Graduation is Done

Well the last few weeks have been very busy for us. I mean, when are they not? But we have had lots of different things on and some of them have been quite exciting.

We have been down to see my dad at tweed a few times. He is always very unpredictable with how he presents when we see him. One day he is totally off in his own little world and other days he can be quite engaging with us. We have both learned not to be upset by how he presents, but just to be settled in ourselves that he is comfortable, not stressed and soon enough he will be going home – something he has been looking forward to for many, many years.

Kelvin Grove State College had their graduation ceremony for the year 12 students on November 18. Each student was able to take 2 people. Kyah was fortunate enough that borders to NSW were open to those that were not living or had visited a hot spot. So her dad was able to attend with me. The function was very COVID compliant. The two people that came for each student had to stay and sit together. There was no walking around, no talking to others allowed, no socialising with others allowed. All the students; 17, 18 and 19 years of age, were all sitting in very close proximity to each other. I know the experts say “children” are not good transmitters of the COVID virus, but at what age are people defined as adults??? There was two seats close together, then the next lots of two seats was a 1.5m square away.  It was simply bizarre. The most confusing thing about all this was that, we all had to comply with these very explicit rules in order to allow to have the function conducted. But that very same evening 50,000 people were allowed to attend a State of Origin game, where no one practiced physical distancing. The rules seem to be very confusing.

Anyway, Kyah has now graduated from high school. She has had a very unusual schooling. She started school in 2008. Her first year she was in a composite class Kindy and year 1. She continued in composite classes up until she was in year 3, when  we left NSW and moved to QLD.  She was supposed to move into grade 4, but the QLD schooling system insisted because of her age, she needed to be in grade 5. She was one of the oldest in her year in NSW, but she then became one of the youngest in her year. So she missed grade 4.

Kyah’s grade 7 was the first year in QLD to attend high school. In the past it had been that year 7 was the final year of primary school. In grade 7 Kyah was in the Japanese Immersion program at Robina high school. It was so full on. By semester 2 the students (a select handful) were learning math, science and business studies in Japanese! The teacher spoke Japanese, all writing was in Japanese,  the text books were in Japanese, the exams were in Japanese. Kyah and the other students  didn’t even really know Japanese at this stage. She was also doing 30 plus hours of dance each week. By term 1 of grade 8 it was pretty tough. The final straw was when the science teacher expected the students to learn and know the periodic table off by heart in Japanese!! We decided to pull her out of mainstream education. Kyah then did home education with me as her teacher. That was stressful and very busy.

Grade 9, Kyah did distance education. She was dancing almost full time and doing school via distance ed really worked for us. It taught Kyah to be responsible and she learned time management, and the need for prioritising.

Grade 10, 11 and 12, she did at Kelvin Grove State College. But grade 10 she would attend school until 1.30pm, then dance with the Queensland Ballet Academy until 5pm. Grade 11 and 12 she danced from 7.30am till 1.30pm then did school till 5pm. Her subjects were not mainstream, so she did not have to attend school like other kids. She completed a Certificate IV in Dance, outside of school. She completed a Diploma of Business as part of her school workload. She completed a Certificate in Anatomy outside of school.

Her grade 12 is the first grade to go through with the ATAR system. Then needless to say her grade 12 is the first year to have to deal with the pandemic that we know of as COVID-19. A lot of online lessons, minimal socialising, no excursions, very restricted formal functions, graduation was restricted and no formal schoolies.

Despite all these things, she has graduated very successfully. She is currently doing the practical portion of her Pilates Instructor course. We anticipate she will do very well with her results from her one exam. And she will more than satisfy the criteria for graduating, i.e. you need 20 points to graduate. Kyah will graduate with 25 or 26 points. And she did it all in 12 years, not 13. All the kids she started school with still have another year of school to go.

A beautiful gift for Kyah from Anne for graduating. They smelled and looked wonderful.

Her final last day was November 20. Apparently there was a “compulsory” BBQ breakfast the students had to attend. So she did. There was nothing of note that happened, so we are still wondering why it was compulsory.

We had some friends come over for dinner and celebrate Kyah’s completion of school. Kyah did lots of things with her dad while he was up here. It was nice that I could leave them to do what they needed / wanted to do. They used Kyah’s car and spent some good time together. Kyah took him to his first and second Pilates class ever. At least now he will know what she is doing when she says she is working.

