Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day, of course I wasn't expecting too much - I'd already got Matotea's card from school, which frankly was more than enough. But I thought I should do something for Meme, even though she couldn't care less, it just seems wrong to me. So, Matotea and I made caraway biscuits, which we planned to take to Meme's, but unfortunately she had headed off to church and to visit Viriamu's grandma in Avera.......so I'm ashamed to say between us, Matotea and I polished off at least half of the cookies destined for Meme!


School hols!

It's Whitsun week, so Mato's been off school, living it up at Meme's with her cousin Meisi.
 ....on the neighbor's slide and trampoline (I know what we'll be getting for Mato's birthday and Christmas pressies now!).
In the meantime Viriamu's been busy with the horses......
......and Heimana's taken up entomology!
She just can't seem to find Clatterpillar in the handbook!


You know you've been living on an isolated Pacific island for a while when .....

> you get excited that there are fresh carrots in the local grocery store
> you are overjoyed when some friends in Tahiti send you a care package with sponge squares and Weetabix in it (a BIG thank you to the Manate family for that!)
> your idea of a big night out is going to get 'Steack frites' at the local snack
> you blog about the Mexican soap opera that you're watching!
> you're reduced to tears (of laughter) by a BBC comedy show filmed partly in Barry (South Wales) Gavin and Stacey, because it's just so spot on, and reminds you of some reasons why living on a small Pacific island seems like a good idea (another thank you to the Mme Manate for that)


La fille du jardinier

A weird thing happened yesterday, we were watching telly - Viriamu and I have become addicted to a really awful Mexican soap opera La Fille du Jardinier (of course it's dubbed in french), it's so bad that it really is quite entertaining. We have just a tonne of Brazilian or Mexican soaps on our telly, as well as a lot of American soaps from the 80s. It always feels weird watching things like Dynasty dubbed in french, there is even Scooby-Doo and Flipper. There's also lots of other cool 'Outre-Mer' channels, so we can watch New Caledonian and French Caribbean tv. Anyway, Viriamu (if you can believe it) has become totally hooked, which is strangely out of character, so we always tune in to it on Wallace and Futuna's channel, because they're three weeks ahead of the Polynesian channel. Yesterday we sat down, expecting a gripping conclusion to the previous episode, only to find that they had re-run monday's episode......well, Viriamu was disgusted! And clearly the Wallace & Futuna technicians were in a bit of a flap, as they abruptly switched over to tuesday's episode halfway-through......then bizarrely, instead of going into the national news, as usual, they put on yet another episode, that would probably have been scheduled as today's episode, with an apology for the re-runs scrolling at the bottom of the screen. Clearly wednesday's episode had got lost somewhere along the way, and there was panic in the control room. But what I find astounding is that they would cancel or delay the broadcasting of the national news, in favour of a re-run of an old Mexican soap! It's quite an eye-opener, but somehow perfectly sums up Polynesia! I can only imagine that the phone-lines must have been red-hot, buzzing with angry polynesian fans, like Viriamu, desperate to know what had happened to Luisa-Fernanda and Carlos-Eduardo (the star-crossed lovers).......we'll just have to wait and tune in for today's installment.


Rain, rain go away!

May has been as wet and cold as April was hot and sunny. It's not actually raining now, but it's been pretty unsettled this last week, with southerly winds, mara'amu, which all Tahitians know, blow nobody any good!
 (not the mara'amu but Heimana's raspberries)
The advantage of the bad weather, and quiet season, is that Viriamu has been busy working in the house, and bingo we have a new set of shelves made of purau (wild hibiscus) and a beautiful clock made of miro (tahitian rosewood).
All the cold weather has been giving Heimana an appetite!
And Matotea's back in her NZ boots....


Snap Happy!

 Yes, the camera has finally arrived, along with a shipment of curtains and an espresso machine (Yippee I can make lattes now!). So here are a few of the first pictures, hot off the press.....
 Matotea's into bubble mix and modelling clay at the moment, and we're currently pretending to be at school, I'm the 'maitresse' and Matotea is her cousin ' Meisi'! 

Heimana action shots - yep, she really is up and about and into everything

California Wedding

Today is my dear friend Sarah's wedding, all the way back in CA. She's getting married on a beach south of SF, off highway 1, an amazingly beautiful part of the west coast. It makes me long for CA, the rugged shorelines, the amazing shows of spring flowers, the sweeping mountains and desolate wilderness.

It also got me all nostalgic, thinking back over our time together as grad students in London, at the NHM. I loved my time living in Vauxhall, in no small part thanks to her. Sarah came out to visit me in CA when I was doing my PhD, and ironically enough came out to CA as a postdoc herself, soon after I left for Tahiti.
She even came out to Rurutu for the wedding, as one of my maids of honor, where she took a fancy to one of my wedding hats!
(Sorry Sarah I couldn't resist)
Now it's her turn, she's getting married to a dashing you man from the Bay Area! It's a real shame that I couldn't make it to the wedding, but I know she'll have a great time, and I can't wait to meet Mr. and Mrs. Dostal. I'm so happy for you, and so sad not to be there..........but beware, the whole tribe will come a vistin' one day!
I can't think of anyone I'd rather have hiked the Grand Canyon with!


Camellias on moss

I have just finished reading 'The Elegance of the Hedgehog' by Muriel Barbery, a translation from the french original. It's a little quirky, but the underlying message is something that I have long held onto. Life is full of pain and sadness, hypocrisy and doubt,  and yet there is also so much beauty, seek out those moments of untold, awe-inspiring beauty. 

The preoccupations of both heroines resonates with me on some levels, running a guesthouse is probably not too far away from being a concierge, and Paloma the misunderstood schoolgirl who's trying to find some sense to it all. I feel a million miles away from the wealthy Paris banlieu, sans regrets, but it was still a good read, and for once any easy book to do with children, as you can quite easily put down and pick up.


May Day.....

Saturday was May Day, in France there are large demonstrations of workers unions', but another tradition is the giving sprigs of 'Lily of the Valley' flowers. Apparently it dates back to 1561, when King Charles the IX of France was offered a sprig of flowers as a lucky charm; in the early twentieth century the gesture was adopted on May 1st as a commemoration of spring. So now people commonly offer the flowers to each other, I think in theory the sprig is supposed to have 13 bells on it to give you the maximum good luck. I suppose it's no sillier than dancing around a maypole!

But it's another one of these traditions that haven't really caught on yet here in Tahiti, along with Easter and Christmas, despite having been pushed at us pretty hard, at least on the local news report! I for one love Lily of the Valley, we had a huge bed of it in our house in Caerphilly, and I still remember the heavenly smell it would give off........still I don't think it'd grow here.....though you could probably try...... At the moment my family are more preoccupied with the preparations for the May Festivities here, which is basically the run up to whistun week (the Pentecost here).