Day of Christmas

The chefs were busy preparing the meal and the table which looked like this once everything was ready for the feast:

Traditionally it’s Wiener sausages with home made potato salad – but they had some shrimp and lox with bagel & cream cheese for me, too.  Everybody sat down and the sausages and lox were no longer…..

Finally the Christmas Express was running thanks to Mishi’s technical ingenuity ….

… and

Jessica performed some kind of a Christmas dance around the pool …

and it was time for the first seating.

The next most important step was lighting up the candles on the Christmas tree.  Traditionally this was Helga’s job – since it requires a delicate handling of the flame not to burn the decoration of the Christmas tree.  This time it was Nicolas who took over this task:

With the help of Karen as a counter weight and a little “flame thrower” he performed without any major damage.

Then the kids randomly selected each gift, announced the donor and the recipient and everybody shared in the opening of the present….

…. ah, what a surprise!

I got a new hair style – how convenient!

Martina and Helga & Klaus got a book with poems from school children all around the world, one of which is from Nicolas – see page 113!

Ah, those old days when computers took forever – now Nicolas may use it as an excuse for himself…..

The kids loved their job announcing and  distributing the presents – particularly to each other….

Finally Nicolas read his poem – a verrrrrry sad one but then it was a dream, only, along the books title: “I have a dream 2009” published by Global verses from the young Writers edition:

“I Mourn

I do not dream
Since the day
My mother died
And swept away

I only imagine
How it feels
To have a dream
That lifts your heels

And you will fly
Up overhead
But then wake up
And be in bed

But no more dreams
And no more flying
As I lie in my bed
And begin crying

But now it’s over
I dream with warning
That I disapprove
And so I’m mourning.”

Nicolas Petersen-Gyöngösi (15)
Munich International School, Starnberg, Germany

Good night,

Mishi

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Driving Lesson No. 1

Today Nicolas got his verrrrry first driving lesson.  He’ll become 16 next month and we thought it is about time for him to start learning driving us around – for a change.

Obviously, he enjoyed the ride – with a smile  – and the co-pilot kept smiling all the time as well – a good sign.

He drove verrry carefully but when passing me he stepped on the gas pedal – I believe to have seen his smile increasing during that half second while he passed my camera.

His final comment was: “It comes automatically” – obviously, it is an automatic Ford Mustang.  However he had some trouble distinguishing between right and left when going in reverse.

Reading his mind I believe I sensed him dreaming about driving up to his new college in that black Ford Mustang…… – dream on boy!

College Visit

Yesterday was an important day.  It was the first day of our search for a suitable college for Nicolas.  He’ll finish school in two years from now with – so we hope – his international baccalaureate.  So far he’d be interested to enroll in an US college with a BA in drama & arts.  The site we use for all that information is http://www.collegeboard.com/parents/.  So far we found about 10 colleges in Florida, only, which may be suitable for Nicolas.  We’ll try to check out as many as we can while we are here.

So, here comes a short report about the Florida Gulf Coast University at http://www.fgcu.edu/CurrentStudents.asp:

The FGCU is a very young, newly built and fast growing campus.  We signed up for a campus tour.

The campus looks a bit bland, boring & faceless but the facilities seem to be brand new and they seem to offer a lot of services which are already included in the tuition to make the student’s stay comfortable.  The tuition ranges from 4.2K to 19.5K depending on whether you are an instate or out of state student.  Klaus’, Helga’s and aunt Martina’s residence status may come in handy here….. The College seem to have ample student flats for on campus living and tons of parking garage space for those not living on campus.  On campus, if you don’t happen to have a bicycle, skate board or similar, buses circulate every 15 or so minutes and blue emergency telephones are installed (you can see one on the above picture) everywhere.  Apparently campus police could be at any point of the campus within 90 seconds…..

All buildings, except maybe for the library, are ugly on the exterior but inside you can see that a lot of money was invested to provide for the best possible learning experience.

They even have some art displayed from China….  

The campus sits on swamp land which may not be built on more than 50% of its donated land.  The rest must stay swamp land with all kinds of local creatures including alligators.  They’ll certainly enrich any biology class.  They even have classes on forensic studies where they dig out make believe corpses, mark the location of the crime, securing the evidence and investigate any traces they may find.

Their drama & arts school got some good marks from some of our friends here.  The kids were quite impressed and Nicolas would like to move in ASAP – but this was just the first campus they’d ever seen in their lives.

