calling australia home (part one)…
Posted in Uncategorized December 4th, 2015 by pia

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On November 18, Romain – aka french boy – became an Australian citizen. It was a momentous occasion for us as a family. He is very proud to be able to call himself Australian after living here permanently for the past 5 years, and I was touched that he felt at home and connected to this land. But in the days leading up to the ceremony, I became quite emotional. At the time I thought that him becoming Australian was triggering the release of emotion as tears of joy, but they were tinged with sadness and I hadn’t understood why. After much inner reflection over the past 2 weeks I discovered what it was…

PiaJaneBijkerk_australiahome_2015_5I took this photo the other day while up in the Northern Rivers, the country of the Bundjalung people.*

In part two I’ll talk further about my inner findings because I’m sure it’s something that many resonate with – especially those of you who have read My Heart Wanders and connect to the heart stories within the pages.

Today I would like to share with you the moving piece Romain wrote on facebook the day he became Australian. It is so open and captures his observations and enthusiasm for this country. Here it is…

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“Nine years ago, when I met my beautiful soulmate Pia in Paris, little did I know that I was on a journey to become an Australian citizen. Growing up in the ’80s in a small village of eastern France, my knowledge of Australia came at the time from two sources: Crocodile Dundee and Midnight Oil’s video clips. As such, I imagined Australia as a massive red desert with bits of bush in it. Although the red desert covers much of the country, I now know how much more diverse its landscape is: from lush coastal areas with temperate pasture lands, not unlike my birth place, to tropical areas where big saurians live. Did I mention amazing beaches as well?

PiaJaneBijkerk_australiahome_2015_3Beautiful scenery by the water at West Head, Kuringai National Park, the country of the Carigal people.*

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“I am not becoming less French in the process, I feel “augmented” by a second culture. France and Australia fortunately share the same values, except for cricket of course. The new Australian prime minister is even a republican!
“The Australian landscape is diverse, so are the people. A few weeks after I arrived, someone at work asked me: “What’s your background?”. Being in a work setting, I started rambling about my career and how I started up as a System Administrator, etc. I quickly realised that it wasn’t the answer that was expected. “What’s your background?” here, means: “where are you from originally? where is your family from?”. The makeup of Sydney-siders is so varied that it is a perfectly acceptable question and most people value everyone’s background and the positive influence of external cultures on Australia. At my child’s daycare, all cultures are regularly celebrated, to the point that the kids even made Chinese flags around Chinese new year’s eve. Yes, red flags and all. Multiculturalism in Australia is not all rosy of course and maybe it’s specific to capital cities but I do feel people from diverse cultural backgrounds mix well overall.

PiaJaneBijkerk_australiahome_2015_2Laly learning about Aboriginal culture at home through role play

“As a white Australian, I feel I must mention indigenous people. I wish indigenous people and culture were a bigger part of day to day life. It seems to me that a very rich heritage is being largely ignored. I find it funny when white australians say “we don’t have much of a culture here”. Well, yes, you have one that is over 40000 years old. Indigenous people have been wronged in so many ways over two centuries that it will take time for things to improve on that front but I am optimistic they are improving.

“Anyway, time to put another shrimp on the barbie while listening to “Thunderstruck!”

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Thank you for letting me share your musings here, french boy.  I’ll be posting my inner reflections in part two in the coming weeks…

With Love,

 

Pia xx

* I pay respect to the tribal elders of each area, I celebrate their continuing culture, and I acknowledge the memory of their ancestors.

fiji love…
Posted in Uncategorized August 13th, 2015 by pia

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White sand, sunbleached coral, palm trees, coconuts, and jungle… for six days, this was our everyday…

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Last week we decided to take a spontaneous and much needed break away to Fiji. Neither of us had ever been, and it was Laly’s first overseas travel – what a wonderful first place to mark with a stamp in her passport…

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We stayed on the Coral Coast, which is the southern part of the main island of viti levu (take a look at this gorgeous illustrated map of Fiji by Kate Evans). At this time of year it was quite windy on the south coast with the seasonal trade winds, and some days there was rainfall, but the temperature was perfect for dresses and sandals.