We have been looking for a house to purchase in Brisbane. Both Kyah and I have decided that Brisbane is a lovely place to live. She has been fortunate enough to have received a half sponsorship for her Pilates course. So we agree she should commit to working for Liz for at least 18-24 months. So Kyah is in Brisbane for at least that time. I plan on staying for longer than that. My business is picking up and doing really well. I do not want to move again and have to start all over again.

So we’ve been looking at houses to purchase most weekends. I have very specific requirements so even though the description of a house sounds great, it may not be anything near what I need. We’ve been seriously looking  for at least 12 months and half heartedly looking for another 8 or so months. Nothing that fit my specific requirements ever came up. Anyway, last weekend we found the perfect house. It has been renovated and the layout is ideal for my needs with my business. Ceiling height is perfect, location is perfect, size is perfect. So now we are in the process of selling our house on the Gold Coast and buying this house in Brisbane. Don’t believe  anyone if they tell you it is a buyer’s market. It really isn’t. It is a seller’s market at the moment. Houses are being listed and within one to two days they are going under contract for a lot more than the asking price. This is Brisbane in particular.

So are really looking forward to being in our own home again. We have spent a great deal of time restoring furniture and staining it or painting it so it is fresh and “new” when we move. Here is an example of what we have been doing.

This was a table we’ve had for a while. Never like the shape but never had time to do anything about it…

Changed the shape and sanded it back.

Finished product.

The coffee table matches another table I’ve done. I am also going to do a small book case the same colours. Just so they all match. Kyah is also very keen and helpful with making sure all items of furniture are suitable for the new house. She has a flare for interior decorating.

We spent a whole day a couple of weekends ago making Christmas cushion covers. We purchased Christmas fabric and decided what fabrics went well together. Then we used the sewing machine and overlocker and  made five cushion covers each. The idea is that as the Christmas season comes closer to just put the covers on our normal cushions, simply to make the room more festive. Here’s a photo of them.

All the cushion covers. Some do not have cushions in them here.

      

    

Here is a few of them up close.

So another 6 days and Kyah will be fully qualified to work as a Reformer Pilates Instructor. She is hoping to work lots and lots. She’s never had the ability to work because dance has always taken up too much time, it has also been unpredictable in that rehearsals for performances would be scheduled with very little notice to prepare or change plans. I think Kyah is really looking forward to being in an environment where the people are friendly, helpful, positive and she knows what is required of her and when. We found the unpredictability from year to year with the ballet was very unsettling.  We are both very happy to be out of that.

Phil 3: 13-14 1Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

 

A New Beginning

Wow! Time seems to be moving so quickly. It is almost half way through November. So much has happened since the last post. Where to start ….

Kyah is so very happy now. She does not miss the ballet world at all. So many people are still commenting on how happy, relaxed, at peace and confident she now appears. She definitely made the right decision to leave.

It is very sad that certain people have caused such angst and turmoil in her life that they can completely turn Kyah off her dream. There have been a few negative comments (even after she’s left ballet), being made by both peers and teachers, regarding Kyah. It seems that these people are still jealous of her. Hopefully one day they will grow up, stop the appalling behaviour toward her, stop the negative treatment, the nasty rumours and lies they have been spreading and realise that bullying is not acceptable.

One teacher said that challenges are what makes someone stronger and more determined, to achieve. Yes, I totally agree, so does Kyah. But when there is abuse of all levels, humiliation, constant denigration and bullying, from an adult towards a child, that child is going to start to tire out. A hurdle race with the hurdles placed closely together is a short  race. It is not a marathon. Even the steeple chase allows the athlete time to recover to prepare for the next hurdle. Kyah was subjected to teachers and peers abusing her for a number of years without any respite from the torment.  It was inevitable she would tire. It is tragic and criminal that these teachers are able to inflict their insecurities and old-fashioned beliefs of teaching onto students they are supposed to be caring for, nurturing and developing into world-class ballerinas. I know it is not just the ballet world that this happens in. It is time people stood up as a united force and spoke up to stop the abuse of children and to stop these teachers having abusive control over others. I do believe that one day this will happen.

