Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Our quiet Christmas day

It has been go-go-go, and I've basically hit the wall today. This morning I was up at 4am wrapping the remainder of the presents - Jef had done the majority of the wrapping last night when Kien and I had crashed out. I went back to bed to get a little bit more shut-eye but the kid decided that 6am was wake up time on Christmas day. We stretched out his patience until 7am before heading downstairs.

He got a letter telling him how good it is that he has been kind and considerate this year, and to keep up with his learning.

On his list this year he had asked for a whole bunch of beyblades, most of them rare. I had managed to find one of them at the last minute on Mighty Ape, and a launcher that he really wanted. The rest of his presents this year were practical ones that we can take up to Mangawhai, like board games and a magnetic backing torch. He didn't seem to mind that Santa gave him a jar of vitamins and a packet of Oreos - hey, they does like both of those things a lot!

Then Jef and I took turns at catching up on sleep. We sure know how to party around here. As the weather was so miserable all our planning of driving up to the property today was shot, so it was a good opportunity to be still for a day. Kien didn't mind. He had plenty of beyblade battles today!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Kien's birthday party

Last weekend we had Kien's birthday party to celebrate him turning 9 at the end of the year. It's always difficult to juggle a late December birthday (as far as I'm concerned), and everything gets frantic leading up to Christmas. We were very lucky for amazing weather.

Jef took Kien to his cricket match in the morning while I finished off decorating the cake. When they came home Kien was very happy with his cake.

Kien decided once again that he wanted to share his birthday party with one of his best buddies, Naotaka, which is great because then I didn't have to do all the work. This year the piñata was hand crafted by Ayako, and we shared the responsibility with food.

We played classic party games like pass the parcel and treasure hunt. They had water balloon fights and jumped into the spa to warm up again.

Candles stabbed onto cake by children, then lit by anyone who was keen.

I let Kien do the first cut of the cake since he was really keen for it. He's had lots of experience up at our ngahere in the glades chopping woody weeds down with the machete, so I can trust him with a giant knife...

After everyone devoured the cake (I didn't even get a slice - it must have been good!) Jef strung up the piñata and supervised as they all took turns bashing the thing.

Such a fun afternoon. I feel very fortunate that we are able to provide these experiences for Kien. This will contribute to his childhood memories, and adds to my fulfilment as a parent.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Cu Chi Tunnels

Built by the Viet Cong in the 1940s as protection from French air raids during the Indochina conflict, the Cu Chi Tunnels extend underground for more than 250km in the vicinity of Saigon alone. This network of passageways later provided vital access to the rural areas surrounding the city during the Vietnam War, when the tunnels housed living quarters, hospitals, booby traps, and storage facilities for the Viet Cong.

The tunnels, and complex, are definitely a tourist attraction, and its one of those things you do so that you've seen/done it. But because of where I've come from and what my family has been through, it's difficult for me to "admire" them - although, of course, I can totally appreciate the hard work that went into creating the network.

Half way through the tour we stopped and were able to purchase some ammunition to fire some some riffles at the range. Kien was so disappointed he wasn't able to fire a weapon or go down to the shooting area. He's just too little, but I've promised him that when he is big enough we can go shooting. Jef got to fire a machine gun and it was fun!

There was also a demo of how rice paper is made. I love eating rice paper so it was great seeing her do it.

Over the last school holidays...

We've been back for over a week now. Settling back to routines hasn't been easy...not sure why. I've not been able to shift my sleep back to this timezone, so surviving on a few hours a night (well, early hours of the morning) means my brain is not firing on all cylinders. This week I'm determined to get this sorted.

We flew over to Saigon on Tuesday 2 October in the first week of the school holidays.

We stayed in an apartment in District 1, in an area that is relatively new. It's quite different to where we've stayed in the past where we step out the door and in amongst the action. At this apartment its quiet and pristine.

We were in Saigon for 4 days, and it wasn't until Saturday that we had a chance to take a walk across the bridge and see what's over there.

Sat Kien down to a bowl of Pho - so great he loves to eat beef noodle soup!

Such an interesting area, and we didn't get a chance to explore it all that much.

When it rains, it rains! We were walking around and could feel the raindrops getting fatter and heavier. We took shelter at a roadside store/dairy type, and after a few beers we decided to just purchase some ponchos and get back to the apartment. Best decision ever! It was so much fun in the warm rain. Kien and I had such a good time jumping in puddles all the way home.


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