Unwrapping

Loving in my weekend reflections:

these three fat angels bought at $2 a piece,


my handsome hands-on hubby, to whom no task is beyond
and who is a happy accident in the kitchen colour coordination dept :)


this sweet kid making dinner with confident aplomb,

stumbling on this cheese from my own little NZ hometown
quite by chance in a local supermarket,
which made for delicious chicken, camembert and red onion pizzas.


sprinkled with pickled chillies,
and chased down with chilled Pink Moscato.


Kilometers of beautiful street decorations that made my babies oooooh and aaaaaah.

Soaking wet night time fun on the street corner outside our local mall
under a huge Christmas tree made of cd's,
a foam machine churned out imitation snow.






I am taking the time to unwrap the present.


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In thanks




This is our table.

Last night as many around the world,
and especially in NZ,
light candles in remembrance of those who were lost
we lit the white candles that sit on every table in our lounge.

It is a kind and gentle time, my evening ritual of the soft butter-warm flicker.
Last night thunder rolled outdoors with the scent of rain mingling with apple cider and cinnamon tealights and the voile drapes fluttered in the night air.
Bocelli's voice came softly too
and I sat still,
and remembered.

And was thankful.

--- --- ---

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Melody Beatti


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The Light

I have been wanting to post about the reality of living in our new home. Explain the intricacies and little routines, and different things we do now. But each time I start, the words falter and I simply stop and seem unable to go on.

These are still early days, we have been here for 3 and a half months and the sensation of peering through layers of glass still trips me up.

Summing up the first quarter of our first year living as ex-pats in Asia, I can wholeheartedly confirm that it really is an amazing place to live. On the other side of the glass I am trying to peer through, I can see the family as a whole are happy and settled. That in itself is triumph right there. Any mother would agree with me that if your kids are distressed and sad, that you'd give your right arm to make things okay for them again. I am so blessed that my girls have found the move bearable. Sure, we have motored through many a box of tissues for the homesick sniffles, but we can cope with that. On the whole, they are bright eyed and laughing. Nice firm thank you God on that score.

There is so much more to be grateful for. Our home is large, bright and airy. It is a townhouse on a curving little street in the heart of Singapore's best known shopping area. I can walk to Orchard Road in about 7 minutes, and frequently do, often at night as the shops only close at 10pm. Singapore's exquisite botanical gardens are a 10 minute walk in the other direction - and they have the kind of space that I can breathe in after leaving my beloved Cornwall Park behind in Auckland. Okay, so I am not walking under oak trees in frosty air, and watching pheasants and sheep. But I am strolling under banyan trees in a singlet and sunscreen, watching monkeys, lizards and turtles.

I have new friends and old ones. A church that is welcoming.

My littlest is at a Montessori preschool a little walk away, for five mornings a week. She tells me she is most unwilling each morning to attend, but waves me away with a grin at each drop off.My big girls catch buses to and from their international school, leaving at 7.30am and arriving home at 4pm. It is a long day and they have homework to attend to as soon as they are settled but they do not complain. They have made class friends and bus friends, and daily negotiate the terrors of the Bus Amahs who by all accounts, sound ferocious in their efforts to control the bus-loads of ex-pat brats.

I have access to the most amazing home help, and comprehensive supermarkets that sell most things that we miss. I am getting the gist of driving around this new city, at first a treacherous confusion of guessing which lane I was meant to take, without the help of signs, but now Annie (my GPS) has been relegated to the cubbyhole unless we are going somewhere new, so that's a sure sign I am getting my bearings.

We have gone on a break for a long weekend to white beaches. Greg went to the Formula 1 and we joined a club where we can swim on the weekends. We have been out to the movies, to dinner and explored some fun spots. I have discovered a blond Australian hairdresser who understood me. I have a studio space to paint in, a huge kitchen to cook in, gorgeous rainshowers to open the doors onto and an en suite off every bedroom. We drive a family wagon and I am completely over the sense of shame this brings :) Ikea is a four minute drive away, and so are other stores that are full of eye candy. I am still looking for dining room chairs but we have hunted down outdoor furniture. I have begun to replace my plants left behind with simple palms and collect white candles to burn at night in hurricane lamps along with mosquito coils for when we sit outdoors.

Geckos scurry silently along the ceiling and we sport hefty collections of insect bites, but we have seen no snakes yet, for which I am rather profoundly relieved. The girls nearly stood on one while away in Bintan, but fortunately I was down by the beach and missed the drama, or else I might have had to be coaxed down, dignity in shreds, from the nearest tree. We have squirrels that scamper along the wall between us and the neighbours, who are not our greatest allies at present, as their 4 dachshund dogs yap incessantly during the week and make me mutter.

There are too many wonderful things to adequately capture and if I were to heap all this goodness into a bucket and stand it on the scale of reality - it would overflow.

There is another bucket though, heavy on the other side of the scales. My brain ran and hid in the corner like a naughty child once we were here and unpacked. I have struggled through feeling detached and numb, and have been astonished at this unexpected and persisting phenomenon. I can honestly say that there is nothing at all wrong with anything, except the way my feelings have rearranged themselves into a chronic pattern of unfamiliarity. I have been bewildered at this, and really frustrated by such a surprising and debilitating turn of events. The sensation of having no sensations is incredibly disconcerting. It is like I am on one side of a fish bowl, and everyone and everything is on the other. In fact, the old me is on the other side. The me I have found myself with now is like walking in on a stranger.

Um...hello, do I know you and what the heck are you doing in my house, wearing my hair and pretending to be me?

I stare back at myself, shrug and sit unresponsively. And the stand off continues.

Life swirls on in vibrant eddies around us, and I have half a foot in mechanical responsibility, and the other foot remains quietly still, waiting for feelings to return. Perhaps a part of my brain got too tired to function any more and shorted. I am told that in time, clarity will return and I will not feel like I have been invaded by my emotionally paralysed twin.

It is uncomfortable to be this honest. But it is worse not to be.

Bare truth is a stepping stone towards the light.


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Restless

For those in my world who know well the longest nights,
and who are walking through the shadowy places
and beating off the fear.

Take heart today.





I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4:8

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The Breather












Bintan, Indonesia.

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Retreat

The end of this week marks the Indian festival of lights - Deepavali (called Diwali in some countries).

We are taking advantage of the long weekend and heading away for a few days tomorrow, not far away but where there is sun, sand, seas...and tee boxes.


And, as always, you come too.
Through my lens you help me see more than I would notice if havenspace did not exist.

So, go pack your sunscreen and swimmers
and I'll see you there :)


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