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Friday, December 30, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas celebration!


We've been making it hard for people to keep up with our progress, having travelled to four countries in Europe in our first 5 or so days! In the main, though,we've been in Belgium and Netherlands, and we came back to Netherlands last night to stay with P and S, after a big family get together at M's place. Joost, Robert and Annaliese and families were all also there, so we had a Christmas dinner stretched through two rooms... after soccer/hockey out on the road, kids running up and down the stairs and an amazing spread of entrees, appel mus, delicious main meal and tira misu (coffee and honey), caramel/chocolate icecream, followed by coffee/tea and neuhaus chocolates (from Belgium)!

Our plans for the next few days: Not too much apart from seeing some more of the Netherlands - we're now close to Amsterdam, the Hague and Leiden, so we'll see where we get to, then back to Belgium on Friday. From Friday begins a great trip around Europe for us, from Belgium to France, then Italy and England, before our final return to Netherlands.

Before all this, there are some plans to celebrate L's birthday here in Holland, and K has some ideas for catching up with more relatives. Ge is currently reading Donald Duck in Dutch, and L is looking at a present of a whole lot of stamps from P.

Just going back one day, we also enjoyed Christmas Day itself, in Ghent, celebrating by cooking ourselves a great breakfast and dinner. We also took a trip to Brussels, where we parked right next to the ice-skating rink (openair) next to a Christmas market there. The kids and I skated, and it was good fun, apart from someone setting off a firecracker at one stage and giving us and others a bit of a fright! L has been using her French, especially in Brussels, where it seemed to be the major language.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Qrriving in Belgiu,

Yay! We are in Belgium now! Before leaving, when we went out to load the car, there was snow on it from the night. We had the clear it off with warm water. At about 9:30, we left. Over the border, nearly everything was covered with a thin layer of snow. Soon, we got to the house. The-person-we-house-swapped-with's Mum got there too, let us in and showed us around the house. G and I went outside and had a massive snowball fight. We came inside later to our rooms, on the third floor. Mum and Dad's room is on the second floor and the living room is on the bottom floor. We had pizza/sushi and chips for dinner. Oh yes, also, you may have noticed that there are a couple of spelling errors in the title... that's because the keyboard here is different to the one back home, so I have had to concentrate to make sure I don't make any more in this.
Bye for now,
By L

snow upon arrival in Belgium!!!

Boots and fireworks

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Munster. Cathedral...

This is us in Munster! Our second day in Europe was spent in Germany, at the Christmas markets. This is one of the few photos without us eating. That day, we had; mulled wine/hot chocolates, potato cakes, olives, chestnuts, schnitzels, a German drink called cola - fanta, chocolate, apple cider, coffee, fries and a croquette burger. As you can tell, we were kept busy eating all day. However, we still had time to look at the market stalls. Everything there was lit up with Christmas lights, making it all very festive and fun to be at. The architecture was also beautiful; every separate building was a work of art. All in all, we had a great day in Munster, Germany.

So here we are in Germany...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

New coats.

First extract from Ge's travel diary: Day 1, Europe!

Then M left for work so seeing as we were jet lagged, we all had a sleep and I woke at 10:30am. We decided to go shopping, so we went for a walk and found some shops. First we had a look around the mall, then we went to a place called V&D. (ED: Pronounced Vay and Day).

I had a look with Dad as we split up. My favourite parts were the Harry Potter section and the chocolates section. (ED: I second that) After an hour of shopping, we met at the cafe. I got a lemonade and L, Mum and Dad got coffee. (ED: let's just say it wasn't the best coffee they have tasted )They all wanted boots, so we went shoe shopping (I found that boring). They all got shoes so we went to the post office to post some stuff.

After that, we went to the supermarket (on the way we got hotdogs)(ED: L and K remembered this particular hotdog place from the last trip!). We got some stuff for dinner and some (ED: A lot of) snacks. When we finished shopping, we went back (still walking) and I had a croissant and some stroopwaffles. After we finished food, we started a Sherlock Holmes novel (as a serial), which was very interesting (ED: Especially when Dad did an English accent). Then, I relaxed in bed and wrote this.
By Ge

Friday, December 16, 2011

Changi snaps

Wasting away the hours in Singapore

Hello everyone,

Currently we are all very tired. The only reason I'm writing this is because we have a bit under 3 hours until our KLM flight leaves for the Netherlands. Then the flight is 13 and a half hours long. Ge and K have gone on a walk, leaving Gw searching for public WiFi and L writing this. It probably will be published after it's been written because WiFi can't be easily found in Changi (the Singaporean airport we are at). (Ed found the answer - go to an info desk, they'll give you a password, but you're supposed to present a passport, but possibly you'll be ok even if you haven't got one!).

After a close encounter with almost being overcharged at an airport Burger King, (Ed: wrong conversion in the wrong direction) we made our way to the bag drop, 3 hours early. When quickly checked in, we went to the baggage check, consisting of one small X-ray machine (that's probably not the correct name for it, but I hope you know what I mean) and a singular bored looking woman operating the entire system. (ed: this was underkill after Australia's thousands of officious border controllers, watchers and gunpowder checkers) Then was a quick passport check and we were through to explore the shops and terminals.

Throughout the large (Ed: Changi) airport is scattered lit up and sparkling Christmas decorations. You can catch the occasional snatch of We Wish You A Merry Christmas at random times, seeming to come from the roof. In the middle of the food court is a giant rainbow present, complete with a red and silver bow. Inside, are some large plush angry bird toys for FREE*.

