It's a bit personal about family life here, but anyway this is a catch-up letter for the Christmas season from the Ratawa family - in Geelong.
Greetings for the Holy Season of Christmas as we once again welcome the Christ Child. The year 2013 has been mainly a good year. We seniors are slowing down a lot though with a few health issues to attend to, but God continues to keep us safe and optimistic. Our church connection is still East Geelong Uniting. we have an excellent minister who is originally from Tonga. I play the music most Sundays – piano or organ, and the grandsons are in the Sunday School. Peceli is still connected with Altona Meadows/Laverton and now the small Fijian group have joined the morning (English language) congregation. Peceli and I enjoyed some weekends early in the year at Colac when Peceli helped there with pastoral visits and Sunday services. Lovely meeting with the country people there.
Our house is still full with Peceli, me, George, Bale when she’s not working at Lorne, grandsons Jordan (16) and Andrew (14) who go to Geelong High School, Epa pops in occasionally and Andrew Senior who normally lives in Nukualova with his wife Eka and daughter Linlay, came over for the Masters and throwing events and has stayed on a couple of months. We take turns in cooking and tidying up. There are two guinea pigs as well, Izzie named after the Hawaiian guitar player, and Fuzzie who has a white ruff like Geelong’s new mayor. Our Fiji Friendship Club continues to meet in the homes of members – and this means kava drinking, a delicious shared meal, stories and music.
We don’t see much of my extended Lay/Collins families though we did get together at Bacchus Marsh for the scattering of the ashes – a year since Auntie Mary Collins had passed away. In Swan Hill the City Council there put up a plaque to honour Dad in the George Lay Park.
Early in the year we went to Airey’s Inlet for five days – a Rotary dinner silent auction treat. A beautiful quiet place where I took photos and made some drawings. Our second holiday for the year was to Fiji and Tonga – one week for a family wedding in Nadi, where it was a delight to have one to one talks with younger relatives that I hadn’t seen for a long time. Then we flew to Tonga to stay with Andrew, Eka and Linlay in Nukualofa. That week was relaxed and with perfect weather.
Regarding sports and hobbies – most of our family play tennis nearly every day. Andrew plays Aussie Rules footie also and Jordan has recovered very well from his second surgery regarding his knee problem at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne - crutches for about four months. He’s allowed to play tennis, swim, and touch but not footie yet.
We are still volunteers at the Rotary Donation in Kind but containers to Fiji are fraught with difficulties at the other end. There’s more stories and pictures about our family and concerns on facebook and two blogs. We are disappointed with the Uniting Church in Victoria which meant the loss of our church tennis courts to help pay a huge debt caused by incompetence in Melbourne. But life goes on with good surprises and grace.
Loloma levu yani and best wishes,
Wendy and Peceli Ratawa
December 10 2013