A Christmas pox!

We spent the last few weeks travelling in Europe, visting family and friends. It was the first time Viriamu had been to the UK - and boy was it a shock to the system! In retrospect my master plan of going back home for Christmas, might have been flawed. It wasn't just Viriamu who suffered either - in a few short months I have become absolutely cold intolerant. The moment we stepped off the plane we both got colds! The first day we went outside the house, Viriamu described the sensation on his skin as akin to being stabbed with a thousand tiny knives!!!! I though about it a while, and he got it pretty much right, I'd just never really noticed before.

It was definitely an odd few weeks, with both highs and lows. Being so cold all the time and staying in such a totally different environment was really tough on Viri, but we did still manage to get around a bit and meet up with some of the people I wanted to see. Unfortunately, however, I got chickenpox towards the end of our visit - which meant that we couldn't visit Sarah, Matt and Gwion, or Oliver, Louise and Rob, so I'm yet to officially start my auntying duties. But I did get to see some recent pictures of Oliver - he's growing fast and is as cute as a button! The chickenpox itself was pretty mild, I guess I was quite lucky from that point of view.

The highlight was that we got to visit A'a, an artefact from Rurutu, now owned by the British Museum. It was bought from the London Missionary Society in 1911, and was given to them by the famous Pacific missionary Johnny Williams in 1821. It's a funny looking statue. Quite unlike other Polynesian tikis. From what I gather it represents an early attempt to describe Christianity to Rurutuans, who had previously worshipped wooden figures of their gods (tikis). A'a means 'caress' in Rurutu, and that's exactly what the figure was made for. The figure represents a single god, the little figures attached to his body represent the families that colonized Rurutu, and inside the figure there were a series of small tikis to show how this new god encompassed all their old gods (these figures were burnt by the missionaries in 1882 likely because of their pagan connections). But of course the fact that anyone built this 'false idol' in the first place is rather odd, and there's an interesting story to be told here about a Rurutu prince called Amaeterai who set sail to discover untold treasures and instead found some missionaries, most likely in New Zealand. Anyway this was a very significant moment for Viriamu, even though he had to wear blue latex gloves to handle the figure! A'a is very important to him, so much so that he has him tattooed on his chest.

One thing's for sure, we'll celebrate next Christmas Polynesian style - on the beach!