|Laura moves doll house and
This is already the third issue of the KLM cyber letter, and still from Phnom Penh. We are here now already more than five years and some friends visited us here, tired of desperately hoping for new
destinations, in Cambodia for a second time. Although we most likely will transfer to another
country soon, we moved house one more time. We got fed up by the previous house.
The garden was very nice, but the house itself became more and more dilapidated
and Minke was more and more annoyed by the garbage dump at the corner of the
street. Our new house is much better and bigger and more luxurious and on
the other side of town. Also the garbage heaps are bigger, but further away.
|This is our new house seen from the garden..
||...and the garden seen from the terace...
|...with decorative oxcart.
|the dining room, table top made from one piece of wood
||and one of the bathrooms.
The houses are not as closely built here, but it is
located further away from the "centre" of town. The most
important reason for moving was the daily long travel time from home to school
for Minke and Laura. Surprisingly however, it seems Kees gains the most in
shortened daily commuting time, not in the least because the daily return
trip home no more follows the river, and therefore is no more passing the terraces
with tempting cool beer. Is this an improvement, we wonder.
|And the pride of the garden, a fan palmtree.
casually our yacht back from our favourite beach to our apartment, a few
sea miles to the south. Laura, here fashion consciously dressed in Osh Kosh
attire, fabricated an ingenious speedometer that indicated we were
making four knots at that moment.
This summer holiday in our apartment in Spain was again
very nice, also because the weather, this year in Spain very fine, was
more sail friendly than previous years. The combination "yes wind-no waves" is
a rare one at the Costa Brava, but for Minke a prerequisite for enjoying our "Roode Draeck".
Kees went ahead with the E-type to ready the
house and to relax by doing simple manual labour
in the apartment such as white washing, painting, tiling and varnishing
the boat. The womenfolk flew in some weeks later and could with some effort be
shoehorned in the E-type. No problems of harassing traffic police in Spain.
|To navigate the Roode
Draeck (The Red Dragon) is a piece of cake. We are almost the only sailboat in
our bay (on the background) and the outboard motor is almost never used,
only with annoying head wind. Who happens to wear the cap is the captain
and is the boss on board.
Kees enjoyed this summer a longer break from his UNICEF
duties than previous years. The job satisfaction suffered because of the streetfighters attitude, coupled to professional weaknesses, of a that time supervisor and, more importantly, the health situation of my dad, (90 years and still alive but not so kickin' anymore),
made me to spend more time in the Netherlands. But I prove to be a family
member of a tough breed and Dad, although only a shadow of his earlier energetic
self and bedridden all day,is slowly emerging again a little from the
fogs of dementia of a half year ago. He is anyway as grumpy as before, like also
his denial of his ever more deteriorating hearing problem and that doesn't make
the conversations with him much entertaining or philosophical either.
|This is how we will remember Opa. Laura is
not so sure about these puppies, but fortunately Opa is big and strong.
The year is 1992.
The health of Minke's father on the other hand
declined incurably more and more and to our great sorrow Chris died in September.
Not yet so very old, and he thought himself also that wasn't really fair. Minke
left for the Netherlands when her father was in the hospital and returned after
the cremation again to Cambodia. Kees and Laura performed in Phnom Penh a little
ceremony with flowers to say goodbye to Opa of
Although geographically the distances are very
big. we always maintained close contact with the grandparental homes and have
had a reasonable number of "quality contact
hours", but of course compressed in a few weeks of annual leave. Still it
is unpleasant in these situations of finality of the lives of grandparents
to be so far apart.
Minke is continuing her teaching career and is now in her
fourth year of teaching Kindergarten at Northbridge International School. It is
this year a very dynamic year at the school, because after many years of only barely
surviving, the number of enrolled students made a enormous growth spurt this year.
The atmosphere at school is good and positive. Laura has an excellent teacher and is doing
a lot of after-school activities. On Saturday morning she plays soccer and she
has just started guitar lessons (at last Kees' Spanish guitar will come to some
use). Also she is doing dancing, Dutch School and tennis. Next to the school is
a Club with swimming pool, restaurant and many sport facilities. Laura feels
very at home in Cambodia and it will not be easy for her to say goodbye and get
used to a new country.
|The goldsmith on the market is busy with his
sophisticated equipment to set the diamants of Grandpa of the little Ducks
in a necklace.
In November Minke's sister with husband and
baby visited us in Cambodia and next week one of Minke's best friends from the
Netherlands will visit us for three weeks. We will go a week to
Laos together and celebrate second Christmas day (yes, we Dutch have a second
Christmas day) in Luang Prabang. We have been there before and were very
impressed by the tranquility, the beautiful temples, and the terraces with fairy tale
sunsets along the river. Minke's brother also has plans to come this way soon,
joined by spouse and Minke's mother. Through these frequent visits and our
annual "home-leave", we maintain a strong tie with friends and family,
even after 12 years overseas. Even more, we made during these years many more
friends living in many different countries in the world.
|The delicacy in Cambodia: fried
are very important for us. Often we meet again after years and it is as if we
have just seen each other last week. It is very special that we know that
friends get in the car to see or meet us where ever we are in the Netherlands, that we are always welcome for a dinner of stay overnight and that Laura also in the Netherlands has some very good friends where she feels at home.
We wish everybody a very happy new year 2002 and
will toast with a glass champagne on our friendship of many years.
Kees, Minke en Laura