18 months in the US

Already 18 months ago since we moved to Charlotte. I think the start of the new year is a good moment to look back at the monthly highlights of our American life.

August 2015: we flew to Charlotte the 08/02, after two nights in a hotel we moved in out apartment at Philips Place. This spot remembered me always at the tv series “Melrose Place”, many apartments around a huge swimming pool, lots of young singles and always a bash at the weekends. Markus started working and we were looking for a house and tried to manage all the things that have to be done. Often we felt unsafe and were struggling with our decision but finally we rented our house at 08/11, got our SSN 08/13, had our first visit at the national whitewater center, went for one week to Hilton Head for enjoying the beach, met there my sister, visited the first time Savannah, saw our first dolphins, made our driver licenses and moved in our house 08/25. And we headed the first time direction Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway. A crowded first month with awesome and erasable days.

September 2015: School started for the girls, pretty hard to sit seven hours a day quietly, with don’t understand anything and without saying something. The school did a good job and they caught up really fast. We had our first feast at food truck Friday and saw a unique and colorful parade on our fist holiday (Labor Day). We already had our first visitors, a Swiss coworker from Markus with his wife. We showed them and us as well Charlottes city center because we hadn’t time so far to explorer uptown Charlotte. Mid of September the second visitors, two friend of us, and the second time to get to know the city with her sights (Football stadium, Nascar hall of fame, the beer garden from the Old Mecklenburg Brewery and so on). First Lions Pride at the British International School and Leonie got her first honor for her individual achievements. Later on the girls sang for the first time the national anthem with the school choir on a charity golf tournament and countless more national anthems will follow.

October 2015: first October fest at the restaurant Waldhorn, third visitors the Baumann family and then our special guest Lilli, Markus 9-year-old godchild, who spent her fall break with us. We passed with her a day in Carowinds, the amusement park nearby, visited Waxhaw a cute little railway town next to us and went up to the mountains  in a cozy cabin with hot tub and a river in the backyard. We climbed up Chimney Rock, made a boat tour on Lake Lure, explored the legend of the Blowing Rock, balanced on the snake of Little Switzerland and drove down another part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Leonie had her first swim meet and Joelle started with Judo and at least we survived our first Halloween!

November 2015: the girls had their first piano recital at the Mint Museum and a painting from Leonie has been displayed on the same place. I run my first marathon in 4 hour 14 and we joined the thanksgiving parade in uptown Charlotte. Not as big as the famous one in New York but no less entertaining and colorful. We visited Charleston and enjoyed North Carolinas beaches during Thanksgiving break.

December 2015: We payed McAdenville, North Carolinas Christmas Town, a visit and saw Christmas lighting at its best. Leonie changed to the competitive swim team, we made pictures in front of Christmas Trees in shorts and flip flops, Markus and I joined a line dance workshop during the H&S Christmas celebration, we were stand up paddling and kayaking with friends and the girls had a part in the school play “Mary Poppins”. On 12/17 we flew back to Switzerland for visiting family and friends and for celebrating Christmas and new years eve.

January 2016: We started the new year with a horrible 48 hour journey back to Charlotte. The idea was to fly from Zurich to Munich and then to Charlotte. At the end we flew from Zurich over Linz, Munich, Toluca, Mexico City, Dallas to Charlotte. When s**t happens… After recovering from this bad trip we were ice skating, cheered for the panthers and enjoyed our fist snow days including building snow mens and making snow angels.

February 2016: Unfortunately the panthers lost the super bowl but they brought us a fantastic season – keep pounding! Leonie was with the school on a ski trip in West Virginia and Joelle an I already joined the first warm and sunny days and discovered the different play grounds in the Charlotte area. We spent a night in Hickory because of a tow day swim meet and we enjoyed our first t-shirt and flip-flop day in a nearby park.

March 2016: Joelle started with recreational soccer at CSA and Leonie celebrated her tenth birthday at Inner Peaks climbing center. There were also some swim meets, school filed trips, class assemblies and then the spring breaks in Florida: we drove in a Ford Mustang convertible from Clearwater over Tampa and Palmetto to Naples. Explored the Everglades with an air boat and rode back with stops at Sanibel Island, Venice, Sarasota and St Pete to Clearwater. We loved our first trip through the sunshine state, for sure it won’t be our last one. Now after eight months we’re already well settled. We all made new friends and we leaned to life with the American curiosities  and peculiarities. The good case while living abroad: you can enjoy all the good things in a country and brush aside all the negative things because you don’t have to life with them forever. Another thing: you will see more clearly what’s fantastic at your home country but also what could be done better.

