Friday, August 7, 2009

Faye Blais @ The Refuge ~ 2 August 2009

So the Tribe took another trip down to Taichung on Sunday to the Refuge for another day of great music and great community.

The event was titled "Home made Jamz with Faye Blais"...

Jason started off the day with a few songs, joined by some of the Tribe....Willow-River, Keanu-Storm and Asia-Faith each went up on their own accord and started to play along with daddy....Talis-Rain was the photographer, along with mommy! It was just so awesome to see them up there....Willow-River also sang a couple of songs with Jason too - all unplanned and unrehearsed. To have the kids go up there and perform in front of a crowd of, I don't know, maybe 200 people, was awesome! And they say homeschooled kids can't socialise! LOL

There was of course a great line up of musicians again....just to mention a few...Avery Day and the Deng Yi Xias, D and Da Flintstones, The Stackers, Moshang, and of course Faye Blais!

Faye is an amazing Canadian singer-song writer. Her music is best described as indie/folk with hints of jazz. Her alluring vocals together with her acoustic and unique electric guitar, carry you away with the deep, soulful songs on a musical journey.

Her long awaited debut "First Tooth" was released in 2005. In early 2008 Faye completed her second full-release "Two Pieces". She has toured both Australia and New Zealand in this past year, and made a stop over in Taiwan before heading home to tour Canada.

Faye's music was beautiful, and the impromptu jam session with a few other musicians was just
great! She probably did one of the longest, but definitely the most beautiful, sound checks I have ever heard! LOL

Take a look at her website...

The highlight for Willow-River was the Half Pipe skateboard ramp! They had a skateboard crew who were out there for the day strutting their stuff...and by the end of the day they were all giving Willow-River tips and advice...and of course all said he was a natural!

Asia-Faith was also on top form ~ even though she had not slept all day ~ she kept telling me she was not tired....although her eyes told a different story! LOL....Anyway, she strikes up conversations with any and all who want to listen! Our friend Colin wanted to give her NT$ 10, so he asked her what she would do to get the money...she pulled out the toy piano and began he gave her the money....a little while later while she was sitting with Colin listening to some guys playing guitar...she pulled out the NT$10 and gave it too them...Isn't that just the cutest thing???

Another great day with great people and great music!

D and Da Flintstones

Avery Day and the Deng Yi Xias ~ doing a sound check with Faye jamming along~
Boston Paul and Chase ~ talking about sound, I assume;-)

The mini photographer...

The Tonkin Boys jamming

Our princess

The half pipe built by Carpenter Greg

~ Boston Paul ~
~Carpenter Greg ~

~The Beautiful and Talented Faye Blais ~

~The Tonkin Brothers on the half pipe ~

~* Peace and Love *~

Thursday, July 23, 2009


My boy celebrated his 10th birthday! It is so hard to believe that it was a decade ago that I gave birth to him.

His birth story reads like quite an adventure!

My original due date given was the 24th then changed to the 5th July (my parents wedding anniversary)....he was actually born on the 23rd July!

I was dead set on a hospital birth when I found out I was pregnant, actually I didn't even give it a second thought...I thought that is where babies are born! Jason had other ideas though (thank goodness)...he suggested a water birth...Me??? a water birth...I don't even really like swimming! LOL

But...I kept an open mind, and decided to look into it...

After much researching, reading and more researching - I had a change of heart - we decided to have a water birth at home! We found an amazing midwife, Tracy Roake, and I had a wonderful, beautiful pregnancy.

Jason and I were living on the coast in Amanzimoti, in Durban during my pregnancy doing gigs in pubs and restaurants in the evenings and spending our days on the beach. The venues where we used to play at regularly threw us a baby shower - we were really spoiled!

Two + weeks after my due date, on a Friday, 23 July, we head off for a visit with Tracy, knowing that if baby doesn't come soon, Monday I would be induced....

On the drive to Tracy, I had these weird feelings in my belly...I didn't say anything to Jason right away...I waited a few minutes, then I noticed they were quite regular....I then said to J casually that I think I am in labour! We arrive at Tracy's place and she does a quick once over on me and tells me I am indeed in labour and about 2 cm should be here soon!

We leave Tracy and go visit my parents, they don't believe me when I tell them I am actually in labour, and baby will be born...finally!!!

After our visit we head back home (our little 1968 vw kombi doesn't go that fast, so a trip to Durban to Amanzimtoti can take a good 25 - 30 minutes!)...

