We have arrived in Gold Coast and are having many laughs with Gilbert’s two brothers and their wives we see the least of as they have both been settled here in Aussie for ten years or more. Mum was lucky with all seven of her children living within ten to fifteen minutes of her. My brother living and raising his sons in the same house that our GrandFather lived in and raised his sons in. That’s pretty rare now.
We catch up with the new twins just four months old and doing fine fully breastfed. Wow Zhayna, with their three year old brother as well to care for, we are really impressed. It’s so nice to pluck one or the other up and have them snuggle to sleep after a feed. Little cuties!
We have been able to connect here also with my Dads cousin John. I can remember meeting him only once before when he visited us, but he has all the genes of the family and I recognised him as kin immediately. He finds out we will be close to where they live here and emails. It’s a great visit and he and Margaret are just lovely, both looking much younger than their years. I can’t help but hope we are as healthy and fit looking as he tells us they walk every day. If it’s cold or windy they use the mall to stride around. Awesome! He’s keen on updating the family tree and when he shows us our line he spots it’s my birthday next day, and Gilbert has to admit he didn’t know. We’ve never been great at birthdays or wedding anniversaries and much to their amazement I can’t remember ‘exactly’ our wedding anniversary. I promise I will check that John when we get home. Sometimes you get a bit lazy and complacent about keeping up with family but we’re glad we have made the effort.
My expectations of a family have been very traditional. I’ve always thought of blended families as being confusing and difficult, and I guess in many cases they are, unless someone with a heart of gold is at its centre. Robyn who is a sister-in-law has accepted all the previous parts that made up the lives of those in her family without judgement or scorn. No mistakes are too big, or lives too hard, that her open arms can’t fit them in an embrace.
Each person she talks about I have to try and fit into a mental diagram so I can keep the puzzle together and that’s what it seems like. If someone new came into this family Rob just slips a piece aside and remoulds the pieces slightly so the new member fits in. Welcome. Safe. Cocooned. She is a very special person.
Their home is large and beautiful. We feel like we are in a five star hotel and the food! Rob is a natural. Dinner last night was baked salmon with a crust of tomato, red onion and lemon juice on a bed of mashed potato and Chinese cabbage simmered in coconut milk and… deep fried chips on the side. That was probably for Gilbert. It all tastes amazing and when you think you can’t fit another morsel in, she’s jumped up and in the wink of an eye delivered to the table a tray of cream filled cakes she’s whipped up after dinner while we laughed and chatted. It’s almost too much and I eat like there’s no tomorrow.
Of course that’s true. There could be no tomorrow… as we discuss aliens and robots perhaps taking over the world. Oh well, have another cake. Who knows…and I go to bed relaxed and full, with a smile on my face, but that could’ve been the wine? I slip away into a deep blissful sleep where we are laughing and drinking in a place that feels like Spain. Lots of music, bright colours. It’s a fun place and we are drinking and singing when the ground beneath us suddenly jolts. I would say it felt a bit like the earth quake we felt in Wellington. Everybody is frightened. People are running and screaming. The night sky is suddenly full of noise and I look up to see several massive robots flying through the air. The sparks flying from one hits an aeroplane that bursts into flame and we watch as it descends slowly in a mass of fire. Boom! as it hits the ground and we feel the earth move again. I’m searching for Gilbert but can’t find him when I see people who look like the Amish with their funny goat like beards and long dark robes walking quietly among the frightened crowds. I wake then in a cold sweat. I lie there for a second and wonder if that did happen, how would we get home? My bigger concern being separated from the children. But just as quickly I drift back off to sleep again. I’m lucky I rarely have trouble sleeping and am woken by Gilbert asking me “what’s that smell?”
I sniff the air. “I dunno”, I mumble. “Smells like cooking, hope Robs not cooking” he adds. “Probably toast” I say as I nod off easily again. When I wake a bit later and wander out, on the bench is a note.
I smile as I realise she has cooked this without knowing its my birthday. Hevan knows what she would have done if she knew. ‘Shithouse’ is what I called her yesterday as I walked away in disgust when she wouldn’t let me pay for some groceries. We are physically wrestling trying to get our cards into the pay slot to pay and I succeed when she pushes the ‘ATTENDANT HELP’ button and the card must be pulled out to retry with an attendants help. “You’re a shithouse, I’ll get you back” I say as I walk away. You can’t be angry with her for long. Being a ‘shithouse’ cook myself I can’t really offer to cook when she cooks like a Masterchef. I tell her about the amazing Apple cake I made recently to take to a shared dinner. I made two and took the first to share at work morning tea. We chatted and sipped coffee until Lindy said “this cake is a bit weird. It tastes like….curry?” I was waiting for a response. I was so proud when it came out looking amazing with glazed apples and the sweet apple ly smell drifting across the room. It wasn’t until I was tidying the bench that I glanced at the spice box as I popped it back on the shelf saw it was cumin, not cinnamon I had put extra lashings of. It was too late to do anything about it, so took the other cake through to Lais and waited.
Amongst the laughter Puea asks me “what’s the spice in this cake? It’s kind’ve unusual”. “Cumin” I tell her. It gives us a good ten minutes of more laughing as I describe pulling it out of the oven and so proud, until I put that damn spice packet away. It’s hard to be the worst cook in the family and it looks like I have just cemented myself in the spot for a good while to come. It reminds me of when there were family pot lucks and one of the girls would ring and say. “Tricia, can you ask Chee, (who was about ten) to make a peach cake and you bring some lemonade?”