Do you know what kapa haka is? Or pukana? Or have you maybe tried googling "maori tongue"? Because this is what Google would show you, mostly:

And I know that it's an old photo of The Girlie, but... still.

Good night, Eva


To me, it's the stillness when someone dies.

This morning I read, "Yesterday I was excited about Eva’s new high chair and today there is no Eva to sit in it," and at first I thought it was figurative speech. I thought, Tess is taking Eva somewhere where high chair can't go and so they've left the chair at home. Maybe some new surprising adventure for these two? I could so easily picture it, someone getting in touch with Tess and offering to take them on a holiday somewhere. Or something.

But as I was thinking it, I was also reading along with the realisation that... no, it hadn't been figurative speech. Eva's died and will no longer sit in her high chair.

The room grew quiet. I read the sentence again, just to make sure, then lifted my eyes for a moment, then read again and then I looked down at my breastfeeding daughter and felt my eyes fill with tears.

I walked in the streets of Addington this morning and felt that familiar stillness surround me. She's not here. She was here on Wednesday, but she's not here today any more.

I remember that same stillness from when my father died. "Your father has died," my mom said to me, and at first I looked at her and asked, "Whose father?" - "Your father, Viktor. Your father has died."

I remember standing there and the room growing quiet. And then the stillness as I headed out to ride on my bike, how my body felt disconnected from the world around me somehow.

And now this morning there was this quiet stillness for a little girl I have never even held, only read about.

Good night, Eva. Rest well.

I am glad that Tess has had the opportunity to have Eva in her life. I am also glad that Eva has had Tess as her mother. I think they have both been blessed to have each other.

I am so sorry, Tess...

Reminders of places

Nectarines picked off a tree in our backyard remind me that I now, indeed, live in a climate a little warmer than Northern Europe.

But the books and discs on my shelf remind me that I do come from Northern Europe.

And the topographical map of South-East Alaska that's now hanging in my hallway reminds me of... those summers in Alaska, and the reasons I started wanting children to begin with.

Sometimes I trace the name of a mountain range on that map and remember the evening I stared into sunset and promised myself that if I ever had a child, I would call him/her after that mountain.

And now that child who is named after a mountain is sleeping in his room :). His sister hasn't woken from her midmorning nap yet, which is why I have stolen the 10 minutes to write this!

By the way: I do read your comments, and I am sorry I don't reply well at the moment. Bit by bit I will probably upload photos you've asked for, send you e-mails you've asked for, and answer questions you've asked! And if it looks like maybe I have indeed forgotten you altogether, do remind of yourself by writing another one ;).


I don't even have energy to write much other than, children are exhausting. Like, seriously.

I stand by what I said earlier: I don't think I've ever been so consistently tired in my life.

And off I go. To do what? Dishes. Sort the groceries. Food for tomorrow. Then if I have any energy left, go pick nectarines off our tree and cook them into baby food mash.

But oh dear God children are exhausting. :/

Early on a Sunday morning

Many stories will be posted today from across New Zealand and overseas as Christchurch remembers the earthquake of February 22nd, 2011 and I won't go into much more detail other than to say, Olivia Carville has written about it beautifully in The Press.

But my own story is very different to hers. Christchurch earthquake is one of the main reasons why I've been able to stay in New Zealand long-term, as carpenters - along with every other building professional - went into sudden immigration skill shortages and my husband happened to be one of them, and so we were allowed - invited even! - to stay.

As crude as it sounds, I have benefitted from the quake much more than I have been inconvenienced by it. My experience has almost none of the trauma and only very little trouble. If anything, my main "problem" with this post-quake city is that the rental prices are borderline insane and that my husband is now working long, long hours to both keep us financially afloat and because this is what is now expected of builders around here, and that I am witnessing the turmoil of the repairs which don't always make sense.

But this year the anniversary of that quake has also made me wonder about death and suffering, and the way it gets portrayed and remembered, in general.

Whilst I get irritated by such minute things as toothpaste splatters around the kitchen sink and that my dog is shedding what looks like her entire fur and all of it onto our carpets, there is a genocide happening in Syria, with a death toll of over 100 000. From what I've heard, over 6 million people have been displaced - that is, have left their homes whilst not actually wanting to leave them and have done so out of necessity to (try to) stay alive. From where I am sitting on the sofa in our living room at 4 am, wiping my nose and drinking honey-sweetened tea because I have a cold and I am not allowed decongestants, there is very little I feel I can do to help it all. Instead, I continue witnessing the arguments surrounding the rebuild of Christchurch and just go on with my life which at the moment circles around nappies, Duplo blocks, preschool drop-offs, Vegemite toast and vacuuming my dogs hair off our carpet.

Meanwhile, there is a genocide happening in Syria.

And as I go on living my comfortable, safety-cushioned life, I continue to remind myself that when people today stick flowers onto road cones , place flowers into Christchurch's waterways and gather at the botanic gardens for a remembrance service of lives lost and damaged in the earthquake four years ago, the attention they give to this occasion doesn't lessen the importance of the horrific events happening in the Middle East right now, and in many other parts of the world.

Paying attention to remembering is not bad. It's what's happening there, is bad.

PS. Please do remember that this is written at 4 am whilst I am struggling to breathe through my blocked nose and my red-sore throat, whilst having had very little sleep to begin with, and so long-winded sentences and grammatical errors? Well... Kind of comes with the territory, I guess.

Random thoughts on a Friday

I'm pretty sure I know a few of you who welcome photos of my family ;), so whilst I am not in a position to write much at the moment, I'll take the time to upload some photos.