On a positive note: Kyah has completed studying the theory portion of her Pilates Instructor Course. She has her practical portion November / December and then she is a fully qualified Pilates Reformer Instructor. I am going to be her test dummy, on the last practical day. I am looking forward to doing six pilates classes in four hours! It should be great fun. Kyah is hoping to get lots of work once she has achieved her qualifications. When she is settled with her work schedule, she plans to do further study – Pilates Matwork and then work in that area as well.

She has definitely moved onwards and upwards quite quickly since leaving the ballet world. It is kind of a blessing (if you can call abuse a blessing) in disguise. There is no job security in the dance world. You get a contract for a 12 month period and generally you don’t get told if your contract will be renewed until close to the end of the year. Not much time to find another dance company to work for. Living like this would definitely hinder Kyah being able to settle anywhere, get a mortgage, have any job security. These factors in themselves are a great reason for Kyah to leave the dance world. As I said before: onwards and upwards for Kyah.

We have been to see my Dad a couple of times. He is in a nursing home now; has been since the beginning of this year. It has been very traumatic for us. For some reason, my family decided to cut me out of knowing what was going on with Dad. I ended up having to file a missing person’s report to find out where Dad was! My family knew but refused to tell me! Yes, it is true. You cannot choose your family. Anyway, as difficult as it is now, both Kyah and I see Dad as often as we can. COVID-19 obviously put a big hold on us visiting him. Now NSW/QLD borders are open we are able to see Dad a lot more. It is amazing, and very sad, how fast he has declined since being in a nursing home. All we can do is continue to pray for him; that he is not in pain, and that he is safe and comfortable.

We’ve been busy looking for a house to buy. So many different options – buy a suitable house and move in as is, buy a house and renovate it, so it is suitable, buy a block of land and build a suitable  house. At this stage the housing market seems to be in favour of the seller. Houses are coming on the market and being sold within days. So we need to be on top of anything new that comes on the market. We also have a few suburbs that we are looking at, so that also limits our options a bit. The right place will come up at the right time; we just need to be ready to go.

We’ve had a few social activities on; ferry rides with friends, brunches, dinners, lunches, shopping days, birthdays, and candle parties. Catching up with friends on all occasions which has been really nice. COVID-19 has really affected everyone in some way or other. We are both really noticing how much we don’t go out now.

Our friend Ruth makes beautiful candles; soy wax and cotton wick. Scent of your choice, colour of your choice. Refills available for your candle holders. We had a birthday party for a friend and then straight after we had Ruth show her candles to those that were there. Everyone loved them and bought heaps for themselves and Christmas presents. It was a great success for Ruth, and both Kyah and I are so pleased for her. Here is Ruth’s website if you are interested in purchasing custom candles that are not only beautiful, they are also non-toxic. https://www.avellecustomcandles.com/

In preparation for us moving house, we have been restoring some of our furniture. Most of the furniture doesn’t need to be restored, but I think it will be nice to have it all similar colours, rather than different timber colours. So the pieces are getting a stain and varnish to pick them up and make them all close to one of two colours. Here’s a couple of pieces we have done so far. Obviously there’s a darker stain and a lighter stain. The plan is to have furniture pieces of the similar colours together in the new house. It’s a project in process. There’s a few more pieces to do yet. So add this to the list of things to do in order to be ready to move – there’s lots to do.

Before

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After

Kyah has finished school. Her one and only exam was last Monday October 26. She had to sit English for year 12. She had no other exams for school. So although she has finished her school  work, she still has to attend school until her graduation which is November 18. I am amazed school is still having classes once block exams are complete. Anyway, the school is allowing two people per student to the  graduation ceremony, so Kyah’s dad and I are going. He is flying up next weekend and spending a few days with Kyah. She is very much looking forward to seeing him. She has not seen him for a few months due to the border closures.

The afternoon of Kyah’s English exam. No more school. Stepping into a new phase of life.

Kyah loves organising and arranging things. She’s had a couple of friends get her to rearrange and tidy their bookcases. She’s had heaps of fun doing it and seeing the before and after results. I hope she gets more of those jobs – keeps her busy, gives her a sense of achievement, and she loves doing it. Time will tell.

So now the wind up to the end of the year. I imagine most people are looking forward to the end of 2020 and hopeful that 2021 is a much more positive year. We are both looking forward to Christmas. By then Kyah will be working, and I am planning on having a bit of a break. It’s been a big year.

Isa40:31 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (NKJV)