We arrive home and since I won't be going to hospital after all (I had my hospital bag all packed and ready)...I decide to unpack the bag...give me something to do to pass the time! LOL

At around 6 - 6:30pm the contractions start getting stronger...we call Tracy and she tells us to get the birth pool sister had arrived too by then (with a new boyfriend that I had NO idea was there! LOL)...and my parents were also there (but all were in another room)...

Tracy arrived with my wonderful doula, Cyrenna Sorour...who had the most magical, beautiful hands that massaged my lower back!

The water was was relaxing, relieving, soothing, comforting...and having Jason right in there with me pouring water over my back was just amazing! The worst part was when I would have to get out of the water for Tracy to do a check on me and the baby...then the pain was grueling! But once I got back down into that water...heaven! was not to around 9cm dilated, he just was not this stage I was lying on the bed with some gas and I can't remember what else right now...but I looked a sight! LOL

Tracy told us that his heart rate was dropping and that we needed to get to a hospital....well, they asked me where my hospital bag was (and the baby bag) I sheepishly had to tell them I was bored and unpacked it! LOL

Well, I rode to the hospital in a pair of Jason's old shorts and a tee shirt (not even shoes)...and Jason came barefoot too - we must have looked a sorry sight! The trip on the way to the hospital was very relaxed - you would have thought we were off to the movies!

When we arrived at the hospital, they wheeled me in, did an internal and realised that baby was facing the wrong way... he was posterior - meaning he was face up instead of face down....sooooo...they tried to turn him...manually! Now *that* was painful - I actually felt my coccyx snap...I then heard them say they would need to give me an episiotmy...(the cut I had been dreading!)...they then proceeded to give me an injection (to numb the area down there where they were going to cut)....then I heard someone say, no...emergency cesarean! The first thing I asked was "Have you cut down there yet????" - thankfully they hadn't!

So I was wheeled off to the operating room...I was prepped and ready to go! Finally after some pulling and tugging, I saw my baby boy being lifted up into the world! What a moment....seeing your baby for the first time is a feeling that cannot be described! He was a little wrinkled from all the pushing, he reminded me of a little sharpei puppy...and also reminded me a bit of a tortoise! He had a little cut just above his eye, from the scalpal...but he was just perfect!

Jason followed him around and sang him his lullaby ~ Jamaican Farewell ~ (we would sing it to him all the time while he was in my belly), while I was wheeled into the recovery room where I stayed for what seemed like a lifetime, and all I wanted to do was see my baby!

Eventually I was taken to a room (there was no room in the maternity ward - it was a late Friday night and I had no reservation! LOL) we were put on the floor above in our own room and I insisted that my baby was staying with us...they were not very happy, but they relented, and our baby stayed with us.

The next day, believe it or not...I walked out the hospital....I was determined to go home and have Tracy care for me rather than spend another day in the hospital....they were not happy about that either! But Jason just said to them that we were out of there! It was so great to be home and Tracy was absolutely amazing - she made this amazing concoction of comfrey leaves and honey and I can't remember what else, but I put it on my wound and it healed it up beautifully!

And that was 10 years ago!

Today, that little baby is a beautiful, happy, healthy, thoughtful, kind, loving, joyful, inquisitive, caring boy, who means the world to me and his dad and brothers and sister!


Opening up his box of "books".....
Oh, wait....that's not a book...
It's an amp!!!!
The look on his face when Daddy brought in his electric guitar!

Keanu-Storm, Riza, Asia-Faith, Angus, Willow-River and Ryan
Singing "Happy Birthday" with Nana and Papa via Skype...
Time for water balloon fights!Willow-River taking aim...
~* Peace and Love *~

Sunday, July 12, 2009

LUVstock 2009

The weekend of July 11 took us down to the Refuge again for another weekend of great music and great people.

Day 1 of LUVstock took place at Dong Shan Paradise, an abandoned theme park just down the road from the Refuge (to accommodate bigger crowds).

It is the annual minifest: LUVstock...In the words of Boston Paul....
The 5th (ish) annual 2Day minifest 'LUVstock' is a Celebration of Life. In a world full of haggard politics we should all be thankful for another day that we are all still alive and reasonably well.

Though this Minifest has gone through a few changes over the years from an impromptu Birthday Party [mine ;-)] to what is now called LUVstock, it promises to be one of the Highlights of your Summer.

Like last year and the year before, LUVstock has traditionally attracted hundreds of Musicians, Artists and Bohemians from around Taiwan; gathering to Celebrate Life, enjoy the company of like minded people, make music, make new connections, make acquaintances, lounge around on the grass, eat, drink and be Merry.

It was definitely one of the highlights of this Tribes summer!

