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

 

The COVID-19 Intrusion

I am sure everyone in the world has been affected by, and are aware of, the COVID-19 pandemic. It has definitely caused a change in most people’s lifestyles, ours included.

Generally the first term of school and dance was pretty busy. The usual routine was maintained. There was a level of tension in the air with the potential threat of contracting COVID-19 from anywhere.

Kyah was attending school and ballet as usual up until week 8 of term one. At this stage I thought it best to remove Kyah from all unnecessary risk of contracting COVID-19, so I pulled her out of school and had her doing her schooling from home. The only way Kyah could get to ballet was utilising public transport, so I made the decision to pull her out of that as well.

Up until the government introduced regulations on restricting contact and reducing potential contagion environments, Kyah was doing her usual Pilates sessions 3-4 times per week, as well as her prehab, school and diploma work. Since the restrictions have been implemented and Kyah is not attending ballet or school, all her work is being done from home. She is getting up relatively early each day, using the gym at home every day; doing some dance specific exercises along with general fitness and strength activities. She is also enjoying a bit of down time. It is quite amazing how much more time we all seem to have. Minimal to no outings is really creating some free time at home. We have played some board games and done some online shopping. There are some real bargains to be had at this point in time; we have just taken advantage of a couple of these.

Her ankle impingement is getting much better now and she is able to go en pointe for up to 5-10 minutes at a time. The break from dance has been good in that sense – she has not missed much in regards to dance instruction and classes. We are both hoping her feet will be better before face-to-face dance resumes.

Kyah is accessing the QB physio online which is helping her. She is doing everything she is supposed to in order to recover from the impingements.

Kyah is ploughing through her business diploma. It is a bit tougher for her to do it at the moment because she does not have assistance from the tutor at school, and it requires her to find her own level of drive and commitment to get it done. We all know how easy it is to delay doing something when there is no immediate deadline. But, she seems to be getting it done.

She has also completed six of the seven modules for her online anatomy course. This is great. Once she’s completed that she can get started with the online portion of the Pilates Instructor course. I am hoping she may get that completed over the next few months and undertake a face-to-face course sooner than originally planned. But we will see how restrictions go and when Kyah actually completes all her schooling requirements.

Life itself has been fairly quiet for us. We have not been out much at all. We have had hardly anyone come to visit. And we have definitely not had any parties or gatherings as we normally would. We are trying to contact our friends that are totally isolated because of the COVID-19 on a daily basis. Some people live alone and do not go out at all. This is to prevent putting them at risk of contracting this dreaded virus, and some of these people need to go to these extremes. So we are trying to ring them and chat with them every day, just so they do not feel too isolated or alone.

As I told you last post, my dad, Kyah’s grandfather, is in a nursing home in northern NSW. This was great, because it meant we had access to see him. But now, unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the nursing home is in lockdown and the border between NSW and QLD is closed. This means we are unable to see dad. We try to ring him every second day just to hear his voice and check in on him. Apart from a fall last week and splitting his head open, and being on antibiotics for cellulitis in his arm, he seems to be doing well. He is in his own little world and it’s lovely chatting to him and seeing what “jobs” and “meetings” he has planned for the day in the “system”. Even though he seems to have lost all comprehension and awareness of where he is, who I am, who Kyah is, and he does not remember anyone  else, I am trying not to be upset. He has wanted for so long to get to heaven. So the day he closes his eyes on this earth will be the same day he opens his eyes in heaven – he will be totally healed, totally well and happy. I am focusing on that for Dad.

We learned a very valuable lesson very quickly. We were out last month and purchased a cold drink each. The shop we went to is trying to be environmentally friendly and serve up paper straws. The drinks looked and tasted amazing, but within 5 minutes of using the straw, mine broke! I had to wait until I got home to finish my drink. TIP: take your own metal straw wherever you go..

