Hot days at work are sometimes like being sauteed in a wok. I could skip summer and go straight to a very long Autumn. I love Autumn. It’s my favourite month by far.
“What a lovely holiday you must have had!”. Some people exclaim when they see my deep tan making me look like I have been pan fried. In fact we work in a slight depression, where almost all areas have been concreted so any wind wisps above us, and as the sun sizzles down relentlessly, the passive heat from the concrete reflects up, making sure we are tanned to an even mid brown on our undersides as well. Some of us diligently marinate in a sunscreen before morning tea, but I have misgivings about rubbing a chemical concoction onto the biggest organ I have each day. I’m lucky that my Lebanese genes ensure melanin comes to the surface protecting me and confusing those unsure of my heritage. I have been asked if I am Indian more than a few times, but mostly the assumption is I am New Zealand native Maori.
I reminded my chiropractor I couldn’t come on Thursday nights as I am going to Te Reo classes. “Oh yes”, she remembered, “hows that going? Is it coming back to you from when you were young?” I smiled. “Not really, my Dad was Croatian-Lebanese, and my Mum was Irish, so we never spoke Te Reo at home.” She was a little embarrassed and said she expected people were confused and I probably have it happen all the time. Funny how we need to have a tag.
I arrive home after another scorcher of a day and sink into my favourite lounge chair with a magazine on my lap. I only need to read a few lines before I know will slip into a nice comfortable nap when Wheriko, who is sitting beside me intently writing in her lined exercise book, begins to hum quietly, and its just enough for me to look over. “What are you writing?” I ask.
“Well, Nanny, she starts, I am planning my birthday. Its in 5 days and I have so much to organise. We had a meeting…” she goes on.”Who had a meeting?” I ask, intrigued as to what is going to happen at this auspicious birthday. “Well, Me and Kahu, (who is 7) and Tai, (who is 4) and Kaea, (who is 1)…she continues, were working out what kind of music we should have at the party”. “Ohhh, and what did Kaea think?” I ask, smiling at just what a one year old would have chosen.
We went to Calendula cottage for lunch, much to the delight of the children.
“Well, Wheriko looks up from her notes, Kaea and Tai didn’t stay for the actual meeting because they got bored waiting, while Kahu and I were getting ready for the meeting…”
I chuckled to my self imagining the two older girls preparing as if for a real board meeting while the two young ones had more pressing matters, like how they should stack the seventeen matchbox cars Tai had into a box and still be able to close the lid.
“So what did you decide?” I ask, now not terribly interested as my lids slip down and I begin to drift off as she explains. They first discussed what music the cousins, Milan, (who is 9), and Lagi,( 6), Marie, ( 8) and Tui, (5) might choose if they had been at the meeting. I doze for a few minutes and stir as she is still rabbiting on about music called ‘marmalade’. “Is that a kind of ‘Jam’?”, I ask. Wheriko looks over at me, unsure at what I mean and at my mischievous smile, rolls her eyes. “Nannnnnyyyy”.
Birthday cake to die for. Simone made about seven layers and each of a different colour, so when cut, a rainbow effect delighted the children and amazed the adults!