So: The Girlie is getting very familiar with Duplo. Luckily, they're washable, so baby slobber isn't an issue ;).

The Kid is getting really good at building things...

...whilst his sister is mostly just practicing taking things apart.

So when playing with the railway, The Kid tries to stack his stuff away from The Girlie. For kind of obvious reasons ;).

Though she doesn't crawl yet, she happily and confidently rolls herself to places. From the living room to the hallway, from the hallway to the bedroom - if there's space on the floor, she goes.

Looking at me from the hallway where she has rolled herself from the living room.

The beauty of having a carpenter for a husband is that when someone puts a set of patio furniture on a roadside with a sign, "Free", the said carpenter can fix it up and, voila!, we now have a set of patio furniture.

And this one... well, whenever I change her nappy, good luck keeping her in place. If I let go of her, she goes. With a cheeky smile, she goes =).

Talking of which: it is such a bizarre feeling for me to head to a doctor's appointment for her routine check-up and have absolutely nothing to mention, worry-wise. Like, she's never had formula, she's never had antibiotics, if fed and changed and slept she's happy as Larry, she does things in a way that's expected, she's about median on almost every percentile-rated chart and from a parenting perspective this is just so... weird.

With the other one by this point we'd already heard so many times the sentence, "Let's see what happens," and now with the girl, it's, like... Stuff works. Don't even have to do anything special - it just works!

Meanwhile, The Kid: he is such a kind-hearted child. Seriously: almost everywhere we go, people say how he is so kind and affectionate and tender. And whilst he does need to learn some boundaries in regards to The Girlie - what, babies don't catch balls? How come? - he shows her the same affection he does to the rest of us, and it is wonderful to see.

We have started to do much better. 

By the way: this week we finally got to the end of our ex-house and ex-landlord experience and, dear God!, am I happy to finally be done with it or what.

I have wondered whether to write about it on my blog, or not, and haven't yet made up my mind, but I did end up writing a letter to New Zealand's housing minister Nick Smith last week and suggested they make two amendments to New Zealand's current tenancy regulations, to patch up two loopholes which we so unfortunately fit right into.

But in short: for what it's worth, it has been an educating experience. We went to court, we were agreed to by the court, and we then dealt with everything that comes after court, which is - especially when there's two children to take care of - a lot.

But we did it, and it's the end of it, and I feel like I have started a somewhat new page in my life which a blog isn't such a big part of any more.

I'll see where life takes me. For the moment there are some architectural drawings to deal with, in order to learn how houses are built, and one day I'll walk away with a diploma in hand, but for the moment there's just lots of stuff to do and very little time.

I'm sorry I don't write much about what's important any more, but... there just isn't the time. Not at the moment.

The One In A Million Baby

Just in case you haven't come across this blog before, Tessa writes wonderfully about herself and her daughter Eva in what is one of the most meaningful blogs I've come across.


Two men of a similar past

A few days ago I had the pleasure of meeting an honorary consul of Estonia at his residence at Wainakae Beach. Our encounter was brief as I was needing to get back to my car where my daughter was waiting, but the conversation we had within those 5 minutes showed me the life my grandfather could've had, if it weren't for the Soviet Union.

During the Second World War when Estonia sat so unfortunately between the brawling nations of Germany and Russia, my grandfather's family - proud, educated folk - fled Estonia in fear of repercussions which given that they were, well, proud and educated folk, would've very likely happened. Their journey took them to Germany at first but then, after a while, to Australia.

Except, my grandfather couldn't go. He got drafted and upon his return from the army, his family was gone and alongside it the freedom to go. Borders were closed, Estonia was part of the Soviet Union.

For as long as I remember my family has kept in touch with our Australian relatives. They wrote us letters - sometimes opened by the officials before they reached the recipients - of how they were doing and my grandparents wrote back; back and forth. Because of the confined nature of the Soviet Union, my grandfather never had the opportunity to go see them, and they never had the opportunity to see Estonia again.

In the nineties when the borders opened again, I think my family rallied around my grandfather in order to put all of our funds together and make it a possibility for him to go see his family in Australia for the last time again, but... I am not quite sure if I remember it correctly, I think my grandfather politely refused the offer. I think he wasn't sure if he would want to come back again, and to be torn between two countries and two families like that - his parents and siblings in Australia, but his wife and his children all in Estonia - was too much for him to contemplate and so he didn't go.

My grandfather died a few years ago.

But why I am writing about it in the first place is that, the man who is now the honorary consul of Estonia in New Zealand, at his lovely residence at Waikanae Beach, is also a Second World War refugee from Estonia except that... he managed to flee, but my grandfather didn't.

I looked at the Estonian tricolor proudly waving in the ocean breeze at Waikanae, and said a silent prayer to my granddad.

I told him that I am proud of the life he lead in Estonia, and the family that has followed. And most of all I was grateful to him for my existence because had he fled Estonia like the rest of his family did, my mother would've never happened, and neither would have I.

Baby on the move!

Ladies and gentlemen: hold on to your train sets. They're going places. Slobbery places.

Also, pets and people have become accessible.

Which, in turn, means that pets have learned to recognize it, and keep away when need be.

And so have bigger family members! (Turns out, babies can't climb things.) (Yet.)


It's good to have extra sets of grandparents.

On wristbands

It is an interesting feeling to have watched a movie "Still Alice" and upon seeing her wear a medical wristband with words, "memory impaired", to look down at my own wrist and think, should I be wearing one? Not "memory impaired", but the one that says, "epilepsy".

It's been a restless morning. Every three to five weeks there's one, on average.


Good night

To non-Newzealanders out there: that is a row of shipping containers to prevent rockfall from reaching the road surface.