     

Today, we received a piece of Tarkett flooring from QB. This is so the dancers are able to practice on the correct flooring at home. It is looking like all instruction will be online from next week for at least 6-8 weeks, with a reassessment after that. This is all in line with the government’s guidelines and restrictions. Obviously no one wants to relax restrictions and open borders too soon and have to go through all of this again, so hopefully everyone will continue doing the right thing to eliminate COVID-19 from the planet (if that is at all possible). Australia is looking to be doing the right thing with only 25 new cases diagnosed over the last 24 hours. I think the real proof will be in two weeks. If these numbers continue to fall then it will indicate that all Australians have done the right thing over the Easter break. Here’s hoping.

So Kyah is gearing up for at least the next 6-8 weeks to be working from home for both school and dance. I too am gearing up for her to be home! I work mostly from home and although my work has slowed a lot due to COVID-19, I am trying to get other things done such as paperwork and courses. So we will see how we go. Alex is still living with us too. At the moment he is working each day. But if that stops, there will be three people here at home all day … every day!!! Please Australia, do the right thing, let’s get rid of COVID-19. I like my own space.

We hope you are all safe and well, and managing with the restrictions. We are so thankful the panic buying has ended. We went shopping one day for essentials such as meat and salad for dinner. We were shocked to see the number of shelves in the grocery store that were empty. The only option we had to choose from in the meat section was “Duck Fat”, yes Duck Fat!!  We could buy plenty of ironing board covers, air freshener and duck fat; three things we really did not need. Needless to say we did not purchase many items that day. The infamous hand sanitiser has not been seen on the shelves since late February, so I have been making my own. It is extremely effective and accessible, which is what matters to me.

This time of isolation, will test our resilience in more ways than one. Try to make the most of it; connect with those close to you and those around you who do not have anyone to support them. Go through those cupboards and boxes you have not gone through for many years, but have been meaning to go through. Try to undertake a regular exercise program; do something every day for your physical and mental well being. There’s loads of free stuff available to you. Here’s my Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/CoreStrengthHQ/. Have a look on there and my You Tube channel.  Try to find the positives in this environment. Take care and stay well.

Romans 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called  according to His purpose. (NIV)

Isaiah 12:2  Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defence; he has become my salvation. (NIV)

Official Opening

We are almost half way through March already! Kyah hit the ground running this year. The brand new facilities at Kelvin Grove are absolutely amazing. One real positive for Kyah is that she only needs to catch one bus to the facility and she can get up at 5.15am, not 4.45am. That extra thirty minutes of sleep in the morning makes a big difference. I am sure it will make an even bigger difference when winter comes and it is dark and cold.

We have done some low-key stuff like mini shopping outings at both DFO and Chermside Westfield. These have been really nice for both of us; a bit of time out from the hustle and bustle of life, wandering around, relaxing and enjoying the time away from commitments. A few very good bargains have been acquired along the way too. An added bonus! We have also decided to go out for dinner once a month just the two of us. Somewhere simple, easy, convenient and has great food. There’s a great asian food place just down the road – we went there last week.

This year  Kyah has the opportunity to see the Queensland Ballet physiotherapist, so we are utilising that service. It is so much easier for her to see the physio at the facility, rather than me try to get her to another location to see Jo, her usual physio; who we totally love. However, time is very precious and it gets hard trying to fit everything in. I am sure you all know what I am saying.

Taken beside the Brisbane River, in West End.

At the moment, Kyah has an ankle impingement in her right foot. So on top of all her prehabilitation (prevention of injuries) she is seeing Louise (QB physio) regularly, along with her usual 3-4 times per week of Pilates sessions. On top of this she dances from about 7.30am to 1.15pm every  week day  and 8am to 2pm every Saturday. She is very busy with dance. Then let’s add year 12 studies into the mix.

