Where have I been all this time?

So many of you (actually, just three people – hee hee) have asked me if they’ve missed a blog post or why I’m not writing much any more. To be honest, my creativity has been dormant and I’ve had little inclination to write. I’ve been silent’ish on all platforms and haven’t felt like communicating much. Nothing has been “wrong” and nothing has happened; rather I just haven’t really found any words to write.

But thanks to a lovely nudge from my sister in law (thank you Rejanne), here I am, back on the bike so to speak (appropriate for The Netherlands, I guess).

My biggest recent event was going to Cape Town towards the end of October for some sunshine, Woolworths and such wonderful family time. I hadn’t spent time with the bulk of my Cape Town family for around two years mostly owing to Covid, and my week there was a dream. Highlights, aside from family catchups, included runs on the promenade, dried mango from Woolies, Lexi’s vegetarian meals and having my hair done for a fraction of the Dutch price. It was a healing trip in many ways, and leaving this time was way harder than when we left to emigrate as we were spared those physical heartbreaking goodbyes.

I also ran the Amsterdam Marathon just before my South Africa trip and it was a wonderful day and race. I was so grateful to once again be doing something “normal” like run a big race again, and it was bizarre that this big city marathon actually “belongs” to my home city now. My family met me at around 15km which fuelled me until the end of this special and well organised race. I cycled the 3km or so home from the race slowly and with my medal swinging from side to side. I don’t really wear my medals home after a race, but in case anyone thought I cycled that slowly, I needed some kind of validation (if only for myself).

The kids have fiiiiiiiinally gotten into a swimming school after months of waiting for slots to open up. Rebecca is loving being back in the water, and it was a bit of a heartache for me that we had to wait so long for lessons as she was so close to learning how to swim just before the Big Lockdown of March 2020. Why is my swim-competent 12-year-old going for lessons, you might ask? Because all kids require Dutch certification. I’ve heard of some expat kids having skipped lessons and certification because their kids swam in school teams, but it seemed that it was mostly compulsory.

Here’s what kids need to do in order to get their A certificate (there is B and C too):

With clothing:

• Jump into the water from some height and tread water for 15 seconds;
• 12.5m breaststroke under the line and 12.5m single backstroke;
• Climb out of the water independently.

With swimming costume:

• With a head jump from the side and swim 3 meters underwater through a hole;
• 50m breaststroke and 50m single backstroke;
• Push off from the side, float on back for 5 counts, swim, then float for 10 counts;
• Push off from the side, float on belly for 5 seconds, swim and float for another 5 seconds;
• Push-off from the side, 5 meter front crawl;
• Push off from the side, 5m back crawl;
• Stepping water for 60 seconds with 2 full turns around the longitudinal axis.

Quite an ask, right? But how brilliant that all kids are trained and expected to be water proficient.

It looks like we’re heading into more of a lockdown and we’re awaiting any further restrictions (restaurants now close at 8pm and I hope they don’t take this joy away from us fully). At least we can still enjoy the great outdoors and the magnificent lights. I’ll be finishing up at my current agency at the end of December as I’m starting at a brilliant company in January.


Yours in oliebollen and almost-winter,


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