She’s 18!!!

She’s 18!

Well time does fly, doesn’t it?

Kyah had her 18th birthday at the end of last month. The “festival of…” is still going, but only slightly. Those of you we have known for seemingly ages, can you believe Kyah is 18? Some of you have known her all her life! She is now an adult. WOW!

Leading up to Kyah’s birthday, life was pretty busy with celebrations for my birthday and Mother’s Day. We were also preparing to go to Tangalooma Resort. There was lots going on with the usual work shifts that Kyah has now, us still doing final stuff to settle in – hanging pictures, rearranging rooms so they function better, figuring out where things are more suited to be stored so life functions a bit more streamlined. Not to mention the usual busy-ness of life itself. 

We have been ploughing through the little tasks that need to be done to help make our new house a home. I’ve made a couple of towel rails to hang; one outside near the pool, and a couple in the laundry. The ones for the laundry are a bit more funky than the one out near the pool. I had some beautiful hardwood that I sanded back and stained. Then just put them together so they function, and are not too fixed or formal. Something completely different and to add a bit of character to the laundry.  We just need to put them on the wall now, then that is a job done. The towel rail beside the pool is more simple and plain in nature and is already hung on the wall. 

     

Kyah is really good with organising and sorting and making things look aesthetically pleasing while being very functional. I just know where things belong, rather than making things “look” good. So between the two of us, we are getting there with settling in. The big one we have not yet touched is the craft/sewing/office room. It will be lovely to get it sorted, but it is a big job. You know the room you have where you just put things in there to be “dealt with later”. This is that room. Kyah is threatening to get it started tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

The gym is pretty much set up now. We are really happy with how it’s turned out. Kevin (Kyah’s dad) had to hang the big mirrors for me, but we were able to do the rest of it. More on Kevin soon. This is the gym from one angle. It is a great space to work in. 

We’ve had a few trips to the local shopping centres. We are so fortunate to have a few different ones very close by; no more than 10 minutes drive from us in different directions. Each centre has different shops and depending on what we are after, we go to the different centres. TK Maxx gets a good hit most weeks. In order to find, and get, a good bargain, you do need to visit there frequently. What a great excuse hey? We have a few friends that don’t have  a TK Maxx close to them, so they love seeing the  bargains that are available and we purchase. 

The trip to Tangalooma Resort was really good. Kyah had her friend Mackenzie come with us. They enjoyed hanging out together. We did the feeding of the dolphins, walks along the beach, loads of coffee and cake. The day of her birthday Kyah and I got up early and went for a walk along the beach to the shipwrecks. It was a lovely walk. It’s really not that far at all from the resort – about a 20 minute walk. 

 

It was funny because I wanted to surprise Kyah with the apartment set up with birthday decorations before she got up on her birthday. But she woke up earlier than me! We went for the walk together and the whole time, I am wondering how on earth I could set the room up without her being there. On the way back to the resort she got the morning phone calls from friends and family wishing her a happy birthday. So while she was chatting to Kevin, I raced inside and set everything up. It took a little while but she wasn’t able to get in because I had the swipe for the front door!!

When I finally let her in (maybe 15 minutes later) she was so pleasantly surprised to see the effort that had been made. It’s not everyday your child turns 18, so you want to make them feel special. Also, going to Tangalooma was the reason for the trip, so why not make the birthday celebrations the focus for the day.

     

We were booked in to do parasailing and quad biking on Kyah’s actual birthday. Unfortunately, the wind was too strong by the time we were scheduled to do parasailing. So we missed out on that – something for another time.  We went quad biking in the afternoon and it was fun. The longer we did the ride, the more confident we got and the faster we went. I had Kyah on my quad bike and Mackenzie was on tandem with someone else. The girls were not allowed to drive the bikes themselves,  because they did not have an open licence. Kyah and I had a pretty good time – I went up the side of all the corners as best I could and as fast as I could. Mackenzie and her driver seemed to be a lot more placid and did not go as fast or as high. The whole activity went for about an hour which was pretty good.

Here’s some pics of  what you can expect to see at Tangalooma Resort.  There’s lots of wildlife and most of it seems to be fairly comfortable with humans being quite close to them. 

 

                                    

That evening, we went to the BBQ Bar and Cafe for drinks and dinner. We got a cocktail for each of us. The barman was so good. We told him it was Kyah’s first legal drink. So he was very generous and kind and gave her a special cocktail and he did not charge us for it!!! He put a candle in it, and we sang “Happy Birthday” to her. A little bit of embarrassment never hurt anyone. Haha!

      

The food was absolutely amazing. We each had a rib eye steak with mushroom sauce, salad and fries. We all agreed it was the best steak, fries and salad we have ever had! Big call – but it’s true.

     

 

The three of us had a great time. The girls spent time together and I had time alone, which was what we all needed. We may go back to Tangalooma Resort again to do the things we did not get a chance to do. Time will tell. It is very close to Brisbane but once you are there, it feels like you are in a different world. A great place for a get away.

Kyah and I went to our dear friend Ruth’s house for another celebration for her birthday. It was lovely to see the ladies again and spend time with them and catch up on what has been happening in their lives. Loads of yummy food and great company. What more could both of us have wanted? Kyah felt very special and that is what matters.

    

We  went to Tweed Heads to see my Dad that same afternoon. He is going OK. It is hard for anyone to improve when they are in a nursing home. I understand the staff are really busy looking after the basic needs of each resident, but it is the mental stimulation they seem to miss out on. Kyah and I play “numbers”, “letters”, bingo, we do flash cards, we read to him  – we try to stimulate him mentally when we are there.  He responds really positively. It is amazing how responsive his brain is. It is also a shame that when his brain is not stimulated, he seems to deteriorate quite quickly, and even further. What a sad way to see your loved ones live, knowing there is nothing you can do about it.

We had a huge day the day we went to Ruth’s. On the way home from Tweed we popped into Miami Marketta to watch a client of mine perform in a band. It was nice to be out and doing something different. There was not too many people there, which was nice. We had more food (too much food for one day), watched Sam play, then we were home by 10pm. Very long day for us.

I mentioned before we are slowly making our house a home. Yesterday, we went to IKEA and bought a number of items for the house. Some barstools, floor rugs, drawers, mirrors, bath mats. Over the last couple of months we have done a bit of shopping; new lounge, occasion chairs, kitchen stuff, rugs, curtains, bedside lights. Yesterday was a bigger shop. We may not need to buy anything more for a long while.  Phew!!!

Kevin came up for a few days to celebrate Kyah’s 18th. He and Kyah spent lots of time together; shopping, coffee, dinner. It was really nice for them to be out and about and enjoying time together. I got some more “alone” time, which was wonderful. We loved the dogs being here as well. They seemed to like the new house and settled in quickly. It became apparent that the dogs are now Kevin’s dogs; they are not ours anymore. We could not ask to have them back – they need to stay with Kevin. So at some stage we will look at buying a poodle. At this point in time they are outrageously expensive, so we will wait for the price to lower.

On a sadder note: I have had a number of people contact me regarding abuse of some sort their child has experienced in the dance world. Not surprisingly, a few people have mentioned the same dance teachers!!! I wonder when the dance world will catch up to the “Me too” movement. I know not all abuse is sexual … but physical, emotional and mental abuse are also abuse and they can scar a person on many levels too. It is not OK for anyone to abuse anybody. At some stage the atrocious  behaviour of these people, and those that are trying to protect them, will catch up to them.

Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. NIV
Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. NIV
Others say “what goes around comes around”.
We wait patiently for their comeuppance; we don’t need to do anything but wait.

 

   

 

HAPPY EASTER TO ALL

It’s the Easter weekend here. We have had yet another eventful few weeks since my last post;  I am sure so many other people have had as well.

Kyah has been working as a Pilates Instructor at five different places – all under the one franchise name. She is really loving the independence, responsibility, the work itself, and freedom of finally having her own money to spend.  She is employed as a casual instructor and generally works set shifts each week. She fills in when staff are away and she has accepted some shifts as “permanent” for her.