She is getting through her scholarly work, including her Diploma of Business and the subjects she must complete for year 12. So she is looking like she will successfully complete year 12, which is great. On top of that she has added an online anatomy course! (Oh dear, I see she has picked up some of my behaviours – taking on a lot – perhaps too much,  work!). The anatomy course is so she can become a Pilates instructor when she has time to take on a part-time job. She loves her Pilates and she understands a lot about correct technique and ideal posture, and she knows how to motivate people to exercise, so I think she’d be great at it. The prerequisite for the Pilates course is that she have a certain level of anatomy study completed, then she can do the theory portion of the Pilates course and then the practical portion. This may take until November / December to complete due to time constraints with ballet and the need for face to face learning, but that is okay.

Kyah’s grandfather and grandmother on my side, have both had major health issues over the last six months. It has been a very distressing time for both of us and a lot of unnecessary angst has come about due to certain behaviours. But we are looking for the positives in the situation and finally we found one. Dad was moved into a nursing home so we were able to see him. It was so nice to see him, to sit with him, to chat with and to pray with him.  We hope to be able to see him again very soon, as he is not geographically close to us, it makes it a bit difficult time-wise. But we will find a way.

We had a friend, Alex, move in with us. It is really nice to have someone staying with us for a while. He is from Maryborough and currently looking for work. We are all hoping and believing the right job will come up for him very soon.

We had another gathering at our place. Just a little BBQ, with about 15 people. It was a fun night, as usual. Kyah and Luell managed to use the old “water through the cracks in the verandah” to wet a number of unsuspecting people down below. It was quite amusing watching it happen. Fortunately Brisbane is quite warm and they dried off quickly. Good company, good food, good laughs – something we all need on a regular basis. It was a great evening – just what we both needed.

The official opening for the Queensland Ballet Academy facility was on Friday March 6. There were a number of dignitaries including Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations, the Honourable Grace Grace MP, Queensland Ballet Patron and Governor of Queensland, His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, present. Channel 7 filmed the event. It was a very successful opening. There was a number of people moving through the facility looking at the amazing building as well as  watching the classes. On Saturday, those that had donated to QBA to help furnish the facility were able to walk through the building and see the equipment their donations had contributed to. They were also able to watch portions of classes again.

Here is the link to the Channel 7 article on the opening https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=196230058373112. I can see Kyah in both clips of dancers, I wonder if you can???

We are conscious now more than ever of Kyah eating well and getting enough rest. The COVID-19 virus that is set to hit Australia in the next few weeks will impact a lot of people. We are not alarmists by any means, but we are both taking the potential threat seriously. If we can remain healthy and continue to practice ideal hygiene habits, we both believe we will get by without too much of a direct impact on us personally. We hope you all do too.

Taken beside the Brisbane River, in West End.

Isaiah 54:17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord

John 15:16  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

Here We Go 2020

Well, the end of 2019 was relatively easy for Kyah. She finished school and dance about mid November. She had a fair bit of time on her hands, so she was doing Pilates 4-5 times each week. She was also doing her business diploma. She made sure she had some down time, lots of resting, sleeping, recovering from the busy year, but she also kept up her training. Food wise, she indulged a little bit, but got back on track fairly quickly.

In December she went to see Queensland Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker. As always, Queensland Ballet did an amazing job of this ballet. Kyah really enjoyed watching it. It was the final commitment Kyah had for the year.

We had a Christmas party at our place mid December. It was a pretty good afternoon / evening of laughs, fun and super soaker fights. Very appropriate for the temperature of Brisbane.

We caught up with a friend at Southbank. He’s from the Gold Coast and we might see Gerry every few months. We had a swim at Southbank which was lovely; the water was not cold at all – which is one thing both Kyah and I do not like. After swimming for at least an hour we went and had dinner at GYG  then dessert at Cowch. I have never had ice cream so creamy ever! This dessert bar is simply amazing. A bit on the expensive side, but the taste is just so creamy and divine. If you get a chance to go there, you really should try it out.

