting with whom we “sightsaw” Cologne. I don’t care what Dusseldorfers say, I like that city.

And for the second time, Kaya slept through New Year’s Eve as Patrick and I watched fireworks from our window – in our comfortable apartment overlooking the Rhein – a far cry from our island hospital experience a year ago. A balmy 10 degrees and rain rain rain…we stepped out on our balcony and recalled the CNY fireworks that would explode on the level of our 20th floor apartment windows in Shanghai. So much had happened and so much yet to come in the new year. More importantly, SOMEONE yet to come. The anticipation as the clock struck 12 – will she be blond or brunette, tall or short, calm or active, like Kaya or totally different…keep reading and following, that chapter is yet to be written.

We left as 2 and came back a little more than 3. 4 years in China and a countless unforgettable experiences later, we are on to a new adventure, this time one revolving around family and children. At least half a year of deliberations where we should go after China, only to see love and that magical baby spark take their course. The new baby has decided for the East-Central corner of Germany. Just a lesson that when a decision is difficult, it’s better to “loslassen.” I love that German word that literally translated means, “let go.” Looking back now, it’s seems like one of life’s many ironies that we even had spreadsheets with matrix point systems identifying the best place for us to go.

Dusseldorf is the closest city to Patrick’s new position at Schaeffler located in Wuppertal. It gives us the green, urban, international, well-connected home base from which to start the next chapter of our lives. It’s no Amsterdam and no Vienna, definitely no Shanghai, but it’s starting to feel like home.