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Archive for the ‘Overseas travel’ Category

ppPrincess is now safely back home, although perhaps predictably the journey was not totally without incident. Upon arrival at Heathrow, London, she was unable to locate her passport. She knew she had used it coming into the UK from France four days earlier, but somehow in between then and this panic stricken moment, it had vanished. Just part of life’s rich tapestry I guess… Still, we are all very proud of her for making this trip alone to the other side of the world for seven weeks aged just sixteen. Everyone who spent time with her has commented on what a delightful, confident young woman she has become. It’s only a pity she managed to lose her brand-new laptop on the way in, and her passport on the way out. The laptop we got back mercifully, following me coughing up the £100 recovery ransom demanded by the courier company, and who knows, maybe the passport will also turn up one day. In the meantime though I’ve had to cancel it as required by law and pay the $100 lost passport ransom demanded by the Australian Government.

Quite how she’s managed to travel without one though is still very perplexing. She not only travelled out of the UK, but also gained entry into Australia using nothing more than beautiful eyelashes and her NSW Learner Driving Licence!

Needless to say, she had a fantastic time and plans to return to France in her gap year before university. But today it’s back to school for her final year and major HSC exams. She’s actually looking forward to this for some strange reason.

Rodent Boy also started back today. Now attending the same school as his brother, he wrestled me from a lovely dream at 6am this morning, fully dressed in his crisp new uniform, demanding breakfast. As you can probably tell, he is very excited and simply cannot wait to get there. Long may all this enthusiasm last I say!

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sdSixteen year old Princess has travelled to France via London on a French exchange visit. She flies back at the end of this week. Following are extractions from emails sent and received between us.

Me
Well as you can see our Internet is finally back on following the lightning strike. After a typical Sydney summers day, balmy hot then a nice refreshing afternoon thunderstorm, the impressive lightning strikes that pounded our region unfortunately, among other things, took down our local communications hub.

Princess
school’s been great and it was good to see all my friends again after the christmas break. i found that my language had improved a lot over the holidays and I was able to speak with much more confidence. it was snowing in the marseille area when school began again and apparently too dangerous for the teachers to drive, so we all got sent home. this is what they do here if a teacher doesn’t arrive. they don’t bother find a replacement, they just send us home.

Me
At the other end of the weather spectrum our monotonous 30°C+ days are also proving quite debilitating at times. Grandma had a lovely stay over Christmas and is now safely back on her perch in Tasmania. Muppet dog is missing his little friend who I think he thought had come to stay for good. Personally I was glad to see the back of Grandma’s dog as he had a nasty habit of pooing in unexpected places. I stood on one in the garage with no shoes on getting out of the car then there was the little extra present under the Christmas tree on Boxing day. Mum has once again scraped both the front and back bumpers of my car (both in separate incidents). You will recall both bumpers have only recently been repaired from when she did the same thing last year. Sydney FC lost again and again and now can’t make the play-offs so our season is over. Did you enjoy skiing? You look like you did from the photos on Facebook.

Princess
skiing was fantastic and i simply cannot understand why we have never been as a family?

Me
Well… as you know, Mum and I met on the ski slopes of Europe… well, technically we were still back in a dirty corner of London’s Victoria Coach Station that stank of piss. But as we waited to board the bus that would take us to Sauze d’Oulx, through the magic of love at first sight, we were already there, elegantly swishing down the piste together hand-in-hand under the bright blue Italian sky. My point is, that Mum and I love skiing and continued to ski here in Australia after we arrived. But then you and your two brothers came along followed by Mum’s dodgy hip and and my dicky knee and somehow I guess we never really mustered the energy required. Anyway Australia is not the greatest for winter sports (hence the distinct contrast between our performance at the Winter Olympics compared to that of the summer event). To enjoy the equivalent of the European Alps you really have to go to New Zealand and then you are talking major expensive holiday for the five of us. Anyhow, I’m pleased that you, a pretty young thing with your whole life ahead of you, have aspirations to do it again.

Princess
actually i have also decided i’m going to live in france.

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etowSixteen year old Princess has travelled to France via London on a French exchange visit. She will be there until the end of January. Following are some extractions from emails sent and received.

Me
Lovely to hear you’ve arrived safely. You really are so lucky getting to swap your summer school holidays, 30°C+ days, for… err, winter and four weeks of French school. Look I know it may be a little hard to see how lucky you are at the moment, but trust me, you will do so one day.

P
sorry couldn’t skype last night as i lost my internet connection which keeps disappearing. ive tapped into some random wireless one now because billions appear due to the houses all being so cramped together in london.

Me
Well glad you are well. You haven’t missed much here, except the sun of course! Last night we headed off to Rodent boy’s end of year school spectacular The Perfect Gift. Basically a narrative where the lead girl tells her friends (and us) the exciting news that she is going to be a ‘big sister’. She asks these friends what present she could possibly get for the new baby. As they explore the predictable possibilities, these become the inevitable cues for each of the school years to all troop on stage dressed accordingly and sing a tenuously related song. The gift ideas included a ‘puppy’ to which Year 1 sang ‘How much is that doggy in the window’ all dressed as Dalmatians (sadly a couple of the fat kids looked more like cows). This was then followed by Year 2 performing ‘On the good ship lollipop’ in response to the strange suggestion that the baby would like lollies [sweets/candy]. Your brother’s Year 3 sang ‘Sing (sing a song)’ as perhaps a ‘musical gift’ might be more appropriate. Year 5 offered a whole plethora of ideas performing ‘My favourite things’ from the ‘Sound of Music’. But of course the ‘perfect gift’ for the baby was… Da daaaaa… LOVE! And what better song to convey this than… ‘Baby Love’ (oooow baby love…) by the Supremes! The grand finale featured the whole ensemble singing ‘What the world needs now (is love)’ and then finished with the upbeat gospel ‘Jesus! What a wonderful child’. It was at this point that the penny finally dropped with me exactly which baby (albeit metaphortically) we were talking about. On the way out, parents were all agreeing with each other how fantastic they thought it was… Hmmm, such low expectations. Soldier Boy, who sat at the back between two flirty, and slightly slutty looking girlfriends, (who’s evening seemed to brighten noticably for seeing him there), said to me as we were leaving ‘Well that was much better than I thought it was going to  be… NOT!’.

P
wow. wish i’d been there too.

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