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Year’s greetings to you all!
Thank you for taking the time
to enter my website and sorry for writing you in this untraditional matter.
I have really appreciated all your Christmas greetings
very much! I have received
many and am
sorry for not writing you all in person. But instead you will
get a loooong letter here with lots of pictures from the two past years!
Click on the pictures for enlargements (most
of them are clickable).
Dear friends, dear family!
How did it happen - another year
gone and I am again sitting here in front of the computer, trying to recapture
all the events!
It’s been yet an eventful year in
our life, and it doesn’t exactly help that I never wrote the annual Christmas
letter last year, because now there are two years that need to be
Ok, here goes:
The most significant change
is probably that Jens and I bought a house together. We signed the
papers in the spring of 2006, and got the keys August 1 the same year. It’s a
lovely little yellow brick house build in the 1960’s and located in the town of Skovlunde where we were already living before in my apartment. Benjamin was
already so well adjusted here with school, sports and friends and it’s also very
close to my work as well. However, any
house within ½ hr from Copenhagen does
not come cheap, not even with the current situation on the real estate market,
and ours was no exception. But we are very happy and
enjoy our house tremendously.
We have been very busy fixing up our new home –
not that it was in bad shape, but there are
always so many things you want to do, isn't there?
We’ve torn down wall paper, painted ceilings, added another room, built in
closets, blinded a window, etc. Jens also put insulation and a new floor in the
attic which took a long time and still isn’t quite done. We’re hoping
the "extra padding" will
help reduce the
costs of heating.
We still have many things that we’d like to do but for now we are relaxing a
little and only doing smaller projects.
Left: The making of a (very small) master bedroom!
Right: And voila, not only do we now have one more
bedroom, but also a library hall - and a small office section!
Benjamin is doing great. He turned
9 on January 19 2008 and is in
in school. He does well in all his subjects, especially math and Danish. He will start
learning English which his American family is very thrilled about. But he can
already speak and understand quite a lot of English and has no problem spending
time alone with his American family.
loves to read, he reads several books
week. He still loves to have
stories read to him also, fortunately, and I hope that we can continue to have
our goodnight reading session every night for a long time to come! Benjamin
started taking swimming lessons this year and enjoys it a lot, although no
sports can really compete with soccer, which he just loves. He has improved
greatly in soccer and in a recent match he scored a genuine hattrick,
3 consecutive goals, in less than 7 minutes!
Headed for the goal!
Get out of my way!
has many friends, including a couple of long time, close ones and
is, according to his teachers, a very well respected and well liked kid.
Left: Benjamin's good friend Jonathan often sleeps over,
or vice versa. Benjamin has a bunk bed so there's always an extra bed ready, but
they sometimes only need one - at least for goodnight reading ;-)
Right: Last spring Benjamin's hair was VERY long as you can see! It drove Jens
What we also love about Benjamin is that he still
loves to goof around and be silly but at
the same time he is also extremely curious and thoughtful which always makes it so interesting and
rewarding taking him to a museum or exhibit, anything really except
for shopping which he intensely hates!
In March, Benjaimin's father David and
his wife Sandy are expecting the birth of their twin boys, so Benjamin is going
to be a big brother.
Jens has had a very, very busy year (what's
new?!). Besides his job at the University,
he has, as mentioned, also done quite a lot of work around the house. His book
projects currently include his third children’s book about the boy Jonas. The
manuscript is done, the drawings are done and now all he needs is a publisher.