We headed down to Port Stephens on 21/12/19. A friend of ours mother passed on 18/12/19 so the funeral was 23/12/19. The drive down was very long. So much traffic and road works most of the way. It took over 11 hours for us to get there. 2 hours to get from Brisbane to the southern end of the GC! Not a good start. Kyah did some driving and she did really well. Seeing places along the highway that were totally burnt out from the fires that had passed through there only days before was a reminder of just how far the fires had spread at that time.

NSW and QLD have different road rules when it comes to L platers. L drivers in QLD can drive the recommended speed limit. In NSW, L drivers cannot exceed 90km/h even on the motorways. Displaying the L plates is also different rules, so we made sure we were compliant with the correct rules for the state she was driving in.

We saw Kyah’s dad and the dogs. Spent a fair bit of time with the dogs. They were pretty happy to see us. Walks along the beach, playing with them, and them sitting on my lap!  We saw a couple of friends on the Saturday and Sunday but that was it.  Time was pretty short so we were not able to see many people at all. It was a shame, because we wanted to see a lot of people and catch up with them, but what can you do? We stayed one night with Tina and Vanessa, which was great. Then we stayed 3 nights with Anne, which was also great. Funeral was Monday. It was so nice to see our dear friend Sandra, but it would have been much nicer under different circumstances.

Tuesday we had Christmas drinks with some friends at Anne’s. That was lovely. We did presents that evening with Anne. Then Christmas Day, Wednesday, we drove to Sydney. It was a very different Christmas Day to say the least, but without speaking badly about anyone, let me just say families can be very trying. I had to file a missing persons report to find out where my Dad was!!! Not something I was expecting. Kyah was so supportive  of me the entire day and she really never had a Christmas Day because we were looking for Dad, at the police station and on the phone trying to speak to Dad. Such a sad and shocking day for both of us.

Aside from that we caught up with my friend Monisha, who we haven’t seen for about 7 years. We went to her wedding in Fiji and she now lives in England. So we don’t get to see her much at all. It was really nice seeing her. We stayed with Kyah’s paternal grandmother on Christmas night. It was lovely seeing her and one of Kyah’s cousins. I am so glad Kyah has relatives on her dad’s side that are nice and she sees on a semi-regular basis.

Boxing Day we got on the Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas cruise ship. A 10-day cruise around the south island of New Zealand. Apparently, the ship is the largest to come to the southern hemisphere. It takes about 5000 passengers. It is big. Far too big for our liking. There was so many people on the ship we did not get to do many activities that we wanted to do. The queues for each thing were so long. We simply did not want to stand around waiting for a turn. If you really wanted to do something, see a show, participate in something, you had to go to that venue at least an hour before start time to ensure you got a decent seat. So our holiday was nowhere near as active as we had anticipated, very relaxing … we both did need to rest. Cruise life can be very relaxing and very easy. Food was fantastic, staff were so friendly.  It was just a shame there was so many people on the ship and wait times were so long. I did leave a constructive evaluation with Royal Caribbean, but they never replied. That too is disappointing.

One thing we did do that was so much fun was the indoor skydiving. I just loved it. Kyah didn’t enjoy it as much as I did, but I recommend if you ever get a chance to do it, to take up the opportunity. It was great fun.

 

We did a cupcake decorating class at Jamie Olivers’s Restaurant. Here is the final products – not very technical, but the bonus was they you got to eat your products.

 

We went to the gym on the ship eight of the ten days which was really good. The two days we didn’t go was because of the day tour commitments we had. Kyah allowed herself to eat a few indulgent things the first 3-4 days, then stuck with the more healthy options for the remainder of the trip. Really we don’t “get our money’s worth” on a cruise, because we sometimes only have 2 meals a day, and we definitely don’t overload our plates with food. Each to their own. We enjoyed eating the healthy options without having to prepare them ourselves or clean up afterwards.

