3 months ago today
we flew out of the old
and into the new.

So much significant has happened in that short time
not the least being that we have met some extraordinary people.

Last night we were invited to an Expataversary
by this lovely family, to celebrate their first year in Singapore.

It was a beautiful outdoor dining experience
table under lamplit trees
with exquisite food and merry company.

How we laughed.

And it was so good to be a part of other people's lives and raise a glass to their journey.
It has to be said that kiwis cop a bit of flak here, as we are such a minority and the larger ranks of Aussies (esp armed with rugby results) take chortling delight in rubbing in our proud heritage.

Good to peel off tight heels and tiptoe down puddly pavements
to share a taxi to retrieve sleepy babes from friend's beds and couches
and drive quiet warm streets home...
I said home....
It is becoming.

Thanks Barronskis for a great night, and congrats.
And thanks to the Bozzies for being heart friends and letting our girls crash at theirs.
And thanks to Jojo & Pipsqueak who infect us all with their fizzing humour.


Saturday is latin for...

...a generous supply of very good coffee,
home-made choc chip pancakes,
pajamas till noon,
and chilling out in liquid light.

Have a restful weekend.


Cheeky Monkey...

...tries to do bunny ears on her father

but her arms are too short

and her father has not consumed enough coffee to

respond with much humour.

I (sometimes) love how children are so unsullied by sensibility.


Wednesday Wonder

I am in a state of stupendous parental bewilderment.

They didn't tell me that a mere 4000 days into being a new mother
that my baby would look like this.

They say, enjoy it dearie, it goes so fast.

They don't say you won't feel it passing until it's too late
and has already long happened.

And that you become thick witted as a parent of smart, young people
not necessarily because you are stupid,
but because you are still still gobsmacked and reeling
in a delighted and despairing way.


The Ballet Boat

Yes, it was still hazy, smoky, muffled.

But breakfast out was definately in order,
due to cabin-fever and the fact that it was
Saturday and that hallowed event always brings
a quirky so what? to our plans.

This riverside cafe is not far from our home
and we took our seats overlooking the misty air above the water.
Sipped melt in the mouth coffee,

fed our children iced tea, eggs, toast soldiers,

pink lemonade and pancakes doused with syrup,

which is clearly best licked directly off the knife, as M2 would no doubt inform you.

Then, because we had already been so deliciously reckless that we might as well continue,
we went for a stroll.

Just as it was beginning to rain we hopped onto a passing bumboat,

and made our slow, grand way up the shiny green canal.

And then the sky tipped.

Dramatic sheets of water bucketed around us.

But which did nothing to dull the sight of this finery.

An air of expectation unfolded,

as a surreal sense of the unreal dawned.
We were seated under the brim of an eerily close sky
which drew the curtains on this city stage
to a quietly soft and faded version of itself.

If Singapore's usual show is a vibrant tango
of light and colour and sound,

then Saturday's shrouded harbour show unfolded like a ballet scene
of grey tulle and satin ribbon.
The children sat hushed and serene,
content to stare at the sun's vanished reality,
at shadows of rain-speckled skin,
and be lulled by the tuktuktuktuk of the barge applause.

After our humble little journey had docked and I had shaken the poet juice off me,
we took refuge in a nearby mall until the rain had eased.

And then home again, to watch instead of dvd's,
our children curl up on the sofa each under a snuggly throw,
clutching a crisp, new purchase from Kinokuniya Books,
plate of vegemite sandwiches
and sliced watermelon balanced on their knees.

It was one of those weekends
that surprises you.
Like meeting someone you weren't quite sure about
and realising you had known them your whole life long.


Smoky Lion City

Unaccustomed as yet, to living in smoggy Asia, I am finding myself missing NZ's impressive air quality. Singapore has been, for a few days, shrouded in a thick layer of smoke pollution, (referred to as the haze), caused by illegal burn-off in Sumatra's farmland. Nearby Peninsula Malaysia has had to close some schools and issue face masks. The Singapore Pollutants Standard Index has spiked over 100 for the first time since 2006, breaching the unhealthy threshold. Their national website which records and releases the levels 3 hourly, has crashed due to overwhelming traffic. The airports remain open but the impact on health and tourism is fairly significant.

And in my little pocket of home, it is acrid and foggy beyond the windows. Our eyes sting and stream and throats ache. Everyone I talk to is sniffing or coughing or has a bad headache and a health advisory has been issued to the general public to reduce activity outdoors. When it first rolled over the island, I wondered if there was a huge fire in the neighbourhood, the reek of burning was so strong. Days later, a prevailing wind persists, and clouds of this ashy air continue to puff over us, so our weekend is planned indoors.

So grateful for air conditioners, windows that close tightly, a stack of dvds, wii championships, popcorn, good books, grocery home delivery and a tumble dryer.

