This blog on New Caledonia is for those of you who ever wondered what life on a tiny island in the South Pacific might be like. Tired of bracing winter winds, the stress of an inner city or simply dreaming of a life change? This is a blog about what happens when, in the words of Yogi Berra, "you come to a fork in the road, [and] take it".

09 August 2007

New Caledonia's Local Art and Souvenirs

"Les couleurs de Tina" is one of our favourite little market stalls in Noumea. A local artist sells his superb island paintings for next to nothing (1000-1500 francs - or EUR 8.38-12.57) here.

He reminds me of all the portrait artists in Montmartre at the Place de Tertre. The difference is yes, his subject (island scenes and animals), and the fact that he is one of the only artists displaying his paintings in a public place (unlike the millions in Paris' Montmartre).

For the little he charges, I would definitely recommend his paintings as souvenirs to take home. They are both original and beautiful - and definitely better than a postcard!

07 August 2007

Far-Flung Roots in New Caledonia

Photos by Laurent Guiader, 2007.

Ah, some of my favourite trees here in New Caledonia: the banyan trees. You'll find these right in downtown Noumea, next to the police station, on "bank street" (where all the banks are). I marvel at them every time I pass them - how is it that one can live with one's roots above ground?

Laurent was kind enough to take photos of them for me - as in some small way they seem to symbolise us and our short visit on the island. Roots far-flung and above ground: I was born in America, but have lived abroad for years; Laurent has lived outside of his native France on many an occasion; Sophie was born in France, but has travelled the world - and is half American; Pablo was born on this island, soon to live in Europe, a mere 22 000 kms away.

We are uprooted by our own choice this time (okay, poor Pablo has to follow along for the moment - and okay, we would all rather stay), but like these majestic trees, we will continue to grow and prosper.

Every time I pass these trees, I thank them for the reminder.

05 August 2007

Sophie Update

Sophie is as wonderful as ever. Here she is with glasses! Yes, her eyes were hurting - and watering and itching and the whole hoo-ha - and so the eye doctor thought we might try glasses. Besides making her look incredibly cool and sophisticated, they have also stopped her eyes hurting. A definite plus!

Grades for the second semester will end on Friday, 10 August. Sophie has been working hard and has an average of 16.2 in French (out of 20). We are still waiting on the other grades, but the official report card will be released after we leave New Caledonia. We have a friend who will fax them to Paris for us.

Cross your fingers for Sophie that she will be able to skip ahead to the next grade in Paris in September. She will have missed the last semester of 10th grade, but she has taken classes on the side in math and physics with the hope that there will be no hiccups in skipping ahead. Sophie would like to specialise in science (BAC S) these next two years - a lot of hard work, but infinitely interesting!

Think of Sophie, too, over the next few weeks - she will have a very brief break from 21 August to 4 September and will be leaving her many friends and terrific boyfriend, Max, on 21 August. New Caledonia is so far away from France!

Of course we know time will fly and we will see Max again soon - won't we, Max? :)

03 August 2007

Garden Fun

Photos by Laurent Guiader, 2007.

2.5 weeks left in our beautiful house with our beautiful garden on the bay.

Pablo and I are taking full advantage of our last few weeks. Outside nearly every day, we explore the bushes (he climbed the hibiscus last week - and a tree this week, with my help), the hills (sliding down on our hinies), the flowers, the mud and under the car. Oh the fun we have scaring Mommy half to death looking for that special pebble just underneath, right there, just out of reach ... under the middle of the car.

Pablo is in heaven here in our garden. He explores to his heart's content. His little legs have the scratches to prove it, but no matter, that's what being a little boy in New Caledonia is all about.

01 August 2007

Harry Potter Arrives in New Caledonia

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", the last of the Harry Potter series, arrived at our house Monday night, 30 July. Sophie and I jumped up and down, screamed and hollered, shook the house and both Laurent and Pablo thought a catastrophe had struck. But no: pure excitement!

Pre-ordered from back in March, it was shipped on the release date, 21 July, and arrived a mere 9 days later! That is fast for mail to New Caledonia!

Sophie is already 100 pages in - and I've read the first chapter (we are switching off: normally we buy 2 copies, but we won't have a lot of room in our luggage when we leave in 3 weeks, so 1 copy it was). I just finished rereading Harry Potter 6 ("Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince") and so my memory is refreshed and full of fun Harry Potter facts.

Now - the question is: how many other HP7s are there in New Caledonia? Must go see if they are selling them at the grocery store ...