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for our Global Pen Pal, Year 2009, we will go in yet another direction in our global letter writing. This year we will try to engage an intergenerational discussion across cultures, generations with 2 people who have never met before. I have been kindly introduced to Hella Kramer in Bonn, Germany. Hella is a retired physician, mother and grandmother living in Europe. I am an active working mother of 2 boys, age 4 and 6, with aging parents. I am the founder and managing editor of IF mag (my name is Cat Wayland) and I teach as a substitute teacher. I should like us to write to one another when the time is available and find out one another's perspective. I hope to learn much and make a new friend.

Dear Cat,

This time I am writing from the Engadine, actually from St. Moritz, Switzerland.
For many years we stay during our winter holidays here and I try to write down some thoughts for the March issue of International Family Magazine “Middle Age and Sustaining Joy”. The question is what is essential for us in life.

Every year we stay here in Switzerland with good friends from Italy, Switzerland and Germany, and also with our children and grandchildren. We enjoy the mountain atmosphere and the exciting environment. We are at an altitude of 1,800m in a Swiss Chalet. Looking out of the window we are surrounded with high mountains and in front of us is the famous
Corvatsch (3,300 m , approx. 10,000 feet ).

Always in my life I wanted to ski down from this famous mountain and with the help and patience of my Swiss ski teachers I succeeded and lost my fear. The whole family has had a lot of fun skiing for many years in this area. Sometimes it is very dangerous to go down narrow slopes. But we meet our friends in a mountain hut and eat together pizza and delicious  dessert, or we just sit outside in the sun  and relax .

Again I want to come to the subject of this letter and want to emphasize what is essential for us in our daily life and what keeps us on track. The drink or coffee after work or during vacation; the conversation with friends, the dinner in a restaurant or at home.
We often have dinner guests at home. During vacation time, especially in the Engadine,
we walk in deep snow along the frozen lake and in the evening we read books and newspapers. The climate is very good, the air is like champaign and we need less
sleep in high altitude.

Now, back in Bonn we have a climate change, we have lousy weather, dark clouds and lots of rain.  But even here we have no time for a midlife crisis. We have a big program of activities this month. We are invited to a birthday party of a friend, to a house concert, to the University club lectures. American friends are coming for a weekend in April and will stay with us.

This keeps us busy and we enjoy it.

Best regards, Hella .

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