has been a busy year full of changes. The “Bangkok” phase has ended for
all three of us. Minke and Kees have moved to our new house in Na Jomtien,
together with the dogs and maid Samak. Here you see the official logo our
company which we own and through which we could subsequently buy the land and
house. The frangipani flower (Plumeria Obtusa) is very popular in Thailand and grows
extravagantly in our garden. We found it fitting to name our house the Thai
name of this beautiful flower; Lilawadi. Kees is in position of a
“pensionado” visa, something which the Thai are generous to grant if you
politely ask at the immigration. Minke
is striving towards the same however is not yet at the applicable age.
Laura successfully achieved her International Baccalaureate Diploma and
spent the several following months enjoying her freedom, regardless of the
nighttime curfew imposed by the Thai government in response to the
demonstrations. The graduation celebrations continued into the summer when she
traveled to England with school friends and attended the Glastonbury Festival.
Laura has now emigrated to the Netherlands where she is now a number in the
governmental system and has a purse full of cards to prove it. Becoming a
Dutch citizen brought many new challenges with it, including attaining the
skills to jump onto the back of a moving bicycle but also the less manageable
problems which came with trying to get health insurance.
She continued her international life by
studying Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University College of Maastricht,
which is still abroad for most of us, even the Dutch. It was easy for Laura to
find a small but cozy room at walking distance from the center of town. She
has adjusted well and made friends, and after Patana School UCM is more than
Minke and Kees assisted Laura from a short distance (read: from their little caravan on a nearby camping).
A bicycle was bought; wall paper was replaced on walls, the kitchen cleaned, and IKEA furniture assembled.
The summer holiday of 2010 was spent by us in Norway, with the resolution to see the sun not set.
We traveled with the Mk2 plus little caravan to far above the polar circle, and in the words of the Dutch writer W.F. Hermans; “on
some days there were up to twenty minutes in which it did almost not rain.”
Norway is a stunningly beautiful country sprinkled with attractive campsites,
and a space population of kind though private people obsessed with trolls. It
does have to be said however that culinary arts are limited and that prices
are high to the extent that one is recommended to do grocery shopping in
Sweden when possible. The maximum speeds on roads are low, and petrol with
lead is easily available so the country is ideal for a holiday with a classic
car. The good old timer managed our mission exceptionally well and loyally
transported its passengers and caravan across almost 6000 km without missing a
Minke said farewell to St. Andrews school after working
there as a teacher for 7 years. The final days were touching, with warm goodbyes
of colleagues and parents, a festive breakfast with all parents and children and
a diner at a local restaurant with cocktails and presents.
An added bonus to Minke’s closure at St. Andrews was the accreditation which they were granted
after several years of hard work. There is a branch of St. Andrews not far from
our house in Jomtien which has already invited Minke to work there occasionally.
Before the holidays we also parted with our Volkswagen
Beetle which was colourfully decorated by Laura and her friends after finishing
their (I)GCSE exams. We do not have space for it in our new house, but we do
have cheerful pictures as a memory. We
miss Laura and all the activities she undertook here with her friends, however
we are also proud of the confidence with which she started the new phase in her
life. Laura drew the winter jackpot
this year with lots of snow but we are happy to be able to enjoy the Christmas days together with
her here in Thailand.
Kees is enjoying his early retirement by undertaking multiple automotive projects. The
Sparta motorcycle, bought by me in my second year at university and still in my
possession, has undergone a thorough makeover. All the chrome has been
transported to Bangkok and back, and new parts have been created on my request
in China Town. More detail may be found here.
We wish all our family
and friends a fantastic 2011 and hope you will visit us here some time for a
swim in our pool.