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Although resort life isn’t at all a representation of life in Fiji, I thoroughly enjoyed getting a glimpse at some of the Fijian traditions that were incorporated into daily activities, including singing, story time, weaving, dance, food and language.

Not far from the resort, the guests were invited to take a village tour of Malevu, guided by the chief who showed us some of the medicinal plants they have growing which included noni and the yaqona (kava root) plant. Along with describing some of the benefits of each plant, the chief gave us a brief history of the village and traditions. Below is the village kitchen…

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At the end of the tour we were invited into the village meeting house for a kava ceremony where we each drank kava from a coconut bowl, and then danced to traditional songs.

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It was such a lovely winter break, I felt my whole body and spirit finally relax. I look forward to visiting Fiji again and having the energy to explore some of the islands and surrounding waters.

xx

Insight:

Since we had limited internet access, I took a break from email and social media and I cannot tell you how much better I feel for it. I have more clarity of thought, and I feel my sense of freedom and creativity coming back.  I have kept it up since we’ve been back, and I’d like to maintain a better balance that works for me – to bring blogging back as my first port stop, and then letting people know about the blog post via social media. At this stage I have decided not to engage in conversation as much on social media, and would instead like to encourage communication and community through this space, where I can write freely and share images without space limitations, as well as include links to other artists and blogs and websites as these are aspects of sharing online that I have missed. Let’s see how it goes…

 

Kaspia’s Caravan…
Posted in Uncategorized January 14th, 2015 by pia

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What a beginning to 2015, for all of us… much energy moving around, can you feel it? Old energy moving out, new energy moving in, big changes in the air. I have many thoughts on it that I’d love to share with you and I’d love to hear your thoughts, to see how we are shifting and changing as a collective. I haven’t been blogging much this past year, as many of you know who follow my instragram, there are a number of personal reasons for that. But I miss being here. I miss this space, I miss you.  And this year I have some ideas on how I can be here some more, with your help. Because I’ve come to see this is a special place, a creative passage I need in my life – a place in the past where I’ve been able to thrive, to create freely, to move forward. And it feels really important to keep it going, keep it alive and fresh, for all of us. It’s not something I take for granted, and I’m very grateful for it, for you, both silent and spoken readers – we share something together, something we can’t really see, or pinpoint. But it’s there, it’s present and strong and it needs to grow…

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Today though, I wanted to share with you a creative endeavour of a dear friend of mine. Her name is Kaspia, and for years she has been dreaming of opening her very own pop-up shop, filled with incredible treasures she has collected from her exotic travels around the globe over the years. Kaspia has an incredible, unique style. I’ve long admired her sense of colour, wonder and energy, and I’ve been so excited for her, to see her dream become a reality and be shared with the world. You guys know how I feel about taking risks and following your heart!  Kaspia opened her pop up shop last month in the heart of Sydney in Potts Point, in the stunning artist’s space known as The Yellow House

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There are rugs, cushions, quilts and throws from the most remote parts of the world. There are necklaces, bags, boxes and bracelets, tables, day beds, lamps and baskets from Mexico, the Far East, the Himalayas and beyond.

The collection is out of this world and I urge you to go and visit before it closes on February 1st, 2015, that’s only two weeks away.

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A big warm, all encompassing hug to Kaspia for making her dream come true and sharing it with all of us… If you’d like to learn more about her wild and wonderful life, read her interview on Daily Imprint, and for more information about the pieces in her store, you can read her blog, there is lots to learn about the collection, where each piece came from and how they are made.

To celebrate I’ve put a few copies of My Heart Wanders and Little Treasures: Made by Hand in her store as a package for $65 (instead of the normal retail price of $85) so that means you basically get Little Treasures: Made by Hand for just $5 when you buy both books together. I know that’s crazy, but I want to! It’s only for this two weeks, so I hope it will encourage you to get down to Kaspia’s shop pronto. Someone commented the other day that they received My Heart Wanders as a graduation gift from a relative and I thought that was a wonderful idea.