Most of the day tours we did were really good. We were about 10cm from little Blue Penguins nesting and were looking straight into their eyes as they were laying there. We saw Yellow Eyed Penguins on the beach, apparently these are listed as an endangered animal species, with only about 4000 of them living. We had a 4 day old fur seal and it’s father right beside us on a path. We watched a colony of fur seals playing and then two males almost had a fight. These encounters with nature were just so special.  We had smoke from Dunedin all the way back to Australia, due to the extent of the fires in Australia and the direction of the winds.

The towel folding talents of the housekeeping staff was something to be admired. This was a display on the final day on the ship.

Once we disembarked on January 5,  we drove from Sydney to Newcastle and caught up with Kyah’s dance teacher from The Bay. It was so nice to see her. She is always so encouraging with Kyah and supportive of where Kyah is going and what she is doing. Then we headed to The Bay.

Kyah was planning on spending a week with her dad and seeing people in The Bay,  but decided against it. So she came home with me. We left at 4am on January 6. The traffic was much better. It only took 9 hours all up to get home.

Leading up to school and ballet, Kyah has been doing Pilates 3-4 times each week, exercises in the gym at home and all her foot strengthening exercises every night. She has definitely matured with her attitude towards building the foundation of strength, which is so good to see. She had to have a medical with the GP. We have been on a couple of rather enjoyable shopping days. We went and Saw “Bombshell”. We’ve been out for dinner with friends. We’ve been culling more stuff from our house; selling a few items, giving other items away, both large and small. It’s great to get rid of things we don’t want or need anymore.

Tuesday was orientation for Queensland Ballet and school. The new facility has just opened up at Kelvin Grove and it is amazing. https://www.queenslandballet.com.au/academy/about-academy/facilities     The kids in the academy are so fortunate to have such a world-class facility for their use.  Kyah is looking forward to the year ahead. She has stayed fit and strong over the break, so she should not have any issues with returning to dance and experiencing soreness. Her school load should be fairly easy as she has been doing some of her diploma every day since we got home from the cruise. This year, she only has english and diploma to complete. She is undertaking further studies but I will tell you about that next post.

2 Tim 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. NIV

Note: the photos of the flowers were taken in Zealandia Sanctuary, New Zealand.

Almost There

Well, we are almost at the end of 2019. What a frantically busy year it has been for both of us. Kyah finally has some time now to slow down a bit and get her breath back ready for next year.

Just after the last post, we went  to a girlfriend’s (Hannah’s) 18th birthday party. That was loads of fun. A few of us are now of the age where we really have no concern for what people think of us having fun, enjoying ourselves. So Kyah ended up having a great laugh with a friend of ours, Steve, at the rest of us enjoying ourselves. We all had a great time; perhaps for different reasons but that’s OK.

We had one homestay girl leave and another homestay arrive. This one was a male school teacher from Japan. He was really interesting. We had lots of great discussions about life in Japan. He was a real pleasure to have stay with us. He only stayed in Australia for ten days, so it was a very short stay, but also a busy time. The other homestay girl we had staying with us, finally moved out towards the end of November. She was also an absolute pleasure to have stay with us. I think that might be it for homestays for the rest of the year.

It is kind of nice having just Kyah and I in the house for the time being. We are looking at the possibility of having someone stay with us permanently next year, so that will be nice.  We are discussing it with him at the moment. In the meantime, we are going through all our stuff we have managed to accumulate and are culling things we do not need. The house is a mess, but soon enough it should be a more sparse, tidy home.

How is this for decoration on a coffee? I thought it was pretty cool, so decided to take a photo of it. I have never seen swans on coffee before and found that pretty amazing so thought I should show off someone else’s handiwork. The swirls are a result of me stirring the coffee. Even this was quite amazing – a different pattern was created. I found that quite fascinating and thought I should share.

