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!
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!
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!
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.
This year Alan started taking piano lessons, just like his big brother. Normally he goed to the classes with his mother but today was the first time I accompanied him. The class was filled with 6 kids each with one parent. Alan was quite happy to be in the class, but it was clear that this was not the case for the majority of the class. Four kids were quite unhappy, and some did not want to touch the keyboard. One even looked to be asleep. Only Alan and one other kid were learning. Now if we can try and get Alex to practice at home for a few minutes a day I’m sure we’ll have another musician at home soon.
Alex is a very unlucky person. At least it seems that way at times. A couple of months ago he broke his arm while playing, and luckily his broken arm healed very well. A few weeks ago it was the turn of his other arm. Once again a broken arm, this time the left one, and once again a visit to the hospital, a cast, and lots on inconvenience.
Meanwhile that have already removed his cast, but because the bone was not set very well he now has a strong plastic cast around his arm. Just make provide a bit of extra security for the time being. This way his bones can mend a bit better.
Alex has some extra English classes twice a week. I bring him to the classes in the afternoon, and enjoy a one hour run (around 7.5 km) and then I pick him up again and we walk home. Today Alex exited the class with a very strange story. During his class the kids needed to think about some fictional person and apperently some girl thought of the fictional name ‘Alex Berg’. Very very strange because his sirname does not exist in Spain, and is even hard to pronounce. This can’t be a coincidence. Probably his name was mentioned at the beginning of the class and somehow kept lingering in the girls mind, and then the ‘random’ name was easily selected.
Uf, today it is my birthday! I’m getting old. 45 years already. An old fart.
This birthday is in the middle of lots of chaos. A pandemic with viri everywhere. Kids that have been grounded for months. Tickets to the main land that gets cancelled all the time. A strange year! My with for this birthday was simple. A nice family photo that represents the times in which we are living right now. Nice for later.
As an additional cherry on the cake we also received some other good news. Alex finished his school year very well, and today we received this notes. All his notes were 9s or 10s. We are very happy with that. Alan also has some good results. The can add and substract all by himself!
It could have been so easy. It should have been easy, but it is not. I’m talking about the schoolwork our kids get to avoid getting far behind. It looked so logical. Use the internet and just do lots of things from home. It should work, but it has mostly been very frustrating. It is unbelievable that almost everything that could go wrong really does go wrong.
Our kids school uses an app to communicate with the parents. We managed to log in on the app, and then the problems started. The entire interface was customized. No menu, no normal buttons. It took me a couple of days to (by change) figure out how to change the active chapter of a digital book.
Then we have the errors. Of course you can have a typo somewhere, but tasks that need to be returned with incorrect answers required are truly demotivating. Some questions require a true or false, and only allow you to continue if you give the wrong answer.
English. The professor is not a native, but reading simple tests displays a lot of errors that can easily be picked up. It’s not tomato or tomato, but “Tomatoe”. Unbelievable. Out of every three pages with questions one page has one or more errors.
To finish it all off we get PDF’s with additional exercises. For some reason these have huge URLs in them that you need to copy. Manually.
It is clear that the current situation is new for everyone. The idea is to keep the kids occupied so they will not lose to many of the knowledge they have. Next period they will probably try to make it all up. For the parents it is a bit more frustrating. Work during the day and in the evenings solve problems so we can do the schoolwork together.