Tag Archives: racism

Natural Justice…Friday Fictioneers

As far as George Bates was concerned, “the only good Indian was a dead Indian”. Yet, his wife was always nagging him with the words of that blasted do-gooder, Atticus, from To Kill A Mocking Bird:”You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

That was how he found himself spending a week out in Cherokee territory, sleeping in a tee pee and mingling with their people.

However, George was a slow learner. Had to be taught a lesson instead.

….

99 Words

As an Australian who has never been to America, I found it difficult to grapple with the Native American theme in this week’s prompt. From where I sit, it seems that Native Americans are largely invisible and it’s very rare that you see Native Americans on TV or discussed as part of  the political process. This has concerned me for some time and aroused my curiosity. I had to do a fair amount of reading tonight before these ideas started peculating through. I was quite shocked to read that “the only good Indian was a dead Indian” is line from Laura inglus Wilder’s  Little House on the Prairie.

I read in Wikipaedia:

“An important moment concerning Wilder’s depiction of Native Americans occurred in 1998, when an eight year old girl read Little House on the Prairie in her elementary school class. The novel contains the line, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian”; and this caused the girl great distress. Her mother, Waziyatawin Angela Cavender Wilson, a member of the Wahpetunwan Dakota nation, challenged the school on its use of the book in the classroom.[15] This prompted the American Library Association to investigate and ultimately change the name of the Wilder Award, an award named after Laura Ingalls Wilder, to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award.[15] This award is given to books that have made a large impact on children’s literature in America.[16]”

I knew none of this before so feel I’ve learned quite a lot tonight.

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields, where we write up to 100 words to a provided photo prompt. PHOTO PROMPT © Renee Heath.

Best wishes,

Rowena

N-Oodganoo Noonuccal: Indigenous Australian Poet.

All One Race – Oodgeroo Noonuccal

Black tribe, yellow tribe, red, white or brown,
From where the sun jumps up to where it goes down,
Herrs and pukka-sahibs, demoiselles and squaws,
All one family, so why make wars?
They’re not interested in brumby runs,
We don’t hanker after Midnight Suns;
I’m for all humankind, not colour gibes;
I’m international, and never mind tribes.

Black, white or brown race, yellow race or red,
From the torrid equator to the ice-fields spread,
Monsieurs and senors, lubras and fraus,
All one family, so why family rows?
We’re not interested in their igloos,
They’re not mad about kangaroos;
I’m international, never mind place;
I’m for humanity, all one race.

Dear Ms Noonuccal,

It’s a real honour to write to you and touch base at long last.

I am currently writing a series of Letters to Dead Poets and although I risk offending your cultural sensitivities, I am wanting to be inclusive. I am hoping that we could share a metaphorical walk and chat together. Talk about what it would take for all Australians to belong.

Oodgeroo-Noonuccal plaque

We need diversity and to celebrate and respect a kaleidoscope of difference and yet still come together as one. Not as one amorphous bunch of clones but as human beings with a dazzling array of colours, shapes, textures all glued together through respect, understanding and acceptance. While this might sound like a utopian dream, we have to have a go. Do our best. If every single one of us makes a small personal change, then collectively this must amount to something monumental. I know when I was growing up we never thought the Berlin wall would come down, and yet it’s gone. We weren’t all just a bunch of dreamers, after all!

Yet, more and more walls need to come down.

More bridges must be built.

Yet, we sit in our brick bunkers with our technology and remotes basking in our own private worlds.

While there’s apathy, there’s also animosity, resentment and an “us” and “them”. The racism you fought so hard against through your political activism and poems:

Racism – Oodgeroo Noonuccal

Stalking the corridors of life,
Black, frustrated minds
Scream for release
From Christian racist moulds.
Moulds that enslave
Black independence.

Take care! White racists!
Black can be racists too.
A violent struggle could erupt
And racists meet their death.

Colour, the gift of nature
To mankind,
Is now the contentions bone,
And black-white hatred sustains itself
on the rotting, putrid flesh
That once was man.

