Saturday, June 27, 2009

To HAMA, or not to HAMA

If you have children under the age of 10 you might be familiar with these little guys, the HAMA beads. These are little plastic coloured beads resembling tiny macaroni, which come in a few bright colours (red, orange, yellow, pink, violet, blue, green, brown, white and black).

These colourful beads are sold in tubs of... oh... a gazillion, and are guaranteed to escape the container they initially entered your home in, and feel free to explore your apartment/house from the hidden crevices of your sofa to the bathtub (still can't explain that one).

My children initially brought home from school small resin-like works of art, which resembled a plastic mosaic. These began as odd shaped monsters, though my kids insisted they were flowers, cats, fish etc. As I am the 'creative guru' in our family, I try to encourage my off springs to tap into their creative side as much as possible, so even when they bring me smudges of plastic, I 'oooh' and 'aaahhh' over them with great parental support. By-the-way: I also psycho-analise my children via their art; if they bring home smiling, happy, colourful creations, I know they are happy too.

The little plastic 'monsters' evolved into stars, cars, even jaguars. I got curious as to, how the children created the mosaics, so I asked them to show me, and as they love to teach their parents for a change, they gave me the full tutorial.

The plastic pieces used in the children's creations are the HAMA beads... 'explorers of the sofa' and 'bathtub archeologists' which I mentioned at the beginning of this particular blog.

Naively, I agreed to buy a tub of these beads, the trays one uses to compose the 'masterpiece' on - it looks a bit like a miniature fachir's bed of nails - and we would make amazing art, as a family, therefore promoting unity and collaboration.

Once in the house, the HAMAs were put in a tray, and we began to create colourful shapes. My three girls, each working hard on their own tray, and I on my own. My 'mother's heart' swelled with pride and joy.

A half hour into our project, the girls became bored with the project, and abandoned me with 4 trays to complete (I couldn't dismantle them, the kids would have cried for weeks over them). The projects - yes, all four - took about 3 hours to complete. By the last one - mine of course - I was quite the expert (see photo) and became so enamored by the new art form I had come across accidentally, that now I'm thinking of different ways of further expand the possibilities of this magic HAMA bead.

The children have proceeded to play with the beads throughout the apartment, stringing them as necklaces and tossing them at each other like pebbles, and thus brings us to how the beads have managed to find their way into the sofa, sock drawer, kitchen sink, pillow case and of course the bathtub. Evil, EVIL HAMA beads! They're taking over my homeeeee.

Actually, I'm addicted to them now, I can't stop creating with them. They're heaps of fun. Even for us grownups.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Australian's on Lent?

My family and I have been in Australia almost a year. One of the things we noticed since we arrived that, most Ozzies don't go to church. Nothing wrong with that, each person has the right to attend Sunday services or not.

What's more, we were told by a realtor that, there are a lot of churches which are closing down, and individuals have taken to purchasing these sacred buildings and adapting them for family living. THAT was a bit odd to me, as I am a preacher's daughter - and all. I mean... I guess a church is 'just a building' per se, but... I have a hard time accepting the idea of a church or temple being used as a house. Or, being converted into a disco (in NY).

So, understanding that Australia is not a church going country, was not a far fetch for me. The same realtor who explained that churches were being made into homes, said that this was because of the fact that Australia was a penal colony, therefore people were much more keen on building pubs than churches. There are A LOT of pubs down under, I can assure you. Also, pubs or bars are also called 'hotels' here, so you can imagine the confusion which happens, every time someone says "Lets go to the hotel for a drink." As I mill things over in my head "Hmmm... are they asking me to go to a hotel with them? How dare they?" Nope, their intent was to just go to the bar/pub.

Ever learning the terms and slang. I finally understand their accents, now the weird words have me spinning.

Church-going they are not. Pub-going they are! Imagine my surprise when I went into my local supermarket to purchase the kids' snaks and lunch items, and at the fish counter I see an advertisement strip adorning the fresh shrimp ('prawns' in Oz), flounder and salmon, stating 'Especially for Lent'. LENT? I know a handful of people who still observe lent, and most are Orthodox Christians. Even the Catholics have relaxed on Lent. One can pick and choose what they'll give up for Lent. You can give up candy ('loolie' in Oz) or the internet (I couldn't believe this one either) in observance of the 6 week period before Easter, according to the Catholics whom I have 'drilled' on the subject.

For one reason or another, the Australians still mention Lent... though I hardly believe they observe it. Interesting, don't you think? I intend on giving up high heel shoes for Lent this year. ;)