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Last day of school pictures together

Well, today is the day.

After 12 years, Breck and Alea drove with me to school this morning for the last time. Alea graduates on Saturday, leaves on Monday for the US, and enrolls at Montana State University in the fall. Breck, Susan, and I are in Jakarta for another 2 weeks before summer vacation in Minnesota/Montana and then a move to Warsaw. Life as we’ve known it is being shaken up.

As is our tradition, the kids took a picture together before heading off. It is certainly a bittersweet moment, as it is the final one of them together at the end of a school year. In the next post down, I’ve compiled all the pictures from when they started together in Belgrade, oh so many years ago.

Alea and Breck on their last day together in school, Jakarta 2015

Schoolpix through the years

We’ve had a tradition of taking a “first day of school” and “last day of school” picture of the kids through the years, and it has been really fun to watch them grow up. Here are the shots, taken in Serbia, the US, India, and Indonesia over the past 12 years:


First day of (Alea’s last year of) school

Alea and Breck start off the school year – for the last time together! She’s a senior and he’s in 10th grade at JIS.

Alea and Breck - 2014

Last day of school, June 2014

And here they are: Breck and Alea finish off their freshman and junior year!

Breck and Alea bid adieu to grades 9 and 11

Band Bash!

The combined middle and high school bands put on quite the performance this afternoon!

Breck blaring away Alea's ready to roar!

Happy birthday, Breck!

Birthday flames!

Breck got his braces off today!!

Before After

Pool Party

Breck decided to have a few of his friends over, for the (very sound) reason that “we haven’t gotten together for a while.” The evening was full of the delightful sound of video game carnage, Nerf gun shootouts, and Lego construction. They did get out of the house for a little bit, getting into a midnight game of pool tag. All in all, not a bad way to spend a Friday…

How much fun is this?!

Breck and the Boyfriend

No, we don’t have any big announcement to make. Just wrapping up the run of the high school play “The Boyfriend,” for which Breck was specially trained and appointed as one of the key spotlight operators.

You can see him in the cast and crew picture below with all his high-tech gear!

4th from the left in the front row

Back in the saddle

School’s back in session, and what better way to get things going than with the kids? Here they are, grades 11 and 9 – both in high school this year!!

Alea and Breck before the first day of school, August 2013

Breck and his baby

Breck after the first night with his rent-a-baby, Michael. Welcome to parenthood, buddy!

Breck With Baby


Straight from the facebook posting here

Cleaning up

Wow – what a week. Since the last post we’ve had parties, packing, projects, finals, food poisoning, giardia, and rubella (German measles). Susan and the kids blast out of Jakarta the evening of the last school day, while I have the responsibility of representing the Stutz family at the variety of farewell happy hours and parties that afternoon (darn).

As I was taking down the room today, I ran across some signs that have been hanging in various classes for the past few years that the kids made. Alea’s is from when she was in Pre-Kindergarten in Honduras, and Breck made his for me when we moved to India. I’ve had them in all my classes since they were created, and thought I needed to make sure I scanned and saved them!

From Alea, 4 years old - "Daddy I love you this much" with spread arms
Alea’s picture is about a meter wide and resembles where her arms would be if she were stretching for a hug. Her entire class made them for Father’s Day (which is celebrated in March in Honduras).

From Breck, 7 years old - "Don't use a calculator to cheat (use your brian)" Love the creative spelling!

Breck’s was a sign he made one afternoon in Mumbai, when he came in and we were talking about knowing math facts versus using a calculator. He decided my students needed a warning sign, so he created one for them (with a creative spelling of “brain.” Maybe that was a shout out to his uncle!)

Out-of-this-world band concert

Breck’s final concert of the year (ok, it was technically a VPA – Visual and Performing Arts – presentation) featured a fun ending. It combined a few of his favorite things – playing the trombone and Star Wars. Their last song was “Duel of the Fates,” the iconic choral tune from Episode I – the Phantom Menace.

To make the effect complete, the director used a lit wand as a baton (resembling a mini lightsaber) and clips from the movie played in the background. The choir even got into the deal, coming down to sing the vocals (which, according to Wikipedia, is part of an old Welsh poem rendered in Sanskrit. Don’t ask me, I’m just repeating what I read).

All in all, it was a pretty fun evening, and it certainly got us thinking about blasting off out of here in just a few short weeks!