Oodgeroo Noonuccal

Before we go any further, I’d like to apologise for not reading your poetry until recently when my son brought it home from school. At least, I’m fairly sure I never studied your poetry at school or university, despite studying Australian Literature. This means that I’d never read a single poem by an Aboriginal poet until I was 46 years old. That despite growing up memorizing verses of Banjo Paterson’s Man From Snowy River and Dorothea Mackellar’s My Country by heart, I never knew your poems. I’d never read or learnt about your vision for Australia. I don’t need to spell out what that means. That a nation needs to know its own and not just experience one dish but to feast from the full smorgasbord.

Aboriginal Painting 14.6.2010 low res

My son’s poignant Aboriginal Spirit Man Painting Age 8.

It is my hope that by sharing a few of your poems here and just a fraction of your vision, that others will also be spurred on to get to know you better. Find out what you were fighting for and even pick up the baton and carry it forward.

Unfortunately, with writing over 26 letters to dead poets in a month, time restraints prevents me from thoroughly researching each poet and allowing myself to immerse myself in their poetry in the same way I studied the poems of John Keats when I was at school. I am meeting so many incredible poets for the very first time along this journey and while I would usually undertake lengthy, meticulous research before putting pen to paper let alone posting it online, I feel like I’m flying blind. Indeed, flying blind and straight into the flames. I hope I’m not screwing up, making mistakes and getting it wrong. There are people who have studied each of you individually in such depth and detail and in so many ways I’m just skipping over the surface trying to dig in as deep as I can but inevitably having to move onto the next one too soon. At least, I’m honest about it and don’t pretend to know you well.

However, perhaps that’s all I’m meant to do. Light the spark that ultimately gets the fire going.

Municipal Gum

Gumtree in the city street,
Hard bitumen around your feet,
Rather you should be
In the cool world of leafy forest halls
And wild bird calls
Here you seems to me
Like that poor cart-horse
Castrated, broken, a thing wronged,
Strapped and buckled, its hell prolonged,
Whose hung head and listless mien express
Its hopelessness.
Municipal gum, it is dolorous
To see you thus
Set in your black grass of bitumen-
O fellow citizen,
What have they done to us?

Oodgeroo Noonuccal

Getting back to my original question, what do you think it would take for all Australians to feel they belong and how do we expand that to build bridges around the world?

I’m not really expecting you to answer that but perhaps you could nibble around the edges. I hope it’s nothing but a rhetorical question!

Yours sincerely,

Rowena

Further Reading:

https://www.qut.edu.au/about/oodgeroo/oodgeroo-noonuccal

This post is part of a series of Letters to Dead Poets for the Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

M- Dr Maya Angelou Replies.

Heart Hands red heart

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” Maya Angelou.

Dear Rowena,

It’s been such a pleasure to meet you and thanks for the stopover, albeit brief.

I really enjoyed chatting with you over a glass of Iced Tea. Although I can’t say I enjoyed your Vegemite, those Tim Tams were divine! Indeed, I’d be truly grateful if you could please send me some more. Meanwhile, I’ve enclosed a signed copy of: Letters For My Daughter. I hope it’s what you’re looking for.

“Occasionally, all too, we meet people briefly yet the immediate trust we feel, informs us that bonds have been forged, forged forever on the pulse of a day or a week’s closeness.1.”

By the way, I like what you are doing with this series of Letters to Dead Poets who have inspired you over the years and retracing your steps as you go.

“We are braver and wiser because they existed, those strong women and strong men… We are who we are because they were who they were. It’s wise to know where you come from, who called your name.”

“I find in my poetry and prose the rhythms and imagery of the best – I mean, when I’m at my best – of the good Southern black preachers. The lyricism of the spirituals and the directness of gospel songs and the mystery of blues are in my music or in my poetry and prose, or I missed everything.”

You have such an adventurous, inquiring mind. Keep those questions coming. I can’t promise that you’ll always find the answers but never give up trying.You never know what you’re going to learn along the way and even if you do end up somewhere off the beaten track, perhaps that where you were meant to be all along.

 

Rather than writing anything too structured, I thought I’d simply share a few thoughts:

“The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind.”

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.” However, this letter will have to do.”

“I’m working at trying to be a Christian, and that’s serious business. It’s like trying to be a good Jew, a good Muslim, a good Buddhist, a good Shintoist, a good Zoroastrian, a good friend, a good lover, a good mother, a good buddy – it’s serious business.”

“Everybody born comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory. We come from the Creator with creativity. I think that each one of us is born with creativity.”

