I realise that most of this month has gotten by without much news from us. So without further delay – here is a quick review of what went on in our part of the world over the past few weeks.
At the kids school they had an Olympiad – which looked a little bit like this:
It was a Saturday morning activity – parents volunteered to ‘coach’ teams and man the stations of the games.
It was just a fun morning for all the kids to play together -and a nice morning for all of us to get to know some other people at the kids new school a bit more.
A few weeks ago we went for a weekend retreat with our church about an hour drive into the mountains from here. It’s hard to not have a good time when the setting looks a little bit like this:
One of the highlights for the kids was the opportunity to actually make pottery on a wheel. One of people who works at the camp is also a potter – and has a workshop set up with 8 wheels. He did an amazing lesson for the kids about how we can have our lives moulded by God like pottery is moulded by the potter.
Early Sunday morning I went for a run. It was along a road that felt like it went straight up the side of the mountain – but the views were absolutely amazing.
Our trusty old Renault van died. OK – that is not entirely not true…it was never really ‘trusty’ – but it was a Renault. and it was old. And it is really dead. Susan was driving it down the hill, and she down-shifted, and then it revved up, and wouldn’t stop. She got it to roll to a stop to the side of the road and it just red-lined. She turned the key off. And it kept on revving up at full speed. And blowing thick smoke. So she got out – and ran a bit. Then people stopped – mostly because there was so much smoke they couldn’t see through the valley. Apparently the turbo pulled off / cracked – and then sucked in all the engine oil – and burnt it up uncontrollably until it was all gone and the motor seized. But it was from 1998 – and had a quarter of a million km’s on it. So it didn’t really owe us anything.
We had some friends who had basically the same model van – and they had christened our’s “Napoleon’s Revenge” – and I guess he finally did get it. We will miss all the space it had. We had some good memories over the year that we had it. Like when it wouldn’t start and the battery was rusted in, and we had to push it uphill out of a parking lot when Susan was 9 months pregnant. Or when it used to throw up random warning lights such as “ABS”, “AIRBAG” or “STOP” for no reason. Or how it often wouldn’t start and I had to disconnect the battery , and wait – then reconnect it. Or when the fuel gauge used to stop working. Or when the rear windshield wiper fell off, and the front windshield washer stopped. Or how the stereo didn’t work, and the high-beams, and the one door lock, and the remote lock. But it did have leather seats -and the passenger seat was heated. And we knew what it was when we bought it.
So now we are back to an Opel Zafira. Nice to down-size the vehicle when you add an extra child to the family.
Jonah had a filed trip to some sort of National research lab down in the city. They broke up into groups -and his group extracted and analyzed the DNA from a banana. I don’t remember that field trip from when I was young. Matea had a filed trip just up the mountain a bit from us, exploring how nature changes during the fall. I was one of the parent helpers on that trip.
We had a freak Fall snow storm a week ago on Saturday night. Thursday the kids were still in shorts going to school. Friday cooled off a bit. Saturday started raining. That turned to snow sometime during the night – and did it ever come down.
Saturday evening looked like this:
We woke up on Sunday to this.
So we had our winter-wonderland sledding – where you try to avoid the blackberry bushes, and rocks, and fruit trees, and fence posts, and bamboo groves.
The incredibly heavy snow also knocked down a lot of trees -and took out a lot of power lines. Our electricity was our for about 40 hours – so we kicked it pioneer style:
Since it warmed up rather quickly – later on Sunday it looked more like this:
And Monday looked like this:
There you go – now consider yourself updated.