It has been on my heart to write a little something about the community we are experiencing in this season that is a first for us in Perth.

Summer.

So we have heard about it. The flies, the hot air, the sunscreen and the aridity which together with the heat brings bushfires even with just a tiny spark.

But living it. It is so wow.

We have learnt to adapt to the seasons by and by. At least 2 seasons anyway. :) The key here for anyone relocating from a tropical to temperate country, is weather forecast. You really can’t live without it, unless you wanted to risk getting your good shoes soaked, or risk a cold on a mercilessly windy day. To add, in a tropical-slash-temperate zone like Perth, you need to understand the concept of ‘layers’. Dress thin but pile up. So needless to say, bags become essential. You need a bag roomy enough to hold your scarves, your flano, your hat, or your raincoat,…

But coming back to community.

So we had winter. 3, in a row. Perth – China – Perth. Nice. I couldn’t play ukulele or piano for a bit when i had those chilblains, but learnt not to expose my fingers to extreme changes of temperature no matter how cold it gets. Those winter months that our friends remarked about being ‘quiet’, business and activity-wise, we didn’t quite get, until Summer graced. Spring was very courteous and a little uncertain this year, making its quiet entrances, and then occasionally poking its head back in – like today (23degrees – 11degrees) when Summer wanted to take a backseat. I suppose that is what Perthites call a ‘mild’ Summer. I was so confident of the heat until 38 degrees struck one day. Oh boy. I think i needed to bookmark that on the same page as my holiday trip with a couple of girlfriends to camel-riding in Sahara. The hot air could boil your eye balls out if you’re not careful.

In Summer, where it gets real cool in the evening past 6pm mostly, Twilight Markets are the thing. You start sniffing barbies (bbqs) everywhere. Late night parties mean also street gallivanting activities. You could hear beer bottles and drunken exchanges on the street outside our home. When we performed for a beautiful couple in Alverstoke Barn (near Bunsbury, about a 2hr drive away), we had an experience of flies. And lots of other winged-things. But we played every tune we did with the occasional ‘headbanging’ moves not frequently witnessed in winter, or any jazz gig. It worked to chase the flies away. But i quickly learnt from David Attenborough that one just had to stay cool (so you don’t perspire) and keep your lips sealed (literally) to make ourselves unpopular landing grounds. But though the wedding entourage was busy swatting flies even halfway through the speeches, it didn’t discourage the wedding activities that happen all through Spring and Summer. Beaches were often packed with people though we have yet to participate in that yet. I will be sure to give a report probably after this weekend. From November to March, jazz music, or any music festival start popping up everywhere. So you could actually witness hibernation in action, yes even quite so for humans.

Weekend markets are also more vibrant, with more stall-holders willing to stake out for bigger crowds.

Subiaco Twilight Markets

Subiaco Twilight Markets

Subiaco Twilight Markets were my favourite so far. They had a petting zoo, and several music acts. Even little kids had their chance to open up their own booth selling handmade cards.Mint Street wasn’t the only band holding fort that night.) The local council also invited us to play for their council barbie. We loved loved loved it. People were also more generous if you accepted donations for your performances.

in the zoo, the baby lemurs and koala joeys, and African safari animals like giraffes and elephants were all ready for the heat. They were more active. Past the spring season of breeding, the little ducklings were now bigger since the last time we visited the zoo. Dragonflies danced their glorious mating dances of 48hours or less just to lay their final eggs before taking the dive to heaven. Lots of life in action.

We love it.

Christmas in July was fab. I love how the Christmas lights were more inclusive, creative and just so pretty! It wasn’t expensive or gaudy as some expensive city lights may be. Faerie lights require that breathing space to stand out! We don’t yet own a car in this city so we couldn’t see the lights. But the husband informs that the same happens in Sydney. They just jalan (tour) the suburb with neighbourhood street lights decorated from the heart. And in Perth, i chanced upon this article where the prettiest lights who register themselves had a chance to be featured, so other Perthites could find them. Also if say there was a fundraising for an organisation, or church, gold coin donations are welcome when you visit the neighbourhood. A couple of them actually have the entire street lit. Very varied and diverse designs.

Our picnic with ukuleles

Our picnic with ukuleles

Or if you are not a night person, you could be joining us for a picnic by the lake in the Park, like us. We took our ukuleles and decided to dress up for a summery Christmas and lay by with the black swans, their cygnets, and these noisy birds called ‘Little Corella’, and our favourite puppy birds, the magpies. Unfortunately our videos turned out to be accidentally of the ‘slow-mo’ character. None of which could be used. Nevertheless, we had a wonderful time.

And now as we approach the New Year’s weekend, the weather turned to a cool, but will go to a 36degrees celsius by tomorrow noon. I love how it inevitably means the wardrobe is never quite predictable. I am exercising that muscle for flexibility of the mix and match real good, i must say. More of the shops will stay open but many shopowners have decided to take a month off all the way ’til the half of January 2017. Interesting how it varies from city to city.

I guess this is the time for new year resolutions, or prayers if you will. Musically speaking, Polkadot + Moonbeam‘s album seems forever on the line, but I assure our audiences, it definitely is in the brew. We just want to garner the best people on this precious honest project of ours. If you don’t yet know, we already have 2 of our originals from the time we met (2010!) online for download. So far, the concept is being in the ‘present’. A lot of stories have been told as we travelled about China, Japan, Singapore… but we really want to grow, and also share the new phase we are now in. I guess in the new year, I really hope to see this come to fruition.

I’m also working on my solo piano/singing material. Hopefully we could get a few good videos rolling on that one.

And for songwriting, definitely finding a direction of material that i could write and yet feel completely liberated to without the restraints of genres or language.

Performance-wise, I’m looking for good people to work with! Hardworking, musical and just earnest/hungry for fun and more fun! We are specifically looking for jazz pianists or guitarists, and hopefully in Perth where we see ourselves for a while.

Teaching-wise, I’d been so duly blessed with really humble and hungry students this year, and hopefully in the new year, we could go places together. Equipping and sharing are definitely what keeps me going everyday! Bless their talents!

Before I tie up what is probably my last post of this year, here’s a very wonderful 2017 to all of you who have stuck by, and walked with me. Bless your hearts dearly and all your dreams in this coming year. Take care of your hearts, and your health for without which one cannot go on doing great things. So here’s zoe health to all of us. Thank you Jesus! Amen!

Leaving you with last but not least, a ‘crossover’ video from my jazz duo Polkadot + Moonbeam of What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve by Frank Loesser.

My greatest blessing is my friend, my husband, my family and colleague who makes me laugh at all the inappropriate moments, so that i see ‘excellence’ from a completely different perspective. Here’s him just not getting my direction with ‘angles’ and in response, is smiling with a death stare.

Freaking me out with his smiling death stare

Freaking me out with his smiling death stare

Happy new year from us both, with love and blessings. xoxo

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