The song starts off with Darth Maul on screen and the band blasting away    The choir joins the act and sings along

Into the firestorm

Well, hopefully not, but we leave tomorrow for a week in Bali. We plan on visiting Tulamben, a place we stopped at during our trip a few years back, but this time we will go as certified divers!

Our week here has been a bit crazy, with course selections for next year’s classes, end-of-term exams and projects, volleyball tournaments, Family Fun Fairs, and all sorts of social events (including a Bollywood party!). Poor Breck also came down with a nasty cold that kept him home for 2 days, so hopefully he’ll be recovered enough to enjoy the water.

If all that isn’t enough, today we got an email from our administrative team, pointing out this little tidbit of news. Then when we opened up the news here at home, we saw that this had happened and hope the events aren’t related. Oh well, maybe it is a good thing that we are landing in time for Nyepi and won’t be able to do anything anyways!

In any case, this is our “farewell” for a bit, as we head off into internet-access-unknown locales. We’ll post stories and pictures when we get back (and I’ll find out how my NCAA brackets are holding up – KY, MSU, OSU, KS – MSU to win in one bracket and KY in the other). Until then, here are a few shots – mostly stolen from Susan’s Facebook page – to tide you over.

He must be on the front stage

And now it is Breck’s turn. He was cast as the lead character in one segment of the middle school production!! He is The Man (no really, that is the character’s name) in the play “Could Things Be Worse?” Basically he complains about his life, and his rabbi sets him up with a whole bunch of new troubles at home just to prove that there is plenty more terribleness that could be going on, and to convince him that he doesn’t have it so bad.

I’m not sure I agree with the overall message (which I take to be “hey buddy, even if things are rotten, just accept them rather than trying to take action to improve, since there is always a way for you to be more miserable”), but it is a cute play anyways. Check him out in the gallery below; opening night is Friday and we are all excited about seeing him in action!

Hollywood in Jakarta

Who needs the Oscars, right? I mean, really – I just read that the winner of the best actor award spoke TWO WORDS in the whole movie. What a load of pretentious, holier-than-thou thespian garbage. (the opinions expressed here are solely those of Dave and have nothing to do with Susan, who will banish him to the couch if anyone even suggests that she feels the same way about the arts)

But whatever. We had a middle school social Friday night, and there was a photobooth set up with a Hollywood theme. Although I was in charge of a sumo wrestling event (you know, with those suits you can wear to get all rotund), I still had a chance to spy in on Breck from time to time. It looked like he was having a good time, and the pictures that were posted on the school’s electronic distribution board seem to bear this out!

Breck’s a teenager!!

Breck with the Tundra comic book he got from his uncle and auntBreck shares his birthday with India’s Republic Day (so he always had a school holiday when we lived in Mumbai) and (as I learned yesterday) Australia Day. So happy birthday to all of them.

He’s having a Guy Party this weekend – he made up invitations that invited friends to “explore their inner guyness” as they play video games and watch PG-13 movies – so that’s pretty exciting. Bookended between baseball games on Friday night and Sunday afternoon, he’s got a full schedule.

For his birthday evening, we ordered in McDonald’s, ate the birthday cake his sister made, opened presents, studied for his math test, and watched War of the Worlds. Not too shabby for a Thursday afternoon!

Breck @ Baseball

Apparently we have to move all the way to the far east for Breck to be able to play baseball. There was nothing in Serbia, nothing in India (unless you count cricket), and we always got back too late/left too early in the summers to participate in the USA.

But here in J-Town, there is a thriving baseball league. Populated in large part by Indonesians (of course) and Japanese (which makes sense), the league is a well-structured ways for players to both learn the basics and hone their skills. Breck’s birthday determined that he was in the majors, so he is a first-time player on teams with much older boys (and a few girls).

After a practice on Thursday, the Phillies (ugh) had their first game on Sunday. Yeah, there wasn’t really a whole lot of “prep time” involved, but for many of the kids that didn’t seem to make much of a difference – they are good!! In a Thrilla Near Manilla, Breck’s team won 7-6 at the bottom of the last inning. Breck got in to play 2nd base, and his older teammates were very helpful in guiding him along.

Susan was a little overwhelmed at the length of the game (we arrived around 3:45 and left at 8:00), and Breck took a little dinger to his hand, but all in all it was a very successful afternoon of the “American Pastime” – in Indonesia!!