“Of course, there are those critics – New York critics as a rule – who say, ‘Well, Maya Angelou has a new book out and of course it’s good but then she’s a natural writer.’ Those are the ones I want to grab by the throat and wrestle to the floor because it takes me forever to get it to sing. I work at the language.”

amelia heart painting

My daughter’s painting

“All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us that we are all more alike than we are unalike.”

“When the human race neglects its weaker members, when the family neglects its weakest one – it’s the first blow in a suicidal movement. I see the neglect in cities around the country, in poor white children in West Virginia and Virginia and Kentucky – in the big cities, too, for that matter.”

Kids Angels Uniting Church 2008

“You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.'”

“Self-pity in its early stage is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.”

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

“Eating is so intimate. It’s very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you’re inviting a person into your life.”

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”

Keeping writing! “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Joy!

Maya.
Please note that words in quotation marks are direct quotes from Dr Maya Angelou and the rest of this letter is fictional but written, I hope, is keeping with her outlook xx Rowena

M-A Letter to Dr Maya Angelou #atozchallenge.

Dear Dr Angelou,

It is such an honour to meet you and finally feel your words lap around my feet like the waves. Indeed, I seriously wish I could dive deep into all that you wrote and all you are. However, running into you spontaneously like this, can only be an unplanned stop over on the way from A-Z. Indeed, the juggernaut is about to leave without me, which is quite a common phenomenon for a chatterbox like me!

Although I’ve frequently come across you searching for motivational quotes, I’d never read your poems before. Indeed, it was only once I was working away on these Letters to Dead Poets, that I finally read some of your poems. I was blown away and left with such an unquenchable thirst for more. Yet, as I said, the juggernaut was moving on without me so I could only take a few bites…certainly not enough pretend I actually know you any better than strangers passing in the night. However, as I’ve said before along this journey, there also has to be that starting point. That point in time where we make new friends.

heartman 24.6.2010

“Heartman” Drawn by Mister 2010 aged 6.

After all, there’s that constant ebb and flow in relationships, as our lives pass through different stages and terrain. As much as we might resist change, clinging to the friends we know, even by the very tips of our fingers, there’s that changing of the guard. That as time and tide sweep through, people come, they go and some remain. After all, no one grows in a stagnant pond.

Moreover, now that I’m older, I’m gaining a deep appreciation of what it means to learn. That learning isn’t something we simply do at school and put aside. Rather, learning is a lifelong journey. That we need to keep absorbing those all important nutrients to feed our minds, bodies and spirits so we don’t seize up and rust away. While it’s therapeutic to sit and contemplate, we also need to keep moving. Not only with our feet, but also our eyes, absorbing all we see. Only then can we develop vision… insight. See all that lies unseen. That’s when we truly let the bird out of the cage.

Anyway, for someone who was only popping by in a hurry, it seems I’ve digressed completely.

Didn’t I ask you about what it means to be a woman?

This brings me to your poem: Phenomenal Woman:

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

– Maya Angelou

This led me down another path entirely and now I find myself perched into front of Caged Bird glued to the spot:

Caged Bird

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Maya Angelou

While I’m not entirely sure what inspired this poem, at this point in time, I only want to read it through my own eyes, from my own perspective.

I am feeling like your caged bird. This is something I feel from time to time as a parent, particularly when my writing takes off soaring like an eagle but then the realities of life snatch me, bringing me back down to earth and back into the cage. Trapped tight within my captor’s hands, I’m trying furiously to flap my wings. Let me fly! Let me fly! Spread my wings! I wriggle, jiggle and even peck at the hands which constrain, but to no avail. I’ve been caught and locked up in a cage for their pleasure.

Sometimes, I look up at the sky and wonder if it’s even worth trying to fly, knowing I won’t get far. Yet, like that stressed-out bird trapped inside a house frantically beating its wings and bashing its head against the window trying to escape, I persevere. Have faith. One day, I’ll finally get out and reach the sun.

While this might sound like a woman’s lot, my husband has even more constraints. While he might appear to come and go with much more ease, he’s actually pinned to the ground. A mouse stuck in a perpetual treadmill going round and round and round through a cycle of bills which need to be paid and the work which needs to pay. Well, that’s on a good week. No matter how much you earn, I’m sure it’s probably a struggle to make ends meet. We’re all “poor”.