She has to get up quite early some mornings – sometimes 4.25am, to ensure she is at work by 5.15am. She also does some late finishes  – some evenings she is home around 9pm. Her shifts are staggered so she does not work all day and she does not work every day. I would say on average she is working about 30 hours per week. She will come home after her morning shift and either have a rest, do some shopping, relax pool side, or do some paperwork.

She really enjoys the work itself and she is extremely comfortable doing the instruction, technique correction and motivation for each client she sees. I think it is second nature to her because she has been around that type of environment all her life.

One of the owners has offered Kyah an opportunity of guaranteed work for at least 20 hours per week, doing both administration work and customer service work. This would be on top of the Pilates Instruction work.  We discussed it and decided it would be an opportunity she should not pass up. It will give her additional experience in both administration and customer service as well as give her a guaranteed minimum 20 hours of work each week. This is a great compliment to Kyah as there are a number of other staff that could have been offered this opportunity, but Kyah was offered it.

We need to look at the new contract to see if she is employed under a permanent part time title or something different. It would be a bonus if that is the case, because each time we go into lockdown due to COVID, she does not work. At the moment she does not mind not having to work, but she will when she is totally responsible for all her living expenses.

In order for Kyah to fit the extra hours of work in, she had to give notice to two studios that she must cut back on work with them. The deciding factor in what two studios to cut back from, was the distance she had to travel. The two that are the furthest in distance for her to travel to she decided to cut back from them. She has definitely made some very mature decisions in the last few months; I am so pleased with the way she has considered her options, discussed it with Anne and myself, how she has conducted herself and how she dealt with the notice of stepping down. Her official last day at each of those studios is April 10, 2021.

The admin and customer service role will start straight after April 10. Her hours for those shifts will be much more reasonable; something like an 8am start instead of a 5.15am start. She is able to choose her hours of work, within reason, and this means she will be able to still work at the other studios instructing. It should be a great opportunity for Kyah. I think the fact she has done the Diploma in Business will help her with what needs to be done in the role. Watch this space … I am very optimistic.

So we were in lockdown yet again – thankfully it was only for a few days. But it is still a huge inconvenience. Yes, we would all rather the inconvenience than having the virus spread uncontrollably. But like I said before, Kyah does not work at the moment when we are in lockdown. My clients were also a bit apprehensive to train, so we had a few hours spare last week. We used our time wisely and managed to unpack every box that hadn’t been touched. We set up the third bedroom and it is ready for guests. We set up the craft room  – it is ready for us to do work in. The only thing I have to do now is hang all the pictures. We have a general idea where we want to put them all, I just need to drill into the walls.

Our lounge room furniture arrives this Thursday. We are really looking forward to that happening. For the last month we have been using out outdoor chairs and a bean bag as our furniture to sit and watch the television on. Not as relaxing as you would imagine. Thankfully we are now at the stage where we have all things packed away so bringing lounge room furniture in won’t be a hassle. We are very ready for it to arrive.

Last weekend we went to Forest Lakes to watch a dance competition. One of my clients was performing / competing. I asked Kyah to come along and help assess my client. It was such a strange feeling going back to a venue that Kyah has performed in, being around the dance world and not being stressed. Usually I am anxious about Kyah performing well; has she prepared enough, has she packed everything, has she had enough sleep, what teachers / parents will be there – goodness knows there are some people we never really want to see again. It was funny – neither of us had any anxiety or nerves about being there. Kyah mentioned how strange it was for her. She said she was nervous to go, but only because she did not want to see certain teachers.

Once we were there, again it was a very different experience for us. The other mums were the stressed ones – we weren’t. We enjoyed watching the dancers perform. Kyah did make a comment that she did not miss the “dance world and all it’s idiosyncrasies”. I think this was great for both of us to know that she has made the right decision to leave the dance world and hopefully she will have no regrets. Don’t get me wrong – it is absolutely tragic why she left, but she made the right decision for her self esteem, her self preservation and her dignity. She did not want to put up with what was expected of her any more.

We have been out a few times for dinner and to friend’s houses and our new local hotel for meals. That has been nice. We’ve also been to the shops and had a few good days of shopping. Generally we don’t go out much and thankfully we haven’t been out much – the recent outbreak of COVID was all around our local area. We had not been to any of the places on the same day that the infected people had been, but we do often visit a number of the places listed. Thank God the outbreak was controlled very quickly.

We both hope you have all enjoyed your Easter long weekend.

James 1:5-6   If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.

 

 

The Countdown is On

We are so excited! We are finally moving house! We have been living in a rental for three years since we moved to Brisbane. Initially we thought it best to rent so we could get to know Brisbane and the different areas to live in. Then once we knew what was happening with Kyah and her ballet we could decide if we would move back to the Gold Coast or stay in Brisbane.

Well, you guessed it, we have decided to stay in Brisbane. It is actually a really good city to live in. It is not overcrowded – so far… It has all the cultural things a person would want; live theatre, museums, art galleries. It has lovely walks and cycle paths. The weather is great – except the occasional very hot, sticky summer’s day – aka “The Cauldron”. The cost of living is not too bad at the moment… However, if everyone from down south continues to move up here and force the prices of housing up it will make Brisbane another fairly unaffordable city for property buyers.

We have been looking for a house to buy for 18 months and could not find one suitable until three months ago. We would occasionally find a house that “would do”, and I’d put an offer on it and find it was already sold. The housing market up here is totally crazy at the moment. Anyway, November last year we looked at eight houses in one day. Only one of them suited us and it was just perfect for what we need. I put an offer on it, and within four hours of the open home we were signing contracts. We were so fortunate they wanted a long settlement because we needed a long settlement due to the lease of the rental we are in finishing in early March this year; the landlord and rental agents we have, would not allow us to break the lease without huge penalties. So we have been really fortunate the sellers were happy to have a long settlement period.

I put my house on the Gold Coast on the market and it sold within four days of being listed. As I said, the market is crazy up here at the moment. Again, we needed a long settlement because the tenants’ lease finished at the end of February this year, and in this situation, she did not want to move out until the very end of her lease, so I could not force her to leave. The timing for settlement and the leases all being completed is too coincidental to not be an absolute blessing for us – considering the huge hassle we had with the first house we moved into when we moved up here. We were there for eight weeks and it flooded and ruined thousands of dollars of our personal items. Then we had to move and sign another lease. It is just amazing that the timing is so perfect for all three houses to be ready at almost the exact same time! Praise The Lord. Settlement is 1st March!

Anyway, our focus has been on moving for almost three months now. We have been restoring furniture, culling, packing. The house is just perfect for us. It’s got a rumpus room that is ideal for my gym, a small pool, 4 bedrooms, the garage has a 3 metre high ceiling; again perfect for all my boxing equipment. Location is great for us – up on a hill, north facing backyard, beautiful views to the city, fully renovated, quiet street. What more could we ask for??

We are almost completely packed – boxes everywhere in the house. Kyah’s dad is coming up to help us move and he will set up all my gym equipment, flooring (compressed rubber matting), etc. Kyah is really looking forward to seeing her dad and moving. We will get the dogs to come and live with us once we are settled. They have not been able to live with us because the yard we currently have is not dog proof. We live close to a main road and the dogs escaped a few times and they were found wandering on the road and the risk of them getting hit by a car was too great, so Kevin has been minding the dogs for us.

Renting has been an absolute nightmare. I could rave on for ages about all the terrible things that have happened; the agents have done nothing to help us; the landlord has gone out of her way to not repair and maintain items – to the point the house is now technically not safe to live in. In actual fact, the rental board are encouraging me to take the agents and the landlord to the tribunal – that is how bad they have been!!! So I have documents totalling 48 pages detailing some of the things they have done and are not supposed to do, and things they have not done and are supposed to do. That will be fun times ahead.

