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Family trees


Families are like trees; both seemingly constant and yet also always changing.  People age, couples are formed and sometimes torn, new lives are created, and the whole inter-mingled mix of individuals makes a family.  Our time spent together form the personal and collective heartwood of memories that tap into our earliest moments, and are then layered upon with each year’s new experiences.

As I only get to see my family once a year or so, each hug, each laugh, each chat is momentary, but enlarged in significance because of its brevity.  It was magnificent to be home in Australia for Christmas, gorging on seafood and then splashing it off in the pool.  Edward explored my childhood home in much the same way I had done - pointing out the parrots at breakfast, throwing leaves off the deck at lunch, waving to the possums after dinner and wishing 'ni-night' to the sparkling Christmas tree before bed.

We had our first cuddles with our niece Zara, the newest green shoot of our family tree, and on a trip to Sydney, Edward whipped up an impromptu batch of backyard mud pies with his second cousins.  I had a quiet beer with Dad beside his parents' grave, and then rattled home on our local steam train.  The more ancient branches of the family tree also tied together, when, for the first time I was alongside two other great-grandsons leading back to our last common ancestor, Albert, who was born in 1880.

We marvelled at Eagles that whizzed overhead at Healesville sanctuary, had fun with friends who feel like family, then BBQ'ed and boogied in to a blue new year.  As the sun set on the final night at home, for the first time, all 22 (and a bit) stems of the family tree were together as we gathered for the photo I'll share with you now.

Abson family January 2014

A few days later we were in Luna's home town of Gwangju, greeted with cheers from our Korean family as we arrived at the restaurant.  Grandparents, uncles, aunties and cousins sat either side of the low table, eel simmering on the hot plates.  The dance ensued of shuffling side dishes, small shots, and morsels of smoky eel wrapped in sesame leaves.  Edward shook hands as he strolled up one side of the table and down the other, entertaining everyone as he passed, and then dashing out for a reconnaissance of the rest of the restaurant.  The mood among our Korean family was similar to our Australian family, with multiple strands of conversations, food and drinks flowing together.

It was just a few days later that I was on the plane back to Switzerland to return to work.  Luna and Edward have stayed on a little longer and welcomed in the Lunar New Year.  And so we will look forward to May when our newest little member of our family will join us and our family tree will sprout a little taller.

I hope that you, and your family, are well and I wish you all the best for this new year.


Rod, Luna, Edward and Agi (‘baby’ in Korean)



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