Most of 2015 went really quite well, but the last few months of this year did pack a bit of a wallop for us.

Julia Graduation

The highlight of the year was in May, when Julia graduated from Middle College High School as valedictorian of her class. She got to speak at her graduation ceremony and she did a very fine job with her speech. In June, Jacob and Julia visited their uncle John in New Hampshire for 3 weeks. And in August, the day after Julia’s 18th birthday, Laura drove her to D.C. and helped her move into her dorm at American University.

Julia was very excited about studying at American and living in Washington, D.C. She received a nice scholarship from AU, that includes special programs and access to a nice dorm. She got along well with her room mate and Julia quickly settled into her new life as a student in the big city.  But in October, she caught a nasty virus and then she got quite sick. First we were tying to help her from the distance, but eventually Laura drove to D.C. for the weekend, to make sure she was getting good medical care.

Right before all this, I found out that my dad needed an operation, and so, on fairly short notice, I bought a plane ticket to travel to Germany for 10 days to be around for the operation. The day Laura came back from D.C., I left for Germany, thinking that all was under control. My dad’s operation went well, and he was recovering nicely the following weekend, when it became clear that Julia was still not doing much better. To make things even more interesting, I started running a fever and my resting heart rate was over 100. So I went to the ER in Müllheim, where I was diagnosed with pneumonia. Two days later, I dragged myself back home. Not an enjoyable journey.

After I got back home, Laura drove to D.C. again, to bring Julia home. It had become clear that she was not going to get better on her own, and that she had to take a medical leave of absence from her University. In the meantime, I had to undergo a variety of medical examinations to find out that I had Pericarditis, probably caused by a viral infection, and that there really was nothing to be done but ride it out. Which I did, and eventually I got better.

So, we’re all better (or recovering) and no permanent damage was done. But this fall took it out of us – especially Laura, who had to deal with two emergencies.

adjo3An unqualified positive development this year was Adjo, the cat Laura adopted from the animal shelter. Adjo has been a real joy to have around. She is making herself useful by hunting mice in the basement, and she has been quite affectionate. She seems to be enjoying life “on the farm” and is even no longer perturbed by the goats. What’s more, our older cat, Koklo, seems to enjoy Adjo’s company and she put up with her kitten shenanigans.

We wrapped up the year with a party with some friends and neighbors at our place, tapped a keg of Foothills Sexual Chocolate Stout, lit a nice bonfire (despite the wet wood) and lit a fun set of fireworks we had purchased in South Carolina, during out trip to Atlanta in July.

So, at the beginning of 2016, things are alright around here, and we’re really counting on 2016 to be a good year.

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