Not easy in a time where you have to be a famous actor or musician or former
model to have a chance to get a book published, it seems.
persistency has lead him to a small publishing house on the island of Fyn (Funen)
but he still needs to find supplementary funding. I’m sure he’ll succeed
eventually. His coastal book which I've
described in previous annual letters, is a baby of his that has taken longer to conceive than an elephant as it has
now been about 4 years on the
way! The book, in photos as well as text,
Jens reading poetry at Rosenborg Castle
(commonly referred to as the King's Gardens), August 2007.
recaptures Jens’ travels and impressions along the West Coast of Europe. He went to three
publishers and the third offered to publish
it. Jens signed the contract right
before Christmas and the book is scheduled for release in April 2008. You can
read more about the book and see some of his great photos on his newly
(or on his
regular website www.jensfink.dk
(in Danish), and
www.jensfink.com (in English). In December 2006, Jens turned a sharp corner
(50) and in January we had a big party with about the same number of people
attending. In summer 2007 Jens also took a CAE (Certificate
in Advanced English) at University of Cambridge - taking the exam here in
Copenhagen. In January and February 2008 Jens is touring around with his poetry
show to 10 high schools in all parts of Denmark.
Karen graduated from public school last year and
started High School in the fall of 2007. She is quite fond of it and have recently received one of the highest grades in her class in the Natural Science
exam. She has also, like her father, developed a
flavor for photography, and she seems to be quite good at it too, and is already
juggling with different editorial programs.
I am still working with Air Liquide (industrial and medical gases) where I am
responsible for our market communication in Denmark – which covers everything
from press, advertising, events and internet to mention just a few. I enjoy it a
lot and still find it fun and challenging to work in a Nordic “environment” with
colleagues from Norway, Finland and Sweden. I often
attend meetings and courses
in Sweden (usually in
Gothenburg, Malmoe and Stockholm) and
last year I also visited one
of our big plants
near Düsseldorf in Germany.
Besides Air Liquide, I have also been "head hunted" for the very prestigious position of manager for one of the
most promising soccer teams in Denmark, and this I say with complete objectivism
since that soccer team also happens to be Benjamin's soccer team ;-) It may be a
while before I can quit my day time job and make a living from it, or
before Benjamin can support us all from his soccer talents. But actually,
decided to become a professional soccer player and I've accepted that he pursues
this career on only one condition; that he plays for a British club and buys us
a cottage there so that we always have a place ready when we want to go and watch him play. Anyway,
as the team manager I sign the team up for matches and tournaments, get them
sponsorships, and maintain the team's website, which you can see here:
http://www.123hjemmeside.dk/sifdrenge99 (in Danish unfortunately but there
are many pictures!)
Last spring I signed up at the local fitness club - where Jens was already a
member - and I go at least once a week,
sometimes even twice and on a really good week three times. I ride the bike,
run, and use the rowing machine a lot, and recently I've become very fond of
using all the great machines for weight lifting etc.
I'll spare you pictures of my endavours the the club and instead move on to
something far more
As far as travels go, we haven’t done as much as we would have liked to – money
and ambitions don’t always go hand in hand, do they?! But in the summer of 2006
(remember I am still trying to cover 2 years of
all four of us
went to England where we stayed with our dear friend Neil Tolley, who is
always ready to open his home for us. He even lent us his car and we
drove out to a
very lovely area in the heart of England called the Cotswolds.
We also went to see Warwick
Castle and Shakespeare’s town Stratford. Stayed in and old inn and also
Besides the Cotswolds, we spend some days in
London as well, of course. I think the four of us are just about equally smitten
with London. I just never get tired of going there.
Cotswolds, everywhere you look there's a picture.
Fish and chips at the pub ;-)
Anne-Mette and Benjamin was generously invited to Florida by Benjamin’s American
Grandparents, Joan and Paul. So off we went, in October 2006. The first week we
stayed at the Mariott Resort at Orlando and spent five great days in Disney
World – and also saw the Kennedy Space Centre and even witnessed the launch of a
The weather was very pleasant, not too hot, and the lines at Disney
were short – I can highly recommend to go off season!
Left: We're here: Magic Kingdom!
Right: Waiting for a parade at Animal Kingdom.
From left: Anne-Mette, grandpa Paul, Grandma Joan,
Uncle Chris and in the front Benjamin.