Halloween 2011

Not much going on in Jakarta, other than a middle school social, but WOW!! Did Breck ever go all out as an Orc Zombie:

Breck Halloween 2011 - scary zombie!

Track Meet

What javelin facial concentration!The middle school had its annual track meet, and Breck has been practicing with the team to get ready for things. There were over 300 students in attendance from 5 international schools, so to say there was a lot going on is a huge understatement!

Since I’d volunteered to run the javelin competition, Susan and Alea were holding down the Stutz cheering section duties (and they apparently did a great job). Breck ended up getting 5th overall in both long jump and javelin, and Susan got to taste Jakarta’s infamous Fatburgers!


No, not “breakdancing” as you might think…

So here’s the story: we were in a lunchtime meeting, and we could hear all this music being played outside. No big deal, right? Then other teachers started coming in saying that all the kids were on the Bali stage dancing, they were having a great time, and there’d never been anything like it before. Whatever.

Then, I started getting emails from people, and instructions to go the the front page of our MS website. And there it was:

Apparently Breck had climbed up on stage and started busting out with some boogie-Bollywood moves that people wanted to follow
At first, it was just him with a bunch of girls - the guys were off to the left doing their own thing
And the stage filled up, with crowds in the stands all around!
Actual quote: “Your son was the star of the Bali Stage dance floor today at lunch.  He had about 30 kids out there dancing with him.” Our boy was gettin’ down! It was like a scene right out of an Indian movie, where spontaneous dancing breaks out and makes everyone happy. It was certainly a fun way to see the kids spending their time!

First Day of School in Jakarta

Here we go again!!

Breck and Alea by the new morning glory we planted in front of our Jakarta homeNot too much to post, just the yearly picture of Alea and Breck heading off to their first day of school at JIS.

We’ve planted a morning glory in our front yard, and Susan’s big plan is to take a picture of it each year – let’s see how it grows!

And as always, our previous school photos can be seen over on the webpage

Perfect teachers

We all certainly try to be, but sometimes kids’ expectations are a little unrealistic.

Doing some homework with Breck last night, he started wishing out loud that Einstein was his math teacher. I found this interesting, and asked if he had any other preferred teachers for his subjects.

Here is his list of who he’d want to be his teacher for each class:

Some of them are obvious “experts in the field”

  • Math: Einstein
  • Science: Newton
  • Music: Beethoven
  • Art: Leonardo da Vinci
  • English: William Shakespeare

Others are people who might not immediately leap to mind

  • French: Joan of Arc or Napoleon
  • Drama: Harrison Ford or George Lucas
  • PE: Carl Lewis

And my two personal favorites –

  • Social Studies: Genghis Khan
  • Tech: that guy who invented computers – Michael Soft

Swingin’ with the Stutzes

Alea and Breck with their instrumentsSo here they are, at the (maybe) last band concert of the year – Alea and Breck with their instruments in tow!

All the bands played great, and it was a super way to end a Wednesday. There’s big pressure on now to buy instruments for them this summer; we’ll have to see what the break brings.

Their band director is a fun guy from Minnesota (he actually taught at the same middle school the kids would attend if we lived in the apartment in Lakeville!), and you can see a goofy picture of him by clicking on the existing shot!

Pizza and Paintball

That’s what Breck wanted to have for his birthday. Since we missed his real birthday (travel plans for a job recruiting fair – that we ended up not needing to attend – precluded celebrations on his actual date), we’d promised to make it up this weekend.

Gathering 8 buddies from school in a rented van to traipse them all around town, we headed up to the suburb of Powai (which is built around a lake that is home to man-eating crocodiles. For real.) While we had no plans to swim in the lake, we did chow down on pizza and then head over to an outdoor paintball arena. For those of you who have never experienced paintball (in 90 degree weather) with a bunch of 12 year old boys, let me tell you that you have missed out on living! I thought testosterone was the source of all the machismo, but these guys – who are not anywhere close to shaving – would give any tall taler a run for his money!

After about an hour and a half of play – and the requisite rehashing of all the kills and strategies and all – we jumped in the bumper cars for a spin and then finished the afternoon at the video arcade.

I think I wore them all out – and me tool. If India can just finish off Ireland in this silly cricket game, then I’m hitting the hay as well!