Category Archives: ABOUT US

For you, Mamas.

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In the cool breeze of the tropical morning, mothers in our village rise before the call to prayer, they are up long before the sun. Mothers bend, their soft brown foreheads touching the thick woven carpet  of the prayer mats as they whisper to their god. Mothers prepare food, they sweep, they gently wake children, rousing them to be ready for the day. Mothers then strap babies to their backs and work in fields, bending low and tending to the rice that will feed their family for the coming months, hoping this harvest there will be enough to sell. Mothers work on the beach, pulling in fish or renting tubes to tourists who are living lives they can only dream of. Mothers work in kitchens, the soft brown of their hands skillfully chopping, grinding and frying food that they will carry on their heads to sell.

In my own village house I start the day with babe in arms, Bo’s face close to mine, her hot breath on my skin and her sweat mixed with mine as we lay under the fan. When Bo wakes, so do I… we start the day when we are ready. I work when Bo naps, my days structured around her needs, while she is awake she has my full attention.

All around the world mothers rise and fall with the tide of the day, finding the time to love, to clean, to feed and to nurture their children, their families and their communities. Whether they run multi-million dollar corporations or iron another families clothes, mothers work hard, day and night… giving all of themselves

Mothers day is a special day to me this year, because it’s my very first. And this new journey into motherhood for me has made me appreciate my own mother more than she has any idea. My mother sacrificed for me, she gave to me, she nurtured and loved me and held me throughout my childhood, my teenage years and still now in adulthood. Regardless of how different my mother and I are (and we are worlds apart at times), regardless of the disagreements (and there have been many), whenever I am sick or sad or tired, she is the one I want by my side. When I am full of joy and pride and happiness, she is the one I want to celebrate with me. As a child she guided me the best she could, and as an adult she supports me. She was witness to the birth of Bo and as honoured as she was to be there, I was honoured to have her there. Motherhood is a very precious gift.

A mothers love is 3am feedings, long nights of gentle cuddles, worry, unbelievable joy and tears for every reason and no reason at all. there is nothing to compare it to and there are few joys or heartaches in the world that could possibly come close. Becoming a mother has changed the very fabric of my being. It has changed the way I think, they way I talk, the way I act. It has changed what I eat, what I drink and the colour of the world. I am no longer the most important person in my own life. Words can’t begin to paint a picture of how that truly feels.

So for all those mothers I know who are celebrating their first mothers day through the wave of exhaustion, vomit, bleary eyes and hormonal outbursts that new motherhood brings, for those who are seasoned mothers, for my sisters and my aunts… for every woman who has held their child and known the incredible joy and fear and awe it brings… for all the women who are yet to be mothers but hold their future children already in their hearts, and most of all to my own mother..

Happy mothers day, I hope you all have a wonderful day that is filled with love and joy and happiness and inked from head to toe in colour.

Love you mum xo

Just us two…

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Just us two…

photo by Kate Heaslip Photography

Today I did what I hope will be the hardest thing I will ever truly have to do… I drove with my husband to the airport, I helped him check in his bags and I watched as he held our four week old baby and said goodbye. I walked with him to the gate, and I too, said goodbye.

Loving in a multi-cultural/bi-national relationship can be a challenge at the best of times, but when the forever frustrating visa war is creating the rules – frustration is the best of the emotions that one has to deal with. When my husband got his visa to come to Australia we were ecstatic, we knew that we would be together for the birth of our child, we knew that we would have the chance to share the end of the pregnancy and the beginning of this new life as a family. But when we saw the visa, and the 8503 clause on it we realised that this joy was bittersweet. The 8503 clause is a “no further stay” clause which means that the traveler is unable to extend or apply for a new visa whilst in the country. You can waive this clause, but after many long discussions with lawyers and immigration advisers we realised that not only did we not have the money to go down this track, the success rate is very small for the huge amount of money we would have to invest. Sadly we had to rule out this option.

So today my husbands visa expired, and he boarded a plane back to Indonesia. Tonight he returns to his homeland, to a land of chocolate sand and endless summer  but he goes home a different man to the man I met at the airport in Australia three months ago. He will apply for a migration visa but the wait period is a minimum of six months. And in the light of this situation, our plans changed, my plans for the year changed dramatically.

For now we are separated in body but certainly not in heart or mind. When little Bo is cleared medically, we will go and join her father in the village where he was born and raised. A small village on the south coast of West Java, hours away from medical care, western facilities and the cultural safety of my own home. A little town with dense jungle on one side and sparkling ocean on the other, it’s beautiful, it’s remote and it’s terribly isolating. I have lived in this village for years, in fact I wrote another blog all about it… but living the simple life is a whole different story with an infant. But I am determined to make it work, to start her multi-cultural upbringing a little earlier than first intended and fight my feelings of isolation to give her the best start to life regardless of our location.

Today our new adventure began, we said goodbye, we cried, we held each other and we whispered promises of a life which will never tear us apart again. We looked at our daughter, and we both cried for her, for what her dad will miss in the coming weeks and for ourselves.

Now here I sit nursing my chubby baby girl in one arm and a broken heart in the other knowing that somewhere over Australia my husband sits on a plane feeling just as lost as I do. Hoping that tomorrow is better than today knowing that each day brings us closer to being together again.

A little about Inked in Colour

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Inked in Colour was inspired by my beautiful daughter Bo. Bo is lucky enough to have parents who come from very different backgrounds, who had very different upbringings, who are determined to give her the best of both worlds. I am Australian with Aussie/Canadian parents born and raised in Perth, my husband is Indonesian born and raised in a little fishing village somewhere on the south coast of Java.

Love comes in many different colours, shapes and sizes – each of them being as valid, as wonderful and as necessary as the next in the development and shaping of this beautiful little person.

My blog Barefoot Inked began as a journey of experimental living – where I explored the great unknown and moved to a remote village in Indonesia – a country I knew nothing of. I thought I was there for a year, to live like a local, to learn the culture, to embrace the simple life – but the experiment turned into something much more. I fell in love, head over heels, desperately in love with a smooth tanned local surfer who I am now very proud to call my husband. I explored jungles, I learned to surf, I harvested rice and slept on a fabric stuffed mattress in a leaky beach shack. I road buses for hours in cramped sweaty conditions, I explored markets after markets and reveled in every cultural event I could get my hands on.

After two years full of amazing experiences, terrible isolation, tears, joyous events and many a funny moment – we welcomed our beautiful girl into the world in a little town outside of Sydney, Australia.

A new adventure faces us now – I have always had very clear ideas of how I want to live my life, ideas that I’m sure will make themselves known through my blogs and I’ve always had a good idea of how I would want to raise a child. From the moment I discovered that I was pregnant I knew how I wanted to bring her into the world, with calm, with compassion and with love. The world is an incredible place, and I’m so excited to guide her through it whilst every day she teaches me more about patience, unconditional love and incredible joy.

Whilst Bo and I are in NSW, Bo’s daddy has had to return to the village in Indonesia because of visa problems. Bo and I (along with all of my fears and trepidations) will follow when she is big enough. For now we are literally worlds apart – and when our worlds come together we will be faced with a whole new set of challenges – living village-style with an infant.

This blog is an exploration of what it is to be a first time parent and all the why’s, if’s, but’s and ah-ha moments that goes with the territory. Inked in Colour is the story of one multi-cultural family facing the future together one foot in each world, finding balance and making lots of mistakes along the way.

If you would like to share your unique multi-cultural parenting story – please contact us! Your story might inspire another parent to embrace the differences and celebrate diversity in the every day life of their child