I am relatively lucky. Although my mobility issues can place me in a sort of cage and I can feel trapped inside myself, they’ve also set me free.  I have the time and space to write. Express my inner world. Build  elaborate castles made of words, set a few blocks back from the beach where they won’t get washed away by the surf.

beach wide angle 2

 

Yet, as much as being a parent has seemingly clipped my wings, it has also done quite the reverse. Through my kids, I have learned to ski, taken up the violin, been introduced to Haiku and appreciated so much more of our Indigenous culture. They have opened my eyes so much, helping me break through those doors of perception to become a much more complex and multilayered human being. My health challenges have done much the same sort of thing.

I am now finding that what doesn’t kill us, not only makes us stronger. It also makes us more diverse, complex and gives us much more insight and compassion. I can’t speak for everyone who has suffered but ultimately I see beauty in everything around me. There is no longer that Great Chain of Being. We are one. Every single part of this planet is incredibly and intricately interconnected. Without even the smallest part, the whole is inevitably less.

Indeed, I love what Issa’s Haiku:

Look, don’t kill that fly!
It is making a prayer to you
By rubbing its hands and feet.

Issa.

So, this leads me to consider whether we each need to throw our lot up in the air regularly to clear out the cobwebs. Re-examine where we are and see ourselves from a new perspective. Not just ourselves either. After all, we don’t just live in a world of selfies but of millions. Therefore, the journey is not just about ourselves, but also how we connect with the whole.

Earth from space

Our planet needs compassion + action.

I doubt this is a journey we could ever hope to complete. However, that doesn’t meet we shouldn’t pack up our bags and have a go.

Anyway, before the juggernaut leaves me entirely behind, I’m off but I’ll be back.

Love & best wishes,

Rowena

Mummy & Amelia

An extraordinary moment.

PS after completing this letter, I strayed across your Letters to My Daughter. This really seems to be an answer to my unspoken prayer. Thank you very much! I thought you’d appreciate this photo of her:

Amelia cartwheels

Diversity…Flash Fiction.

Mirror! Mirror!

Rosie looked into the mirror, trying to understand her complex features. Blond, blue-eyed yet coffee-toned …there was some hushed story about Grandmother or Great Grandmother coming from India. Mum always insisted that they stay out of the sun. Why? Rosie couldn’t understand. If only she’d been allowed out in the sun, she would’ve had the best tan. Gone black. Even though she was only little, Rosie knew there was some unspoken story.

Now, middle-aged, married with three of her own, she knew. Had no shame. She stood out in that sun until her skin turned black…a proud Arrernte woman.

Rowena Newton

February 17, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story of a character who is diverse. Who is this person? Does this character know, accept or reject being perceived as different? As writers, consider how we break stereotypes. Tell you own story of “otherness” if you feel compelled. Or, select a story of diversity, such as rainbows revealing gold. How is diversity needed? How is your character needed?

Respond by February 23, 2016 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

Stumbling into the Chinese Lunar New Year, Sydney!

Have you ever found a piece of jigsaw puzzle lying beside the road? All you have is that single piece and you can’t help wondering what the rest of the puzzle looked like but feel completely overwhelmed by the enormity and impossibility of the task? How can you ever hope to assemble the big picture from only one little piece?

You know you can’t and yet you’re almost being eaten alive by curiosity!

What is it?

That’s what it was like for me yesterday when my daughter and I stumbled into the Chinese Lunar New Year Celebrations in Sydney yesterday. We were simply walking from Darling Harbour to Town Hall Station, via the Queen Victoria Building (QVB), to catch the train home.

After walking through some smokey food stores, we came across this stunning but also intriguing lantern sculpture towering through the QVB.

DSC_9623

Queen Victoria Building: a red lantern Sculpture rises to the  dome.

As we walked on, we spotted what looked like an enormous inflatable bee but turned out to be a Tiger.

A Tiger? To mark the beginning of the Year of the Monkey?

Clearly, the tiger is also juggling four different coloured balls. What are they? What do they mean?

DSC_9643.JPG

Queen Victoria is clearly not too sure what to make of her new neighbour?

When you write a blog, it’s no longer enough to walk past these mysteries and simply write them off as someone else’s culture. You just can’t let ignorance go through to the keeper. You have to find out. Explore. Come up with the answers.