April 2016: My sister visited us with her two girls and we made some trips within the close surrounding. We washed gold in Gold Hill, cheered Joelle by her soccer games, went to the climbing hall and the trampoline zone and were stand up paddling at the whitewater center.We picked up the first local strawberries and opened our backyard pool.

May 2016: The girls spent a week at camp Thunderbird and Markus and I discovered meanwhile new restaurants, breweries and bars. We climbed up Crowders Mountain, a nearby “mountain” with a great view of the surrounding piedmont. We made a sunset cruise with the Lady of the Lake at Lake Norman, there were also some school field trips, swim meets, pool parties and Joelle soccer tryout. Yep, she got it – in August she’ll play in a competitive team with her own number on her back (32). She and we were pretty proud of her commitment – keep it up! End of May the girls an I went for a short trip to Switzerland. We love our new life here but there’s nothing better than hangout with good old friends and have the possibility to chatter without thinking.

June 2016: This was a surprisingly quiet months except Joelle advanced birthday party on a cute little farm in Charlotte, with horse back riding, grooming and feeding the animals and of course pizza and cake. Not to mention school graduation and the summer vacation start.

July 2016: This month was beautifully overwhelmed: 4th of July party weekend with a celebration at the whitewater center, a 4 mile run and a party in a friend’s house. Then some pool parties, swim meets and a visit at the urgent care. Our first and I think last baseball game, whipped cream challenges, sleep overs and the first summer getaway: we spent a week with the other Amman family in the Outer Banks. After this we passed a few days with the Aeby family in Charlotte and the close Great Smoky Mountains.

August 2016: Joelles soccer adventure with her team started, we celebrated August 1st with the Swiss Society of Charlotte and then Bettina Amman a good friend and Leonies Godmother came visiting us. We showed her Charlotte and surrounding, spent a week at the beaches of Hilton Head and visited Savannah and Charleston. Finally after two months the school started again.

September 2016: Our weekends are now filled with soccer games or swim meets, sometimes one part of the family is there and the other somewhere else. But we still had enough time to learn how to play bubble soccer, to sip some beers at the October fest (truly in September), to enjoy art at the freedom park and to have barbecues with friends.

October 2016: the biggest moment was Joelles first ride on fury 325, one of the worlds tallest and fastest giga coaster, yep she’s now tall enough!. There was as well a scary evening at Scarowinds (the Halloween version from Carowinds), a beautiful fall day at Lake Norman, an art show participation with one of Joelles paintings and the visit from Hedy and Stephan Caspar. Finally we headed off to our second stay in Florida: Fort Lauderdale, Naples, Everglades, Islamorada, Key West, Key Largo and Miami were scheduled and the best of all: almost everything together with great friends from Switzerland: the Früh Family.

November 2016: another more or less quite month: soccer and swimming as usual, a great birthday party, fall festival on the farm with pumpkin dash, fondue evening in the backyard, turkey trot (Joelle first 5K), a fantastic international Thanksgiving lunch, finishing the backgrounds for the school play and on 11/27 we built up our Christmas Tree.

December 2016: 6634 Fairhope Court wasn’t anymore a black hole in our fancy decorated neighborhood, the bushes glowed, the door wreath sparkled and Olaf waved at the front door. There was really an upgrade from the year before but there’s still room for improvement. Leonie got her first BB times and can now participate at state swim meets, I  could join a baby shower, we drove a lot through different neighborhoods to see all the beautiful decorated and illuminated Christmas houses, the girls were again a part of the school play (this year they performed Annie), we’re invited to another fab birthday party and we collected experiences with dog sitting. We celebrated the Christmas days in different ways together with friends and let the old year die away with a crazy new years eve party.

Along with all this great stuff we could experienced there were also some misunderstandings, incomprehension and other poor things you really don’t like to handle with but in fact they can happen everywhere else as well. Our life its like a ride on a roller coaster. There are some fantastic highlights but also some dark tunnels. Good thing: all family members like a crazy ride on a roller coaster!

Now we’re looking forward to all the adventures 2017 will bring us. Happy New Year! I hope your year is filled with health, love and laughs!

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