As usual the Tribe got stuck in to help out - the kids made the hearts that were stuck up around the venue, Jason got stuck in with setting up the sound, and I took care of welcoming the refugees.

There was, as usual, a great line up of music from artists all around the island....some included: Jagabags, Avery and Frenz, Waysoon (great country and bluegrass music), Gruveballs (from Tainan), .22, Dr Reniculous Lipz & The Skallyunz, The Stackers, Moshang, and Militant Hippi...and some others.

There were also fire dancers, drummers, artists, vendors selling clothing and hand made items and of course yummy food and thirst quenchers!

There are lots of reasons why our Tribe enjoy going to the Refuge, but I think what I love about the gatherings at the Refuge the most is the fact that it is kid friendly....and if your kid happens to be of the furry kind, they are welcome too! The kids have an absolute fab time and they often go on until the early hours of the morning - jamming right alongside the muso's!

LUVstock ~ Day 1

Day 2 started later in the afternoon (since we all only got to bed when the sun was coming up!) it was great to just sit around and chill at the Refuge. The kids had a bit of a jam session with Daddy and then a few muso's had a jam, after which they had a great group called Taichung Improv - Improv comedy at its best! We had great plans to leave early so we would not arrive home too late...but with all the good music and good was another late one! We arrived home in the wee hours of the morning...but this Tribe had a great one!

LUVstock ~ Day 2

~* Peace and Love *~

Thursday, July 9, 2009

June Reflections....

So another month has come and gone....

This month marked our 3rd anniversary of living in Taiwan...If you want to take a trip down memory lane, you can check out my previous post:

As with most foreigners living here in Taiwan...the plan usually is to come for a year, and then most, if not all have ended up living here for this was our original plan too...and 3 years later we are still here!

In 3 years we have lived in 4 different county's...Firstly Kinmen (which is not quite Taiwan, but a little island between Taiwan and China - beautiful beaches!)...then it was Donggang in Pingtung in the south (and our first earthquake experience!), next came our move to Yilan on the east coast where many earthquakes were felt and where it rained about 363 days of the year, but was beautiful and green - now I know was because of all the rain...and finally, yes I say finally, since I don't plan on moving around this island again...we are now in Hsinchu (which is known as the windy city), on the west coast (where I had my first encounter with a snake!).

Although traveling had never been high on my priority list when we were in South Africa...I always said to Jason when the kids were older and off on their own, then he and I could travel the world...turns out the universe had different plans! It was actually me who did all the research and lay in bed one night and said "J, I think we should do this"....and I am so glad we did!

Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been plain sailing, not by any stretch of the imagination. It is very hard being away from family and friends and all that is familiar to you. When you are in a foreign country where everything is foreign, the language, culture, religion, food, eating utensils, toilets, even the side of the road they drive...but it has been a wonderful experience, and one that has also brought us our beautiful little girl.

Not sure if many will know this, but since I was about 14 years old or so, I wanted to adopt a little girl from China. I had seen documentaries on tv and read articles about the orphaned baby girls and I knew in my heart that one day I would adopt a little girl. I had no idea how it would even be possible, but it was something that I knew would happen. When I first met Jason I told him I wanted lots of kids, including my little girl from China. The years went on, and then when we decided to move to Taiwan Jason said to me "you know what this means?" and I looked at him puzzled???? and he replied "we will be that much closer to China"...and then it dawned on me....of course!

For more about the adoption journey, you can check out our adoption blog...

We have made a few life altering decisions while here in Taiwan too.....

We became vegetarian around August/September last year...for two reasons...namely health and ethical. We decided we would no longer support the meat industry...after watching - meet your meat ***warning*** it is quite a disturbing video.

Also having done research on the effects of meat on your body, and the significantly raised risks of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, not to mention that when you eat meat you may be consuming hormones, drugs and other chemicals that have been fed to the animals before they were killed....we have stopped eating meat (which includes fish and chicken too). It has taken a bit of adjusting for me who has to do the cooking, but it has been great!

We now are also doing a lot of juicing and eating more raw we have lots of fresh veggie and fruit juices. It is quite funny...I was starting to research all about the raw food lifestyle, next thing Jason comes home and says a colleague at works wants to sell us her juicer (for NT$ 300 - about R73) about the law of attraction!

The other decision we made is to immigrate to Mauritius...