We went to all 4 parks
(Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom and MGM) and tried an abundance of many
great rides, saw every possible show and parade, and in the evening we rested
our tired bodies in the Jacuzzi in our hotel room. Ahhhh
Jacuzzi in the bedroom, how about that?
As if that wasn’t enough
luxury, we then went on to Sanibel Island, a tropical paradise on the
coast of Florida (near Fort Myers). It couldn’t have been any better to finish
off our vacation in such calm and beautiful surroundings. The Damons’ condo is
located right next to the Mexican Gulf with its beautiful white sandy beaches,
coconut palm trees, pelicans and herons, dolphins, and last but not least, an
amazing abundance of beautiful sea shells literally in piles everywhere.
Benjamin's grandparents' condo is where the circle is -
have a great view over the Mexican Gulf from there.
is among the best places in the world to go shelling, and I would usually be up
early every morning to go for a walk on the beach and get the best ones – also
if you plan to do some walking, you better do it early before it gets too hot.
What a way to start a November day and what a huge contrast to the grey- and
darkness of Denmark at this time of year – I wouldn’t mind doing this every
year! Joan and Paul took us to all their favourite restaurants on the island,
and Sanibel really has many excellent restaurants, the fried Grouper sandwich at Granma Dot’s for example, yummy.
Fried Grouper sandwich at gramma Dot's - Sanibel Island,
In the summer of 2007, Benjamin and I
also went to America, but "only" to New Jersey this time. Nevertheless we had a very nice
time with Benjamin's family. I always take the advantage of being close to New
York and always take some trips there on my own.
Grand moment: Benjamin reading a book - in English.
Left: Benjamin tries Dad's lawn mower.
Right: "Grandmor" is chasing Benjamin.
What else? Well, a few trips to Legoland we’ve
a few trips to Sweden also. Furthermore,
Jens and I spent
weekend in London last winter and this coming February, we will go again.
Jens is taking me there to celebrate my 40th birthday (phew, the big
4-0, huh?). We will as usual go to the Old Vic Theatre to see a play with
Spacey, this will be our 3rd
performance. He is always amazing on stage.
Right: Neil gives Jens a cooking lesson
(visit to England, December 2006)
This summer we went to Sweden for 10 days. After a few days at Astrid Lindgren’s
World (a theme park in Southern Sweden. Astrid Lindgren is a Swedish author of
children’s books and her stories are known and loved by all Scandinavian kids).
My colleague in Stockholm, Alexandra, kindly let us use their lovely house while
they themselves were away on vacation.
A walk in Stockholm...
Left: Benjamin and Jens relaxing in the Swedish "Skärgård"
Right: Benjamin and Anne-Mette
We also went a little
which was a great decision. We saw lots of
reindeer in the wild and picked
Anne-Mette and Benjamin also got to do some fishing. But the best part, the
SCOOP of the entire trip, was the day we rented canoes and went downstream on a
small river. All of a sudden,
in front of us standing at the
water's edge, was a moose cow with her
two calves!! We have tried for YEARS to see wild moose, it’s sort of become an
obsession with us. And every time we’ve been in Sweden, we’ve looked for them
but never really seen them. So this was amazing. Later, as we drove by the same
river, we saw the same family, and not
far away, also a young male.
Amazing! We were equally psyched, all 4 of us.
"All of a sudden,
in front of us standing at the
was a moose cow with her two calves!!"
Last trip of the year was just finished a few days ago, a short
two day cruise to
Oslo, Norway. We were hoping to find lots of snow to go sleding
and skiing, unfortunately the weather was extremely poor there, but it didn’t
stop us from sleding anyway – I’ve never tried to do that in rain and it’s not
something I’d recommend either. But at least there was a little snow left,
enough to ride on anyway, and Benjamin had fun!
Well, I hope this gave you an idea
of some of the things we've been up to these past few years. Hopefully everyone
of you found at least a little bit of new information here!
Again, thanks for all your wonderful greetings and sorry this comes too late, it took a bit longer than expected to do this!!
Love Anne-Mette (Jens + Benjamin +