Looking Back on 2015…

And so 2015 is almost over…

 

Once again, as I pretty much do every year, I look back at the year gone by and reflect on both the good and the bad, grateful for everything that has happened because it is all those experiences that mould me into the person I am now, and will need to be to tackle the new year that lies ahead.

January I rang in the new year with some Herbalife friends.  We had a braai, and I learned to play beer-pong.  It was fun.  I got to play it with the same friends just this past Tuesday and have found that I am a very good player when standing on one leg!  January 1st also brought with it the birth of a very special, long-awaited little boy, Richard, born to Carmen and Ewan.  He is such a bundle of joy.

A week after New Year, I was fortunate enough to visit my long-time school-friend, Shayla-Rae at her home in Tsitsikamma.  She and her husband live in the forest.  I took some beautiful photos while I was there – we meandered through the forest.  It is a soul-restoring experience.
January Shelagh Rose
Shelagh Rose
Sadly, as is the case with all things fun, the visit ended too soon, but we have got to see each other numerous times throughout the year, for which I am thankful.
The same month, another school friend, Jessica, aka Wizard, celebrated her 35th birthday, Hollywood style.  The mandate was black ‘n white, with all the ladies having to don red lipstick.  It was a fun evening too, although it was the catalyst to a heartbreak, which I’m not going to get into here.  So, what do you all think?  Did I get the dress code right, or what?
An old boyfriend also got in touch, offering some sound advice, which made the heartbreak process a lot easier and quicker to deal with.  We rehashed some memories and had a few laughs.  It’s hard to believe that 15 years has passed.  He’s married now, with 2 kids, having lived in the UK, but back in SA.  What was great about getting in touch again was that the advice he gave me was from a guy’s viewpoint, but also a guy that knows me.  I look back now, after having followed the advice and realize, the heart-breaker and I would never have worked long term.  I would have got bored soon.  I always do…
Anyhow, onto February, the month of LOVE, or in my case tears and misery.  But, out of that, something really good has come.  Every cloud does indeed have a silver lining.
I made a new friend called Janine.  Or rather, she made friends with me.  She contacted me to tell me how sorry she was to hear what had happened just after the party.  At first I was apprehensive about replying to her message because honestly, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be friends with the the woman that had been portrayed as the reason for the dissolution of a marriage… but I learned, in just a moment, that this woman had more character than her ex-husband with whom I had been friends for almost nine months.  She has been more of a friend to me this year that some of my friends who live in the same town.  She has taught me about forgiveness, compassion, hope and I have seen that she is the polar opposite of a bad mother.  Not a week goes past without us talking and every time she has been in town to visit her parents, she has made time to catch up with me, even if it has just been for 45 minutes, over a quick coffee.  There is a mutual respect between us, even though I sometimes feel I don’t deserve hers.
Valentine’s Day  brought with it some shock as a video clip of an engagement hit FB.  The very heart-breaker had asked the cocktail waitress from Wizard’s party to marry him – a mere three weeks (yes, weeks) after knowing her.

As is custom when tears flow in our flat, my flat mate and her bestie took a red, bleary-eyed me to Eight Bells for a champagne breakfast.  We had some good laughs and I learned how to set my finger alight with alcohol and swallow the flame.  Don’t ask!  Not something I will try again in a hurry, but I wasn’t exactly in my full mind that day, given the circumstances.  Those two girls that “kidnapped” me and had me running around the car with them at red lights like a loopy teenager really made me realize that love is a gift and it was extra special because I got it when I really needed it after that devastating engagement blow.

 

March brought with it a new craze to Mossel Bay – the parkrun.  Dad and I took part with a number of our Herbalife friends.
Parrun March
I don’t remember what my time was, but it was sub-50 so I was very happy.

 I also shared in the happy occasion of my cousin Ashleigh marrying Arnold in the little town of Heidelberg, W. Cape.  Looking back I’m surprised I didn’t melt that day because it was hot as Haedes.  She was a beautiful bride, and had all her children (from her previous marriage) and grandchildren in her retinue.  It was a real family affair and they all looked so beautiful.  Arnold looked dashingly dapper in his Welsh kilt.  They make a great pair and I’m sure they are going to be incredibly happy living in Wales. It was a very intimate affair, which made it even more special.  I got to see my cousin Malcolm after a long time and we did lots of catching up.  I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed him until we actually started chatting and rehashing old times.  I am still thankful that I got to see him.  I only wish I had known it would be the last time.

I also got to meet Janine in person after a trip to Port Elizabeth with my colleague, Carolyn.  It was an interesting visit, because on the way there, Carolyn and I stopped at Tsitsikamma Falls and took a quick walk.
I twisted my ankle and by the time we got to PE I couldn’t walk.  Turns out I tore the ligaments and that put me out of gym training for much longer than the mandatory six weeks, which has snowballed into me gaining weight again 😦  Janine and I had a lovely visit with her cooking up an incredibly Banting “Paptert” for supper and us having brunch the following day at the beautiful Blue Waters Café, which co-incidentally is also owned by an old school friend of mine.
April brought with it Dad’s birthday.  Every time I see him I see that he’s aged a little, but he is still one of my biggest role models.  It also brought with it Easter, and for the first time in 35 years, no eggs *gasp*
May, like April, was a quiet month for me.  I have no photos to show for it 😦
June was a sad time for me.  I lost one of my best friends, my cousin Malcolm.  I read the tribute I wrote here in the church.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  When I got back to my seat, my dad was crying, because my voice had cracked so many times, yet I maintained my composure.  I am still grateful that I got to see him at the wedding; that we got a chance to see each other one last time before he went to live with the angels.  I am still saddened when I think about his parents, his wife and his two little children.  Even as I sit here typing this, my eyes fill with tears.  I miss him.  He was only 44.  I was once again reminded that time with the people we love is limited, so I love the ones that are in my life, and I’m grateful everyday for them.  My parents, my friends, my colleagues…without them my life would be empty. This is how I remember Malcolm – taken at Ashleigh and Arnold’s wedding, with is wife Jana and daughter Mia.
March Malcolm

