This life.



It’s been raining pretty much constantly for the past week. Cold and wet and gloomy. I used to love long rainy days, I still do, secretly… but they just aren’t what they used to be. Cold winter days used to be spent curled up on the couch surrounded by text books and novels and movies and good food. They used to be days of creative growth and academic exploration. Not now. Now they are days peppered with cars and cardboard, textas and paintbrushes and messes in every room in the house. These days are still beautiful and wonderful and lovely… but they get old… fast. When you live with a toddler you soon come to realise that these little balls of energy need to get OUTSIDE to burn some of it off… or god help all of you.

So we spent the week cooking and eating and eating and eating… and it was glorious. We spent hours under the back verandah, which as it turns out is really not waterproof at all and is sprouting new leaks by the minute. We went to trips to the nursery and to op shops and scouring the roads of verge side collection finding discarded pots and buckets and old ceramics to plant our herb garden in. To start what I have dreamed of for so long, to live sustainably. A herb garden is just the beginning… I dream of a homestead with animals and orchards and tree houses. But for now, for now a little backyard herb garden in a brick wood box by our backyard is the place to start… Out in the rain we dug and moved dirt and repotted beautiful herbs and baby strawberry plants.



I’ve been feeling pretty lonely, life has its ups and downs. It was Ramadhan this week. The end of the Islamic month of fasting. A time of great celebration and a time for families to come together to share food and love and laughter. It is similar to our Christmas in that way… I am not a religious person but I am very much a community person, I love the warmth of people and family and coming from such a disjointed family I yearn for it. I search for it. I have been in Indonesia for the Ramadhan celebration for the past three years. It reminds me again how separate we are now, my husband and I. How separate Bo is from her father and her family and her culture. It can’t help but make me sad for her, and for me too. It reminds me how important it is going to be for me to encourage her to stay in touch with her culture, her language, her story. It is a responsibility that I have as the mother of a bi-racial child. The responsibility I have to her, in her growth as a human being, a responsibility that unfortunately her father is unlikely to help with… It’s a difficult balance, but one that we will find our feet in, as time goes on.

To those of you who celebrate Ramadhan, I hope that you have had a beautiful day with your family and that your week is filled with love and laughter, forgiveness and joy and the hands and hearts of those that you love. Actually, whether or not you celebrate Ramadhan I hope you have a week like that… I hope I do too. For no other reason than we all deserve it.

Tradition is such an important part of life. Culture is essential to our feeling of belonging and the lack of it, I’m sure plays its part in the forever lingering sense that I don’t belong that always hangs around my head.

How do you hang on to culture? Do you create your own cultures and traditions within your family? Have you found that culture is lost over time?


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  • August 9, 2013 - 8:54 am

    Lilybett - Two of my Masters students have been fasting and it’s been a challenge for them doing 2hour evening classes (they are famished and often distracted until they eat) but it’s been interesting learning from them given they come from two different versions of Islamic culture – one Malaysian and the other Middle Eastern. I love hearing about the traditions their families have surrounding their cultures.

    I am definitely a fan of feasting in whatever kind of culture it comes in 🙂 – although we aren’t a religious family, we still follow the Christian celebrations of Easter and Christmas because, for us, it’s a time when we get to see the extended family. I’d love to build up more of those family-centric rituals for Dear Boy but it’s hard when every lives far away.ReplyCancel

  • August 9, 2013 - 10:11 am

    Erica - This is my first time “celebrating” Ramadan. I’m not religious either, but I love religious festivals and celebrations so this experience of living in a largely Muslim country for the first time has been interesting.

    I totally know what you mean by needing “outside time” everyday. Evita turns into a monster if she doesn’t get it at least twice. Hope it warms up and/or stops raining soon!ReplyCancel

  • August 9, 2013 - 11:16 pm

    Peggy - My family are Finnish and although we are not religious, we love Christmas dinner. We have a special Christmas menu that we only eat once a year. I remember as a kid getting so excited not just about the presents, but the coming together of family for that wonderful meal.

    My mum retired and moved up north so now our Christmas isn’t as special without her hosting dinner. Last year our entire family drove up to gatecrash her normally quiet retirement and celebrate Christmas with her. I think over time people move and circumstances change, and therefore culture and traditions are lost. It’s a shame really. I am sure little Bo will get a taste of her Indonesian culture over the years.ReplyCancel

  • August 10, 2013 - 11:03 am

    Piya - Thank you for your wishes. As you know Ramadan is such a special time every year for Muslims, and despite being able to eat and drink again in the day, there is such an emptiness until it returns the next year. To tell the truth, fasting from food should be the smallest part of Ramadan – it’s fasting from the other vices like backbiting, gossip, speaking rudely, showing off etc, that are the challenge to begin and to maintain.ReplyCancel

  • August 12, 2013 - 8:18 am

    Brandee - My son is also bi-racial and I try to add elements of his father’s culture in little ways each day. Through music and movement, through food (he’s just turned two and an eat food spicier than I can!), through language (anytime we meet someone from hisfather’s country they will often speak to him in their language. I always ask them to repeat something to help us learn). I am always onthe look out for kids books with multi-cultural representations (the book Violet is awesome!!). And I take my son to his grandparents church as often as I can. Just a few things, but hopefully we’ll find more ways as he frows older!ReplyCancel

  • October 15, 2013 - 4:46 am

    Saha - You have a beautiful blog. I was thinking about similiar things last night yet from another angle. I’m happy to have discovered your space.ReplyCancel

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