Anyway, Kyah has been working a fair bit. She has five pilates studios that she works in and she is somehow managing to juggle all five locations. She is really enjoying the working life and earning money of her own. She has never had the opportunity before to work and earn money because she has always been so busy with dance, school and trying to do everything for both of those.  She is also enjoying being around people who are actually nice to her! It must be such a refreshing change for her to have people that are not rude, nasty, bully her or try to cut her out. I am so pleased and very relieved she is past all the nastiness and pretentious behaviour that has surrounded her for so long.

She has driven down to the Gold Coast a few times to see a girlfriend and stayed overnight. This too is so nice to see happen. These are things she never had time to do or never felt welcomed to do. She has caught up with another girlfriend in Brisbane and gone out for dinner with her. Again, it is so nice she is doing that. It is also such a quick transition from total dependency to independence. She has her own car, she now has her own money, she is working, she is not at school. She is able to go out and about. It is such a quick transition. I am really happy for her.  I can see why some parents have some sort of conniption as it is happening. I am just so happy for her she is finally enjoying herself and feeling like she belongs.

She has been asked to consider if she would teach a “Dance for Fitness” class to residents in a retirement village. She is going to do it – she seems very keen and the residents also seem very keen to have the class. The ideas for the class sounds really fun. Watch this space.

It has been such a different season this last month sorting out a tax file number and a superannuation company for my not-so-little girl any more. She is now a young woman out there earning money, enjoying herself, making good life choices. Wow! It is only now that I realise when everyone used to say to me “they grow up faster than you think and soon enough they will be out doing their own thing”.  Yes, it has happened. It is a sudden change, but I am so happy for her that she is out there enjoying herself. The last 17 years have now passed relatively quickly, but I remember being in the moment with her and some days, times, stages, phases were not quick at all.  Both she and I seem to have got through the last 17 years relatively unscathed – there are some terrible scars people have left in Kyah and hopefully in time those scars will fade. Her resilience and tolerance is much greater towards people than it would have been if she hadn’t been through what she has. Life is the school of hard knocks.

Luna sniffing one of Kyah’s shoes

Our adopted cat “Luna”. He comes and visits us every day – he stays most of the day with us. I am sure when we leave, he will miss us. He is such a funny little cat. He loves sticking his head in Kyah’s shoes, hugging the shoe, then he wrestles them. We have not had cats before so are not sure if this is “normal” cat behaviour, but we think it is pretty strange. All of my clients love him. He will lie next to them, snuggle into them, lie on their bags and shoes and basically just be a beautiful-natured cat. Not once in three years have I seen his claws come out. He is a typical cat in that he ignores you unless he wants something. He has some traits that are similar to a dog. He will be lying down somewhere, and hear Kyah’s car pull up – his ears prick up, his interest is heightened and he does not put his head down again until he sees her come in and she pats him. Mind you – he is still very much a cat in that he does not race to meet Kyah like a dog would – he lies there waiting for her to come to him! Kyah has loved having him around. She misses the dogs terribly but understands why we can’t have them here. Luna has been a great substitute.

We will definitely miss Luna – he has been a part of our lives for three years here. He just came in one day and made himself at home. He goes back to his owner’s house every night, but spends most of his days with us. We hope the new tenants here like cats – or at least take a liking to Luna as we have. I know most of my clients will also miss him. They are all saying their goodbyes to him as their last training session here is complete.

Luna wrestling with another one of her shoes

We are trying to eat as much food as possible before we move so it doesn’t have to be moved. We made a divine GF pizza. Home made pizzas are usually good – you can put as much of your fave foods that you like. We are quite generous with most toppings – there really is not comparison between a shop bought pizza and a home made pizza, is there??  We still have miles of food in the cupboard and fridge that ideally are eaten before we move. We are managing to get through it, but will definitely not get through it all.

We have purchased a new front loader washing machine; sold the top loader. Sold our leather lounge suite. Bought a lovely sofa, two occasional chairs and a storage ottoman. It is exciting times now – only a couple of days and we will be in our own home again – newly renovated, with some new furniture and everything old has been refurbished to look new and all match.

We still have a bit more packing to do. It shouldn’t take long to finalise everything we need to do now. Cleaners have been organised. Removalists are organised. Mail redirection done. Internet and electricity sorted. Final inspection for the new house was done yesterday. There is so much that needs to be done when you move – it is hard to keep track. Doing all this as well as cleaning each room thoroughly, running a business and working more than full time hours – life has been very hectic.  Kyah is not quite as busy as I am, but she has helped a bit with stuff.
Tomorrow is settlement day. It will be all systems go from tonight. I have friends lending me their vehicle and trailer. I will pack the trailer tonight, the car tomorrow (in between clients). Kevin arrives at 12 noon. Kyah will pick him up, they are meeting the owners at the house to do the key exchange, then the painting of Kyah’s bedroom will start, unpacking the trailer, laying the gym flooring, hanging punching bags, speed balls etc.  By the end of the week we will be totally moved out of here and in our new home. Big moving day is Thursday when the professionals come in to move the big furniture and heavy items. We are so looking forward to it.
Isaiah 43:18-19
18 Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 
19See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Here Comes 2021

Wow, what a year 2020 was. I think everyone in the world has been affected by COVID-19 in some way, shape or form. It is interesting that so many people think things will be different the instant the year changes from 2020 to 2021. Unfortunately, that is not the case. COVID is still around and still causing havoc in most people’s lives.

To update you with Kyah’s movements over the last six weeks; she completed her QCE (HSC) exam. She only had to do english. Like everyone else that did that same exam she found it quite “yuk”. The two question options they had were both very left field and no amount of studying could have prepared the students for the questions they were given. Anyway, she passed with flying colours and did very well.

Kyah completed her online theory training for Pilates while she was finishing school. As soon as her school exam was complete Kyah went straight into participating in the practical component of her Pilates course. This went for ten days with one day off after day 5. She loved every moment of it.  On the final day I was one of a number of participants for the students to use as their clients. I actually participated in sessions for almost four hours. It was great to see the different personalities coming through with the instructors. I know with franchises it is desirable for consistency, and the instructors had that, but with their own little “twist” thrown in because of their area of strength and their individual personality. It was especially fun to be a participant when Kyah instructed. She had an element of confidence and authority that I thought most of the others did not have.  She was very competent and knowledgeable with the work being taught and the practical aspect of teaching, instructing and correcting technique. This does not surprise me much because of her exposure to exercise of many forms,  and being aware of correct technique all of her life. She will do very well in this career path.

She is almost fully qualified as an instructor. She has done four of her six mentoring / shadowing sessions. This is where they get to teach the classes to the paying participants and there is a qualified instructor watching them and giving them support if they need. Apparently Kyah has done very well with this too.

Her fifth session was supposed to be last Friday, but unfortunately, a COVID threat has forced Brisbane into a three day lockdown (so far). So we will wait to see when they are able to complete sessions five and six for Kyah. Once this is done and they are happy with her performance, then she is ready for paid work. Yay. Kyah has never had paid employment. She has been too busy with dance, school, life, prehab, rehab, staying sane.

It has been such a change for Kyah to go to living a normal life. Not having to worry about prehab, exercise, strength work, getting more than necessary sleep,  getting up early, focusing on dance. I have asked her a few times if she misses her dance and she has said she doesn’t miss it. She particularly does not miss the nastiness.

I am training a potential up and coming ballet dancer at the moment – getting her strong and more flexible. Kyah has come in and chatted to my client a few times and each time I can see that Kyah is relieved to be out of the ballet world. Unfortunately, Kyah’s experience of the ballet world has been nothing but tough love, bullying, nastiness and pure meanness. I wonder where Kyah would be now if we did not attend certain dance schools and if she did not have certain dance teachers. I know her experience has turned her off dance, but would she have outgrown it anyway?

Kyah did not attend schoolies. It was not officially on in 2020 anyway due to COVID. There were a number of parties and groups she could have gone away with but she chose not to expose herself to the shenanigans that we envision happen on schoolies. The huge blessing was that she had her Pilates course on at the same time, so it was an easy decision for her. She heard some stories of what happened and she was very glad she did not go.

