The Tans in 2012


2012 will probably tend to be remembered as the year of 2 great holidays. The first was in April/May when Cheryl and Arthur spent almost a month on a journey from Beijing to Vancouver. They had visited Beijing in 1998; it has modernised tremendously since although still covered by a blanket of smog. One highlight of this 4-day stay was visiting Olympic icons the Birds Nest and Ice Cube. Then began their cruise on the Diamond Princess from the port of Tianjin, followed by stops at Dalian (China), Busan (S Korea), Vladivostok (Russia), and Muroran (Japan) to complete the Asian leg. The shore excursions at each of these places were very informative and interesting and revealed the natural beauty of many scenic spots.  The next stage was 6 days at sea until they reached Alaska with its pristine wilderness scenery of water, forest, ice and snow; they made our way to Vancouver where they met up with Kwan Yue Yeong and Celeste after many, many years.

The next big trip was in Sept/Oct when they joined a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with side trips to Petra and Egypt. Petra was fantastic but more time was needed to appreciate and explore it more.  The pilgrimage covered sacred sites in Jordan, Israel and Sinai (Egypt). The itinerary was heavy, with visits to as many as 6 churches a day, and the weather was hot and still, made worse by having crowds of other tourists at each destination. However, Cheryl found the stories in the bible/gospels took on new meaning and context by experiencing the environment where the events happened. The trip in Egypt included a Nile cruise and a flight to Aswan to see the Abu Simbel temple. The cruise boat was comfortable, but again going on shore excursions to see temples and monuments was marred by the heat and persistent souvenir vendors.

Cheryl's uncle passed away in Singapore in June, and she and Nick attended the funeral. Both Arthur and Cheryl celebrated their milestone 65th birthdays (photo was taken on Cheryl's birthday). Cheryl is progressing her skills in cake decorating and Arthur has been busy making photo books and reorganising the home computer system. Flemington is now 12 and looking and feeling his age. True to form, Cheryl's mum Esme went globe-trotting to Brazil and Argentina, Singapore and Adelaide this year. Nick and Peta got engaged in February and will be getting married next year; he is doing well in his new job at Chevron and Peta earned a Masters degree in Health Services Management. Their dogs Zhaan and Molly regularly come over for doggy day-care. Greg is working hard managing a new project and Andrea now has a part-time job in an upmarket backpackers' hostel. The grandchildren continue to delight: Ainslie is in full-time pre-primary and is growing up fast. She has lots of activities including gymnastics and tennis and is taken out to many events and places that increase her knowledge and life experience. Cheryl and Arthur now look forward to school holidays to spend quality time with her. Rhys is a gorgeous, lovable, quiet, serious yet cheeky child who loves cars, trains and planes and is now learning to talk. He spends Tuesdays with them, and attends swimming classes with Cheryl.