Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Nook

Hmmm, Monday Nook, Monday Nook..... how about a 'nook of my life'?

Did I ever tell you about the time we lived in Vanuatu?.... when big son was a mere 18 months old. Hubby was running a private investment fund over there and we relocated when I got sick of being a single Mum back here in Australia!

 Playing the 'Tam-Tam's at Le Lagon resort, in Port Vila (our second home)

These photos are from a trip we took back there, to visit our friends, in 2006... seems like yesterday.

Always working on getting those coconuts open.

When we lived there, I worked with hubby and my son had a babysitter, Lisa, who he called 'Sissy'. We surprised her this last visit.... she had no idea we were on the island until we pulled up in a mini van next to her while she was walking into town. It's not hard to find people, even in the capital Vila... you just ask the girl on the market stall, who's brother works with the cousin of the husband of the sister of the person you are looking for. We stopped the van and jumped out, all screaming "sissyyyyy". She got such a shock to see us, she just dropped to her knees and wailed with joy. She hugged every last breath out of my boys. She had never met the little one and the big one?... well she had him in an affectionate head lock for most of our visit and patted him on the head incessantly, "oh my baby, oh my baby". He was so good. He let her pat him.

 My little one loved the markets and would get very involved with the goings on.

We were honourary members at Sissy's 'church' during our visit... sort of a mix of presbyterian and voodoo! Sissy's brother was the minister. Actually, every one of her 11 brothers and sisters were involved in some way! You can just see my little family up on the left. We were the only 'white skinned' in attendance so we had a thousand pairs of eyes on us at all times. The 3 hour! service was in Bislama, not in English, but every now and then it was peppered with "God bless Sister A-M and Brother Luke". Sissy was a 'celebrity' having us there as her special guests. She was so proud to show us off, her 'Australian Family'.
Yep, that's the church
Sissy actually lived in 'luxury' by Vanuatu standards. Her father was the Chief of Chiefs (Vanuatu has a dual parlimentary system, parlimentary democracy (British) and a council of Tribal Chiefs) so they had a government brick 3 bedroom house.... in which 5 families lived, one family per bedroom and 2 families out in the living areas.... about 18 people in one house. They cooked outside in a dirt pit. Sissy, her husband and 2 little children, lived in one bedroom.
Sissy and her daughter and niece farewelling us at Port Vila airport.... note loosening headlock of older son... she never let him go.
We miss our time in Vanuatu.... beautiful, happy, loving, contented people, no stress, a slower boys often get out the photo albums and have a chuckle. I remember when we first moved there I asked a taxi driver about the crime rate. He was mortified, saying, "crime, there is no crime here. We love each other". Even the 'prison' has an amnesty each year, when they let everyone out and then they just fill it up again the next year (petty crimes... like stealing icecream and shoes). Anyway, there was a hole in the prison fence where they just came and went anyway... as you do.... in Vanuatu! (oh look it rhymes!).

I have another wonderful story to add to this one, some other time.... the time we brought Sissy out to Australia for a holiday. It was like Crocodile Dundee in New York. She had never been in a lift, on an escalator, seen a traffic light, rode in a train. We disembarked at the airport and I took her to the ladies toilet.... she was in awe.....(of the toilets!)...."oh I love Brisbane, I love your country, it is so beautiful". "Sissy, these are just the toilets. Wait until you get outside the airport"!
Happy Monday!
A-M xx


  1. Looks completely to die for! Have had an amazing weekend, and I hope yours was as well. (except for the fact that we got ridiculous 5 inches of snow! Hate it!

  2. Oh wow, the best story! You lucky things. How amazing. Hubby and I stayed at Le Lagon in 2000, so you were probably there! xx

  3. What a charming post! I love that you would share that closer look of your life, your experiences and family. Such a unique experience living on the island must have been.

