Saturday, 20 December 2014

Christchurch Christmas light show

It was a cloudy but very muggy day today. We planned to go to a Christmas light show.  There are over 53 houses lit up with christmas lights in Christchurch and the one on 650 Shands Road is one of the most exciting ones.

Cars were lined up for km's and as we walked along we took the opportunity to make a picture of natures light show. This fellow came to see what I was up to.

A great show 

When we arrived the first impression was one of amazement. A carnival of lights. Such a feast. 

A view of the main display

There was lots more to see and the children (and me)  had a ball

This car was very cool too

Another stall with fun

Hundreds of people came through this night


Here an idea of the complete show

Friday, 12 December 2014

Shabby Chic market

At the end of the year there is a lot going on. Holidays, Christmas, end of year functions and fairs. Everything happens at the same time. Markets and fairs are increasing in numbers. My favourite one is the monthly shabby Chic market in Woolston.

The market is in and around this cottage, complete with life music for the atmosphere.

There is also a place where you can have some coffee and show your goodies to your friends 
One of the stalls where they had some great treasures

An old cottage next door
I came home with a lot of unusual things

This is a story board. There are bits and pieces broken off but it was only $10 and I found it very intriguing. It is a big heavy wood carving. I think it is from the South Pacific or maybe Africa. It looks like a tall person gives the locals something to drink. What do you think is going on.

This is a cute little pill box

I loved this old key as I imagined that it was from an old wooden door back in time or maybe it can
open a treasure box

Sunday, 7 December 2014

On the segway through Christchurch city centre

I spend a whole day with a friend who I got to know through blogging. She stayed at the place of another wonderful former blogger. What a treasure to meet so many nice people online. Peggy is from Australia and she invited me to go on a Segway tour with her. This was on my bucket list so that was fantastic. When we started, it was a bit of a challenge as it was different from anything I am used to. You have to steer and stop with your body. But than we wheeled into the city, crossing roads, riding over bumps was so much fun cruising through town. Afterwards we had lunch at the Lotus Flower which has fantastic food and our lovely christchurch  friend joined us. Next we visited my work as she supported our charity followed by a walk and photo shoot through the city. Here are some impressions:

A beautiful Christmas tree in the Cardboard Cathedral

A glimpse of the cardboard cathedral. it was build after the Christchurch Cathedral
was destroyed in the earthquake, located not far from it. It consists of 86 card board tubes of 500 Kg each.

Peggy on the beautiful mosaic chair given to Christchurch by the people of China

Christmas in New Regent Street

A new shop called Clockwork emporium and café in Regent Street with beautiful steampunk items
There is a big steampunk community in Christchurch. Steampunk is about fiction and fantasy and steam powered machinery. Oemaru is the head quarter of NZ steampunk as they have a festival, a museum and movies and great artists .

A beautiful huge mural on the back of  Isaac Theatre Royal. The iconic building has been restored and opened two weeks ago. It has a gorgeous interior which we couldn't see this time as there was a function going on.

A new retro shop. Don't you just love discovering new things all the time.

A broken church in Manchester Street made "whole" with art

Christchurch has so many amazing murals at the moment. This is a new one

A week ago I had a great day together with Marilyn, a volunteer and friend. The swimming with the dolphins didn't go ahead as there were two to three meter swells. Next year we try again :)

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Prettige Sinterklaas

Most Dutch children already opened their presents as it is Sinterklaas in the Netherlands (they are 12 hours behind in time on NZ) I have fond memories of Sinterklaas just as the children here have of father Christmas. In the Netherlands however it is a big celebration as in the weeks before Sint and Piet arrive by boat or horse in the city and towns. They are on TV and there are movies made about them. Here you can read all about it.  So prettige Sinterklaas to all the Dutch and here a poem about the Dutch my brother send me.
It is also about stereotyping which I come across often. A couple of weeks I had the honour to read a poem at a poetry/story night organised by a friend an others. Afterwards someone said
"That poem was romantic and you are Dutch. The Dutch aren't romantic" Never heard that one before. Do you get stereotyped?