Christmas was lovely for us this year. It was very quiet. We went to church, and then spent the day together chatting, watching movies, opening presents. We were invited to go to people’s places but we chose to stay at home. We just relaxed and had a lovely quiet time. It was very different for us this Christmas compared to last Christmas: We were supposed to spend the day with my dad and Genny (his wife) in Sydney. However, we spent the morning filing a missing person’s report trying to locate them!  My sisters had my dad and refused to tell me that!  And, Genny was in hospital, and again, they refused to tell me. What a day that was. I cannot say my sisters have changed  for the better in any way, if anything, it would be that their behaviour has become worse. It is really sad to see how much hatred someone can have for no apparent reason and the subsequent behaviour and lies that result from it. Kyah and I are fairly used to dealing with the unwanted behaviour so we have chosen to distance them from us. This tends to keep us safe and sane.

On a more positive note, we are now counting down the days until we move into our new house. 49 days from now is when we get the keys. We are very much looking forward to it. We have been packing, culling, painting / restoring furniture, cleaning.  We are planning what furniture will go in what room, what we need to purchase for the new house. It is all very exciting. We need a new washing machine. We will probably buy a new fridge – the one we have is almost 15 years old. I replaced the fan in the motor about two years ago and it works perfectly, but we are not sure if it will fit in the cavity. We need a new lounge suite to suit the new house, so we will be selling our leather lounge setting. I need to buy compressed rubber mats for the entire gym floor. The room that will be set up for the gym has brand new tiles on it, so to save the tiles and to make the floor user friendly for the gym, I will need them.

Here is one piece of furniture we have restored. It was a dull timber colour. The photo does not really do it justice, but the finished product looks amazing.

     

 

We have come up with a bit of a plan as to the timing of everything as well. Settlement for me selling my house and buying the new one happens on the same day, and then we have 12 days until the lease runs out in the house we are currently in. That’s plenty of time to set up flooring, paint rooms that need painting, move, and then clean the rental we are in. It will be a busy few weeks, but I am sure we will manage.

Here’s another piece of furniture we have restored. This wall unit looks amazing now. We are really pleased with the results we have had.

   

One really exciting thing about us moving is that we will get the dogs back living with us. We have not been able to have the two poodles Oliver and Truffles, live with us while we have been in this rental, because the yard is not dog safe. So they have been living with Kyah’s dad. I am sure the dogs, Kyah and Kevin (Kyah’s dad) will all be happy when the dogs come to live with us. It will be good for me because it will force me to take them for a walk every day. I love walking, but because I don’t have to do it, I generally find other things to do.

We were blessed to be able to spend two full nights and three full days at the Emporium Hotel, Southbank at the beginning of January. Our dear friend Anne shouted us this gift for Christmas and surviving the events of 2020. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Had lots of rest, very long spa baths, showers, room service, watched lots of television, walked along Southbank, had a few cocktails, Kyah had mocktails, we utilised the “pillow menu”.  Here are a few shots of our experience.

A cocktail and a mocktail overlooking Brisbane City, just as the sun was setting.

A cocktail with room service dinner.

The beginning of breakfast

 

Breakfast

Breakfast

The pool. Level 21, overlooking Brisbane City.

Another cocktail and mocktail as the sun is setting.

An uninterrupted view of Brisbane city at night.

We had such a lovely time – just relaxing and enjoying the facilities. Thank you so much Anne for the wonderful gift. Next time you will have to come with us, so you can enjoy it too.

We have just completed day two of a three day lockdown in Brisbane. It has not been a problem for us because we have a gym at home, we have been busy prepping to move and it is only three days. If the lockdown goes for three months I can imagine it would get very tough. But thankfully, the number of cases does not seem to be increasing, so we eagerly await news tomorrow to hear that the lockdown has been lifted.

2 Cor 10:17-18 “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

 

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)

A Series of Unfortunate Events … A Work in Progress

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this post. Both Kyah and I agree, it is time we speak out. 

Kyah has been dancing since she was two and a half years old and it has been a huge part of her life. She has lived and breathed her passion, dance, for the last fifteen years. She absolutely loves dancing and especially loves ballet. Unfortunately, past and recent events have forced Kyah to make the most difficult decision she has had to make so far. 

Kyah has decided to stop dancing. There are many, many instances over the last 8 years that have been very challenging for Kyah. She has come to the realisation that her moral compass is very different to what is required to succeed in the ballet world. 

We have never spoken out about this before, because it is commonly known in the dance world that if you speak out about things that are not right, the chance of you progressing to the level you want is totally restricted, and you would possibly lose every chance you had – no matter how good you are. Only those very few people that have walked this journey with us know what we are about to say. We truly want to thank you for your support through this and standing by us both, and helping me, help Kyah, get through this.

Kyah has always wanted to be a professional ballerina. Over the last ten years we have been told by eight different dance teachers that Kyah has the potential to be one of the best ballerinas in the world. This is not something you ignore, especially after after being told so many times. Each teacher was totally unrelated to the other and it was never prompted. We can only assume that Kyah has the potential to be one of the best ballerinas in the world. Her physical attributes definitely indicate this. She has the “perfect facility” to be a ballerina. Unfortunately, she does not have the attitude necessary: her upbringing will not allow her to tolerate the behaviour that seems to be expected in the dance world.

We are speaking out now because Kyah has decided that becoming a professional ballerina is not worth the angst, and treatment she has put up with. Now, she has nothing to lose by speaking out. We both agree this is the right thing to do for other potential dancers in the dance world and hopefully put an end to unlawful, illicit and disgraceful behaviour.

I will provide some general explanations rather than pointing the finger at certain people. The people involved are fully aware of their role in all of what we are about to share. My reason for doing this is to try to change the culture of the ballet world. It is not acceptable to abuse children – whether it be physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse or any other form of abuse. It is illegal in the real world, why is it accepted, and expected, in the ballet world?

We moved from NSW to QLD in 2013. By this stage Kyah had been told twice she had to audition for professional ballet companies when she became a teenager. It was also the time when the abuse began.  

In 2013, Kyah started dancing at a dance school on the Gold Coast. Unfortunately, some of the kids at this school took an instant disliking to Kyah, and Kyah was subject to physical abuse, bullying and exclusion behaviour. After speaking to the owner of the dance school, she said she would like to teach only Kyah, because she has so much potential, but unfortunately, she could not afford to teach only one child. I was not going to allow Kyah to continue dancing there and be subject to more physical abuse, bullying or exclusion. The children involved with the appalling behaviour were not reprimanded in any way, or asked to leave.  We had to move to another dance school.

This next dance school was very commercial-focused and Kyah really enjoyed her time there. However, it became even more apparent she was meant to be focusing on ballet. She just shone as a ballerina in all her group performances. So we looked at moving her to a more classical dance school.

This next dance school was an absolute alarming bombshell for both Kyah and I. The treatment of, and attitude towards, Kyah was disgraceful and deplorable and those involved should be ashamed of themselves; particularly the owner / teacher in question.

This particular owner / teacher promised Kyah so much at the outset and saw she had huge potential. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, this teacher decided to turn on Kyah and started the verbal abuse by denigrating Kyah, humiliating Kyah, and picking on her in front of the rest of the class. She allowed the other children in the class to humiliate Kyah and they also were able to say belittling things about Kyah in front of the class, and to Kyah in front of the other dancers. The teacher also shoved a metal ruler up Kyah’s back telling her to keep her back straight. This caused bruises and scratches. Kyah’s back was one of the straightest backs in the class. Some other children were spoken to the way Kyah was and they were also humiliated by the teacher – which is simply not acceptable. Once I became aware of the immoral, unethical and simply wicked treatment, I would sit outside the dance room while Kyah had her lessons with this particular teacher; both private and group. I was almost in tears every time I heard this teacher speak to my child. There was never any positive feedback. It was always negative, denigrating, humiliating and contemptible language that was used by the teacher. 

