Friday, 22 April 2011

Italy via the scenic route

Not Italy the country.   Recently I came across this article by someone who described what it is like to have a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Welcome to Holland

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this…

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!" you say. "What do you mean, Holland?" I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy.

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to some horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy a new guidebook. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

The pain of that will never, ever, go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland. 
Written by Emily Perl Kingsley  

Not everyone flies to Italy - the scenic route can be good too - see you there!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Paper Craft: Big Ben

A has been studying buildings at school and brought home this model to make.  It is free to download here from
The original is in colour or black and white but the copy supplied by the school was A3 and black and white so we ended up with a rainbow coloured "Big Ben".  It was not that easy for a 7 year old to make (lots of fiddly cutting and sticking tabs) but with mum and dads help he did it, I'm impressed that it stands up so well when it is just printer paper.

BTW Big Ben is actually the name of the bell inside the clock tower - not the tower itself which is called St Stephens tower and is part of the Palace of Westminster which houses the Houses of Parliament but round the world it is known as Big Ben so we will call it that too:)

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Weymouth in the sunshine

A quick trip to the UK to buy a car before moving back sometime in the next month.  Glorious weather last weekend meant that everyone took off to the beach.  Of course we got there first and had a fantastic morning before the hoards starting arriving at lunchtime.  Combine this with fresh fish and chips on the harbourside - a perfect day out.