More news will follow, soon. We are scheduled to visit 2 more colleges on the West Coast and 2 more around Tampa and St. Petersburg.

So long,

Mischi

Helga’s 75th B-Day

Helga’s 75th celebration started around 10-ish with lots of presents, e.g. origamis, good smelling goods, picture albums and more pictures….

The kids selected a nasty B-Day card about Helga not being THAT old – compared to most things on planet earth, like rocks, the atmoshpere, the continents, etc….

A string of colourful origami cranes which were hand folded by their Japanese classmates stands for a long life – which, according to Helga, already happened.

Some origami orchids – verrrry difficult to fold – and Jessica waiting for the other gift parcels to be opened.

Martina learned the kids to do southern grilled cheese toasts in a pan  – with a sliced tomato in between.

See how Nicolas skillfully turns it over for browning on the other side – with the cheese melting in between – ah, it’s so good “you’ll slap your gran’ma”!  Right now, while I write this blog, the smell of those toasts reached my nose upstairs – they are doing them again – I got to finish this blog fast and get down to grab one.    In the afternoon Martina made her special nut cake, a peacan pie – as you can see, they were all nuts about it….

In the evening we left for a very fancy Steak House,

THE Sanibel Steak House, for a very elegant dinner with monster steaks – obviously – and I had may Ahi blackened tuna.

Since the fire department did not allow for 75 lit up birthday cake candles Helga had to settle with one on her favourite crème brulé and a candle:

Good night!

Cheerio,

Mishi

Winter Break in Sanibel

Hello Folks,

On 17 December late in the evening we arrived in Sanibel. It was raining cats and dogs and next morning it rained even more cats and dogs.  A very good idea to start the day slowly and lazy as you can see…..

… some even more lazy & grumpy than others …

Ah, here comes Jessica, the only remaining family member who did not (yet) overtake me in height:

Inactivity didn’t last for tooooo long and we took off for Lazy Flamingo, one of our favourite eateries.  Despite the clouds and occasional rain the air is still warm enough for a cabriolet –

With some goooood music and a short cruise along Periwinkle – the one and only main traffic artery on Sanibel – we arrived at Lazy Flamingo.

We started with a pitcher of X-tra light – well, we all guessed where that kind of yellowish colour comes from – the next pitcher was a normal lager.

We discussed about Nicolas first driving experience – he is allowed to here in the US provided he’s accompanied by a grown-up.  However, for today, too much beer for his age……

Back in Oyster Court some brotherly hugs with little big blond sister – a little bit of shopping, some movies and an earlier bedtime.

Good night,

cheerio, Mischi

Day 6 – Repose

Kos downtownMr. Papadakis, the 72 year old holder of the 4th Dan and father of one of our Teakwondo school headmasters organised a day in Kos for those who decided to bunk off training classes on that day.  About 30 out of 300 volunteered – only 10% – and we had a very pleasant day in the main city of Kos, Kos city.

The first thing to do was to visit the “Tree of Hippokrates”.  Apparently that’s the place where he gathered with his followers and taught them his medicine.  He became more famous for his rules of conduct which arKos Baum des Hippokratese still applied today.  The obligation to save lives and the strict ban on any assistance to suicide is hotly debated our times.

Bernhard, Franz walked and I hobbled extensively through the town of Kos.  Of course we had our obligatory “frappe”, an ice cKos Frappeeold coffee whipped with a bit of milk and sugar – non, medium or sweet – as you like it.

Apart from the Tree of Hippokrates we saw his bum as well

Kos Hippokrates Popo

Not bad for his age said some of our ladies.  After several frappes and extensive walks and hobbling we were ready for some  authentic Greek food.  We found a nice tavernaKos Bernhard Franz.  The starters were great – the main course mediocre – but we had enough wine to overcome our disappointment (I should have known – normally I never eat anything else but the starters in a Greek restaurant).

Kos KircheKos Fischerboot

We came too late for the very old part of the town.

Kos RuinenA party of crazy teakwondo fans must have chopped down all the pillars already with very few remaining scarcely intact.  The break test during those time must have been very, very tough…..

The day finished back at Norida Beach with our 2200 hour training. Lots of new moves how to free yourself from somebody else’s grip….. Later that night at the hotel bar Mr. Papadakis explained us every single letter in the Greek alphabet…. – another scene out of “My big fat Greek Wedding”.

Good night.