June also brought about good news though when Elizabeth’s younger sisters both found out that they were expecting!

July I hibernated.  It was cold!  But not without spending time with Shayla-Rae on the farm where she grew up.  I even learned how to bottle-feed a feisty lamb.

July Lamb
August I got treated to an incredible weekend away at a local lodge with my friend Theresa
T Madi madi August
after her beau at the time (who later turned out to be a scammer) couldn’t make it to join her.  It was a weekend that I will treasure for a long time because we had fun, saw incredible sunsets
Madi Madi Sunset
shared laughs, got accosted by a tame Springbok
went wine-tasting

and one evening when we were taking photos in the reserve at sunset, we heard vegetation crunching under animal footsteps.  To this day we don’t know what it was, but it was a big animal.  Theresa still whispered, “Do you think it is a snake?”  My reply, “Very big snake then…”  Needless to say we took very tentative steps to get back to the car, silently praying that we wouldn’t come eyeball-to-eyeball with a rhino or a buffalo.

 

September…the month where I attended training by my amazing Herbalife upline which inspired me not only to start dreaming again, but to dream BIG!  I had to get refocused on my Herbalife business, as well as helping the members in my organization, because if I wasn’t working, they wouldn’t be either. And if I wanted to achieve my dreams, I had to work at making them happen.
Dream Big - september
It was also the month I turned 18, for the 18th time!  I was meant to have a get together, but woke up with a tummy bug, which put paid to the plans.  It was meant to be rainchecked, but alas, the rest of 2015 ran over me like a freight train without brakes and here we are, on the brink of 2016.  I did get to have a family dinner with my parents at one of the best restaurants in town, Route 57.

October had me realizing that It was the best month I’ve had this year, and one of my members moved up in the marketing plan, giving herself a 10% increase.  I was incredibly proud of her because she has really worked consistently at her part time business.  Sometimes I want to tell her that she motivated me to catch a wake up again.

 

November… well, to say it was busy is an understatement!  The first weekend was the annual CANSA relay for life.  I popped in but didn’t stay long seeing as with my ankle, I am not allowed to walk any kind of distance at the best of times, what’s to be said of on unlevel ground.
The following weekend I went to Cape Town to attend my very first Herbalife extravaganza.  It was an experience that I cannot describe to someone who has not been there.  The energy of 5000 people in one room, radiating positivity, wanting to change lives, is absolutely phenomenal. For the first time in years, the company’s CEO, Michael O. Johnson was on stage.  All I can say, besides that he is incredibly handsome, is that he clearly loves what he does and that he is an inspiration!  Wow!!

Extravaganza 2 NovemberExtravaganza 1 NovemberMOJExtrav

An added bonus was that I got to have dinner with my long-time friend, Allan, who at nineteen years old than I am, is often a father-figure, but with a wicked sense of humour.  The last time we saw each other was five years before, also in Cape Town, for the FIFA World Cup soccer game between The Netherlands and Cameroon.
P and ali
The following weekend was a lot more relaxed, with some friends at a local wine farm, with no cellphone reception.  I think every three months a person needs a breakaway from technology.
 The last weekend saw me celebrating my friends Aaron and Mandy as they tied the knot in an intimate ceremony after having been together for ten years already.  Looking back on 2015, November was definitely the highlight.

Remember I mentioned Elizabeth’s sisters being pregnant?  Well, December brought a dual baby shower for them and it was a huge success with LOTS of presents.  The next day I joined Eliza and Nicolas for a Potluck-and-Pollyanna early Christmas lunch which was tremendous fun. There was SO much food.  We sang Christmas carols and had a church service in the house before lunch.  It was really something so special.  The minister preached to us about taking inventory of our lives, and I guess, to a point, this is what I am doing with this post.  It was a beautiful day, blessed with sunshine and a cool breeze off the sea.

I also had to say goodbye to my friend and neighbour, Zara.  She applied for a teaching post in Pretoria and it was successful.  We had one last night of wine-drinking on her patio…a superb bottle of 2008 Rooiberg Cabernet Sauvignon.  Zara also decided that it would be the night that she would braai a fish.  Even though she had no idea what she was doing, it turned out well.

Christmas Day was spent with my parents, over a lavish lunch at Down to Earth in Herold’s Bay (the same venue where Aaron and Mandy got married).

Christmas Lunch 2 Christmas Lunch

And here I am, December 31st, 2015…trusting that 2016 will be an equally good year, in which memories will be made, lives touched and happiness pursued.  To you, my readers, may it be a memorable year for every one of you!
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