the family we choose 2


I have a very large family, with its strengths and its weaknesses.

A family that gathers weekly, one that I shifted back to the town I grew up in, so that they could be a part of my fledgling families everyday.

One would think that we don’t need anymore family than what we already have, but indeed we do.

I whole heartedly believe that it takes a village to raise a child and we have decided to open our hearts and lives to a group of people to live life accountable too.

These people are the family that we have chosen. One Uncle in particular lives in another country, he grew up in a far away place, but despite the distance he is a part of our day to day.

His name is ‘Uncle Pavel’.

He is a Russian, he loves watermelon, he has the hugest heart, last name Smirnov (like the Vodka) and we adore him.

My little son Maximus, sits at our computer desk and awaits his Skypes with tenderness and anticipation.

My husband Charl met Pavel at the gym and from the moment I met him, my heart swelled a little on the inside.

See to many he is huge; like very tall,  seemingly intimidating, muscly, a Russian.

Many different people have categorised him in many ways through his life, often into boxes that don’t just seem to go away.

The man I adore though, is strong, generous, kind. He is so committed to his friends and often opens his heart and home to people he has only just met to extend hospitality extravagantly.

When you first meet him, you’ll find that he is very quiet, some may think he is withdrawn, a man of few words, but as you get to know him, you see his artistic flare, his love of movies and music and his infallible desire to grow and help people in need.

His work takes him to the ends of the earth, yet he calls his Mum in Russia every single day.

I mean every day.

What grown man calls his Mother everyday, from Kuala Lumpur, Australia, Bangkok, Burma and more?

Every day.

Uncle Pav,

If my son grows up to be half the man that you are, with the generosity and the courage you face in your day to day life I will be one proud mumma.

Dream deep and live large my friend.

You are the family that we have chosen.

See you in Bangkok very soon.

Love Amanda

About Amanda

Amanda Viviers Is an Author, Speaker, Creative Consultant and Novice Mum. Author of three books and she can be found most days at her shack close to the beach writing her fourth. She writes daily at and has worked in professional musical theatre. She worked on staff at Riverview for 12 years, mostly in the field of Creative Arts. Finalist in the Telstra Young Business Woman of the year and Community Services Award. She has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in History and Literature and studied Musical Theatre at WAPPA. She is a presenter on radio across New Zealand and Australia and is the co-founder of kinwomen; a network created especially for women. Recent Winner of ‘2013 CMA Best Digital Media Project Award’ for her blog Capture life. She is passionate about social justice and in the past has loved supporting children in the slums of Thailand and Indonesia. Wife of Charl and Mum of Maximus and Liberty. She lives a creative life, longing to see people lived inspired.

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