Choosing to run

M2 made me so proud last week.

Not because she won a race (or two).

Not because she broke a school record doing it.

But because she fought fear and and won.

Before the race she broke down, clutching us and begging we took her home.

She was so afraid to run - not sure how she would place.

Scared of failing.

Scared of falling.

This is her 4th school in 4 consecutive years.

The 4th time she has lined up against kids she doesn't know,
no idea of whether she will have what it takes to be a winner.

"Take me home Daddy"

Needless to say we did not make her run.

We believe that choosing to participate is entirely her choice,
and if she chooses to quit,
she will have to live with the regret... not us.

If she had decided to quit,
we would have been proud of her anyway.

We left the decision to her.

She quietly walked away and joined her age group.

She chewed her nails and surreptitiously wiped her tears.

Greg and I looked at each other and smiled ruefully.

This was her moment,
and winning was in the decision she chose to stand when her name was called,
and take her place in the designated lane.

Naturally she ran like the wind,
it is in her blood and she knows no other way.

I love life lessons like this.
When you can't help but see instant results for brave decisions.

She shone.

And then quietly asked us to leave, as she no longer needed us to watch.

She said it would be more fun to surprise us with more first place ribbons.

Which she did.

I have a lot to learn from my kids.

If I had half the courage they display,
I would be a different person.



In my sorrow for the darling of New Zealand, these images out of them all, brought it keenly home for me. I felt my arms go heavy with the weight of remembrance, and was pierced with the hollow fear of being helpless in the wait for certainty.

This pair of beautiful children with quietly exhausted faces, fingers clutching sleeves, hood up, tousled hair and reddened eyes were waiting on the grass, near the rubble, for news of their trapped mother.

Here is just after they were told that there was no hope.

The mother in me is grieving. The child in me mourns too.

God defend New Zealand.


Puppy Love

Meet Bailey,
the new princess in our family
(like we needed any more).

She is mighty loved.

And yes, that is a baby's pacifier.


Wet Market Wednesday

There are plenty of gorgeous supermarkets in Asia,
where you can buy just about everything your heart could desire...for a price.

We live very close to one that is probably one of the most upmarket
and I must confess, occasionally I enjoy popping down to choose a chunk of melty brie to serve with Maggie Beer Plum Paste and Crackerthins.

Knowing I can buy Easter chocolate,
or Christmas advent calendars,
or gluten-free bread,
Waitrose Kenya tea or Jaffa Orange curd is nice.

But there's the everyday kind of stuff still to get.

I usually get it delivered to my home by a grocery supply company.
The owners ring each morning and ask if I have any orders.
They are great for fresh fruit and vegetables and always stock vegemite,
that life essential.
They deliver the bulky stuff, like cereal boxes and milk,
bread and toilet paper.

But I run up against a problem with meat.
It is so expensive that I can barely justify looking at it.

Beef and Lamb can cost between $45 and $80 a kilo.

So I went from this

to this.

The Tekka Market on Buffalo Road in Little India is a riot of colour and sounds.
My neighbour and I dodged the crowds, stepped over puddles of who knows what,
haggled and picked and came away with a rather heavy trundler full of meat and vegetables.

Afterwards we chose a local Indian Muslim shophouse restaurant and despite the suspiciously dingy interior, enjoyed skewers of spicy meat and lukewarm water served in metal cups.

Then home to roast that leg of lamb and eat it around a family table lit by candles :)

Life constantly surprises me with its contrasts. I am learning to blend.


Lover's Day

We don't do roses, hearts or chocolates for valentines,

no particular reason,

except that they just don't encapsulate any meaning of love for us personally.

We tend to just look without words and slip gently below the surface of the others' soul,

and it feels like I've arrived home
when these eyes and this quiet smile is fixed on me.

Happy Lover's Day my dear one,
thanks for knowing and for grace.



Gong Xi Fa Cai!

It is the start of a new lunar year, the year of the Rabbit.

Around town there are red lanterns, swathes of red cloth and hanging paper ornaments, like concertinaed pineapples.
Little gold rabbit statues sit on shop counters,
and bunny designs are stamped on door mats, slippers, and clothes.

Dancers can be hired to perform in houses or office spaces,
arriving in a truck festooned with big flags,
and banging cymbals and drums.

On Friday, we went to family friends for lunch,
and after we had eaten, we heard the sound of the drums approaching.
One of their neighbours had the dancers in their home
so we went over for a little look.

From my observations, they perform an ornate dance and do interesting things with kumquats, which they peel and arrange under cover of their dragon costumes and then reveal for auspicious prosperity.

Quite the cultural experience for our girls to watch from the side of the swimming pool,

although frighteningly loud for the baby!

Happy New Year!



It has been raining cats and dogs in Singapore,

literally hours and hours of torrential showers,

the footpaths have become even more treacherously slippery -
I buy another umbrella
and new havaianas with fresh grip

and say hello again to routine, friends and expat life.

I eat properly, exercise,
breathe calmly and try to embrace what engulfs me.

My M2 baby has been very poorly with tonsillitis.


Quiet time is few and far between -

But extra special when it happens.


It is dark outdoors at midday -

I light a candle, switch on a lamp.


It's actually really lovely, you know?

There is a softness in it,

the Embrace.


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