We are gradually disconnecting from our life in Florida and focusing more on preparing for our departure and the sailing trip home. At least we as adults do. The girls are still fully enjoying their (social) lives here and Eline is even expanding her social life 😉.
The clearest sign of slowly disconnecting is that we sold our car yesterday. We could get a good price for it and have replaced it with a rental car. Consequently Eline is not allowed to drive anymore (rental car companies require drivers to be at least 21). Marinthe isn’t allowed to drive anymore either as her learners permit expired on April 20th (it’s connected to the expiration date of our visa).
We have applied for visa extensions and the request has been filed with the immigration department, 6 weeks prior to the expiration date. But it will probably take months before our application will be looked at. By that time we will already be back in The Netherlands. Oh well, no problem, it is legal to stay in the US while waiting for the application to be processed.
Another step in disconnecting is that we have said goodbye to Jack and Jackie. They have spent a great deal of April in Florida and left on April 20th to go back to Canada. They won’t be back in Florida until the fall. We really enjoyed each others company, and celebrated our goodbyes with a delicious dinner at Houstons. Very appropriate as this is the same restaurant where we had our welcome dinner exactly 6 months ago.
We have decided to take the more adventurous northern route back, but you never know if anything will come up to make us change our minds. We will make the final decision the week before our departure.
- We have filled the diesel tanks; in a very convenient way with a truck coming to our house for a third of the price we would have paid in The Netherlands.
- Toine has installed a new Apple computer in the boat with a connection to Iridium Go for getting weather information when out on the ocean. See the post ‘Apple boordcomputer‘.
- We have varnished the wooden window frames of all the top windows.
- We have bought a new iPad for Mira (with more memory) and have installed iNavX with all the Navionics charts of the intended sailing areas, as a third back-up for navigation.
- We have read pilots and looked up information on the internet about the northern route.
- I have started stocking the boat with preservable goods like bottles of water, other drinks, rice, pasta etc.
- I have gathered information for a more structured way of analyzing weather. See the post ‘Gestructureerde weeranalyse‘.
- Toine has inspected the mast from top to bottom.
Toine has spent a joyful long weekend in Canada. The two of us had planned to go there for a visit to Teun. Unfortunately I was not allowed to travel out of the US because of my visa not being extended yet. Toine doesn’t have this problem because he has been traveling back and forth to Europe and the last time he entered the US he got permission to stay till October 2018. So Toine went on his own and had a really good time chatting with Teun, drinking a few scotches, having dinner at John/Helen’s and watching the ice hockey play-offs with the Toronto Maple Leafs still in!
I really enjoy the weekly 3 hour private English lessons with Lisa. The last few weeks it feels like all the effort I put into improving my English is paying off 😁. Also because we have been speaking a lot of English with the Canadian relatives. Only 3 more lessons to go.
Last weekend I participated in another 5 km run starting at 7 am on Sunday, this time together with Marinthe 😘. It was very muggy weather (I learned the word ‘muggy’ from Jackie, it means steamy hot or very humid) even so early in the morning. So that may be an excuse for me having finished just above 30 min. again 😅. Marinthe did really well, she finished in 24.10 min. and was first in her age group.
Eline connects more and more with boys and girls her own age with fun activities on the weekends. She has had a pokerparty and a senior award picnic with the swim team. She went to Universal Studios in Orlando on a Friday afternoon/evening/night/early morning by bus with lots of other seniors; an activity called ‘Grad Bash’. She has gone for lunch with a girlfriend, and had a get together with a group of boys one Friday evening.
Marinthe is also still connecting more with the coaches and girls her age at Evert, having fun beween all the serious practices. The last tournament 1.5 week ago was not so successful, in very warm muggy weather. She lost a game against a girl who was 4th in her age-group (14 yr) of the US. It’s a shame 😉. Only one more tournament coming up, only if she makes it to playing the qualifications of her first ITF (International Youth Tournament) on May 5th.
This coming weekend we have some other nice activities. Tomorrow, 6 girls from my former English class will come for lunch. On Sunday we will finally go sailing to Fort Lauderdale with Harrie and Lily. We had planned this a few times before, but weather and water depth prevented us from going.
So for sure we are still enjoying Florida, in springtime, noticing it getting warmer and warmer every day. We have just harvested some bananas from a tree in our garden and next month the mangoes will drop off the trees in the neighborhood.