Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Gabriel and Kai

The dudes (now known as blokes) are 11. We celebrated their special day in Apollo Bay, on the south coast of the state of Victoria. The plan was to have an evening picnic on the beach, but the flies were so wicked we couldn't take it, and had our meal and celebration on the top deck of the Apollo Bay YHA. We had a bd party here in FC earlier in December, with friends from school. Introduced the Aussie friends to mud cake, complete with worms (snakes) and this year's innovation, chocolate chips to be crunchy like gravel. Some kids enjoyed it, some were a bit taken aback. (Kai with wombat; Gabe with kookaburra.)

Their birthday falls on "the darkest day of the year" in the northern hemisphere... here it's the summer solstice, and the sun came out in her full glory on the 21st. We walked along the Barwon River to the falls, opened gifts at a picnic spot along the road, and returned to the beach for some boogey boarding and swimming in the 18C water. That was a bit of a gasp, but we did it!

The challenges and accomplishments of this last year are numerous. Both are accomplished packers and stowers-away of a variety of objects. Kai holds a special record for actually trying to bring a pair of scissors through airport security (they found them right at the Winnipeg airport) -- I mean, you never know when you need a pair of scissors? -- and then his jack knife in his backpack on our trip to Brisbane. They didn't see it at Melbourne's Tullamarine airport, but they did catch it in Brisbane, but let us mail it back to Ferny Creek! Gabe's special gift was for disconcerting the Sex Ed instructor at FCPS, after her pronouncements that people should be treated for who they are regardless of hair, skin, facial features, piercings, etc. "Yes, little girl?" "I'm a boy"... Infamy for both guys.

There were challenges as well and both boys learned to meet new people with aplomb. Each guy tackled the speech requirements of the first term of school in their own way. It's a gift to be able to present information in front of an audience, and the sooner people start, the easier it will be. Kai won for delivering the best speech for his year at the presentation evening. Gabe has become adept at creating short videos and animation.

They leapt onto surfboards and have learned some great physical skills with cross-country running, using flying foxes, ice blocking (sliding down a grassy slope on a block of ice), Billy Cart racing, biking up and down some steep (45 degree angles) slopes, walked around Uluru, touched the Opera House, flew in an ultra light plane, have learned to identify a variety of Australian wildlife (Gabe was stalked by a hungry kangaroo). They keep us amused with their burgeoning humour skills, and how they have embraced the challenges of living away from their home turfs for one year.

They brought light into the lives of the people they met and we wish them strength and agility, both physical and emotional, as we return to Winnipeg.


Sandra Elias said...

With a mom like you have Kai and Gabe you are meant to be adventurous, spontaneous, thoughtful, bright, humourous and down right like-able! Happy Birthday boys!! From one of your mom's friends - Sandra

Ed Wiebe said...

What a year. Have a great trip back.

Penny Williams said...

Happy birthday boys, and merry christmas to all! Have a fantastic day....I am just about to pop the pudding back in the steamer, then going to serve our Christmas seafood lunch, complete with local oysters, prawns and a big fat lobster.

Have a really safe trip home - will you continue to blog (albeit on another blog) when you get back? I've really enjoyed your writing and recipes. All the best!