Friday, 23 December 2011

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Winding Down 2011

Many things are drawing to a close at this time of year. For us, a lot has been happening, in part, simply due to the number in our family but also because of some significant milestones.

Most significantly, Joshua has successfully completed college. For those outside Canberra, this is essentially the final two years of high school. The system here is for high school up to Year 10 and then a separate school, called a college, that very much like half university and half high school. The dress code goes from uniforms to free style, the teachers prefer to go by first names and the hours of attendance are more relaxed. Out of all our children, Joshua and Mara -- mostly simply due to their ages -- have had the least settled formal education. Joshua has attended six and, by the time she finishes, Mara will have attended eight schools across three countries and educational systems. In any case, after a less than certain start while he readjusted to the Australian educational style, Joshua put in a good effort to finish the year strongly. He mostly enjoys the humanities with Spanish, sociology and history being his stronger subjects. He's already secured himself a full-time job and plans to work, pending the outcome of university entrance offers.

One Last Touch
Joshua gets one last adjustment from his mother on the way to his college graduation.

Mara has concluded one and a half years of Year 10 -- half in the US and one here -- and is onto college next year. In graduating she received the Kylie Souter Gift which recognises team work and quality commitment in the Performing Arts. Obviously, dance is still a big part of her life.

Elijah, Ariana and Bryna all had good academic years too with Elijah set to graduate from college next year, Ariana getting one B grade and an award for physical education and Bryna just enjoying her studies.

For the past few years, 'end of year' for us has also meant ballet productions. This year, Bryna joined Mara on stage in their ballet school's production based on the Sound of Music. Bryna was in two numbers and Mara performed in six or seven, including one as a queen bee tending to some very cute baby bees. They were both very busy the past couple of months with rehearsals and the performance was superb. A couple of weeks after the performances and ballet was done for the year with a good two months off before resuming.

Favourite Things
Bryna poses on the front lawn in her costume from the 'Favourite Things' number in a recent ballet school production. And dance and costumes really are a few of her favourite things.

For myself, a deadline at work, plans for the house and car repairs as well as the typical end of year goings on have taken up whatever spare time I had laying about. A couple of weeks off over Christmas, relaxing with family up in Brisbane, seems like just the tonic at the end of a fairly busy year.