Money plant (Plectranthus Verticillatus)

Money plant!I have heard about it a couple of times already. There is a money plant. Not a plant that grows money, but one that somehow attracts money to your environment. There is one requirement related to this mystic power. “You cannot buy this plant”. Going to the shop and buying this plant is not an option. You need to get this plant a different way:

  • Steal it. Get a little piece of someone else’ plant and get it to grow.
  • Have it gifted to you without asking for it. Someone needs to surprise you with this little plant.

We had a money plant before, but after moving it to a new spot it somehow withered and died within a couple of days. We just let it be, and continued our lives without this plant. Thinking it really didn’t matter.

During our stay on El Hierro our apartment had a money plant on the balcony. This proved the perfect target for taking a little piece, and at the same time help the kids gain some biological insights. In a plastic cup with some sand and water the small plant accompanied us the rest of our holidays. With two kids it the car at times it must have been hard for the little plant, but it survived the trip and eventually arrived at our home. We transplanted the little plant to Alex’ window and I could already see a small root developing.

What happened next week surprised us. We experienced a salary increase, tax claims were dropped, a promotion, a bonus, another bonus, insurance that suddenly paid out, bitcoin value going up (this one might be a bit far fetched). In one week! It looks like the little plant is actually working.

Fly El Hierro – Alan

Alan is just five years old, but that is enough to have some very clear ideas. He also has a bigger brother that serves as a perfect example. When Alex takes flight with a paraglider, it is clear that Alan will do exactly the same. Alan flew up to over a kilometer high, passing right through the clouds. Then flew around for a while checking out the scenery and went back down to earth for a very smooth landing.

Preparation, equipment check, double check, patiently waiting for a breeze, take-off, flight, journey into the clouds and, very important, the landing were anxiously watched by Alan’s parents, but Alan also had some very special attention! The instructors daughter (already an experienced para-glider herself), who made sure everything was okay and Alan was in good hands :).

After Alan’s journey he told us he had a great time, but once his flight outfit was removed he almost ran to a nearby almond tree to pick some Almonds. It made me suspect that Alan was still a bit to young to realize the value of this experience. Something which was clearly different with his bigger brother.

Alan’s flight resulted in a great experience for him, and some great photos and videos for us. If you want to float across the valley on El Hierro you can do it with Ondrej from Fly El Hierro. A massively experienced professional who provided a great experience. Highly recommended when jumping with kids!

Fly El Hierro – Alex

Alex is only 10 years but that did not stop him from conquering his fears and making a big jump. We are so proud of him and he had a really good time. As a preparation we first went to just look at the whole process. Everything involved from preparation, gearing up, checking and double checking everything. Getting ready, patiently waiting for a good breeze, take-off, flight and, very important, the landing at the end.

The first day we only observed. Alex had started out a bit anxious, but quickly became more and more confident as we got to know the instructor a bit and familiarized ourselves with the routine involved. The next day Alex was the first who wanted to go. He took off to the skies and went up to over a kilometer high! He dived into the clouds, and got to handle and turn the para-glider. After a bit of sightseeing from the sky he went back down for a smooth landing. After Alex showed the way his little brother Alan also ventured into the skies.

Alex was very happy with his jump. His instructor told us that Alex was really enjoying himself up in the air. It was a great and valuable experience for Alex, and together with the preparation we did a day earlier it is easily the best experience Alex had during his holiday this year. He has really grown because of this experience. Adapting to a new situation by first observing, gaining trust, and shedding unjustified fear is a lesson that can prove valuable for the rest of his life. For Alex it easily won over his other experiences like the boat trips, Loro park, Siam park, the encounter with an octopus, the watering of lizards, various swimming pools, forest walks, the bbq, etc.

Alex is already planning his next flight. The next time he wants to do something special. Solve a Rubiks cube while up in the air! We are still evaluating if this is something we are confident with. Alex’s instructor Ondrej on El Hierro is literary one of the best para-glider in the world, but paragliding is still an inherently dangerous sport (hanging in the sky at a huge altitude with nothing but a couple of strings connected to a big sheet == clearly dangerous, even if the instructor is packing a backup parachute), so we need to see if this is something we want to repeat closer to home.

Alex’ flight resulted in a great experience for him, and some great photos and videos for us. If you want to float across the valley on El Hierro you can do it with Ondrej from Fly El Hierro. A massively experienced professional who provided a great experience. Highly recommended when jumping with kids!

iPhone SE 2020

I recently bought a new iPhone. I still remember my first one. It was the old phone my brother gave me when he got a new one. With his old phone I made the big step from dumb phone to smart phone. I liked the change. In the beginning it was easy to have a chat function that worked easily and my email. After this first iPhone I got the first SE and a few weeks ago I got the SE 2020. It is clean that the smart era is here to stay. I use my phone for everything. Chat, email, photo camera, banking, paying, checking on the tides, keeping my passwords, route navigation, keeping running statistics, reading the news, music, games. The strange things is that the only thing I don’t use my phone for is calling people, which I still hardly ever do.

2021 – New year, new opportunities

The new year 2021 started quietly. We did not celebrate this new yaer like the previous ones. No party, no fireworks, no get togethers. Still caught in a worldwide pandemic things were really low key. There seems to be a vaccin but that will probably take a while for everyone to get it. Lets hope that next year we can once again celebrate the new year in a more festive manner.

