Saturday, 2 August 2014

Le Grande Marche de Pouembout.

Today is the Grande Marche in Pouembout. Enjoy these sunny images of Province Nord on display.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Now we are six :: an island celebration.


The past months in my blog absence have included some physical and mental challenges for our family. We've all been learning about ourselves and there have been some new understandings of how things are and how they may be.

Included in this was major surgery for our son Jack. While we know the long-term outcome of his surgery will be beneficial and prolong his ability to have some mobility and delay joint problems, the reality of the excruciating slowness of his recovery sometimes challenges our patience.

For this reason we decided to go somewhere to celebrate Jack's 6th birthday last weekend, and take a day trip to Amedee Island, 20km south of Noumea.

The island is a lot smaller than I imagined, taking only about half an hour to walk end to end and only 5 minutes across its middle. The island is famous for it's lighthouse, or phare, shipped from France and assembled in 1865, providing guidance into only one of 3 natural entrances to the reef.

The other reason people flock to Amedee is the reef itself. It has a dazzling array of sealife, including seasnakes, turtles and fish species, offering a spectacle to snorklers and divers.

 One of the best things for us was being able to use the beach wheelchair which the island offers free of charge to those with disabilities. This made getting along the beach and into the water a lot easier for us.

We booked our day trip via and made use of the internet special.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

:: Le Jardin du Pere Noel and a special treat ::

Last night Jack was treated to something special.

We visited le Jardin du Pere Noel in Anse Vata, Noumea. This is a house which for over 20 years has been transformed into a dedication to Christmas for the whole month of December. 

Every outdoor space and every external room is packed with Christmas paraphernalia, including countless Santas, angels, snowmen, statues of Jesus and Mary, Disney characters, children's movie characters and moving toys. Lights twinkle and cascade over every part, including the roof. Garfield and Oui Oui (Noddy to English speakers) occupy the driveway. Harry Potter shares the backyard with Buzz Lightyear and toy ducks, rabbits and cupids.

We were mingling in the crowd of families admiring the many details (and wondering at the Enercal bill) when the gentleman helped create this unique New Caledonian marvel spotted Jack in his wheelie and took him past the crowds in the front door of the house into the front room. This room held a miniature snowy village and a train set and Jack loved it.

His closeup view and VIP treatment was a surprise but it made his night, with Nellie more than a little jealous from the sidelines!

If you get the chance this is a great treat and something which is not common in New Caledonia.

Friday, 29 November 2013

It's been a while...

I have been a bad girl. Neglecting my blog for almost 6 months - the shame!

Although it's not like I haven't had distractions. We had a quick visit to Melbourne with Jack for medical visits to organise and do.  Nellie to be enrolled in school. My French Life articles to research, photograph and write. Perpetual internet hassles, which is one of the biggest distractions from writing a blog, where a quick post becomes a whole day headache. I've started drumming with a group of great people. My own health challenges. Blah, blah, blah.
But now we find ourselves at the pointy end of the year. School will be finished soon and I have to prepare, mentally more than anything else, that my almost-3 year old baby will be joining the chaotic hordes at the local school.
We had a couple of hours orientation with her in the 'petite maternelle' class a couple of weeks ago, the non-French speaking kid in the room. My head knows she will cope, but I will worry every day until I pick her up at 11.30 each morning. And then, when she doesn't need the afternoon 'sieste', she will be full-time like her big brother.
She will sing, dance, draw, play dolls, be assertive, follow the pack, eat lunch, make friends. I do worry about the toilets. Despite the fact that she is pretty much daytime toilet-trained, her first attempt at using one of the toilets was a fair disaster.
In the bathroom, which resembles a miniature prison toilet block (no seats, toilets all in a row with no privacy walls, round fountain-like washbasin in the centre of the room) she had trouble sitting by herself on the little toilet. Cue mess. Need to work on that. We have a few months.
Jack, on the other hand, as the only wheelchair using child at the school, will be using the canteen for lunch next year. Again, this presents mixed feelings for me. Firstly because it means he is cast into the crazy, noisy, messy school lunch system, which for a kid who can be picky occasionally, will be interesting.
But it also means that he is reliant on his carer to make sure he can manage it - seating, eating, cutting up food, taking his cup from home as he can't use the school ones - plus the toileting. It's a fair job.
On the other hand, it means half the wheelchair-lifting for me. I can't pretend I'm not excited about that. That bugger is heavy.
Perhaps the biggest impact that Jack will have on the school in the next few months is that they will be spending the Christmas holidays building a very big ramp for Jack to actually access the canteen. The school is built on a hill and the school buildings split across 3 levels. Jack's classroom is on the middle level and his carer has to push him up a large ramp to access the classrooms and playgrounds on the upper level.

The canteen is on the lower level, currently only accessed by about 20 steep steps. I will be tracking  progress of the new canteen ramp with interest. Jack's time at the Pouembout school will be felt long after he leaves, hopefully helping lots of other people access the canteen as well.

So, into the Christmas crazies. A plus tard!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Friday, 3 May 2013

April, as it were.

April was surprisingly eventful. It began in Noumea, brought a distinct change in the weather, and also delivered us a schoolboy (read about it so far here and here).

Friday, 26 April 2013

A week in the life of Us.

A big week in our household this week. School has entered our lives. We are now one of the gazillions of families who juggle the school drop-offs and pickups, exchange pleasantries and sidelong glances with other parents waiting at the school gate and worry about school marks and nits.