Hi from Colin, Liz, Courtney & Anna
For those of you who we haven't communicated with for some time here is a quick update. We have decided to stop in Phuket for, most likely, two years. Liz has a contract as a primary teacher at the British Curriculum International School here and the girls are attending the school as part of her package. The reasons to stop were manyfold but mainly a desire to have the girls attend a conventional school. Reflections IV is at Yacht Haven marina at north eastern corner of the island, 30 minutes away. We will put her on anchor soon and hope to get some use on weekends and holidays. The girls and I spent the last two months visiting family and friends in Australia and Liz spent the same time in NZ with her family. Sadly, her mother lost a long battle with cancer, but at least Liz was able to be there with her and spend some time with her father afterwards.
So now we've been back in Phuket almost three weeks and the routine is firmly established. We rented a house in the suburb, Chuan Chuen Lagoon, near the school and are pleased with how convenient it is. It's a two minute drive to the school and there are lots of kids around for the girls to play with. The estate has a lagoon in the centre and the houses encircle the lagoon with a small park at one end. There is no through traffic and has a security gate for access. It's an old house and for the same money we could have rented a larger newer house further away but it feels good to live in and has a bit of character to it. There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms and has open but separated dining and living areas. There is enough furniture to live but we are hunting for shelves, bookcases and desks, then some wall hangings to make it cosier. It is tiled throughout and the owner repainted it just before we moved in. It's amazing how much stuff we've unloaded off the boat and continue too! The kitchen is a basic 'Thai' model but has two large benches with tiled surfaces. We'll probably add some cupboards and some sort of oven/cooker arrangement. The owner is a doctor from Bangkok and was very easy to deal with. He put it a new fridge, washing machine, and bed linen.
There are air conditioners in every room but we find they aren't necessary 95% of the time as there is lots of ventilation and we bought pedestal fans for every room.
For transport we bought an old Hyundai Excel which bright red and very sporty looking. It goes well and most importantly the air conditioner works well.
Anna has settled into life here well. Each afternoon she is off playing with friends and arrives back on dark for dinner. Both girls are getting an increasing volume of homework to do and have been pretty good at getting on with it. Anna loves learning Thai as is Courtney. We hope that we all will end up with a decent grasp of the language. The girls both have Thai as a core subject. She is in year 6 and is keen to get to school each day.
Courtney also has had great start to her experience of Year 9 in an International school. She has had very positive comments about her teachers and the subjects. She is continuing with French which she has been doing for two years with Distance Education. She talks very excitedly each night of how each subject went.
From both the girls' experiences and Liz's observations from her position we can see very clearly that this is a great opportunity for the girls to get an excellent continuation of their already broad education.
Liz is working really hard and hasn't stopped since we arrived. The class is going well and she is working long days and nights to keep it that way. The standards expected of her are very high but she seems to be thriving on the workload. Her classroom (Year 2) looks really great.
I have been the “procurement/moving officer” and have been making regular trips up to the boat each day and lugging stuff back then trying to find somewhere to store it all. Once that is done, and the boat is set at anchor with most it's list of jobs completed , I will look at getting some work. It's a long time since I left the IT industry and may find it a struggle to break in. I plan to do some study through a university in Australia and also see if I can help at the school in voluntary role.
So the adventure continues, but now in a different format. All of you have an open invitation to come and stay/visit anytime.
Love to all and please do keep in touch.
Colin, Liz, Courtney & Anna