Last year was not very good for Alex. He broke both of arm. First one and a couple of months later the other. He spend almost half a year healing. Alex is a very physical child. Always running and jumping and almost never sitting still. He was already walking on his hands, and one of his favorite youtubers is a guy explaining how to correctly do parcour. It is hard to be so physical and still need to tend two broken arms. For us as parents it is very scary at times. When Alex is standing on his hands, just after removing the cast, is hard to see. Clearly he is confident and that is good, but still it scares me because you never know what might happen.

Alex’ school results continue to be very good. In addition he takes keyboard classes where he is also in the top of his class, and he goes to English classes where he is also in the top. The only thing that is difficult for Alex is concentrating on his homework. Reserving time for his homework and then concentrating and doing a good job is a frequent source of discussion.

Alan is doing very well also. He is just starting reading and writing and has to practice every day. This is still a bit hard, because Alan needs to get used to to doing some work at home, and not only play. Still, he is very young so there is lots of time for him to pick up some good studying habits. Alan also started music classes where he is one of the best students.

As a family we are doing okay, but sometimes things get very hectic. Alex likes to invest loads of energy in his play time. He will run and jump. Over the couch, across the tables, over and under the furniture. Sometimes things break and usually someone end up hurt (normally Alan is the one that will end up crying). It generates difficult situations to deal with. Once one of the kids is crying normally if will also affect the other. If Alex is in pain Alan will also cry and sometimes even more then Alex. The other way around is the same. If Alan is in pain Alex will also cry.

We are still in the process of moving to our new place. I am already living in our new appartment, and Ana and the kids are expected to move this week.


Tanju!When the covid pandemic started we searched long and hard for things to do at home. In the end we did a lot of different things and one of these was exercise in the living room with youtube. We had various exercise programs which we tried out, and it was all good fun. Now, with covid still around, but with less restrictions we dont exercise at home anymore. We simply go to the park, or go out to visit the maintain, or the beach, or whatever park we feel like visiting.

We don’t exercise at home anymore with one exception. Tanju! Tanju is a trainer that has somehow captured our attention. He was one of our favorite trainers during the lockdown, and even now we still follow his programs. His first video we came across by coincidence on the first day it was posted on his channel. After a few days it was gone, and we were all very sad. Then later we found he has moved to another channel and we could enjoy his workouts again.

The Tanju workouts are a mix between workout and dance and although Tanju does not talk much he radiates an incredible amount of energy and happyness. He is one of the few persons who made a youtube video and achieved adding value to the world. The workout itself is quite easy to follow but every now and then Tanju picks up the pace and ‘goes wild’. These are moment of pure joy as we try and keep up.

Alan 5!

Alan is 5 years. He is growing up very fast. Today we had a big party! Complete with masks we went to the crocodile park where we celebrated Alan’s birthday. We had a great time and Alan even got to hold a crocodile. After the croc-holding we had cake and presents!

The Sint

This year the sint will have quite a boring birthday. There will be no parties and no gatherings. Still we seem to have gotten lucky and we received a letter from the Sint.

Dear Alan, Alex and Dario,

This year I am forced to celebrate my birthday a bit differently. Normally I go to hotel Barbacan in the south to celebrate my birthday with all the Dutch kids, but this year my plans for Sinterklaas have changed quite a bit.

This year I will stay at home, but I sent out my helpers to bring presents to all the kids that have been good. I have included a letter for you guys. I hope that Alex can help you if something needs to be translated to Spanish. All the kids that have behaved well last year will receive a gift, and in your case you have all been pretty good.

Alan, I want to congratulate you with your birthday tomorrow. I have been told that you started playing the piano this year, and that you are really trying hard to do a good job. This is really great! I love piano music and I am happy you started to learn how to play the piano. Your teacher told me you also started reading, and you are doing very well. Very good Alan! I would like you to think about this. When you get bigger people will start to expect more from you. Keep trying to do your best, and try to avoid fighting with your brother all the time.

Alex, this year you broke both your arms! That must have been a terrible experience. I’m happy your arms are slowly getting better but I would advice you to tke things a bit slower and be a bit more careful. I hear you are doing very well at school. This is super important for your future, and I hope you continue to do your best. Please try to not get angry when your parents tell you it is time to stop playing with your tablet.

Dario, you did very well this year. I am very happy with your school results. I have also seen a couple of your drawings. They looked very good and I thing you should keep drawing. Please try to be a bit more organised at home. Cleaning up your stuff after playing will keep your new house nice and clean.

I have one more piece of advice for all three of you. You keep getting bigger and are growing up really fast. One thing important about growing up is realizing that your actions have consequences. Whatever you do can effect your family, your friends or your surroundings. You should try and be aware of the effects you have, and you should all try to behave in a way that makes the effects positive for yourself and for others. Fighting and getting angry will never get you good results. Try and think about this, because this is what is important in growing up. In the end helping others will make things easier for yourself.

I can see that you are all doing very well. This makes me very happy. Next year I really hope to see you personally, and I hope this year you are happy with your presents.

Lots of love,