Year-in-Review 2020: – Happy New Year 2021 – Letter to family & friends

Dear friends,

At the beginning of the year 2020, we were at home in Nevis, where we started the New Year, as we have in most years since late 1994, when I retired after working for Nestlé in Japan for 28 years.

Our cousin Sylvia Neururer visited us for 3 weeks from late January, and we had a good time with her visiting various sites on both islands, meeting several friends and having some nice lunches.

We were ready to prepare for our planned trip to Tokyo to see Uschi’s orthopedic doctor about her right foot, which was still giving her problems from her operation in Switzerland more than two years ago. We took an AA flight to Miami on March 16, a connecting UA light to LA, and on 3/18 from there an ANA flight to Haneda. But the doctor advised us to cancel our visit due to a serious outbreak of Covid-19 cases among the Japanese after a cruise ship in Yokohama had released passengers who were obviously not virus free after the quarantine.

So, we rebooked our flights to return home via Munich to Geneva, available on March 25. We adjusted our AA flight to March 24, (and had to pay a penalty of $500 for that) as we did not want to stay at a hotel in Miami and wait so long for the Geneva flights. A grave error – as Mr. Trump closed the US soon afterwards for all except US citizens … We had no way at all to get into the US to catch our Lufthansa flights …

We stayed on in Nevis. April was OK, but as it got hotter with our pool showing 30+C at 7 am even in early May, plans were made to evacuate. Finally, 11 of us chartered a plane, a Bombardier Global 6000 and flew directly to Geneva on May 23, arriving there early on Sunday morning with nobody in Geneva except us. A wonderful quiet flight, three pilots, one stewardess and wonderful food and drinks served. Even the one dog in the cabin was well attended and served!

The Government of our islands had stopped all arrivals of cruise ships at the end of February, so there were no problems with Covid-19. They had issued public statements again and again how to cope, wearing masks, distancing, and supermarkets, banks etc. quickly installed plastic separations for cashiers and suggested payments by cards. We have had no deaths up to now, N0 deaths! So you can imagine how surprised we were when, on Monday morning we were at Coop in La Tour de Peilz, we were the only ones wearing masks, with the other shoppers looking at us as if we had come from the moon …

June was full of doctors’ visits for both Uschi and myself. We had set them up for May, but I was able to change them once we knew our March flights were not possible. In June I made a trip to Vienna to see a doctor who specialized in back problems. I have had tailbone pain for many years. In the end, I had to give up that idea, what with Covid-19 and even more so with the reduction of flights and scheduling, which would have become a serious problem to visit Vienna frequently.

As if it were not enough, tooth problems have crept up for both of us. Recently, we’ve both seen the dentist more often than in the past 9 years. Old age is no fun! Or, as Bette Davis once said, “old age aint for sissies”.

On September 4, about a dozen sixth graders joined our former teacher Hans Schwank at his pretty swanky living quarters on Zollikerberg for a wonderful get-together with champagne, and a wonderfully presented and warmly served luncheon in the private dining place of the Tertianum. Our former Teacher was in fine spirits despite his recent mishap, from which the still active Hans, who had turned 100 this past July, had fully recovered. 

The French-speaking region of Switzerland is far worse off in terms of Covid-19 infections than the larger German speaking part of the country. Right now in our area all restaurants and bars are closed, but in Zurich, for example, they are open. I had invited my son and his family to a famous Teppanyaki restaurant for his birthday on 27 November. In the end we had to cancel because he felt that because two of his kids go to school daily by public transport, proper distancing rules cannot be assured. As well, we had bought train tickets to go to Zurich, which is also high risk, as one does not know who has been sitting in those seats before. Uschi and I are in the HIGH-RISK AGE. If we get infected, we are likely to die, so my son did not want to take that risk. Uschi went along with his views so I canceled, and we all stayed home.

This year we will stay in Switzerland, celebrating Xmas and New Year at home for the first time in many years, all due to Covid-19. We might travel to Nevis late in January, but for us permanent residents that would require some changes in the Government’s rules and regulations.

In closing, Uschi joins me in wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a most wonderful, happy, successful, and healthy New Year of the Ox 2021! Yes, it is the Year of my son Nicolas, he will have completed 4 full zodiac cycles next November…

W I L L I   &   U S C H I

The VoiP number +41 44 586 5060 is in Zurich, Switzerland and reaches us anywhere in the world over the Internet; if no answer, please just leave a message on the answerphone with your number and we will call you back within 24 hours.

The Nevis numbers: Land line +1 869 469 8818 with answer machine; Cell Willi +1 869 660 2000, Cell Uschi + 1 869 665 8322 – these numbers are only valid when we are on the island of Nevis! Use WhatsApp/FaceTime!

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