Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Life in the house beyond food and eating - wayback

July 23 - 31, 2012

When it rained for two days, we all felt such a luxury to have lots of space to move around in while it poured outside. Owen was reminded of his cabin in Uganda. He took naps every afternoon in the house and then went over to an American friend's house for a whiskey around 4:30PM. He said it was the first time he totally relaxed since the trip began. He wasn't constantly worrying about what to fix (how to fix it), where to go next (how to get there), the weather, the crew, and everything else a captain is responsible for. Towards the end of the week, he was running around the large circular living room with Tamsyn and Griffyn playing rousing games of ball or tag or what have you. Every night after the kids were in bed, Owen and I laid on the big bed and watched an episode or two of "Game of Thrones".

I had never been in a building with a metal roof when it was raining. I loved listening to it - despite how loud it was.  It is so hot and humid in the tropics - I loved the large airy shower and enjoyed slow warm showers twice a day. I loved the house, all it's windows and ceiling fans. I loved the spaces, the dressers from Japan, the art everywhere. I had brought my paints and worked on a painting all week. I loved having the space and time to paint. I could paint outside on the veranda or inside on my own desk away from everyone. I could let a painting sit  - I didn't have to put it away after each painting session. 

Painted at the house

And as my friendship with Sisi grew, I began to feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I was grateful for how much she had shared of her life, her traditional ways, views into homes, and the village. I began the painting "Vinaka" for her which shows the yellow orchids Andrea showed me, the red hibiscus and small purple flowers around the yard. I gave it to her as a parting gift when we left the big house. 

Griffyn and Tamsyn enjoyed having their own shower. They each took showers (with out being asked) the first morning at the house. "Mom, I washed my hair five times, so now I won't have to wash it for three weeks," Griffyn exclaimed after his first shower. Then Tamsyn would make french toast for breakfast (before Owen and I got up.) And they both loved their bedrooms. Griffyn had brought Jraffy's things which he set out along the headboard of his bed. [Jraffy is a tiny stuffed Giraffe who has a complete miniature house hold set in a couple nooks on the boat. He is a king I believe, very powerful. He is usually involved in Griffyn's schemes and often oversees the battles which take place on the settee below his house.] There was an old ornate chest in Griffyn's room sitting in a corner on the floor. He filled it with clothes, school supplies and a soccer ball. They both love to arrange their things just so. Griffyn especially loved having his own space since he doesn't really have one on the boat. (He has had to learn to make do with little nooks to define himself.) Tamsyn spent days sitting on her bed sewing clothes or making sleeping bags for her stuffed animals and reading. She is a voracious reader. It is hard to keep her in books. We do have many she can read on the kindle when she can wrestle it away from Owen.

We did have home school at the house. Owen did a lecture on the human body and all it's systems. They both made drawings and Tamsyn wrote about the functions of each system. There was an inverter in the house (converts 220 to 110) so we had endless power for watching movies on our computer. I never saw a TV on in a house in Fiji except to watch a movie. I don't know if there is local television.

On Thursday (July 26) Owen and Tamsyn took the bus into Savusavu to check on the boat. The rains had been very heavy and we wanted to make sure there were no nasty surprises when we returned a couple days hence. I really wanted to take advantage of the washer and dryer we had access to in the house. There was a huge pile of dirty bedding sitting on the boat. When they got to the boat, Owen found that the patch he had put on the dinghy in Tonga had let go - one quadrant was deflated. He spent the majority of his time there removing, cleaning and re-gluing the patch while Tamsyn piled our dirty laundry into a garbage bag. Otherwise the boat was dry and secure. Asseri, from Waitui Marina, ferried them back to the marina and they rushed back to town to catch the 1PM bus.

As our week came to an end, we took one last walk to the village of Nukumbalavu to go swimming at the beach. We walked along the road on the way there and along the beach on the way back. Many little tributaries meet the ocean along the beach coming back from the village. Tamsyn decided to see if one of the streams was fresh water or salt water - so she tasted it. I must have been looking out to sea when she did it, I didn't know. During the walk, she complained of having a stomach ache. She hadn't gone swimming earlier that day either so I figured she was a little under the weather. That night, Saturday night, she vomited and developed a fever. She told us she had tasted the river near Nukumbalavu. She was very ill the next day and we asked Andrea if we could stay another day until she her fever subsided. He said yes.  Tamsyn had dysentery. It took her three days to recover enough to leave the house. We let her watch movies all day, she was very weak. As she was able to keep liquids down, I squeezed all the kumquats, limes and lemons to make cool refreshing drinks, slightly salted and sweetened with sugar to replenish our dehydrated daughter. While she recovered, we packed up and said moce (pronounced 'mothay') - Fijian for goodbye, to our new friends. As we piled our stuff into a cab, Andrea said we could come back and get more fresh food when ever we wanted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Just loved reading this. Been thinking about you all and wondering how the traveling life is treating you. You sound very well and inspired. I absolutely love the art work you have been producing. Conor and I and Oisin are contemplating a big move ourselves and I have been feeling very worried and scared of the unknown..thinking alot about your and Owen's big brave leap and feeling inspired by you all.
Love in the New Year!
I hope 2013 brings you continued happiness and inspiration.