                     

Kyah went to the Powerhouse in Brisbane and saw QB perform Bespoke. Apparently it was really good. I had a ticket but I somehow managed to double book myself for that night. I gave my ticket to a girlfriend and I caught up with an old school friend. We both had lovely evenings. It is very unusual for me to overlook something like that, but there’s been heaps going on. That’s my excuse and I will stick to it!

We had a girls night one night. Who needs a reason to get together? We don’t. Just a group of girls decided to get together and catch up over food and great conversation. We all had a great time. It is not often we take the time out of our busy schedules, but it is essential sometimes to have some down time with lovely friends, just so we can get up and go the next day, week, month. We both find the enjoyment and good memories of these times far outweighs the tiredness we may experience from an hour less sleep. It is worth it. We also try to schedule these things for Kyah on weekends, so she has a chance to catch up on any lost sleep immediately. It is not good for her to be living her busy life sleep deprived.

Weekdays have been busy for Kyah with finalising all school assessments, doing her diploma as well as her dance commitments. She is ploughing through her business diploma; it has proven to be more time consuming than we thought, in that receiving decent feedback from drafts is taking a lot longer than anticipated or expected. So Kyah currently has  four modules on the go, waiting for final approval of each and then checking them off. It will be really nice when it is fully completed. We anticipate she should be totally finished by April next year.

One weekend in November we had a very quiet, very low-key weekend. Did not go anywhere. We both needed a rest and I wanted Kyah to be fully rested and prepared for her ballet exams that following week. It was such a nice restful time. Both of us benefited from it. It is so unusual for us to have literally nothing on over a weekend. It was just wonderful. I should try to make sure there is more of them next year.

Kyah continues to see her physiotherapist regularly for prehab. Jo is great. She was a dancer in a past career, so she can very much relate to Kyah and her niggles and knows exactly what she needs to work on. It also helps that Jo and I think along the same lines, so I am very confident with what she recommends for Kyah, which is fantastic. The best thing is that Kyah listens to Jo! Prehab is essential; the prevention of injuries is so much the preferred to rehabilitation. So far what we are doing seems to be working quite well. Kyah has not had an injury this year. We will continue doing this over the Christmas break as well as next year. If we are finding it is not as effective as it has been this year, we will reassess and implement new plans.

Kyah had her dance exams  over four days in mid November. She felt quite confident that she did a good job. We got her results and she is back in QB for next year, Praise The Lord. They have asked her, and two others, to repeat this year. We are actually really pleased about this for Kyah. The year she has just completed, and is going to repeat, is focused more on technique, so she will have a chance to really master her technique, get a great foundation of technique, get a lot stronger and a lot more confident, especially with pas de deux dance. It is also really nice that the other two people that have been asked to repeat she gets on very well with, so we are looking forward to next year.

Kyah’s dad came up to stay with her while I went to Sydney for a weekend. I am sure she thoroughly enjoyed her dad’s company instead of mine for a change.

QB allow family and friends to watch classes on a specific day each semester. I was fortunate enough I could rearrange clients and sit to watch all the classes Kyah was in. It is always nice to see how they practice and how they interact with each other. I do love watching Kyah dance and I can see she just loves dancing. We are still believing it is part of His big plan for her, and we walk by faith.

Kyah has been attending Pilates sessions regularly. Getting stronger and more aware of what she needs to work on. In the holidays she plans to do Pilates at least four times each week, plus other stuff in our gym to stay strong, and prepared for next year. Once they start back it is straight into it. There is a level of expectation that each dancer stay strong, fit and flexible over the break so Kyah plans to do just that.

We did a very quick trip down to the Gold Coast. Kyah needed to see the orthodontist for a check up. While we were down there, we stopped in at a number of dance stores and fitness places and showed them my books I have written. So far they have proven to be very successful and very much wanted, which is great. I hope it continues. Kyah doesn’t like the dance book because it features her as the model for most exercises. Oh well, too bad! She was the best, most convenient option for a model I had. If any of you are interested in looking at the books, here is the link http://www.corestrengthhq.com/product-category/books/

We managed to see a couple of friends for very short times while we were down on the Gold Coast.  It was nice to see friends, and catch up, even if it was only for a very, short time. Even though it is only an hour away, we hardly ever get down there anymore.

