Every Christmas letter coming out these days seems to begin with the words, “What a crazy year!”. The PashbyMaul’s 2020 has been no exception. As we write this update, our family is hunkered down in yet another hard lockdown. Dresden, after having escaped the worst of the pandemic, is now in the thick of it. Saxony has the highest infection instance in Germany with no signs of improvement any time soon. We are thankful to be healthy, together and warm in our cozy apartment during this very different festive season. Despite being unable to travel and visit family, we are reminded that the first Christmas was also a simple affair with just Mary, Joseph, and the infant baby Jesus lying in a manger. We’d like to think our apartment smells better than a barn.
Alicia started the year on maternity leave, but is now back full-time as a Primary Years Music Teacher at Dresden International School. She has enjoyed fulfilling her dream of being a bike commuter, riding along the Elbe mornings and afternoons on Muzetta, her pink Italian bicycle. After starting the school year with in-person learning, the switch back to online learning in the past week has not been without its challenges. It will be nice to spend extra time at home with family.
Andrew has been very busy this year. In January he finished up his Teacher Preparation Program at Moreland University, and completed his Student Teaching with Grade 4 at Dresden International School. He has been awarded Qualified Teacher Status in the UK, as well as securing a US Teaching Licence through Washington, DC. After working in a nearly full-time capacity in multiple roles at the school during the past two years, he transitioned following Summer Holiday Care to being a full-time Stay at Home Dad.
Mr. T (aka “the baby”) is not such a baby anymore! At 16 months as of this writing, he is now a spunky toddler with a distinct personality. Among his favorite things are bananas, tormenting the cat, sandboxes, and riding around Dresden with Daddy in the Muli-Cycles Cargo Bike. He loves exploring his world, taking risks, and keeping Mommy and Daddy on their toes. We will look to enrol Mr. T in preschool starting in August.
Ponce (aka “the tyrannical Tuscan farm-cat”) is still with us, but starting to show his age. He gave us a scare to start the year and left us with a huge bill following emergency oral surgery. Let’s just say he still hates the vet and isn’t afraid to use his teeth. Among his favorite things are sleeping, and staying out of Mr. T’s way.
The PashbyMaul adventures were limited to regional excursions this year. After the first hard lockdown in the spring, we enjoyed a typical East German summer with a much needed beach vacation to the Baltic Sea. We also managed a few overnight trips to the Dreiländereck region within Saxony where we visited friends in the very picturesque village of Obercunnersdorf. For Andrew’s birthday weekend we explored the town of Freiberg. We also took a short trip across the border to the Czech Republic for our one international adventure of 2020, visiting the city of Děčín, and enjoying lots of yummy Czech food. We were sadly forced to cancel a planned October trip to Italy.
There may be no Christmas Markets this year, but living in Dresden is still the fulfilment of the European dream quality-of-life experience for us. There is no better place we could ask to be right now, pandemic and all, to experience the first two years of life with our sweet Mr. T. We recognize that despite the many challenges 2020 has thrown at us we remain blessed beyond belief.
The next year will be one of big change for our family, and for the world. We pray for a return to “normal,” whatever that ends up looking like. We look forward to seeing family and friends again, in person, God willing. We’re excited to continue our professional journey. We are loving life with a toddler who amazes us daily with his zeal for just about everything. If 2020 was a year for reflection and contemplation, 2021 promises to be a year for moving forward with renewed enthusiasm.
Blessings and Peace,
Andrew, Alicia, and Mr. T