Kyah and I spoke many times about me speaking to the teacher in regards to her treatment towards Kyah. At that stage, both Kyah and I believed that if we spoke up, this teacher would prevent Kyah from achieving her ballet goals. The ballet world is small, and people know people, and people talk. So we let it go for seven months. August of that year, both Kyah and I had had enough of the treatment. I met with that particular teacher. She was furious and incensed that I would “take up her time” to speak about my child. I was paying a small fortune for lessons and I believe I have a right to know how Kyah is progressing, but I also have a right to let the teacher know that I know what she is up to. As far as I am concerned I had a right to request a meeting. After I had the meeting, Kyah and I decided she would leave at the end of the year, because this teacher was not the right fit for Kyah. Kyah does not flourish in a negative, abusive environment … I don’t really know of many people who do.

   

A very sad aspect of being at this dance school was that the other mums and kids knew what the teacher was like but they never said anything. No-one else ever stood up to her, nor did they support Kyah and I when we spoke out. This teacher prevented her dancers from speaking to other kids at eisteddfods, even if they were friends. She spoke very poorly of any child that had been at her dance school and had left. She prohibited her dancers from speaking to another child that had been at her dance school and had left. She encouraged her dancers to bad mouth and denigrate others dancers that were absent from class, during class time. I was appalled that the mums also behaved in this manner. They knew it was wrong, but they wanted to keep this teacher happy so their child would not get ostracised or abused in any way. It seems they compromised their beliefs in order for their child to progress in the dance world. Sadly the ballet students involved were also complicit in this open secret. 

Both Kyah and I totally disagree with this type of behaviour. This is not what I have taught Kyah to do with people in her life. I have always said to Kyah she needs to celebrate other people’s wins, and support them when they don’t win. And just because someone succeeds somewhere does not mean Kyah won’t succeed somewhere – so there is no need to be jealous, envious, or resentful of them. This is definitely not what we have seen in the ballet world.

In the meantime, Kyah and I had decided that she would audition for Queensland Ballet for the Associate Program for 2017. This particular teacher made it very clear she did not like Queensland Ballet and was not supportive of our decision, so it made Kyah’s time there even more difficult.

We found a ballet teacher who teaches the Vaganova style of ballet – this is the style Queensland Ballet perform. We thought it best if Kyah start lessons with her to help prepare Kyah for her audition in the October.

Unfortunately, Kyah injured her ankle in the September of 2016 – the injury that started “Kyah’s Journey”. It was a very easy way for Kyah to leave the deplorable dance school early; so that was a blessing. The teacher never contacted Kyah to find out if she was alright. Kyah also had to stop all Vaganova lessons for the short term.

Once she started back dancing Kyah was subjected to abuse at a level I cannot fathom. I am so upset with myself for not realising it was going on. The only way I found out about a particular abusive pattern of behaviour towards Kyah was one day when Kyah got in our car, she burst into tears (something Kyah very rarely does), and said she was giving up ballet and dancing because she had been told she was “hopeless and would never amount to anything”. She said that if I looked at her legs and her back I would see red marks on her body from where this teacher had been back-hand slapping her all morning. Kyah had put up with this treatment for over four months without telling me. This teacher had reduced Kyah to complete and utter hopelessness and helplessness. I was furious. Apparently Kyah “allowed” it to happen because she thought she was supposed to put up with it if she wanted to progress in the ballet world.

We spoke to a number of mums and apparently this treatment is quite “normal” for that teacher. Yet again, no-one has spoken up because it will jeopardise their chances of progressing in the ballet world. Apparently this behaviour happens more than any of us want to say. 

This particular teacher loved to intimidate Kyah with both words and body language. How can anyone perform well when they are in an environment they are made to feel scared, threatened, and worthless? This teacher tried to intimidate me – something she did not succeed at. This teacher has even posted on her Facebook page “Harsh but precise education…Maybe I should channel those old days intimidation for my next year students”. This goes with a video of a teacher yelling and handling the students in a less-than-desirable manner. Kyah said this particular teacher was doing this same behaviour to her but on a much more aggressive manner because she was in private lessons, there was no-one else around to watch. This teacher said to me that she was jealous of Kyah because “Kyah has the perfect facility” and if she had what Kyah has she could have been the best in the world. 

Kyah faced covert bullying and exclusion treatment from a number of her dance colleagues. She was given the invisible treatment by abusive teachers when in certain group situations. Life has been pretty tough for a number of years for her. Even though we have spoken out to people that should have helped her, we got no support at all. We were told we needed to provide evidence of the abuse.

Just by chance while I was putting this blog together, Kyah came across a post on Instagram by @maddiebless. She had recently done a study on over 900 dancers from all over the world. She found there was many, many instances of abuse of all types happening to dancers. The statistics she details are more than shocking. I have posted copies of her findings throughout this article, with @maddiebless’ permission.

There are many reports of ex-dancers having PTSD as a result of treatment they have been exposed to. I know for a fact Kyah has a number of these symptoms.

 

Kyah has realised that life as a ballerina requires a compromising of her values. Kyah’s moral and ethical beliefs are very different to what she has been exposed to, and she does not want to jeopardise her beliefs for a life of questionable behaviour. Success and survival in the dance world, as it is now, is for the few that are extremely mentally tough, or they have not experienced what Kyah and many others have. The whole environment was very much affecting Kyah in a number of ways. She was not enjoying her ballet, she was having nightmares involving the abusive teachers, she was experiencing symptoms of anxiety, she did not trust certain authoritative figures (some for good reason). The whole experience was really affecting Kyah in a negative way.

We know other people have reported mistreatment and abuse by the same teachers and nothing has been done about it. It is such a shame that these teachers seem to be “protected” by their colleagues. Someone has to draw the line and try to change the culture. I was asked to provide more evidence than just words before they would even listen to me. I don’t believe there was ever any intention of them going to take action. 

Just last year, The New Yorker  and The New York Times reported on a scandal in the New York City Ballet. It took a huge amount of courage for Alexandra Waterbury to speak out. When we read this article we were horrified, but not surprised.  https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/02/18/what-went-wrong-at-new-york-city-ballet  www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/arts/dance/nyc-ballet-alexandra-waterbury.html

It’s unfortunate that Kyah’s experience has been such a negative one, as we both realise that there are ballet studios and companies that encourage, nurture and celebrate each individual. Unfortunately, Kyah’s experience has been mostly the opposite of this. Kyah and I are astonished at what some ballet teachers continue to perpetrate with each class, each day.

Kyah is well aware that those that seem to survive in those negative environments have a totally different outlook to her, possibly because they have not been abused or they know that it is a dog eat dog world and use that to their benefit. Unfortunately, it seems the old fashioned methods of training will continue for a while longer. Ballet teachers need to realise that negativity, abuse, exclusion, giving a student the “invisible treatment” are not constructive or advantageous, when they want to develop dancers that are holistically healthy. 

Kyah has made some true friends in the ballet world, however, it is incredibly difficult when you are constantly in competition with each other. It is very hard for true friendships to develop when you are competing for a spot  – “the spot” – in each performance, particularly when the environment is encouraging that of a cut-throat approach.

     

Also, Kyah has been struggling with a very simple injury all year involving both feet, and this has meant she is pretty weary with striving to achieve. The injuries have been dealt with in a very different manner to how I would have treated them. Unfortunately, due to the method of treatment provided, Kyah has inflammation in her feet and Achilles tendons so bad that neither the sports doctor, nor myself, have seen this extent of inflammation before. This is a very draining situation; it is exhausting both psychologically and physically.  

Kyah has had a very tough time and it seems she is not cut out to be in the ballet world, as it is. It seems to be a very toxic environment. Just look at the figures in the post by @maddiebless. Kyah never wanted or expected privileged treatment. In comparison to the others who have not had to endure the abuse, humiliation, bullying, the trauma of her complete dislocation injury, and this current seemingly never-ending injury, it has been a very tough journey for Kyah. The last eight years have been exhausting and draining for Kyah. When she needed nurturing, encouragement, and uplifting support, she did not receive it. We have even been told that Kyah needs to take ownership of her past experiences! She has taken ownership of them, we were asking for understanding, and support, and it was never forthcoming. 

It seems that the higher someone moves up in the ballet world and heads towards a more  professional level, the less nurturing it becomes. We have been warned to expect levels of abuse there too. At this stage of Kyah’s life, (she is still a teenager) I think she just needs some time out for her to stop, breathe, feel good about herself, build up her self-esteem and confidence, and get ready to go again – whatever that may look like.

Fortunately, Kyah does not have the willingness to put up with what has happened to her. She has seen a number of other very good dancers leave for similar reasons to her. The ballet world seems to be a world we do not agree with. I do hope we can find, or create, a better place for upcoming dancers – to teach them the love of ballet, and dance, to encourage them and to celebrate their wins and support them when they don’t win. This is something Kyah will have to decide – if she even wants to go back into that world.

We would like to thank the teachers who have had a positive impact on Kyah’s life and her dance experience. They have really helped Kyah find that love for her dance. It is just a shame the negative experiences have outweighed the positive, and for the moment, she needs a rest from it all. 

We are extremely grateful for the opportunity Queensland Ballet and Queensland Ballet Academy (QBA) have given Kyah with regards to one full scholarship and one half scholarship over the three years she’s been with QBA.

Normally, I would strongly encourage Kyah to complete any task she has set out to accomplish. In regards to this – Kyah’s mental health and impression of herself is more important to me than her finishing this year at QBA. She stopped dancing on August 7, 2020. Already she feels a huge weight has been taken off her and she has been told by a number of people she “looks happy” and is “glowing”. That is a positive sign. 

It seems dance schools and companies do not have a governing body that they are answerable or accountable to. There is no fear of retribution. As I was told, if I wanted something to happen to the teacher I reported, I needed to prove the abuse. Even if I did, I know nothing would have happened. Sadly, I have been led to believe that other dancers have reported inappropriate behaviour, in fact abuse, by the same teacher and the students were asked to leave that dance facility. This says it all.   

I am horrified at the teachers who have inflicted abuse onto my child. The disturbing fact is that Kyah and I do not stand alone. We have joined an enormous, ever growing group of students and parents / carers who are speaking out. Kyah has very strong moral compass and code of ethics, the treatment of her is something both she and I reject totally. It is a very toxic world and she does not want to be a part of it, as it is. In time she will overcome the trauma she has been exposed to and she will be a blessing and a gift to those she influences in her life.

    

On a more positive note:

In testimony to her resilience and overcoming the trauma she has experienced, Kyah will graduate from high school this year with her QCE, a Certificate 4 in Dance, a Diploma of Business, a Certificate in Functional Anatomy, and she will be a qualified Pilates Reformer Instructor. Quite an achievement for a child that has also been dancing for more than 36 hours per week, every week. 

Two weeks ago, Kyah went for her Provisional Licence test. She got it! First go! No mistakes! She is a capable and competent driver. We are both so pleased, and very relieved, she got her “P’s”. It will free up some time for me with regards to not having to drive her places, and she will be able to book appointments for herself without having to consider my schedule. Already, she has driven to the beach and spent the day up there, had lunch, did some shopping with a girlfriend. There will be many more outings I’m sure.

So even though Kyah is bowing out of ballet for the time being, I will continue to blog Kyah’s Journey for those of you that have told me you look forward to hearing about her achievements, accomplishments and ventures.

John 17:15-19 NIV  15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by d the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

 

An Ongoing Issue

The last few weeks have been full of very different and challenging activities for us. One that has really affected Kyah both physically and mentally, other situations have been rather pleasant.

Kyah has completed her 100 hours of driving. She has had three professional lessons. Russell, her instructor believes she is more than ready to do her driving test. That is now booked in for mid August.

We have been looking for a car for Kyah to purchase. The first car we looked at, we realise, in hindsight, that it was probably stolen. The guy selling it didn’t know much about the information in the log books, there was no rego plates on the car, he wanted me to pay him a “deposit” so he could get the road worthy certificate and to top it off he wanted the entire amount in cash! We escaped that one scarless.

The second car we actually purchased from a car yard, thinking it was a safer option. Within 5 days of purchasing it I took it to Lexus so they could do a thorough check on it and write down everything that was wrong with it so we could get it fixed under the warranty. Unfortunately for us, Lexus did not have much good to say about the car. There was a list as long as my arm of little things that were questionable with the car and “…by the way, the car has been in an accident”! Well, I was not happy.

The guys at Lexus of Kedron were amazing and supportive but did not hold much hope for me to get the money back. They obviously don’t know me that well.

I rang “Irish Brian” and told him we wanted the money back because he had sold us an un-roadworthy vehicle. The technicality of the casing of the headlight not being secured meant the car was not road worthy. “Irish Brian” did not want to give us the money back. When I asked him about the accident the car was in and why had he told me it hadn’t been in an accident he got a bit irate. I was not going to back down. He sold me a car that he knew was for Kyah. He knew the fuel gauge was faulty. That in itself is not acceptable. You do not allow any new driver to drive a vehicle with a faulty fuel gauge. Imagine the issues they could face….

“Irish Brian” told me I needed to accept the fact he was going to fix these “few” items and do a wheel alignment and I should keep the car. I said that the only way I would keep the vehicle was if I had the RACQ do a thorough check of the vehicle and if it came back that car had been in an accident I would take him to the ACCC, Queensland Transport and Main Roads, CarSales.com and whatever current affairs program would listen to me. “Irish Brian” did not like that. He then proceeded to hurl abuse and threats at me. He hung up on me. I rang back. Again the abuse was hurled at me and he said he didn’t want anything to do with me, so I was to take the car back and he would give me my money back.

I suggested a meeting place of Fortitude Valley Police Station so I could be assured of my money and that I received all necessary pieces of paperwork. After that “the manager” dealt with me. She was a lot less explosive and abusive. I took the vehicle back the next day and got all the money back. I guess I won!!!

Lesson: No matter what vehicle you are looking at purchasing and how good it appears, you need to get it checked out professionally before you purchase it. Also, don’t trust a car salesman even if they work in a car yard.

Then we found a great vehicle in Newcastle. Kyah’s dad (Kevin), went and looked at it and took it for a test drive, got it checked out and this has a 12 month warranty. Kevin drove it up last Wednesday and surprised Kyah with the vehicle. The three of us have gone thirds in the vehicle, so Kyah was able to buy a very decent car that is safe, reliable, economical and just what she wants. So third time lucky. She is one very fortunate girl. She is very much looking forward to getting her Provisional Licence so she does not have to catch a bus or rely on me any more. Won’t be too long now. 

This is Kyah’s new car. What a lovely car for a first vehicle. A very blessed girl.

In the meantime while we were looking for a car for Kyah, we found another car the same make, model and year, in Rockhampton. The only issue with the car was that it has a few decent scratches on it, but 30,000 less kilometres on it. Anyway, I decided that it was great buy so I purchased that car. Within 24 hours of me deciding I would buy that car I sold my car! Just waiting for my new vehicle to be trucked down to me. Mind you, there is always a hassle in something that we do. I have never had anything happen without some sort of hiccup, and this is no different. The car was supposed to be put on a truck and brought down yesterday. Unfortunately the company stuffed up the order and the car won’t be put on a truck until Monday. Little hiccup – not too bad. The vehicle should arrive in 5 days time.

While I’m waiting for my new vehicle, I have Kyah’s to use. Something that could have been extremely awkward and disruptive to our lives has turned out pretty seamless. We are both happy it’s worked out relatively easy and we are both looking forward to having our own new vehicles really soon.    

Kyah goes for her driving test on August 18. Naturally we are hoping she will succeed the first time. The professional driver that has taken Kyah for a few lessons seems to think she will pass. I will take her for a few drives up in the area where she will have her test, just so she is kind of familiar with the area.

The neighbour’s cat is keeping us entertained. He is clever enough to know that if he wants to come in our house all he has to do is sit at the door and make the bell on his collar ring. He often comes in and hangs around all day. He has even had a few sleep overs recently. He plays a lot with Kyah, loves running in front of her to try to trip her up, he chases her around and plays with her hair.  When Kyah is on the floor playing with him, he walks up to her and gives her a head butt!  That is the start of the games. He is such a funny little cat. When he’s ready to go outside he sits at the door and rings the bell on his collar. We let him out and off he goes, until next time.

Lunar, the neighbour’s cat having a sleep over.

Kyah has one module of her diploma to receive a “competent” on and then she has completed her Diploma of Business. It has been a bit of a nightmare waiting for feedback. Add to that, the quality and detail of feedback has been really poor the entire way through. I ended up having to complain to the “Training and QualityManager” again about the lack of detail and slow response Kyah was receiving from her trainer. Finally Kyah was given another trainer to mark her last two modules. One came back as “competent” and the other module has just a couple of small corrections/additions to make and she should be done. It has been a very arduous journey for her to undertake and complete this diploma. It would have been a more enjoyable experience for her if the trainer assigned to her was helpful like the last one has been. But nevertheless, she has managed to get through it.

Kyah has started her online Pilates course. She is enjoying it so far. Add to that she is trying to prepare for the final exams of year 12. She is studying Hamlet for english. Not long to go and the year will be over and she will be in a new phase of her life.

Ballet has been very trying mentally and physically, for Kyah this year. She has had injured feet; both of them since the end of last year. The pain is more toward the back of her ankles, near her achilles. The academy physiotherapists have been treating her all year. Unfortunately, they have been treating her for impingements in her heels. Because she wasn’t getting better, they finally, in July, they arranged for scans and MRI’s of her feet. The scans have shown she has inflammation of her achilles and all the smaller ligaments in the back of her feet as well as impingements. Needless to say, she has not been getting better. A very frustrating situation for both of us.

I have been allowing the physiotherapists to treat her because she wanted to be a full part of the academy and be treated by their physios. Also, the academy prefer it if their dancers see their physios so they know exactly what is going on with each of the dancers. This is understandable. I have not played much of a role with addressing the issues Kyah has had, because I was relying on them to do the right thing by Kyah.  Now, I realise I should have been keeping a close eye on Kyah with regards to her body, rehab and prehab. Both of us feel like she has almost “wasted” this entire year waiting to get better. She has hardly danced. I would have managed the injury much differently, but what could I do? I am now addressing the inflammation and impingement issues the way I think it should be handled. One thing I realised over 30 years ago with my work, is that every person’s body is different and responds differently to things such as exercise, rehab, massage, acupuncture, dry needling,  food, drink, medication etc. Every single person needs to be looked at as an individual and treated accordingly. I am not sure Kyah has been.

We both hope Kyah will start feeling better very soon. Unfortunately, the inflammation is quite severe; the sports medicine doctor we saw made a comment that it is one of the worst cases of inflammation she has seen. It won’t be fixed quickly; but at least I know what Kyah’s body responds to positively and what her body doesn’t like. So there is hope she will heal. 

We have been to see my dad, Kyah’s grandfather. It is very sad to see someone you love slowing down and moving towards the end of their life. We are really fortunate that we’ve been able to go into the care facility where dad is living. Hopefully the second wave of COVID-19 that is threatening to start up again is not successful, otherwise we will be in lockdown yet again and we won’t be able to see dad.

We have had a few catch ups with friends. Not many, but we’ve been out a couple of times. It’s been nice to be able to still get out and about. We are hoping the latest little outbreak in the southern suburbs of Brisbane does not explode like COVID has in Melbourne.

We have had a few movie marathon afternoons / nights. One marathon was Mr & Mrs Smith, then Oceans 11, Oceans 12 and Oceans 13. What a great evening. A bit of physical relaxation while watching a few action / comedy / drama movies. Another movie evening was the double comedy session with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito; Twins and Junior.  We have seen all these movies before, but it is nice to relax and watch something again when you enjoy it. 

We are still culling things from our house. We are starting to look for a house to buy and move into, so we would like to make sure we are rid of everything we don’t need. I refurbished this table and put it up for sale.  It sold today. The people buying it, loved it so much they gave us more money than we were asking! 

A table we refurbished and sold.

There’s only one more month of winter to get through. Kyah will be really happy when she gets her licence and does not have to get up early each morning to catch a bus in the cold. We are also both noticing that the mornings are getting lighter again too. It is not ice to be leaving the house when the stars are still out.

Every day is just so busy for both of us. We do look forward to resting on the weekends. Soon enough, life will be very different for us with no school commitments, Kyah having her own driver’s licence, living in our own home; renovating it, and not having to do food prep every weekend.

Part of the weekly food prep.

. Proverbs: 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.   

Surviving COVID

Well the last five weeks or so have been very busy … when are they not?

Winter is here. Some mornings have been very cold – others have not been too bad. One morning when I was working I had this scenery. Pretty tough to deal with – it was so pretty – but a bit cold.

Kyah has been clocking up her driving hours. She has almost done 95 hours of driving, mostly with me. In Queensland, Learner drivers need to do 100 supervised driving hours. The plan now is to have a few professional driving lessons, to have them get rid of any bad habits I have managed to teach her and so they can focus on the important aspects of what she will need to know with regards to her driving test.  We tried to book her driving test for this week, but unfortunately, due to COVID, there is a backlog of driving tests that must be done before they take new bookings. It looks like she will have to wait another month before she is able to sit her driving test. I have noticed in the last two weeks or so, that I am not actually teaching her anymore. Her confidence is getting there and her ability is so much better. There is an occasional incident where we need to discuss what she may have done better, or that she did extremely well to react /respond the way she did. There are definitely some drivers on the road that do not consider other drivers and there are also some drivers on the road that really should not be driving. It is kind of good to come across these drivers when I am with Kyah, so she is able to learn the best way to handle these situations.

Kyah has finished her Diploma of Business. Well … she has been waiting for four weeks for feedback on module 7, she handed in module 8 two weeks ago and is now waiting on feedback and “Complete” for both modules. Once this is done, she is finished her Diploma. All she needs to do to complete year 12 is her English. Not long to go now and not too much for her to do. She is preparing to do the Pilates course so she can start work in mid December. She has an online component to complete, then it’s 8 days of face to face practical teaching. She also has to do supervised hours and then she is a qualified Pilates instructor. We both figure this is a great qualification to have for the future. It compliments her ballet very well.
She has returned to her regular Pilates sessions every week. During the school holidays she attended Pilates every day. She really enjoys it; I am so pleased she likes it and happily attends and participates. I went with her one day and did a workout. I am sure she loves laughing at how inflexible I am compared to her. Actually almost anyone is inflexible compared to her! She is extremely flexible and her strength has improved markedly.

She has had sore ankles for a few months now and the physio at QB has been treating her. Unfortunately she has not been relieving Kyah’s pain and discomfort. We had to go see a Sports Medicine Doctor, who requested ultrasounds on both feet, X-rays on both feet and an MRI on one foot. We only got an MRI on one foot due to the exposure to radiation and the thought that the pain is the same in both feet, therefore it would be the same issue in both feet. So the Sports Medicine doctor suggested the most sore foot have the MRI. We were happy with that suggestion.  So far the X-rays and ultrasounds have not revealed anything of note. We had to wait four weeks for the MRI, and now we are just waiting for the appointment with the specialist to discuss the findings. The unfortunate thing was that she wanted us to do nothing to help relieve the pain/discomfort/inflammation until after the MRI had been done. So Kyah has had to continue on for another 4 weeks with pain. But once the MRI was done I started massaging her feet and calves and I set up a foot spa today with salts and warm water. She said her feet feel a bit better, so that is good. I may have to start taking a more active role in Kyah’s well-being. I did not know her feet were sore and had been for so long, until we were at the specialist rooms and I heard Kyah talking about her issues. Is it neglectful if you think someone else is doing a job and you don’t check up?

The X-rays that were taken were of Kyah’s feet relaxed as she was lying down as well as with her in pointe shoes actually standing en pointe! Amazing to see an X-ray of someone en pointe.

 

Kyah has been to a few birthday parties over the last few weeks. She has had a great time. The girls in both level 1 and level 2 seem to get on very well with  each other. The dynamics with all of them and Kyah are really good. Kyah dances with level 2 and attends school with the level 1 kids, and she mixes really well with all of them. It is so nice to see.

I suggested to Kyah that during the school holidays she be in charge of the kitchen. 2 weeks of her cooking, washing, cleaning, making shopping lists, etc. She did a pretty good job of taking charge and feeding both her and myself. There were some days that the dishes were not done, but they were eventually attended to. I think it is great as a life skill for the to learn how to run and manage a kitchen while she is still at home. She even did the grocery shopping one day. So once school and ballet go back, it is back to me. I was actually enjoying the break for all the work!!

We have been car hunting a bit. It would be nice for both Kyah and I if she had her own vehicle, especially when she gets her Provisional licence. The time it takes for me to drive her somewhere and then drive back to where I need to be and then drive back to pick her up – well, it just takes a lot of time. Then from her perspective; it takes a long time to catch a bus to get somewhere, and it is awkward when she needs to carry all her stuff for dance and school. So, the sooner she can get her P’s and a vehicle the better.

Kyah has been asked to teach a dance workshop in the September school holidays. Kyah’s dance teacher from Port Stephens has asked if Kyah can run a contemporary dance workshop. This will double up with me teaching a core strength/stability/prehab workshop. So lots of preparing and planning for that will start soon.

       

We have done a massive cook up this weekend. School and dance start tomorrow. Kyah made some very yummy GF choc chip cookies. I made another large batch of protein balls. I also cooked a pork belly and a butterflied chicken. The plan with them is to make salads and add some meat to these. It just saves time for both of us and ensures we are eating relatively well most nights.

Heading into term three for the final year of school. It is hard to believe Kyah will be finished school at the end of this year.  She did miss one year of schooling, but even still, I can vividly remember her first day of school!

Eph 1:11-12 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

 

 

17 Now!

Well here we are, May already. Kyah’s 17th birthday has just passed this week; not without lots of celebrations, loads of yummy food and cakes consumed,  and some fantastic memories made. Thank you to everyone who contributed to making Kyah feel extremely special; simply by contacting her, spending time with her, giving her a gift, or making her favourite meal and/or cake and spending time with her. The last few weeks have been very busy with birthday celebrations and socialising. We are fortunate that restrictions from COVID-19 have been lifted even if only slightly, which have allowed us to spend time with close friends.

 

Time flies by. We are almost into June of 2020. But even the years are moving by quickly. I can remember Kyah  starting out dancing as a two and a half year old. It really does not seem that long ago. But it must have been. Oh, how she has grown and matured since this photo.

Kyah 2006 – her first year of dance

Everyone around the world is still feeling the effects of COVID-19. It has been at least 9 weeks that Australia has been in lock down of some sort. On March 23, I removed Kyah from face-to-face classes. This was because I was not sure what to expect; the unknown of the new virus, its contagiosity, the incidence and it’s location in Australia. Add to that the fact Kyah was catching public transport to ballet and back home in the afternoons from school. I did not want to put her at any risk of getting sick. Thankfully, both of us have escaped from catching the virus and we managed to stay sane while confined to the home.

Over the holidays Kyah was pretty good with doing strength, cardiovascular, flexibility and prehab training on a daily basis. Her Pilates classes were put on hold  due to the lock down, so Kyah made use of the gym equipment we have at home.

Once term two started Kyah did ballet online. Queensland Ballet gave all students a 1x1m piece of tarkett flooring if they wanted / needed it. Because this is what they dance on we thought it best to take up the offer. They also offered to lend out a barre for students who wanted / needed one. Again, we took up the offer and borrowed a barre. This allowed Kyah to work at home with dance-specific equipment.

Classes happened on line every weekday and Saturdays from the start of term 2. It was obviously very different to face-to-face training; there was the very occasional glitch in the system; which is to be expected , but overall it worked quite well. Kyah did her ballet and dance requirements every morning, then got in and did her school work. She had priority for the gym at home – so when she had classes on and I had a client online, I taught in another room. It was only for a short period of time and we managed. Everyone has had to make sacrifices through this pandemic. Our sacrifices are nowhere near as inconvenient / devastating as some people have had to deal with.

Kyah is so close to finishing all her school and diploma requirements. She is really looking forward to having it all done and graduating from school at the end of this year. It is a bit frustrating for her having to wait over three weeks for feedback on some of her diploma work, which tends to slow her down a lot. But she seems to be filling in her time productively while she waits. She has just about completed her anatomy course, so she can then start the online Pilates course. There has been lots of work happening, but also lots of rest and relaxation. It is amazing how much spare time you have when travel is taken out of the equation.

We managed to get out of the house a couple of times and did some shopping. It is birthday month for us, on top of Mother’s Day. So we went out and did a bit of shopping, for each of us. We obviously practiced social distancing and good hygiene.  (Sorry, but who doesn’t normally practice good hygiene?) We got Kyah’s hair cut and put a colour in it; there’s no time when she is back in to her busy schedule, so we have made good use of her time. We did massive cleaning, culling and sorting of stuff in the house. I know this has been a very popular activity with a lot of people, during this lock down period.  We both had our ‘flu injections so we are ready to go out into the big real world again, feeling slightly armed against viruses.

Kyah has really missed doing her Pilates sessions. I can imagine when they are open again, which apparently is June 13, she will be booking in 4-5 times each week, if she can!!! She is really looking froward to getting back into those classes.

We have had friend’s birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations, farewells, all observed keeping the recommended distancing and number of people regulations in the forefront of our minds. Thank goodness for the internet. Again lots of food consumed and good times enjoyed.

Easter was a kind of non-event, as I think it was for most people. It kind of seemed to come and go for us. It was a blur of days at home, doing much the same thing each day. We caught up with friends we haven’t chatted to for a while – that was lovely. And, we did some online shopping. So we did pretty much what the rest of the world did for the last nine weeks.

ANZAC Day celebrations were significant for us. We stood out on the driveway with our neighbours on theirs, remembering those that made os many sacrifices for our country. ANZAC Day is also a significant day for us, as Kyah lost an uncle in 2014 on ANZAC Day. His death was health related, but even still we stop and take time to connect with family and remember Vincent.

Two weeks ago the Queensland Government allowed the two senior years to go back to school, which meant Queensland Ballet Academy resumed face-to-face classes. Kyah really enjoyed getting back to the new facility and having like-minded people around her. She much prefers the interaction and instruction she receives when they are in the same room, as I imagine most of the them would.

Once restrictions were lifted here, we started going over to friends’ places. A few dinners, lunches and simply catching up with people. it’s been a very social last three weeks. We are now settling back into the safe confines of our home. We do not want to see this virus start to spread again, so we are trying to stay indoors as much as we can.

The neighbour’s cat loves to come over and visit. He is such a nice cat – definitely made me realise there are actually cats that can be affectionate and nice!!! Kyah enjoys playing with him and having the occasional snuggle.  Who needs a pet, when you can borrow the neighbour’s???

Restrictions have now been relaxed so it is possible for us to visit Dad in the nursing home. We plan on going down tomorrow to see how he is going. It has been a couple of months since we have seen him so we are both very much looking forward to seeing him tomorrow. We speak to him regularly on the phone, but that is not the same. So tomorrow will be nice to actually see him in person.

We were recently notified that there will be no Gala Performance for Queensland Ballet Academy at the end of this year. This is very sad, but to be expected. The dancers are still required to practice social distancing and there has been no pas de deux at all for almost the entire year.  This means dancers have had limited time to dance together and possibly will not perform at their best. Also considering the fact there is a high chance there will still be restrictions on numbers in auditoriums it would make performances possibly less than less than ideal to organise and conduct. This is such a shame, but I am sure something positive will come out of the decision.

So for the time being, life is slowly returning to normal as we knew it. Let’s hope and pray there is no second spike in the numbers of incidents of COVID-19.

Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. NASB