Christmas cards from South Africa

I received some lovely Christmas cards from South Africa via


My sister gave some small paintings and stitch work, she has done for me, to a friend who is visiting family in Australia.

This friend sent it to me because the post office in SA is in a mess.

The surprise arrived on Wednesday.

Thank you father Christmas.

My cards!
My cards!

These two cards are hand-made by my two young nieces!

Thank you Lija and Reini

Also for the lovely owl necklace!


Writing 101: A Character-Building Experience

Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?

Today’s twist: Turn your post into a character study.

From Hong Kong to New Zealand

February 8, 2014 is a date I won’t easily forget! My lovely international student arrived at Wellington Airport that day. Little did I know that we would have the best of time  together.

I had to pick up Alpha and her niece that day. Her niece’s home stay mother could not pick them up because she had a broken arm.

Looking out for two Chinese girls you have never seen, was a bit stressful. I wrote both names on a big piece of cardboard. Holding it up did not result in finding them at first.. Then much later they came walking down the stairs. One plump and short walking in front with a taller and thinner girl two steps behind.

I introduced myself to the short girl thinking:”She had to be Alpha.”  No ways, it was the niece who is supposed to be the leader of the two. She also did all the talking and gave instructions how to pack the luggage. Alpha was this timid quiet, obeying follower all the time.

After dropping the niece off I had the opportunity to ask my questions. She told me that’s  how it worked in Hong Kong. Her niece was a “princess” and she had to obey whatever was asked from her. (Luckily I could help her sort out the situation because Alpha wasn’t allowed to be herself)

Getting to know her was and still is wonderful! She is a lovely, caring young woman. She helps wherever and whenever she can. She is also interested in everything I do and the way things  are done here. She feels like my own daughter by now. We feel each others moods. We support each other where and when ever we need to.

I am privileged to call her Kiki. It means that I am part of her as family. Strangers have to call her Alpha and I have to introduce her by that name to my friends.

Watching her walking and doing things her own way is very interesting.

When  walking down the front steps she more hops than walks. Holding up her arms to balance herself. She also gives short slow steps when we go for walks or do shopping. She always walks one step behind me. When arriving in New Zealand, Kiki had short black hair which is now long enough to tie  up out of her face. At times she could not see well through the hair hanging in front of her face. The hair also sometimes  dipped into food.  We had some good laughs when her hair also ate some of the food!


There is always a smile on her face. She loves to talk and learn new ways and things. Studying in English is very difficult. At first she translated everything into Chinese and then back into English. Specially the history is very difficult  because of the lack of language knowledge. She is working very hard to reach her goal. I hope for the best and that she will be successful at the end.

I’ll miss her company when she is back in Hong Kong.