Archived Letters



Previous Year

Next Year

Here we are again, one year on and one more annual update.  Preparing to write this letter I was reviewing last year's effort.  We were chuffed with the birth of Roger, who was developing well, but not sleeping soundly; and we were in the process of moving to Singapore, which we were also happy about.

One year later, Roger is doing well -- not sleeping through the night yet, but getting better.  He usually wakes up once a night, sometimes as early as 0200hrs, sometimes as late as 0500hrs; he sleeps through the night about 10% of the time.  He generally goes to sleep between 2200hrs and 2300hrs each day.

Roger is now 13 kgs and about 82 cm.  These are the 21 month statistics.  He walks, complains, has likes and dislikes.  He doesn't talk much yet.  He likes anything with a switch, selects and plays all of his own videos on the VCR and is starting to learn to put them back in the right box.  He also likes building blocks, Lego and that type of toy.  He has recently discovered he can build something taller than himself if he builds two sets of building blocks then puts them together; much better than building one which is not as tall.  So watch out, if the world needs new skyscrapers, Roger Gamble may be on the prowl!

Neil is happy in his work.  He enjoys what he is doing and the people he works with and for.  He is also happy to be in Singapore.  He left in 1988 and it took until 1995 to return.  In the meantime he developed a better idea of the places he enjoys and the places he doesn't.  Hopefully that means he won't take up opportunities in the future that send him to places he doesn't like.  (Somehow, that seems like a big "hopefully"!)

Well, that's all the good news. In coming to Singapore, Roger's health has been poor.  Between April and October he visited the doctor 27 times -- 3 times per month.  He had some congestion problems, with a lot of phlegm in his nose and throat.  Because he doesn't know how to blow his nose it just collects there and in his throat; the doctors feared it would enter his lungs causing long term damage.  Fortunately that did not happen, but the result of all those trips to the doctor is that he screams every time he sees, or thinks he sees, a doctor.  In the latter part of the year the doctor visits were for tonsillitis.  Apparently Roger has a bad case and he will be seeing the doctor on and off until he's old enough to have them removed.  In the meantime he'll have many visits and be subjected to lots of antibiotics -- not a pleasant prospect.  These things came as a surprise to us.  We expected the living and health conditions to be better in Singapore than Jakarta but it seems to be the other way around.  We changed Roger's doctor later in the year and while we are happier with the 2nd one, the best doctor he's had was his pediatrician in Jakarta, Dr Starr. 

The worst event of the year was reserved for August.  We were thrilled with the news in June that Usa was pregnant.  However, in mid-August, Usa suffered a miscarriage -- she was 11 weeks pregnant at the time.  We were devastated.  We didn't think it would happen to us; while we understand the advice that this is nature's way of preventing a different type of problem, we were certainly disappointed.  We are both now undergoing a battery of tests to see if the reason can be found and when they are complete, if all is OK, we intend to try again. 

Given the events of the year we are generally disappointed with 1995 and certainly hope for better in 1996.  While Usa is now in good shape (mentally and physically), her demeanor is also governed by what's happening with Roger.  If Roger's happy, Usa is happy and vice versa.  So with Roger not being very well throughout the year and with her own difficulties in August, it's true to say that while Neil is fine with being in Singapore, both Usa and Roger have yet to settle in and enjoy the new surroundings.

1996 ...