Or, at least ask Google. Find out.

Google_2015_logo.svg

The question is: how much time do you allocate to the quest?

Cultural icons don’t suddenly appear. They have been built up, layer up on layer, over hundreds and even thousands of years. Of course, the complexity and nuance of all this history can’t instantly be gleaned from Google and understood. It really is something you need to live and breathe and to give due respect, almost needs to be your own.

 

Yet,  if we only stay home and never cross that bridge, we’ll never build bridges between nations, cultures and peoples.

Moreover, have you ever considered that people, not just countries, are multicultural? This means that we even have these mergers and fractures inside our very selves.

While Irish, German and Scottish blood battle it out in my genes, I don’t have any personal connection to Chinese culture, beyond buying take away meals and a fleeting day trip to China from Hong Kong back in 1988.

This makes developing any level of cultural understanding difficult.

 

So, far Google hasn’t been altogether helpful but what I did find out is that Sydney is hosting what’s claimed to be the biggest Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations outside mainland China. 12 giant lantern sculptures have been erected at iconic Sydney landmarks. That explained why the Tiger was outside the QVB. Unfortunately, we didn’t see our Tiger lit up but it was still an interesting spectacle.

These 12 sculptures represent the 12 years of the Chinese zodiac or Sheng Xiao: Each year is represented by one animal (and one mythical creature, the dragon). There are 12 animals in a specific order, and the 12-animal-cycle rotates every 12 years. In Sheng Xiao these animals are (in order): Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat (or Ram), Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.

Apparently, I was born in the Year of the Rooster and in this the Year of the Monkey:

During the year, the Rooster-born need to clear all misunderstandings quickly. It is important to seek expert advice when faced with failure. They can make wrong judgments if they rely on external information without personally delving deeper into what is actually happening. Good luck can be destroyed with careless action when trying to find solutions when faced with financial, family or personal problems.

This sounds like good advice for anyone, don’t you think?!!

You can find your zodiac and read more here

Anyway, in my usual fashion, I made quite a mistake consulting Google and should’ve gone straight to Wikipaedia where pretty much all is explained. Moreover, it confirmed just how much tradition is involved in this ancient festival and that a few photos taken passing by, could never do it justice.

Yet, at least, I paused and looked a little further.

Asked a few questions.

We might not be able to walk in someone else’s shoes but at least we can try them on. Stumble around. We don’t even need to pretend they fit. Indeed, it’s probably better we don’t.

Happy Chinese New Year!

If you are celebrating Chinese New Year or can enlighten me at all, please leave a link in the comments!

xx Rowena

 

Iced Coffee Please!

Welcome to Iced Coffee this week. Or, perhaps you’d prefer Iced Tea. In that case, you’ll have to make your own. Although I’m quite used to drinking cold tea, I’ve never made the iced variety and I gather it’s not the same thing.

Well, I was going to tell you how scorchingly hot it is here and how I’ve sought refuge from the sun’s vicious rays inside the house where I’ve even enjoyed a restorative siesta. I’m not even sure that I’ve really woken up yet. It’s now late afternoon and I’m trying to get motivated. Grab the family and the dogs and hit the beach.

However, it’s Monday tomorrow. Already, that Sunday night check list is starting to churn inside my head…showers, wash hair, shopping, dinner, violin practice. I’m sure the list goes on but I don’t want to know about any extras.

By the way, I’ve been forced into a confession. It’s NOT actually THAT hot today and even the humidity is low. So, I’ve actually become something of a “sun victim”a whingeing Australian. So, I apologise for my excessive use of hyperbole, even though I still feel hot.

Monday, I went down to Sydney to get my crown adjusted at the dentist. My dentist is right near Sydney Harbour, just like the dentist in Finding Nemo and he even has a fish tank. I think the train trip takes about 90 minutes one way and so I packed my writing stuff and a book. As it turned out, writing won and I scrawled out pages and pages of poetry as the combined stress of going to the dentist and the kids starting at their new schools, took its toll. I’ve posted one so far: Modern Day Hero

Tuesday was Australia Day. This commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney’s Botany Bay in 1788 under the command of Governor Arthur Phillip. However, many Indigenous Australians consider it”Invasion Day” and a protest march is held through Sydney. Like many Australians, I do the splits between these two perspectives. I’m proud of my country but I know there have been atrocities towards our indigenous people, including the genocide of the Tasmanian Aborigine. We also had apartheid here. I didn’t even know about that until a few years ago when I heard about the  Freedom Ride which, at least from my small understanding , culminated in Aboriginal children swimming in the Moree council pool. Of course, they left all of that out of our school textbooks. Indeed, I sometimes wonder whether more of our history was left out than put in. After all, where is the line between “History” and “Advertising”?

