We wish everyone a very good 2019! Enjoy the new year, enjoy the moment, enjoy your family and enjoy all the little things that will cross your path. I will enter the new year as positive as I can.
We have received an official email from Alex and Alans school. In this email the school states they will finally act against the debtors, parents that fail to pay up the tuition of their children. This sounds like a very good step to ensure the financial future of the school, but things are not so simple. Even though we pay everything we need to pay I can still understand that in some situations it might be logical not not pay up without putting up a fight. The context of this email is in this case very important.
- Officially the school is free. The government pays all the fees related to the students. The school does have a voluntary contribution of about 50 EUR a month that the parents are required to pay.
- The reason for the voluntary required contribution is always explained by summing up various small details, but a real specification has never been presented, and probably will never be presented.
- Some parents refuse to pay the voluntary mandatory contribution out of principle.
- To force the debtors to pay the voluntary fees the school will take the following measures:
- Parents that do not pay will be unable to see their kids results on the school website
- Kids will not be allowed to go on field trips
- Kids will not be allowed to be dropped of early or collected late
- Regarding all extras the school offers the kids of parents that do not pay might be excluded
It seems that the school is targeting the students to force the parents to pay up. I really doubt that this is the correct manner to act in this case and frankly I suspect this email will not result in the end of the debtors.
I’m back in the Netherlands, and this time I’m in Tilburg. Ana and Alex came to visit me for a couple of days and that proved to be the perfect moment for lots and lots of activities. One of the things we did was to go to the Efteling. A fantastic park of which I have very fond memories. I remember going there when I was still a little boy. At the time there was a new attraction called ‘Droomvlucht’, which was inaugurated in 1993, meaning that my last visit was 25 years ago which means there must be quite a lot of new attractions.
Our visit to the Efteling was really great. Alex loved the rides, Symbolica, Droomvlucht, Fata morgana, the Pirana, the boat trip around the lake, the ‘Joris en de draak’-rollercoaster, the ravenstein show, the weird villa volta, holle bolle gijs, the fairy tale forest, longneck, the closing watershow and much much more. In the rollercoaster ride he was sitting next to me shaking and surprised by the massive speed, but he liked it. The pirana was great when in the beginning Ana got wet, but later even better when both Alex and I got thoroughly soaked.
To top it off one plan was not enough for this weekend. We also went on safari at Beekse Bergen, had a nice visit by Bert, Sally and family, Visited the animals at the olie meulen and went canoe-ing. All in all a great visit.
I have been noticing for a couple of months that Alex and his friends have a scific movement for when a (difficult) task is achieved. Today I learned this momenent also has a name. A “dab“. The dab is shown in the last part of the video below.
Making a nice picture of our kids has turned out to be a very difficult task. The kids need to get dressed, they need to sit still for a while, a they should smile a bit for the camera. All these things can be hard to achieve, but we were lucky and during a moment of relative peace we managed to get some very nice pictures of our boys.
The interest rates have dropped again. Right now we get 0.05% percent interest on our savings. Combined with an inflation of about 1.5% it means we are getting poorer every month. An example:
Savings: 100 EUR
After 1 year we will have 100.05 EUR, but everything we can buy just got 1.5% more expensive. A product that used to cost 100 EUR will, after a year, cost 101.50 EUR, and will not no longer be able to buy it. Even though we got 0.05 cents of interest we actually lost 1.45 EUR in value. Losing so little money is not so bad, but if you have 10.000 EUR in savings you will be losing 145 EUR, which is quite a lot of money.
The solution seems simple, buy stuff now, spend your money and use all those euros. Leave only a little bit on your account at the bank. Only for real emergencies it is worth keeping your money in your account. Another good thing about spending (and maybe even the reason behind the low interests) is that the economy will get a nice boost by the increased spending.
Something I quickly noticed in the Nederlands was that a lot of people were walking around with a Dopper. A very typical water bottle with a cup integrated in the bottle design. At my work I noticed that the bottle was present on almost half the desks. I decided I would also give it a try, and bought myself a bottle. This way I could join the trend and see if it was really all worth it, of if it just was another thrill of the moment.
I was happily surprised. It was quite a handy bottle, with a handy cup, a nice and firm design and a really good size. This was clearly something that someone had given quite some thought. Satisfied I returned home, to Spain, with my bottle. Once I was home it was obvious that also in Spain the people could appreciate the Dopper. In fact, I immediately lost my little blue dopper. This one was reallocated to Alex to take to school. Oh well.
At Alex’ school things quickly escalated. Alex was the man of the day, the first carrying a new trendy object. The actual trendsetter. Within days we received numerous requests for more bottles, and this time I’ll be bringing home 8 bottles.
One week ago we went to the center of the island and we collected almost 10 kilos of walnuts. They were early this year and we arrived before the rush, so we could collect quite a lot of nuts. The ground was covered and just a little movement of the branches made lots of nuts fall down from the tree.
The big advantage is that we will have plenty of nuts for the rest of the year. The disadvantage I noticed a bit later. It seems there is something in the nuts that is also used for those self tanning cremes. Some stuff that makes your skin nice and brown. The disadvantage of picking up all those nuts was that some needed to be peeled and taken out of their skin, and I used my thumb to do this. Now, one week later, after cleaning a big part of 10 kilos I still have a dark brown thumb.