Moving Right Along

It will be August in a few days. Gosh the year is flying by. Kyah continues to get up at 4.50am, get herself ready for ballet and school, and is out of the house by 6am every weekday. Some mornings are harder than others, especially when it is cold. But thankfully it has not been a very cold winter – neither of us like the cold much.

We have done our share of cold temperatures. In 2013 we went to Canada in their winter and did all the winter activities – skiing / snow boarding both Whistler and Blackcomb, dog sledding, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, climbing glaciers, saw the Aurora Borealis. It was a fantastic holiday – the snow was over one metre high on the sides of the roads, the snow was freezing on the windscreen of the vehicle; the wipers didn’t work, so you had to stop the vehicle and gently hit the windscreen to break the ice so the wipers would work and you could see again. We had icicles on our eyelashes, all the lakes were totally frozen over, cars were sliding off the roads because of the ice. I could go on for ages about how different the life is over there to here, especially in winter. It was cold: we were aware the temperature at one point got down to minus 34 degrees celsius when we were there. Not sure why we don’t like the Brisbane winter mornings when they get down to 6 degrees, but we don’t.

We used to go to the snow every year. Kyah would ski and I would snow board. She started skiing when she was 2 years old, and she got to practice every year when we went . She became quite good at it. However, once she decided to take dance seriously, she had to make the decision to stop skiing. It is a risky sport for knees and other injuries and she cannot afford to get injured, so we really have not been to the snow since 2013. Oh the sacrifices we make! Not complaining … I do not cope well in the cold.

We have noticed the mornings are getting lighter earlier, so that makes getting up a bit easier. It won’t be long and spring will be here. If this winter is any indication of what a “Brisbane winter” is usually like, bring it on. It is quite pleasant. There have been a couple of quite cold mornings, but mostly it has been very manageable.

We have had one week with no students and it has been really nice. A bit of a rest and normality in the house has been good. By the end of this week, we will have two students for a month. That will keep us both busy and on our toes. It is always disruptive having strangers in your home, but usually the students are lovely and it is nice to welcome them into our country and help them get set up.

Kyah has been driving a fair bit. Most days she drives somewhere. So far she had proven to be a pretty good driver. Each time she drives I notice her confidence improves, which is great. Every now and then something happens and she realises she needs to stay totally focused and be aware of other drivers, and pedestrians  on the road. You know the “blind spot” – it is called a blind spot for a reason…. she learned that one when she was on the motorway!!! Learning to drive is a huge lesson, and  experience is the best teacher for us all. I am amazed at how aware of her surroundings she is; this awareness will really help her become more proficient at driving. There are some people driving on the roads totally oblivious to everyone else. I am glad Kyah will not be one of those people.

On August 9, the school has a “Night of Dance” showcase. Kyah, along with the other kids, have had to attend school on Sundays for rehearsals. Add this on to the already very-full schedule and you have a very busy, tired person. She missed this Sunday as we had a special day with some dear friends – we caught up with Kate and Misha first. Then we had lunch with a small group of lovely friends for Ruth’s birthday. It was a long day, but very worth it.

The restaurant we went to had very healthy options, so we were forced to eat well, which  shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. This salad was amazing. It was all greens with smashed avo and a lovely dressing.

Kyah has been doing pilates at least twice each week. She sees a physio at least once every three weeks, just to keep on top of things, and she has me constantly on her to ensure she is doing something constructive. It is a never ending  requirement that she look after herself. She eats well, goes to bed early, drinks lots of water, makes so many sacrifices to ensure she does not go backwards, or get run down. I assume every dancer is the same; if they want to be any good at what they do. Kyah does not complain about it, but does get tired… tired equals grumpy. There is a huge incentive for me to try to prevent her from getting tired!!!

Queensland Ballet Academy are currently preparing for the end of year gala performance. Usually all the dancers really look forward to this. Performing is why they practice. I also look forward to seeing Kyah dance. She is beautiful to watch. Then coming up after that will be the end of year exams and reports, along with notification as to whether they are asked back into QB or not.  Very soon this year will be over.

Kyah got her hair cut the other day. She got it cut as short as possible so she can still put it in a bun. Because her hair is so thick, it gets really heavy when it is long, then put long, thick, heavy hair into a bun – it can actually cause neck problems and headaches. So I am glad she has realised it is more appropriate for her to have short hair. For the time being, Kyah is enjoying the short hair. Again, it’s another sacrifice that she is making to accommodate her dream. There are so many sacrifices to be made on a daily basis. The life is very different compared  to other teenagers her age. No late nights, no going out on weekends, minimal socialising because of time constraints, constantly being mindful of what she is eating and drinking, being aware of physical activities that may cause pain or injury. The list goes on.

I have just ordered new pointe shoes for her. About a year ago, she found a pair of shoes that suit her feet and feel relatively comfortable – if pointe shoes can ever be described as comfortable! The only issue was that she was wearing out a pair of shoes every second week. This was costing me a small fortune. Thankfully Bloch do take special orders for shoes. We order the Synergy with an extra strong shank. Because you need to pay extra for special orders we order 8-10 pairs at a time. And, because Kyah’s feet have stopped growing, we are able to buy 4-5 pairs one size and the other 4-5 pairs a half size larger to fit her larger foot. When the order arrives we pair up her shoes to suit her and the sewing and darning begins. Apart from the fact I almost have to take out a small loan each time I place this large order,  the only real problem with this is ensuring the order is placed soon enough so Kyah is not without suitable pointe shoes.

We have managed to book a holiday for the end of the year.  Usually Kyah has dance workshops on through the holidays, so us going away is very difficult. This year I have managed to find a cruise for us to go on straight after Christmas. It’s over to New Zealand. Cruising some of the north island, but mostly the south island. Kyah has never been to the south island of NZ before. I am sure she will notice the striking difference between north and south islands. The timing of the cruise is perfect, the duration of the cruise is perfect; 10 nights, the onboard entertainment is perfect, the activities on the ship are amazing; indoor skydiving, rock climbing, dodgem cars, the highest viewing deck on an arm that moves out over the ship, gym, pilates, spin classes,  and the list goes on. It should be a great holiday.

I made some more protein balls. Something simple and quick to grab. Healthy and filling. Kyah also likes the chocolate mud cake muffins and the banana bread I made her this week … surprise, surprise!!!

Psa 112:1-2 Praise the LORD.

Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in his commands. 

Their children will be mighty in the the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.

 

She’s driving!

Well, if it is at all possible, we have been more busy than ever.

The last few weeks have been holidays for Kyah. She pretty much had 2 weeks off ballet and 3 weeks off school. The way QB plan their later half of the year is that they do a 9 week term for term 2. The school term is 10 weeks, so most of the kids take the last week of term off school to ensure they actually get 2 full weeks off both school and dance. This is to help the dancers prepare for the gala performance they have in October and other requirements that need to be fitted in and scheduled appropriately for the end of year.

Kyah participated in Pilates classes most days in the holidays when she was at home. It’s really important for her to maintain her activity levels while she is off dance. If she doesn’t maintain activities, then when she gets back to normal routine, her body will be too sore and the program is so busy she just wouldn’t have time to catch up and recover from the muscle soreness. So prehab (injury prevention) is crucial.

She flew down south and spent a few days with her dad. She enjoyed the time away  from her usual routine … and me! Lazy walks along the beach, time with the dogs, she managed to catch up with just one of her friends from down there and spent a bit of time with her dad.

On Tuesday, she flew back with a friend of ours, Anne. Once they both arrived it was pretty much full on from the start until we dropped Anne to Kirra on the Sunday.

On the Wednesday, Anne and Kyah went to see Synergy. It’s a performance by the Pre-Professional and Jette Parker Young Artists Programs in Queensland Ballet. The performance  focuses on contemporary and neo-classical works.  It was at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. Both Kyah and Anne loved it. Kyah missed out on seeing it as part of the QB program, because we had tickets to see the Bolshoi Ballet the same night. So it was good that she got to see QB perform on another night.

Kyah got her results from QB for the first half of the year. She did extremely well and the three of us, (Kyah, Anne and I),  were so pleased with her results. As a token of her hard work – getting up every morning at 4.50am, catching two buses to dance every morning,  pilates classes 3+ times per week and everything else she does with no complaints at all, I bought her a beautiful Ted Baker back pack. I saw it on a fantastic sale (thank you TK Max), and knew she would love it. I think acknowledging her hard work and the great results with the present, is an incentive and an encouragement for her to continue.