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Looking forward to hanging out here in my blog house this year, in between working on my next book. Here’s to the new year, to celebrating our connections, and to being who we are meant to be, with our hearts open…

Pia xx

all photographs by Pia Jane Bijkerk

music time: Spirit & Flight part 2…
Posted in Uncategorized May 14th, 2014 by pia

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So I’ve been playing a series of notes on the piano over and over again since I shared my last composition with you, Spirit & Flight.  I didn’t think it was ready to be recorded as I hadn’t really been able to move it, shift it, expand it. I finally let go of thinking I needed to make it into something it wasn’t, yet continued to play it over and over again this past month because there was something in it that spoke to me…

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…something in it that I needed to hear. Then last Saturday morning, while Romain took Laly to the park, I sat down at the piano, pressed record, and played.

This is my rawest, published piece yet, so full of little “oh I could have played that better”, “hmm that’s not quite right” notes  – however it captured how I was feeling so completely that I felt it was worth sharing with you…

 

 

If you listen carefully, you will hear me take a deep breath towards the end of the first part of the piece. Then I play on, higher, quieter…

 

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After I played, I understood what it was that I needed to hear: my anger. I have always pushed it away, bottled it up, kept it locked deep inside. But I’m learning that by doing so it doesn’t go away, it just grows then screams out in pain in various parts of my body. When I sat down to play this time, I felt it well up in me, echoing the frustrating morning I’d had with my little warrior girl Laly, so defiant, not afraid to protest or go against her mother. She’s not like me and when I’m not in awareness, I can hear my quiet, bottled up voice within screaming out “I don’t understand you, why aren’t you like me! Why can’t you listen to me!”.  Of course I don’t want her to be like me, I just want her to do as I say.

So this piece, Spirit & Flight Part 2, is a storytelling of my battle with motherhood, my struggle to adapt, to surrender to how I was mothered and how I mother and want to mother.

In the second part of the piece (at 2 minutes 40 sec), I relinquish.

These photos are from our few days in Byron last month. “Spirit” and “Flight” are two words that resonate with my time there, and the energy of our little Laly.

Thanks for listening again dear friends, I hope you enjoy this piece. Don’t forget you can download all my pieces to listen on your music devices for free.

With Love,

Pia x

 

The Wild Colonial Company…
Posted in Uncategorized September 9th, 2013 by pia

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I’ve admired the work of designer Florence Broadhurst  – whose body of work is today printed by the wonderful Signature Prints – for many, many years. I’ve mentioned both designer and print house  half a dozen times here in the (blog)house over the years, and I referenced them in My Heart Wanders as one of my all-time inspirations. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when the ever-admired Juliet Rogers contacted me this time last year to photograph her very first range of antipodean stationery for her new venture aptly called The Wild Colonial Company, which features none other than Florence Broadhurst’s breathtaking designs.

It was a dream job in every way – beautiful client, incredible product (fittingly described as ‘ground-breaking design and superb quality’)… I had an absolute blast shooting each and every notebook, journal and gift card, using my home as my studio, bringing in elements from my garden and finding little treasures around my home to compliment the collection…

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I’m currently using this beauty (pictured above) as my journal. It’s as lovely to write in as it was to photograph, and seeing it sit on my bedside table beckons thoughts and ideas to page. Back then I didn’t get a chance to show you some of the images from the shoot, but today I’m thrilled to have a moment to do just that…

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I hope you’ve seen this gorgeous collection in bookstores and boutiques around the country but if you haven’t, take a look at The Wild Colonial Company’s website to peruse the full range – you can shop the collection directly on the website too, with shipping to the USA, UK and New Zealand as well as in Australia.

Thank you Juliet for calling me for this fab job! Although it’s a year overdue, I wanted to write this post to say congratulations for venturing out into the wild. I look forward to seeing more. xx

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