As the winter solstice approaches, our days feel like they have become significantly shorter, and they have!  On December 21st Berliners will greet the sun (if the sky is not completely gray as it usually is!) at 8:15 a.m. and the sun will set at 3:54 pm. Thus we will have about an hour less daylight than our friends and family back home in Bozeman. It’s pretty dark out when Brian and the kids leave for school at 7:00 a.m. as it generally is when they come home.

As the weeks have stretched into months, all of the Swarthouts are happy in Berlin.  But we miss everyone back home! Yes, we do love our German pastries, visits to the Ritter Sport chocolate store, zippy train rides around the city, and the endless array of cultural attractions.  We’ve met many interesting people from all over the world but they do not replace the relationships back home that we have nurtured over the years.  We look forward to more European travel in the coming months (Amsterdam and Tuscany!), but the Big Sky beckons to us as well.

I’ve asked the kids to share what they feel is the most remarkable part of their experience in Germany so far.  Sam did not hesitate for a second before saying “the trains!”  So here he is on the U-Bahn, his favorite place to be in Berlin:

Olivia has been most impacted by the community of people she has met at the John F. Kennedy School.  High caliber teachers and classmates from around the world add a lot of spice to her daily school routine. And the cafeteria food is better than it is back home!  Speaking of food, Avery loves to eat turkish doener kebaps and curry wurst as often as possible, along with anything sweet that he can find! Brian and I are doing great too.  Brian loves his five different Physics classes and I have just signed a contract to work as a business English instructor on a part-time basis for a company in Berlin.

Best wishes for the holidays and new year to everyone and please stay in touch!