Click on the image for today's article in the Straits Times.


God's Knees

Weekly coffee-group yesterday, a lift, secured with coded access, glided me up to a typically gorgeous apartment. There are always captivating views of another angle of the island through floor to ceiling glass, and the company is wonderful. I feel so privileged to have encountered a group of generous, kind-hearted women who identify with my dislocation and are humorous and down to earth. No fake here baby, just gentle friendship and respect.

I felt a part of me shift forward. Like the vehicle had finally just slipped out of painful first gear and moved to second. Still a long way to go till it is old hat, but not as s-l-o-w a process as it has been.
And in that surge of familiarity and ease, a memory fell off the shelf and landed in my lap, as tangible as if it had just been freshly baked. In my mind I was standing at the window of a dear friend's house, overlooking this range of hills that I always imagine as an olive chenille blanket draped over the knees of God. Watching fat farm animals ponderous in puddled green quilt squares and a sky, bleak and tumbled with steel wool.

The clink of mugs turns me as the water boils for tea (our special blend), and I take in the smell of homemade pizza set out amongst flax baskets, red biscuit tins and comfort-food recipe books like Apples for Jam. Our offspring clamour underfoot and my friend smiles easily with an unfathomable grace as teenagers and preschoolers fill their plates, giggle and tell tales on each other.

We live very different lives now, continents apart, but share a love of all things family and vintage, and the fact that we cry when we part. The doorways of our homes lie open to each other and I have the feeling, if the last 12 years has been anything to go by, that old age will still see us fond.

She is a bowl of organic plums and a batch of homemade baby food, she is a stack of muslin wraps for my babies, and we have shared many a fairy sprinkled cupcake party with our girls and our other close friends. She was sunlit comfort to the lonely me that needed her friendship all those years ago, in my preparation for parenting and adjustment into motherhood. And a homeschooling support when I floundered between the lines.

There are just a handful of them, like her, that are like the bookends to my flimsy adventures and uncertainty. A few solid, exquisite, timeless friends who, even though they are not seen in my everyday and might not be for a very long time, are unspoken parts of my existence. They will never know the times they walk into my awareness, when a tiny action sparks a memory.

Another heart friend who loves red, has called and sent me words of love. She is the very best kind of thoughtful and leads through her exceptional gift of communicating with others. Another very bestie is like a delicate rose-printed teacup, her loyalty as enduring and precious as bone china. We finish each other's sentences and also cry to be apart. There is an ease with each other that has no need for words. Another treasured stalwart in the heart friend collection is lilac and cream, black coffee and silver retro and soft yet deeply strong. Others are family.

But I got to thinking that some girls are out there right now, going through the agony of the loss of a friend. And it is a desperate grief, when those we emboss into our heart-skin, slip into a place where only memory can press them back.

Although in the Northern Hemisphere it is crisping towards the cooler months, below the Equator, the winter is fading. I know in our home town there will be streets lined with these blossoms and for those who are losing and having to let go - I dedicate these.

And a vaseful for your tables too, my friends at God's knees, you know who you are.


October brings her 9th

I am not sure what they call children of the heart, like you.

But it is like you were carved from my bone. We see into each other's eyes and know.

You are still sensitive, acutely so. Self-conscious, with high levels of awareness but you have let us into your world and have entertained us with your sharp wit lately. You are still pocket-sized, nibble like a mouse at your food and seek comfort in the things around you. A woolly rug or blanket is still wrapped around you, even under the line of the equator.

You are still girlie meets tomboy.

Nail-polish and Heelys. Soft toys and soccer balls.

You are the real deal. No shades of grey to be seen.

And we are not proud of you, because saying that would mean that you have to do something clever to make us happy. But rather we are just so Yay! to have you on our team regardless of the cool things you do, and getting to watch you unfold and give us the gift of yourself is just a blast.

Sometimes it can get a bit fiery as you learn to handle disappointment. But you have never been unkind or rude to us.

You add such seasoning to the dish of our family MG.

For your birthday you only chose 3 friends to invite. You were relaxed and completely yourself. No putting on airs and graces for you. No shrill show-off action. You wanted to go to the club, where you swam with your buddies, enjoyed junk food for dinner and then went bowling, followed by a sleepover with just one friend. PJ's, a dvd and the next morning, waffles and chocolate dipped strawberries for breakfast.

Here Daddy is saying you need to get out of the pool and get showered for dinner. You are not so happy about that.

But you perked up a bit when you remembered you had presents to open!

And a pool cake ablaze with candles that refused to go out.

Happy Birthday Baby!

For privacy reasons, I have tried to choose pics that do not reveal the identity of others, which can be quite limiting. You will notice on my blog that I am very particular on maintaining the privacy of others unless I have permission.


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