City of Hope family picknic

This Saturday was the annual picknic at my place of of work. It was held at the Santa Anita race track and there were several thousand people of our hospital. The Santa Anita track is a horse racing track and during the picknic is was possible to bet. There were also a lot of activities for kids focused on science ( city of hope is an academic research hospital after all ). Roos and Alex had a good time even if it was quite a warm day at 30•C. 


Waterpolo tournament

It is turning out to be a very busy weekend. On Friday evening Lexie had waterpolo training from 5pm to 7pm. Afterwards she had a sleep over at her friend Juliette where she arrived around 7.30pm. Roos and dad did grocery shopping on Saturday morning after having breakfast at one of our favorite places: Mollie’s country kitchen. I picked up Lexie in the early afternoon while Roos baked a chocolate cake. On Sunday morning it was an early rise because Lexie had a small waterpolo tournament. Her first game was at 9am but warm-up started at 8.30am. Mom came to watch the game as well. Sadly Lexi and her team lost (5-1 and 10-1). This afternoon both girls are going to get their hair cut and there is more waterpolo for both of them tomorrow. Roos has a game against Dana Point High school team at 5pm while Lexi has regular training. 

Night of destruction 

Last month we wanted to go see the Night of Destruction and the Irwindale Racetrack. Sadly I hadn’t purchased tickets upfront and it was sold out when we got there. That wasn’t going to happen again this time and I was able to get some really good tickets in a suite. The races were amazing and it was very entertaining. We arrived at about 7pm and the cars were racing in a figure 8 track.  This is more destruction than it might sound like because it means there is an intersection. This is where the destruction begins !

 There also was a late model NASCAR stock car race which was a very close race followed by a jet car racing down the track with 17,000 horsepower. 

 Most spectacular was the trailer race. Cars were towing trailers, caravans and even boats. They crashed into each other trailers and the track was littered with debris. 

First day of school…

Today was the first day of school and for the first time in many years, Roos and Alex aren’t going to the same school anymore. Roos is going to high school but also Alex is going to a new school. As mom moved from Irvine to Aliso Viejo too, both Roos and Alex are going to a new school district. Alex school is called the Don Juan Avila Middle School. There are almost 1200 kids in the school and Alex is hoping to also take lessons in Spanish in this school.

Roos is going to Aliso Niguel High School and is officially part of the “class of 2020”. We had to get to her school at 07.30am as Roos hadn’t entirely finished registration yet. However at around 8.15am she finally had her paperwork submitted and her school badge created and was all set to go for her first class. The school was this year rated among the 1000 best high schools in the US. With over 21,000 high schools ranked that is in the top 5% nationwide. This means Roos-Marijn has can go all out on her academic pursuits 🙂 Roos’ school has just over 3,000 students.

It was a long summer but we’re now getting back to a regular schedule.


This week ended with a special dinner in a private restaurant. The host served a special drink called Moatai. I wasn’t familiar with it but learned that Moutai has been used on official occasions in feasts with foreign heads of state and distinguished guests visiting China.

 The bottles that were used for our dinner were brown. These are the ones not available on the free market and only available for state dinners. The food was excellent as well. It was a very busy week but I’m looking forward to fly back home tomorrow. Roos is coming back from her camp and I miss her.


This week I am in a new city in China: Shenzhen. I had not been to this part of China before. The marketing slogan I heard is that it is the Florida of China. Weather-wise that is no exaggeration.  The temperatures are above 30C and the humidity is very high. The city, like many others in China is growing very fast. I’m meeting with a real estate developer this week as they are interested in jointly opening a hospital. The hospitals here are very large: 3000 or more beds is normal. Yesterday afternoon we toured some of the other projects the developer is working on including a mall and several housing towers. 

 My favorite Chinese breakfast is of course available: fried dough sticks with soy milk.