We set the Christmas tree up and all the decorations. Kyah didn’t like the Christmas wreath we had. (I have had it for at least 20 years – it has served me well though). Anyway, she kept on about how it was too small and didn’t look nice. So we went to Spotlight and spent two hours in there; choosing things that I could use to make a new Christmas wreath. We do like to wander around and browse in that shop. We ended up purchasing a number of things so I could make a new wreath from scratch. I wanted to make my own rather than buy one. At least that way I know it is ours and no one else will have one the same .Here’s the before and after.

Here are the items I used to make the new wreath

This is the new wreath. It is at least twice the size of the original – Kyah is now happy!

We have had a lot of socialising this past month. It has been nice. We also went and saw A Christmas Carol; at QPAC. It is adapted and created by shake & stir theatre co. We both thoroughly enjoyed the performance. It was really different to go to QPAC and see something other than the ballet. I am not complaining at all about how much ballet we see, it was simply a nice change.

I (along with many others), had helped QB on their “Giving Day” – making phone calls to help raise money to fit out the new building that is being constructed at Kelvin Grove State College. As a “thank you” to the volunteers, QB allowed us to watch the rehearsal of Act 1 of The Nutcracker. It was so interesting … simply fascinating to see these dancers performing in clothes that were not their costumes, and having imaginary props – some props were there, but others weren’t. Then when you see the actual performance (I have seen The Nutcracker a number of times) it is just amazing that what they have been rehearsing is almost identical to what they do on stage with props. It is definitely a very underrated skill and talent these athletes have.

Here is a photo of the very unique Christmas tree Queensland Ballet have. I think it is fantastic. The pointe shoes have been put to good use.

We have pretty much completed our Christmas shopping. A few different shopping expeditions, and we are pretty much done. We need to give each other our presents before Christmas Day. We will not be at home then, as we are off on a cruise – so it is necessary for us to do it beforehand. It is amazing how fast the time is going. Almost two weeks and it will be Christmas! Still so much to do before then.

We are planning for Kyah to have some time down at The Bay in January, with her dad and other friends of hers. She will also be doing exercise, and her diploma, just to ensure she is on top of everything. It kind of never ceases, but this is the life of any serious athlete.

We went to the QB breakup yesterday. It was nice to speak to all her teachers, even if it was only briefly. They are extremely happy with Kyah and her efforts this year, but want her to get much stronger. It is difficult for someone with Kyah’s body type. She is hyper mobile and so the perception is that she is not as strong as others. But in actual fact, sometimes she is stronger than other people that are less mobile than her. It can be deceptive. We really don’t mind that she has been asked to repeat. We totally believe it is God’s will and the best thing for Kyah. She knows all the dancers in the year below, so next year it won’t be that daunting for her, she will be with two friends from this year and she knows everyone moving up to level 2.

Kyah is off to see The Nutcracker  this Thursday night. It is part of the QB Academy program, and if the academy students are around and want to watch the final dress rehearsal, they are able to. I think it is a great opportunity for the students to watch. Most of the kids will be heading home to wherever they live, so we are thinking that there won’t be many students there watching. But Kyah enjoys watching the dress rehearsals – it is a great way to see the company perform.

So we are winding down to Christmas, or rather winding up to Christmas and all the activities we have planned over our break. Still so much to do before we go on our cruise. I am hoping that  once we get on that ship we will be able to turn off the brains and relax for a while, in amongst the daily gym sessions, rock climbing, indoor sky diving, dodgem cars and all the evening entertainment we have planned.

Life has been good to us this year and we are very much looking forward to next year.

Deut 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments. (NASB)