Aberfoyle Park, January 1st 2019
First of all we want to wish you a happy and healthy 2019!
2018 was a year full of change for us (again!).. We moved twice and both were big moves. The first was a move from Brisbane to the Adelaide Hills to a house in the countryside. The second move was to our own house in the suburbs! Yes, we bought a house! That still feels a bit unreal but it has been really nice and a relief not to have to deal with landlords and inspections anymore!l
2018 was also a record year for visitors -we had Nynke’s sister, her kids Marrit and Tibbe- and her mother over in July (this was the first time they were in Australia!), Nynke’s cousin Rindert in August and Steve’s dad in October. We also had some of our wonderful friends visit this past year - Maryse and Lasse from Brisbane came in April, Uli and her kids from Melbourne, Kristien from Boston and Marcin from Brisbane both came later in the year. We had a great time with all of them. We are grateful to have so many good friends and family willing to make the trip to see us! And grateful for housesitters (thanks Sue and family!).
We initially loved our rental house in Bradbury -such a beautiful place surrounded by paddocks and trees -lots of koalas, possums, amazing birds, reptiles and cows and sheep. We even got our own sheep and had at some point almost 20 chickens including a rooster. And we fell in love with the Adelaide Hills, what a beautiful area! It turned out however that our landlord was a bully and we could not deal with that any longer and also the garden was too much work to maintain so long story short -we decided to buy a house! It turned out to be a very good decision. It has kept us busy with renovating and decorating and gardening but it is so nice to know it is ours and we can really make it our own home. We are back in the suburbs which definitely has its advantages. We are located pretty central - the beach, Adelaide Hills, the city and McLaren Vale are all not too far away. We have a bus stop nearby and shops are in biking distance. The boys can be a bit more independent here which is nice. Also the neighbours here are all very friendly -we feel very lucky.
We got to do a bit of exploring again and went on three trips this past year - a week of camping out and bushwalking in The Grampians in Victoria in April -such a beautiful place with amazing views and beautiful walks and wildflowers. There were many more trails to explore we did not have time for-we will have to go back!! In July we took Nynke’s family into the outback to Broken Hill and Silverton (and some interesting places on the way like Burra- an old copper mining town) - that was definitely a special trip. We stayed in the Silverton hotel surrounded by the ruins of the old mining town, art galleries, kangaroos and emus and did some sightseeing in Broken Hill as well. In October we went to Kangaroo Island for a week with Steve’s dad. Another special part of Australia! We loved all the wildlife - especially the sea lions at Seal Bay and the playful seals in Kingscote. The views and walks from the lighthouse at Cape Willoughby were also amazing and overall it was a very relaxing week and it is another place that we would love to visit again. Luckily it is not far at all from where we live now.
A few other noteworthy things -Wytse and Daniel started driving!- they almost have enough hours to be able to do their driving test so soon enough they will be able to borrow our cars and go places without our supervison!
And Coda joined our family in August. She is a flat-coated retriever puppy (same breed as Lyra) and we all fell in love with her (maybe Lyra not so much although they do like playing together sometimes). We also added a cat, George, to our family -but it has been hard to keep him indoors and he likes to kill birds so we might not be able to keep him unfortunately.
I spent a lot of 2018 driving.... Because we lived in the country for most of the year with no public transport nearby, I spent a lot of my time driving the boys to and from their school (bus stop) and activities. I already noticed a drastic change after we moved to our new house which is near a bus stop and places the boys can bike to. -it has frees up a huge amount of time for me. So far I spent most of that time getting our house organised and gardening. Our house came with mostly lawn around it and I want to change it into a permaculture food forest (lots of fruit trees) and plant lots of natives too. Finally I can put all my gardening courses and workshops into practice! In addition to gardening I started drawing again -I took some drawing classes with a local artist and loved it. I hope to do more of that this year as well.
I started the year volunteering in the Koala & Wlidlife hospital very Friday but because the boys had more and more things going on, I ended up doing it about once a month. I am still enjoying going whenever I can. I learned a lot about koalas and other native wildlife which I find fascinating.. I also started another volunteering job -at Rembrandt Living -a Dutch nursing home -I hope to continue working there one day a week.
I loved having so many visitors this past year and showing them around! Definitely a highlight of this past year!
For my birthday I got four sheep, and caring for them was a daily pleasure that I hope dearly to return to in the future. Unfortunately, we had to give them up, but the process of finally buying a house in Australia was worth it all, and I have no regrets at all.
This year has been full of changes at work for me as well. Australia’s new Space Agency will now be in our hometown, and with my work on the infrared imager in CSIRO’s first satellite, my hands are very full indeed. I still spend about half my time using spectroscopy and drones to analyse grapes and vines, which happily gets me out of doors and traveling around the wine regions of South Australia.