  4. What a lovely story, thanks for sharing. We had our wedding and honeymoon in Fiji and took 4 kids - the people of Fiji really embrace children too. Wonderful, gentle, humorous people. Can't wait to hear the next instalment..Rx

  5. Oh we were Katrina! We were running seminars and we had a little office at Le Lagon, opposite the convenience shop! A-M xx

  6. Your wonderful story makes me remember the 1950s when we didn't have all the stuff we do now (including A/C) but everyone was happy and we thought we lived very nicely.

    Teacup Lane (Sandy)

  7. Thank you so much for sharing A-M. What an amazing experience for your family, I can't wait to hear more about Sissy's adventures in Oz! Janette x

  8. I really enjoyed your story and loved hearing about Sissy. We lived in Dubai for 10 years and we had a very much beloved helper in the house called Shanti. Shanti was a tiny little woman from Sri Lanka and she loved my three children fiercely. Last time we went back to visit she grasped my now six foot son around the waist and cried "my baby, my baby" just like Sissy did with your boy. She only came up to his waist!

    Living so far from home it was lovely for the children to have this person in their life who was like a nanna and auntie rolled into one. Thank you for bringing back lovely fact, I am off to Shanti a letter and the latest photo of her "babies" (22, 17 and 15!).

  9. How funny! Wouldn't that be hilarious if we actually bumped into each other and said "sorry" or I looked at you, or something like that! Ha! I just went hunting for the photos, but they must be at my husband's warehouse...I will find them!

  10. Amazing story A-M, lovely.

    Hope the study went well yesterday :)


  11. What a great experience to have lived someone else - you will always remember it! KG

  12. What a wonderful post and how great that you have exposed your children to different cultures and ways of life. That is what learning really is all about!

    And it's always so special to have friends who love you the way Sissy clearly does! I look forward to reading about her Australian adventures in another post!

    Kat :)

  13. What a lovely post to start off my Monday! I really enjoyed reading about your Vanuatu adventures - what an experience. It sounds like everyone there is so welcoming. Loved reading about Sissy and loved the photos of your boys - adorable!! x

  14. I can tell that Sissy is an important part of your life. How wonderful that your oldest has these special memories. It must have meant the world to her when you visited and she could share you with her friends and family. This is a precious, precious story.

  15. Great post A-M! I grew up in India and still write to my Ayah (Nannny) often. I can't wait to take my boys over to meet her. Emma

  16. I can so relate to your story. We did 3 years in Honiara, Solomon Islands and it was wonderful. I sometimes think we should go back to do a stint now, so my husband eradicates the stress out of his life again and sees that today, tomorrow or next week, it doesn't really matter. I remember waiting 90 mins for a cappuccino once because the person that turns on the machine hadn't come in yet. After fuming for a minute I realised I had nothing else to do, so may as well wait!

  17. Hi there,

    I've been reading for a while and just linked to your blog from mine: hope that was ok.

  18. that's a wonderful story, I wonder what your home looked like over there! It's not QLD is it... lol

  19. You're stories about Vanuatu are identical to mine! Even the one about the jail. I always found that my face ached after walking down the street because every single person you pass says "Hello Missus" and smiles so broadly that you have to smile back. :-))

  20. A-M what a fantastic story..and adventure your whole family has to look back on...the boys are just such beautiful can really see that. Thanks for sharing with us x

  21. What a great story to share and how jealous am I to learn that you used to live in Vanuatu?!

    Still keeping my eyes peeled for the Aussie's at the Olympics! Cheered extra hard for the two-man bobsled team yesterday!


  22. Loved reading this story! :) Have a great week xo Louise

  23. Now that was a very interesting nook to have a peak into. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Such a gorgeous story A-M, we experienced exactly the same when we temporarily relocated from Adelaide to BrisVegas for 2 years. And those loos at Brissie Airport, after the old Tin Shed Airport back home, they were luxury!
    Millie ^_^
    P.S. MOTH is a heathen Presbyterian, maybe he should think about returning to the fold via the 'interesting' Vanuatu model.


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx