Well, the end of 2019 was relatively easy for Kyah. She finished school and dance about mid November. She had a fair bit of time on her hands, so she was doing Pilates 4-5 times each week. She was also doing her business diploma. She made sure she had some down time, lots of resting, sleeping, recovering from the busy year, but she also kept up her training. Food wise, she indulged a little bit, but got back on track fairly quickly.
In December she went to see Queensland Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker. As always, Queensland Ballet did an amazing job of this ballet. Kyah really enjoyed watching it. It was the final commitment Kyah had for the year.
We had a Christmas party at our place mid December. It was a pretty good afternoon / evening of laughs, fun and super soaker fights. Very appropriate for the temperature of Brisbane.
We caught up with a friend at Southbank. He’s from the Gold Coast and we might see Gerry every few months. We had a swim at Southbank which was lovely; the water was not cold at all – which is one thing both Kyah and I do not like. After swimming for at least an hour we went and had dinner at GYG then dessert at Cowch. I have never had ice cream so creamy ever! This dessert bar is simply amazing. A bit on the expensive side, but the taste is just so creamy and divine. If you get a chance to go there, you really should try it out.
We headed down to Port Stephens on 21/12/19. A friend of ours mother passed on 18/12/19 so the funeral was 23/12/19. The drive down was very long. So much traffic and road works most of the way. It took over 11 hours for us to get there. 2 hours to get from Brisbane to the southern end of the GC! Not a good start. Kyah did some driving and she did really well. Seeing places along the highway that were totally burnt out from the fires that had passed through there only days before was a reminder of just how far the fires had spread at that time.
NSW and QLD have different road rules when it comes to L platers. L drivers in QLD can drive the recommended speed limit. In NSW, L drivers cannot exceed 90km/h even on the motorways. Displaying the L plates is also different rules, so we made sure we were compliant with the correct rules for the state she was driving in.
We saw Kyah’s dad and the dogs. Spent a fair bit of time with the dogs. They were pretty happy to see us. Walks along the beach, playing with them, and them sitting on my lap! We saw a couple of friends on the Saturday and Sunday but that was it. Time was pretty short so we were not able to see many people at all. It was a shame, because we wanted to see a lot of people and catch up with them, but what can you do? We stayed one night with Tina and Vanessa, which was great. Then we stayed 3 nights with Anne, which was also great. Funeral was Monday. It was so nice to see our dear friend Sandra, but it would have been much nicer under different circumstances.
Tuesday we had Christmas drinks with some friends at Anne’s. That was lovely. We did presents that evening with Anne. Then Christmas Day, Wednesday, we drove to Sydney. It was a very different Christmas Day to say the least, but without speaking badly about anyone, let me just say families can be very trying. I had to file a missing persons report to find out where my Dad was!!! Not something I was expecting. Kyah was so supportive of me the entire day and she really never had a Christmas Day because we were looking for Dad, at the police station and on the phone trying to speak to Dad. Such a sad and shocking day for both of us.
Aside from that we caught up with my friend Monisha, who we haven’t seen for about 7 years. We went to her wedding in Fiji and she now lives in England. So we don’t get to see her much at all. It was really nice seeing her. We stayed with Kyah’s paternal grandmother on Christmas night. It was lovely seeing her and one of Kyah’s cousins. I am so glad Kyah has relatives on her dad’s side that are nice and she sees on a semi-regular basis.
Boxing Day we got on the Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas cruise ship. A 10-day cruise around the south island of New Zealand. Apparently, the ship is the largest to come to the southern hemisphere. It takes about 5000 passengers. It is big. Far too big for our liking. There was so many people on the ship we did not get to do many activities that we wanted to do. The queues for each thing were so long. We simply did not want to stand around waiting for a turn. If you really wanted to do something, see a show, participate in something, you had to go to that venue at least an hour before start time to ensure you got a decent seat. So our holiday was nowhere near as active as we had anticipated, very relaxing … we both did need to rest. Cruise life can be very relaxing and very easy. Food was fantastic, staff were so friendly. It was just a shame there was so many people on the ship and wait times were so long. I did leave a constructive evaluation with Royal Caribbean, but they never replied. That too is disappointing.
One thing we did do that was so much fun was the indoor skydiving. I just loved it. Kyah didn’t enjoy it as much as I did, but I recommend if you ever get a chance to do it, to take up the opportunity. It was great fun.
We did a cupcake decorating class at Jamie Olivers’s Restaurant. Here is the final products – not very technical, but the bonus was they you got to eat your products.
We went to the gym on the ship eight of the ten days which was really good. The two days we didn’t go was because of the day tour commitments we had. Kyah allowed herself to eat a few indulgent things the first 3-4 days, then stuck with the more healthy options for the remainder of the trip. Really we don’t “get our money’s worth” on a cruise, because we sometimes only have 2 meals a day, and we definitely don’t overload our plates with food. Each to their own. We enjoyed eating the healthy options without having to prepare them ourselves or clean up afterwards.
Most of the day tours we did were really good. We were about 10cm from little Blue Penguins nesting and were looking straight into their eyes as they were laying there. We saw Yellow Eyed Penguins on the beach, apparently these are listed as an endangered animal species, with only about 4000 of them living. We had a 4 day old fur seal and it’s father right beside us on a path. We watched a colony of fur seals playing and then two males almost had a fight. These encounters with nature were just so special. We had smoke from Dunedin all the way back to Australia, due to the extent of the fires in Australia and the direction of the winds.
The towel folding talents of the housekeeping staff was something to be admired. This was a display on the final day on the ship.
Once we disembarked on January 5, we drove from Sydney to Newcastle and caught up with Kyah’s dance teacher from The Bay. It was so nice to see her. She is always so encouraging with Kyah and supportive of where Kyah is going and what she is doing. Then we headed to The Bay.
Kyah was planning on spending a week with her dad and seeing people in The Bay, but decided against it. So she came home with me. We left at 4am on January 6. The traffic was much better. It only took 9 hours all up to get home.
Leading up to school and ballet, Kyah has been doing Pilates 3-4 times each week, exercises in the gym at home and all her foot strengthening exercises every night. She has definitely matured with her attitude towards building the foundation of strength, which is so good to see. She had to have a medical with the GP. We have been on a couple of rather enjoyable shopping days. We went and Saw “Bombshell”. We’ve been out for dinner with friends. We’ve been culling more stuff from our house; selling a few items, giving other items away, both large and small. It’s great to get rid of things we don’t want or need anymore.
Tuesday was orientation for Queensland Ballet and school. The new facility has just opened up at Kelvin Grove and it is amazing. https://www.queenslandballet.com.au/academy/about-academy/facilities The kids in the academy are so fortunate to have such a world-class facility for their use. Kyah is looking forward to the year ahead. She has stayed fit and strong over the break, so she should not have any issues with returning to dance and experiencing soreness. Her school load should be fairly easy as she has been doing some of her diploma every day since we got home from the cruise. This year, she only has english and diploma to complete. She is undertaking further studies but I will tell you about that next post.
2 Tim 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. NIV
Note: the photos of the flowers were taken in Zealandia Sanctuary, New Zealand.