Posted in Tidbits

Blog Mile Stone: 121 countries!

Today we reached another mile stone: people from 121 126 different countries have visited our Blog!

If you think that is almost the whole world (as I initially did) you are wrong. There are still 120 115 ‘missing countries’ on the counter. But we are over half the countries now! Wouldn’t it be great if we could manage to have our blog opened in all countries all over the world?

Continue reading “Blog Mile Stone: 121 countries!”

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Posted in Daily life

Surviving a Hot Melbourne Tennis Day

With a weather forecast of 42 degrees today it was promising to become a hot Melbourne Day today. Not the ideal circumstances for a tennis tournament, but Kai signed up so there was no way out. How did he/we survive a day on the tennis court? Continue reading “Surviving a Hot Melbourne Tennis Day”

Posted in School

Very last day of Primary School

When I was driving Kai to school this morning I realised that this is the last time I will be driving him to Primary school. Ever.

After six years of primary school (and a year of prep) the time comes for a new chapter. Moving on to secondary school. Primary school in Australia closes off with graduation. I knew graduation from high school in America, which is a big happening, but I did not expect a big event for primary school. How wrong was I? Continue reading “Very last day of Primary School”

Posted in School

Showcase 2017 – Luka on Stage

With our one way ticket to Europe in our pocket, we have entered the ‘last time to…’ stage. Since we have two children in an Australian Primary School, this has played a big part in our daily life.  Without a doubt one of the most memorable school experience is Showcase.

Showcase is the biggest event for Essex Heights Primary School and it is quite impressive. It is a very professionally run show, with all the children singing and playing instruments on a large stage. We are talking ages 5 to 12 year here. If you close your eyes, that is sometimes easy to forget. Don’t believe me? Close your eyes and listen to the performance of the Year 3-4 choir, roughly 160 eight to nine year olds:

Next to the regular curriculum that all schools have to follow, each Australian school has a focus on special area – whether that is in sport, arts and/or culture. This is what makes each school unique and different from the other. I guess this is what has impressed me most here.

Singing lessons are part of the curriculum and you can choose to learn how to play an instrument. In Year 4 they play the Marimba, so everyone gets to learn how to play an instrument.

Luka is in Year 4 and started flute lessons at the start of last year. She has lessons during school time and band practice before school. Because of this she ended up being on stage five times: Combined Bands, Marimba Ensemble, Year 3-6 Choir, Year 3 &4 Choir and the school song. So no doubt that in the run up before Showcase a lot of time went into the preparation. Quite an experience to be involved in such a large production, but since they do this from the start of school it is something that becomes natural to them, at least that is how it looks.

We will try to make a short movie with an impression of the whole night. So stay tuned.

Posted in Daily life

Halloween in Australia

Halloween is not a part of the Australian culture, but we have seen it grow in the two years that we have lived here. Or maybe our children are teaching us… or we are just finally starting to understand the rules.

But since any excuse is a good excuse to invite friends over for dinner, we have adapted to this new tradition. We made some soup and ‘mummy sausage rolls’, baked one of our almost famous bread from scratch and asked our friends to bring some bites as well. So we ended up with plenty of food, enough to also feed the extra children that we picked up along the way while trick-or-treating.

So what are the rules to Australia Halloween?

You dress up in a costume and knock on the door of houses and say ‘trick or treat’. Don’t forget a big bag to carry your candy in, but also make sure you have a trick up your sleeve to impress people, as they are not expecting that! Or as Kai said, bring an egg and pretend like you will throw it.

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You go to the houses that are decorated and leave the others alone – unless you enjoy to see how people are quickly hiding. For anyone out there who thinks they can do that without getting noticed, it is not working!  If you decorate your house, that is an open invitation to all kids to come knock on the door for a treat.

How did we do it?

I spent a half day in the kitchen, we gathered at our house with three other families at 5. The three women went out with the six kids and the men stayed at home to warm up the food and give out candy to the trick-or-treaters at the door.

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After an hour and a half the group of kids had doubled, the bags were full of candy and we went back to our place to eat the warm treats.

For us it was a great get together with friends that are born in China, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

I like Halloween!

Posted in Practical - Living in Australia, Tidbits

Renewing a Dutch Passport in Australia – Part 2

Luka and I were standing on the train platform in Sydney Central, five km away from the consulate when we heard the announcement ” the next three trains will terminate at this station”. After having been traveling for four hours already, were we really going to miss our appointment now? Then the next announcement came through: “There is a car on the train track towards Bondi Junction”. That did not make our situation any better… Continue reading “Renewing a Dutch Passport in Australia – Part 2”

Posted in New Zealand

The Greenshell mussel capital of the world

While we were on our road tripping holiday in New Zealand, on our way to Picton where the ferry would take us from the South to the North Island, we past a sign that told us that we are driving into the green mussels capital of the world. And it was almost lunchtime. This just had to be a clear sign for us to stop here! Continue reading “The Greenshell mussel capital of the world”

Posted in New Zealand

Traveling New Zealand with a non-self contained camper van

We are passionate about the outdoors and freedom camping allows you to stay in more remote area’s. When I read that in order to stay at a free campsite you need to travel in a self-contained vehicle, one that has a toilet and a grey water tank and we had not booked that, I tried to upgrade our car. But they were no longer available. Freedom camping might be off limits for us this trip…. Continue reading “Traveling New Zealand with a non-self contained camper van”