Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Princess Posey at ALA

Princess Posey at the American Library Association in VERY good company at the Penguin/Putnam display area (Roald Dahl!!!).

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Henri 2, Paw de Deux

From our dear friend Terry- a welcome good laugh- thank you Terry xo!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Island Time....

We are settling in nicely.

Our neighbors have been so wonderful in navigating the logistics of setting up a workable routine. Living in a third world country (albeit a very nice one), takes inside knowledge for sure. So far they have taken the time to make introductions, steer us clear of making mistakes and have been invaluable- as well as being genuine and lovely to spend time with.    

The clouds here are amazing. The cloudscapes shift so quickly that they look like a time-lapse film. 

Doing yoga has become super important to me over the last number of years, so incorporating it here has been important. I try to take a break in the hottest part of the day and do some yoga outside. It's hot enough to get a sweat going- which I love. We also found a studio a little ways away that we go to for a vinyasana flow class taught by a free spirited woman. Fred and I both love her class. Her yoga studio is on the lower floor of her home and there are big french doors that open up onto her garden. The other night during some of the poses I looked out to the tropical night sky with the clouds drifting by the moon framed by palms and banana trees. It was almost surreal.

Work is busy as always and now my process (which is still pretty new to me) is half digital. It's still not up to speed with the California studio, but getting there. 

More soon...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Today is....

It is January the 13th here, and just an FYI it is International Make Your Dream Come True day and also International Blame Someone Else Day...perfect combo, right? Can't make those dreams come true- you can blame someone else. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Thoughts on Expat Life So Far....

Mauritius was a complete unknown to me before actually setting foot here just a few weeks ago. I had read some history and somethings about the politics and nature on the island. I knew bits and scraps from what Fred has told me from his many visits here- but it was all abstract having never been here myself.

My first days were spent tentatively venturing out into the surrounding towns with Fred. The mix of cultures here is diverse- it remixes me a lot NYC in that way. Sitting at a cafe or going to the grocery store, you hear dozens of languages spoken. 

Driving down the streets there are women in brightly colored saris, people of all colors and on about every mode of transport you can think of. 

As in all places, you have to know the ground rules and how to keep safe- where to go and where not to go. Fred found himself in San Francisco not too long ago, accidentally walking into the Tenderloin district and quickly feeling the dangers around him...on a recent visit to Manhattan, I turned a corner in the middle of the afternoon onto a place that I knew immediately I shouldn't be in- it is the same here. There are retractable bars on the windows like in San Francisco, NYC, and in the suburbs of many European cities. Not like Shell Beach, but in Shell Beach we didn't feel safe letting Tristam play outside in the front yard unsupervised with all of the tourist traffic going by our house- here we tell him to go out and play and don't worry about it because we are in a gated community. 

Some of the things that frustrate me so far are the simple things that have to do with being unfamiliar with a place. Not knowing where it buy what and how much things should cost, for example. Not knowing how to navigate around here and what is where. The Indian class system is a strange ghost here too and from what I understand the Hinduism practiced here is what was practiced in India generations ago...that said the 20 something Indian-Mauritians are as modern as any 20 year olds around the globe...

There are so many things that remind me of Europe here- especially of Belgium and France. Walled streets (bend them are houses, apartments and neighborhoods) and most people greeting each other as you walk by them with a nod of the head, or a "bonjour". We have met the nicest people here. 

My favorites are some of Fred's friends we had over a few nights ago. A couple who had come here over 20 years ago, she from SA (South Africa) and he is a native Mauritian- their daughter a beautiful 22 year old woman who had gone to the same school that Tristam now attends. Charming, so welcoming, so truly wonderful. We were put at ease about life here- they had gone through a very similar process of adjustment arrived in Mauritius that it was to move here with her husband and that the roads were not paved back then and that she was moving from a big city and landing on this little island. Now it is home truly home. 

My parents were expats before when I was a kid. They wrote this to us in an e-mail not too long ago:

It was really great to hear from you.  We have been following the updates on the Stephanitely Blog and on Facebook.  Thank you for the new photos and especially for the explanations.  You are handling the new culture very well.  When working with expatriates in Belgium and Germany we saw them go through phases.  The first phase was the honeymoon phase where everything was new and charming (wow, look at the little cars darting around), then after about 6 months they tended to see more of the negative side.  It was not actually negative, but they were no longer new visitors and were now learning to deal with the new culture around them which of course was "not normal" by their personal historical references (Did you see how that idiot cut me off in traffic).  Then they went into a more positive phase where they started to acclimate into their new culture (Did you see how I cut that guy off in traffic).  I am sure you have lots of adventures ahead of you.

I know that it was a great experience for me as a kid and that it changed me forever. This morning after dropping Tristam off at school- he was so excited- we thought the same thing about what lies ahead for him.

This is a grand adventure. We are all learning French and learning to listen more than talk. Learning to be patient and not jump to conclusions and learning to open our minds up to new ways of thinking- 

A statue of Ganesha on the beach- left as an offering (which of course we left there- fyi). Ganesha- the God of success, remover of obstacles and patron of the arts and sciences, and diety of intellect and wisdom. I think I need to get one of these and make my own offering for this new journey into the unknown. 

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Happy 2014- off to a good start : )

Happy New Year from the both of us- plus a "hi" from Fred. We spent New Year's Eve in Grand Baie. It was a feast, but we still like the food we make at home better- I almost always want to go into the kitchen at whatever restaurant we are at and say to the cook/chef- you know if you added a little x or cooked this a little less, of steamed these instead...Well, anyhow, New Year's Eve was hoot. We boogied out of town at about 11 to beat the traffic and the inevitable drunks on the road. Glad we did- we got home and had our own toast and a bit of chocolate we got a the bakery earlier. 

2013 was a roller coaster and we work are butts off.  We created some really cool stuff- I'm super proud of the art and the writings I did (my first written and illustrated by book coming out in the autumn of 2014 - so happy with it!!!). And now here we are- in our new home away from home of for the next little while as we create some more things that have never been in a place we have never lived before...returning home ever few months until??

Happy 2014 all of you- thank you for popping by and I hope that 2014 is kind and fulfilling and packed with adventure and good things.  xo Steph