Despite the late hour, a pianist arrives and sits at the grand piano sitting on a platform near some flowers seemingly embedded in the wooden floorboard floor. The style is jazz piano, suiting the busy environment. He draws a small crowd after playing (probably his own) takes on Fur Elise and Silent Night.

I'm sitting on a chair big enough for three people, but made for one. I am surrounded by brightly upholstered furniture. Everyone sitting down seems to be holding an Apple appliance. Me included.

Ge has just returned back unsuccessful from the "free" plush angry birds, after asking if they had a spare one to give away. Unfortunately the answer was no. Ge came back in tears (joking).

Anyway, I can't really think of anything else to write.

Bye for now, by L.

*That is - if you buy over $120 worth of anything from anywhere through the whole building.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Almost ready...

Ok, so now that we're all organised for something to do next year, ie. Ge has a high school to go to, K has a job, L and Gw are just doing the same as ever... just a few things to do before we take off next week for Europe! A bit of 3 on 3, a few parties, a get-together with the deacons at the new place, an orientation day, a graduation and then we take off!

Our first airline to Singapore is Jetstar, so should we purchase some food/drinks at the airport, or just buy something on the plane??

We'll probably put up occasional notes/photos on this blog, not just by me, but also by whoever wants to... it seems that we may not only stay in Ghent, Belgium, but also in a seaside town, of which the name currently eludes me. So, a seaside holiday in a North Sea destination, but we're told that there will be an ice-skating rink here, so thats something to look forward to...

I'm excited about the Tintin museum in Brussels, I'll ask the others what they are most looking forward to as well.

By Gw

I thought I'd let Ge sign off, from this, the first post, pre-Eurotrip. So here is his signature, with a few sound effects, from a little while ago! Just click on the video below.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


A midnight appointment
To see the horcri found and vanquished;
A celebration of the Harry Potter Brotherhood and
Hermione sisterhood
And many others in between,
having rarely seen a shopping complex
so brimming with anticipation

I, armed with paper take-away
Mocha, sugar and caffeine
Entered the breech
Ready for an assortment
Of dragons, beasts and the big V

For who doesn't enjoy Darth Vader
at a loss,
The un-nameable, named,
Smashed to smithereens

Still, my 13 year old, Harry Potter wise,
seeing beyond the black/white dichotomy,
observed, despite the ultimate victory,
won in the ruins of Hogwarts,
Of the final stand of Voldemort,
Calling for support over the 'dead' body
of HP,

...why couldn't Draco, white hair nonetheless,
Have refused the invitation
Of familial voices
having been touched by something stronger,
Than family or allegiance?

Still, having applauded,
At the kiss of Ron/Hermione,
Laughed at the desperation in V,
Whose name has lost it's power,
we were finally amused by the 19 year aging
Of our heroes,
and the new generation, setting off
hopeful, and in fulfillment of,
a future, of chocolate frogs and
And much more,
yet to be imagined.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The unexpected journey

I never really thought I had it in me,
A compulsion of a different nature.
Lived out over two seasons, never ending
And unconnected to the weather; Summer and Winter by name,

Developing, building, returning to the 'fundamentals',
Religiously searching for 'the answer',
And of course, realizing,
The futility of
That search.

The danger, always there,
Of devotion to the victor's cause, at the expense of the 'pawns',
The players, noticeable, tempting,

The tone, volume of my voice,
Representative of power?
A strategy which devalues 'the other'
Team, forgetting,
Their human richness;
And similarity to 'us';

Or even falling for the Aussie,
Penchant for undercutting,
Of the upholder of standards in black and white,
Could he/she actually be wrong/right?
The ref, 'c'mon ref!'
Exploiting technicalities for advantage,
All of this,
Representative of an inability to win,
Or for that matter,
Lose well.

This unexpected journey,
Started slowly,
For me, called up to
Coach 'the team',
My son, seven, my daughter nine.

Slowly, with few ideas,
Having played the game socially,
12 years ago.
Let's try a layup!
Dribble races, shoot a few goals if you can.

To no avail, first game 82 -
2, scoreline against us,
Still a win in that our only scorer
The littlest of all,

Also notice, the us, in
'against us',
And my vicarious participation in
this game.

It is to be these little victories that count
For more,
In the long run
Than the emphatic.

As I enter into the world
Of the pacing
Scrawling X and O
Onto whiteboard
Having learnt from YouTube,
A manual, another coach,
Using too many words, instead of listening -

- To the wise
Prophet, four foot guard,
In no unlikely terms,
"coaches put their hands in too",
"I just went on!",
and the inevitable tears of
the misunderstood.

So in the end,
My spirit of connection,
To the cause,
Cemented by my return,
To competitive basketball,
After fourteen years away,
Is strengthened by the wins,

Like Amelia's.
Coming from fourth on
The hierarchy,
And overcoming the team with
No losses
By surprise and

Making it through overtime,
Winning on the buzzer,
But more than all of this,
Winning when everyone
Thinks we've lost.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The passing of years

This photo is representative of the passing of years to us - they go so fast, and our kids are growing up quickly. These 5 kids got together previously in WA and most recently at Phillip Island. Although they are all actually standing in different places in the second pic, they are growing at different rates, and I'm sure will be different again in the future!

We had a great time catching up with this family recently as we miss them overseas. Most of them jumped off the pier you can just see in the distance, although when we were in WA, it wasn't quite swimming weather, which is why they are all standing on the edge, rather than in the water, in the older of the two pictures. As they grow, may we let go and at the same time be there for them! Thanks Andy for the thoughtful and long term photographical genius!
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