Monday, 1 December 2014

Say no to bullying

A must see video with a powerful poem about bullying written by Shane Koyczan because of his experience with violence in schools.

New Zealand is a great country to bring up children as the environment is fantastic for kids. At school there is holistic education; It is not only about academics but they learn about the arts,sports,outdoor education, drama and more. There is however one thing I find difficult to cope with. This is the high percentage of bullying as you can see here. As I  helped out at school a lot in the past, I have heard about it and seen it happening.

One mum told me that her child was not allowed to play with the other children. Her child tried to find a connection but  then one child started to spread a rumour through the school that her child had a contagious decease. This resulted in everyone running away from the child when he approached and he also got physically hurt. The mother went to the teacher but nothing was done. The  police came to the school to raise awareness about bullying  and the mother of one of the bullies went to the teacher and told her that the bullying towards the child had to stop as she learned that her own child was bullying. This was very courageous of the mother. The result was that the bullying stopped and the child who was bullied was suddenly included. Every one learned from this.

I do think the schools are trying more and more to stop bullying but it is a difficult task. As you learn from the poem in the above video it is very important to keep working on it.

There are different reasons for bullying; Lack of empathy, the child has been bullied themselves and as a result of authoritarian parenting with high use of controlling and punitive discipline or simply like he said in the video; because we are afraid of our own abandonment.
It is not easy to change these influences. What can be done though is to make sure there is a no-tolerance towards bullying. I think however that it is even more important to teach children how bullying effects others. I always tell the children I work with, that they have to treat each other with respect. When they use harsh language towards someone else I stop them straight away. Exclusion of children isn't allowed.  Problems don't disappear overnight but we keep working on it.

I think social and emotional development should be a taught at school. Especially in this computer era where children get less practise in social interaction. Philosophy would also be on my wish list so children learn to question things and not blindly follow the crowd.
We all can however play a role. By being respectful and tolerant to others we will be great role models and we will change the world one step at the time.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Bucket list

bike on Make A Gif

My first animated GIF. I actually had no suitable pictures but was too lazy to make some. These were the only pictures in a range. 
Is this GIF funny Noop, It actually can drive you nuts. Is it relevant?  It is sort of relevant because these beautiful bikes are in Amsterdam in the Netherlands and that's were I am going next year to visit my family and friends. Yeeh

I had another first time this year as I have snorkeled when we were in Vanuatu. Something I always wanted to do so I had it on my bucket list. It was an absolute paradise under water. I ticked off some more things from my bucket list:

I had coffee with my daughter in Wellington not long ago

I learned to meditate.

I learned some SLR camera skills Still some work to do here as I tend to put the camera on automatic . My husband gave me the camera a few years ago. He knows I love photography and said that he didn't want to waste money on jewellery, that a camera was far more useful. You know what I think he is right. I love my camera.

The good thing about making a bucket list is that things actually start to happen and I can nearly tick off even more:

My lovely friend Peggy, who I got to know through blogging, invited me to ride on a Segway with her. This is going to happen next week.

I am also going to swim with the dolphins This was actually a present for my daughter but she isn't able to come home before Christmas to use the voucher so I am going to swim myself :)  

I am going to add something else to my bucket list: volunteering abroad. I am inspired by one of my best friends who is going in December to Delhi to volunteer for a month in an orphanage. I am so proud of her. I already found a great organisation were I could pass on my computer skills and asked my friend to visit Saalam Baalak, if she has time:

Do you have a bucket list or something you still wish to do?

Sunday, 23 November 2014

My neighbours garden

Our lovely neighbours allowed me to take lots of pictures in their magical garden. It is like my brothers garden with lots of quirky things and beautiful flowers. These are just a few of my photos

Angels watching over the earth, holding it, cradling it, molding it into a place of worth

When the sun sleeps a lantern shines on natures finest art

What a feast, as the mind drifts into a thousand and one nights with this touch of the east

A frog caught in a web of long lazy afternoons

Come relax with me, and drink coffee under the peony tree

Surrounded by wild flowers  I sit and be 

A wheel standing quietly in harmony with beauty

A symbol of freedom as his wings lift him into the air,
as he sings, his music is heard everywhere