Just asking.

I have revisited these issues this week after reading a speech by Indigenous Australian journalist, Stan Grant. I have posted his speech and a bit of an intro here:

It’s a long read but an important one in terms of how we as individuals and nations deal with the past in the present and the need to listen and acknowledge what’s happened at the very least.

Learning about anything beyond your thing and indeed getting to know anyone beyond your orbit,  takes a very conscious effort. Putting aside that book you’ve been longing to read and all those things which need to be done and saying I care enough to find out. Read and process that instead. Stop and have that cup of tea and simply listen. Thanks to the Internet, we can at least find some kind of overview or pictorial history. I am particularly thankful for those pictures which tell a thousand words.

I know that’s quite a heavy discussion point for a casual cuppa but philosophising over coffee has changed the world. Changed how people think and what they see. Caffeine is a wonderful thing!

By the way, we went to the Star Wars Movie on Australia Day and watched the fireworks on TV at night.

family portrait

Family Portrait outside the High School on the first day taken my the lovely Headmaster! PS: Note my new haircut…almost an annual event!

We’ve also had a huge journey ourselves this week. That’s because the kids didn’t return to school. They both started new schools. Our son started High School and our daughter started at a selective Primary School 45 minutes drive away in a different town. We’ve barely even been and now it’s our second home and an exciting new place to explore.

humpty-dumpty-620x350

So, instead of just throwing on the old uniforms and letting the car drive itself, it’s been a very conscious and anxious process. We’ve been trying to dot the I’s and cross the T’s after being in holiday mode for way too long. By the way, I don’t view this anxiety is an unexpected or bad thing because it’s part and parcel of starting something new. Moreover, it’s better to be thorough…over do it. Once you know what you’re doing, then you can relax.

DSC_9537

However, it looks like being conscious actually helped because we’re on top of it all and the kids have had a great start to the new year!

After such a huge week, we’ve had a quiet weekend.

That was until it was suddenly 5.00PM Sunday afternoon and the list of lists suddenly started sending me alarm bells. Time to get the show on the road but despite all the lists, I’d forgotten to wash my daughter’s uniform. So, it appears that the holiday cogs are still turning and I obviously needed to change gears fast.

Bilbo walking beach

Bilbo at the Beach

Yet, we did manage to make it to the beach for that walk. It was beautiful down there, except that last week’s storm has caused further damage and loss of trees along the beach. Today, we’ve lost a 10ft Banksia tree. It’s currently still alive and like a beached whale, I couldn’t help wondering whether it could be salvaged. Given a new home. We must have lost over a hundred trees at the beach in the last year and it is so disappointing. Just because nature killed them and not a bulldozer, that doesn’t mean it’s not a loss.

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By the way, Bilbo surprised me this week by going swimming at the beach. However, our trip to the beach today that he wasn’t actually enjoying himself swimming but trying to rescue the dogs who were in the water and herd them out.

However, just because I’m thinking deep, that doesn’t mean we haven’t had a great week. We surged with pride when we saw our kids all decked out in their new uniforms. The kids are catching up with old friends and meeting new ones and I can feel things coming together. That’s fantastic. Our daughter has even picked up her violin again after a 3 year break. I’d almost given up but still had a cupboard full of violins. Besides, you’d know I’d never give up. Not once I’ve seen the light twinkle in their eyes. Miss was passionate about the violin when she first started and as they have a violin ensemble which performs at the Sydney Opera House, her interest has been rekindled.

family playing violin

The family playing violin

I hope you’ve had a great week and thank you for popping round for coffee. It’s been great to catch up. This has been part of the #WeekendCoffeeShare is a weekly linkup hosted by Diana at Part-Time Monster, and here is the link: Linky

Best wishes,

Rowena xx