 

My toblerone cocktail

Our drinks in the piano bar

Anne had organised a night at the new Emporium Hotel at Southbank. This was the final celebration for Kyah’s 16th birthday. It was a surprise for Kyah, and a lovely one at that. The hotel was absolutely amazing. I had to work so I left Kyah and Anne at the hotel for the afternoon. They had drinks in almost every bar and lounge in the hotel. Then I caught up with them for a cocktail (mocktail for Kyah) in the piano bar. The first photo above is of my Toblerone cocktail. It was delicious. Unfortunately, because I was driving I could only have one.

Then we had a lovely dinner there – we did room service and why wouldn’t you? Their room overlooked Southbank and Brisbane city. Kyah and Anne stayed overnight and just loved it. The facilities were simply divine. The two of them enjoyed the indulgence, even having a “pillow menu” to choose from.

Just one image that was in the elevators – every single panel – all four sides, top and bottom.

This was another image that was in the elevators. I did not see the same image twice in any elevator.

IMG_2196

On the Friday morning, Kyah and Anne walked down to the cultural centre precinct, from the hotel.Kyah participated in a masterclass conducted by the Bolshoi Ballet. She really enjoyed the experience. While Kyah was doing the masterclass, Anne went and saw the Margaret Olley and Ben Quilty exhibition at GOMA. Apparently the exhibition was fantastic. Something Kyah and I plan to see before the exhibition finishes.

That evening we went to see “Yank” The Musical. It was on at The Powerhouse Museum. Our friend Alex Gibson-Giorgio performed as Mitch Adams. It was a great production. Alex has such an amazing stage presence, you can even notice when he is not on the stage. He definitely has a huge future in musical theatre. Amazing voice, and great acting ability. He should go a long way, and we both hope he does

Kyah, Alex & Anne

The cast from Yank

It was really nice to see both Alex and his dad, Tony. It was a very momentous occasion, as it was the first performance Alex has done without his mum, Gayle, at the opening night. Unfortunately, Gayle was killed in an horrendous car accident back in March this year. I am sure she was looking down watching him and would have been so proud of him. I know we all were.

Tony & Alex

Saturday we spent  almost the entire day out; shopping and eating at James Street, New Farm. Something different for us, and it was lovely. Saturday night we had Theresa come over for dinner. It was a great evening had by all. Chatting, laughing, great food, good company …. what more could four girls want?

Sunday we drove down to the Gold Coast where Kyah and Anne did some more shopping at Robina, while I caught up with a friend. Then we dropped Anne at Nel’s place at Kirra.

Our time with Anne here was extremely busy – lots of great memories made, loads of food consumed, and lots of laughs. Needless to say, Kyah and I were in bed asleep rather early on the Sunday night.

Ballet has started back this week. One more week of school holidays so it is kind of an easy introduction back into the onslaught of term three. She was able to watch a performance by QB called The Little Green Road to Fairyland on Friday at QPAC. The performance is targeted at children and apparently it is great. If you have children and have time, it is definitely worth going to see.

Kyah got her L’s through the week. I have taken her for a few drives already. I notice each time her confidence is improving, as are her skills. It can be quite difficult to stay calm at times, but I am learning, and Kyah is listening well, and she is not doing too bad at all. She has done some driving and parking practice in large car parks with only a few cars, loose trolleys, pedestrians and trolley tractors around. She has also driven home on a rather busy road from one of the car parks. We got up early one morning and drove across to West End, before the bulk of the traffic started. She is definitely getting some hours up and her knowledge and experience is growing each time. I am exposing her to more distractions and challenging environments each time, and she is coping really well.

Yesterday,  Kyah caught up with her dear friend Ebony. Ebony has been in France dancing for the last 12 months. She is doing really well over there; she has been accepted back into their program for this coming 12 months, so she goes back over in 5 weeks. Hopefully Kyah and Ebony can spend some decent time together before she has to go back. It is lovely seeing Ebony doing so well with her dance career.  Ebony and Kyah have always got on well and it is so nice to see them reconnect each time they get an opportunity.

Well, it’s back to school and dance tomorrow. Kyah has a large dance assignment due this week for school. Hopefully she has done enough to get good marks. She has plodded along with her diploma through the holidays. Hopefully she can knock over a couple of modules this school term.

Isa 50:7  Because the Sovereign LORD helps me,  I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. (NIV)