Teaching the twins to drive has clocked up probably 100 hours of nervously sitting in the passenger seat, and I do look forward to handing them the keys letting them drive themselves! I picked up my banjo a bit more often this year, and worked through a 3-finger banjo book so that I can now play “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”, or at least the beginning part, slowly. I had a great time taking the twins to their first pop concerts - Daniel and I saw Kasey Chambers (a kind of Australian Melissa Etheridge) and Wytse went with to David Byrne, which was of course stupendous. Next year, I’ll see if I can’t take Arwin to see AC/DC!
Wytse (16 ¾):
A lot of things have changed for me in the year of 2018. At the very beginning of the year, for example, we moved to Adelaide. Because I was too old to sail an Opti, I joined the junior 420 fleet at the Brighton and Seacliff Yacht Club(BSYC). Because I had sailed so much before, I was able to learn the basics of this new class of boat pretty quickly. An unfortunate thing about sailing a 420, however, is that it has become too expensive for me to sail competitively. For this reason, I will probably start sailing a different class of boat in the 2019/20 season. A welcome change is that I started playing 1st clarinet in the Adelaide Youth Wind Orchestra(AdYWO). This is the best youth ensemble I have ever played in, and it was a lot of fun to play in the many different concerts we had this year. I have successfully auditioned for next year and I look forward to the next rehearsal. Late in the year, I have not been doing as much for homeschooling, but I made up for it by getting a job as a casual at CSIRO! The job is mostly doing computer programming and data analysis. I have also been helping to build thermal cameras. My plans for the future are to do the University Prepatory Program at the Adelaide University so that I can study for the Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences. Hopefully after this I can do scientific research in a part of Biology, possibly neuroscience.
Daniel (16 ¾)
2018 was a big year for me, in a lot of ways! Learning to drive, looking for a job, thinking about university and beyond – as well as the challenges that came with moving to yet another city – kept my mind busy. On a positive note I got great grades at school this year, even though it was just my first year at Urrbrae! I still miss everyone in Brisbane, but taking care of native animals and helping take care of local wetlands as part of Urrbrae Agricultural was a bonus to moving city. Rock climbing became more and more important to me as the year wore on. A trip to two big Aussie rock climbing spots in April (Mt Arapiles and The Grampians) really helped me get motivated even though I only climbed at Arapiles, and not long before the trip a school climbing camp saw me climb a fairly hard route first try. I intend to participate in rock climbing competitions in the new year and just two weeks ago I felt motivated enough to make and use my own hangboard. Aside from climbing, probably the biggest adventure I had this year was close to its end, in a mountain range near Canberra called The Budawangs. I was ‘hired’ as tour guide for some family friends, and I had a great time with them revisiting a great place – it wasn’t my first trip there (although it was the longest and sunniest) and it certainly won’t be my last. Big thanks to the Moseleys – you were awesome!
Overall, my 2018 involved adventure and myself starting to prepare for my real life. Hopefully, 2019 will have even more.
Arwin (14 ¾):
2018 was quite an important year for me. The move to Adelaide really stands out from other times we moved, because by moving away from Brisbane, I left a lot of friends and risked the unknown. Luckily, I met some new friends soon after we moved. I also started a new drama class - it’s a lot more serious than the drama class I was in earlier. Currently we are working on a Peter Pan musical. Another class I started was medieval sword fighting. In the classes we use padded weapons and learn historical sword fighting techniques. Very recently we moved again from the country closer to the city. The move didn’t change much for me, except that I am closer to a bunch of different places, such as Gametraders, where I do FNM (Friday Night Magic). FNM is a weekly event at many game stores where you can play Magic: the gathering with other people. Usually at FNM we draft - a way you can play where you are given some cards and you build a deck from them. We went to FNM three times this year, and once I came first place! My highlight of the year was when I went to Brisbane for a week to visit some friends; Lasse, Ewan, Connor, Brendon, and Deva. I pretty much played games nonstop for a week (Especially Magic!) which is pretty much the best thing I can imagine doing.
Lyra (7 ¼): I like the beach, or anywhere I can play in the water, and hanging out with my people, and riding in the car, and rocks!
Coda (6 months): I love cuddles and people (especially jumping up and licking them!) and running around like crazy together with Lyra. I hate being in the car - I get sick everytime.
Book of the year:
Steve: 12 Rules for Life (Jordan B. Peterson)
Nynke: The Wilderness Garden (Jackie French)
Arwin: Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
Wytse: The Divine Comedy
Daniel: Mawson (Peter Fitzsimmons)
Movie of the year:
Steve: Spirited Away
Nynke: I, Daniel Blake
Wytse: Castle in the Sky
Happy & Healthy New Year and Love from all of us,
Nynke, Steve, Wytse, Daniel, Arwin Lyra, Coda and George - & many chickens
Our new address:
2 Medina street
Aberfoyle Park, SA 5159
(61) (0) 424 240 031 Wytse: firstname.lastname@example.org Daniel: email@example.com Arwin: firstname.lastname@example.org