Jason and I spent a few weeks in Mauritius back in 2000 (Willow-River was about 10 months old and I fell pregnant with Talis-Rain while we were there...)...anyway, while we were there we would often talk about living in Mauritius...I never really thought it was a possibility...till we were in Taiwan and I started researching it and found out Jason can get citizenship through descent (since his mom was born in Mauritius). We have now made so many plans for when we are there, namely to build our own sustainable home (actually it is called an Earthship ~ check out our blog and to have a little vegetarian restaurant/live music venue, with a few other ideas alongside it. We are looking so forward to it, and absolutely can't wait!

Jason is now teaching in the Hsinchu Government English Program. He has been teaching at a local elementary school since January and is loving it! It was tough the first month or two when he started because we were without a salary for 6 weeks!!! But...we survived, as we always do! He definitely prefers the Government school to teaching at the Bushiban...the Bushiban tend to use and abuse you...although he likes to be abused...preferably by me! LOL....but seriously...the Bushiban do tend to take advantage and expect more and more from you....the other great thing about him teaching in the Government Program is that he gets to be home in the evenings at around we love having Daddy around for dinner! Jason has now started his own blog...Taiwan Perspectives... Check it out sometime....

June also saw us take another trip down to the Refuge in Taichung...we love going down there for the weekend....although this time we just went down for the was nice to just go and chill and listen to some live music....

June is also the month that we had the Dragon Boat Festival...

Dated : 5th day of the 5th lunar month

Qu Yuan
The Dragon Boat Festival, also called the Duanwu Festival, is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month according to the Chinese calendar. For thousands of years, the festival has been marked by eating zong zi (glutinous rice (糯米)
wrapped to form a pyramid using bamboo or reed leaves) and racing dragon boats.

The festival is best known for its dragon-boat races, especially in the southern provinces where there are many rivers and lakes. This regatta(赛舟会)
commemorates the death of Qu Yuan , an honest minister who is said to have committed suicide by drowning himself in a river.

Qu was a minister of the State of Chu situated in present-day Hunan and Hubei provinces, during the Warring States Period (475-221BC)(战国时期). He was upright, loyal and highly esteemed for his wise counsel that brought peace and prosperity to the state. However, when a dishonest and corrupt prince vilified Qu, he was disgraced and dismissed from office. Realizing that the country was now in the hands of evil and corrupt officials, Qu grabbed a large stone and leapt into the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth month. Nearby fishermen rushed over to try and save him but were unable to even recover his body. Thereafter, the state declined and was eventually conquered by the State of Qin.

The people of Chu who mourned the death of Qu threw rice into the river to feed his ghost every year on the fifth day of the fifth month. But one year, the spirit of Qu appeared and told the mourners that a huge reptile

(爬行动物)in the river had stolen the rice. The spirit then advised them to wrap the rice in silk and bind it with five different-colored threads before tossing it into the river.
During the Duanwu Festival, a glutinous rice pudding called zong zi is eaten to symbolize the rice offerings to Qu. Ingredients such as beans, lotus seeds(莲子), chestnuts(栗子)
, pork fat and the golden yolk of a salted duck egg are often added to the glutinous rice. The pudding is then wrapped with bamboo leaves, bound with a kind of raffia and boiled in salt water for hours.

The dragon-boat races symbolize the many attempts to rescue and recover Qu's body. A typical dragon boat
ranges from 50-100 feet in length, with a beam of about 5.5 feet, accommodating two paddlers seated side by side.

A wooden dragon head is attached at the bow, and a dragon tail at the stern(船尾). A banner hoisted on a pole is also fastened at the stern and the hull is decorated with red, green and blue scales edged in gold. In the center of the boat is a canopied shrine behind which the drummers, gong(铜锣)beaters and cymbal(铙钹)players are seated to set the pace for the paddlers. There are also men positioned at the bow to set off firecrackers, toss rice into the water and pretend to be looking for Qu. All of the noise and pageantry creates an atmosphere of gaiety and excitement for the participants and spectators alike. The races are held among different clans, villages and organizations, and the winners are awarded medals, banners, jugs of wine and festive meals.

It has been incredibly hot here, and so the boys nagged to cut their hair...much to my the boys all got their hair chopped off! I then decided to go for a trim myself, and ended up cutting off way more than I had is will grow back!

Here are a few pics of them before they cut their hair...and a few of Asia-Faith too...aren't they just beautiful???

and here they are enjoying the new pool we bought for summer...with their summer haircuts!

Lanybug, our little foster baby is doing really well...she is becoming more vocal now, and testing out her little voice by babbling and trying to "talk" to is too precious! She is 2 months this month. It really is great having a baby around the house again!

Well...that was June....hope you are yours are happy and loved!

~* Peace and Love *~