Well, once again it’s time to put fingers to the keyboard and bore you lovely people senseless with the comings and goings of the Neelin family over the past year.
Heather, Harath and Olivia were with us last Christmas, which was very lovely. It was the first time that Harath had ever seen snow and experienced the cold, although it wasn’t as cold as it could be, only about -6 while they were here. As birthday presents for Harath and Heather, Don gave them a downhill skiing lesson. The package included all the equipment, a one hour lesson and then two hours of free skiiing. A good time was had by all. He really enjoyed the whole winter experience, so much so that when they went back to the U.A.E. they decided to pack up and move back to Canada for good. Harath’s immigration papers were submitted and 5 months later he had his Permanent Resident Visa. Olivia arrived in June, Heather got here in July and Harath joined us in September. We are so excited to have them here and we are all living in harmony in our crooked little house.
Olivia started Grade 9, her first year of high school, at Hillcrest High School which is literally a 5 minute walk from the house, Heather is just completing part 1 of her Principal’s Qualifications and Harath is busy applying for jobs and taking full advantage of the resources offered to new-comers to help them with job searches and adapt successfully into Canadian society.
Bill and Wendy are keeping busy as usual with the Hash, lunches with old work colleagues, performances at the Ottawa Little Theatre and life in general. They are both in fine form and just keep trucking along. Bill went to Bali in May with the crazy running group for the World Interhash and Wendy decided to give it a miss and stay home. Bill had a good time and had lots of stories and photos to share. Running up and down steep hills through the rain forest in plus 35c temperatures did test his ability. However, Bill did get a tremendous boost when, while he was in the queue for his second beer, a much, much younger fellow said that not only did he not see him resting along the trail, but after the first 100 metres he could not catch up to him.
Olivia spent another week at Upper Canada Village as a time-traveller. This was her last year in that programme, but the Neelin tradition continues as Mieka joined her this year. They both thoroughly enjoyed themselves and Mieka is anxious to repeat the experience next year.
Don, Shereene, Mieka and Adrian continue to thrive. Don’s job took him to Las Vegas on a course for a week so Shereene joined him and Bill and Wendy moved out to the Farm to look after Mieka and Adrian and their new puppy, a Labradoodle called Casper. Getting up in what seemed like the middle of the night (6 a.m.) to get the kids up, breakfasted and on the school bus was a bit of a shock, but all went well and the kids were never late. Phew.
Adrian is still doing karate and now has his orange/green belt. Both of them have swimming lessons once a week and Mieka is now playing volleyball once a week and taking French lessons once a week. They are both in French immersion at school.
Heather and Harath have decided, with Bill and Wendy in agreement, that instead of buying a house of their own they would put an addition on our house to give us more room, thus creating a multi-generational house. Plans are underway to put a 12 foot extension on the back of our house which will give us two bedrooms and a bathroom and extended living area in the basement, and a bigger kitchen and dining room. It should all look very lovely when it’s all finished. Work will start in the spring and the contractor estimates 4-6 months. We’re being realistic and think it’ll be at least 6 months. The house works fine as it is, but if anyone wants to visit, there’s no room at the inn, The renovations will also include a mud room as you come in the back door which will enable all of us to come in at the same time and take of our boots. This will be a real bonus on a cold winter’s day!
We hope this finds you and yours well and that 2016 went well. We wish you a joyous and merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years.