As the lighthouse high on Cape St. Blaize winks and watches Mossel Bay was the opening line of my primary school’s anthem. Today I finally got to see that view for myself.Continue reading
Another must-do excursion when in Victoria Falls is The Flight of the Angels: a short helicopter flip of ±13 minutes above the Falls. The operator I was booked with was The Zambezi Helicopter Company.
There is a comprehensive safety briefing given by one of the friendly staff members and the thing that most women dread, a weigh-in. Getting on the scale is necessary in order to evenly distribute the weight of passengers so that everyone has a safe, comfortable experience.
If you get thirsty while you wait (quite likely with the African sun beating down), there is a bar on the premises where you can purchase something ice-cold to drink. I imagine they’d have something a little stronger too, for those who need their nerves calmed a bit.
A member of staff is on hand with a camcorder in hand, filming everything. After the flight the group gets to view their video, along with still photos, which are available for download onto a memory stick (provided by the company), for a fee of US $50. Credit cards are accepted.
Before this flight, I’d never been in a helicopter, so I was thrilled to be seated in front, alongside our Captain, Lesley.
It was a little surreal because one moment I was still on the ground and the next I was in the air, kind of like a giant magnet that picks something up in a cartoon. I didn’t hear too much of the commentary through the earphones, because I was in awe of the sights below.
The flight takes the form of a figure 8, so that everyone gets a fair view of the Falls and the opportunity to take photos.
If you have a quick eye, you may even see some elephants grazing on the ground, along with some other game species. The group before us said they saw giraffe, but I was too mesmerized by the lush greenery and beauty of the Zambezi and Victoria Falls to see any animals.
I was a little sad that it was over so quickly, but it was an experience I will never forget. The view is magnificent!
Sometimes, something happens, and you find yourself (for lack of a better term), different. Out of this Misfit’s book, I give you two personal examples:
I’m not sure which one of my girl friends it was, but she said, “It’s like when you reach 40 you just don’t give a rat’s ass anymore what people think.” Pretty much everyone 40+ in the company agreed.
I’ve always been one that enjoys my own company; growing up as an only child in a building where there were no other kids taught me quickly how to keep myself entertained. As I grew up, I became an extremely social person; I was a relatively well-liked teenager (albeit a book nerd) and post-21, I had many people I considered friends.
As we all know, life happens, and people’s paths diverge – there is no definitive turning point, or fork in the road. One day you’re still cruising on a Sunday-roadtrip-to-nowhere with your best friend, a year later you’re sitting in a coffee shop alone, having an oversized brunch, chased by a double-thick-peanut-butter-milkshake.
If anyone had told me a year ago, that on the brink of thirty-nine, I would be that person, I would have laughed because I’ve always been of the opinion that there are certain things nobody should do alone – like have a meal in a restaurant, or go to the movies, yet yesterday, I was that person. And it felt surprisingly good. I paged leisurely through some tattered magazine while waiting for-, and during (my mother would just die if she knew I was reading at the table) my meal. I was lost in my own little world, oblivious to what was happening around me, until a stranger accidently bumped my table on his way out.
The point I’m trying to make, I suppose, is that I’ve reached that point, where I’m okay to go out on my own (although solo-movies are still daunting) and not be fazed by what the people around me think.
It boils down to acceptance of self, but more than that love of self – because face it, if you don’t love and accept who you are, how can you expect others to? I’m confident and independent – and that epitome is the greatest thing ever; just a pity it’s taken me almost forty years to realize it.
Social Media Slow Down
It’s been eleven years since my friend, Vixen, nudged me to join Facebook – the magical world where I could play Texas Hold ‘Em Poker without losing any real money, stay in touch with friends, plug my Herbalife business, share photos & random thoughts (some of my memories have me wondering, What. The. Actual. Fuck?) and Lord knows what else.
Round this time last year, the appeal was just gone. I woke up one morning thinking, how many people really bother with checking up on me there, as opposed to getting in touch with me by other, more immediate means? I’m not saying I’ve become a total social media luddite, I’ve merely tapered down my use of almost all the apps related to it, except Whatsapp, because it is my main go-to means of comms, mostly because I use my almost ninety-five hundred percent of my allocated 100 minutes of talk-time on my contract to chat to my friend Trisha, in Durban.
Being a complete social media hermit is not normal in the age we live in, so I’ll still log in and check what’s potting in Facebook-land, sometimes I’ll even post something, but quite honestly, I’d much rather save my data to chat with the circle of people on Whatsapp that matter to me, as much as I do to them.
Maybe it’s also because I’m almost forty, who knows? One thing’s for sure though – there is a change in me, and I’m embracing it. I feel like a new person – more accepting, more open and sure as hell, more awesome.
Change is not a bad thing – sometimes it is more necessary than we’d care to admit, and it’s a part of growing up, and enjoying life.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
…that Peace that Paul wrote to the Phillipians about…I received it!
Phillipians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (ESV)
A great deal of things happened this weekend…Roosterkoeks the size of tablets, coffee at Steve’s folks on their farm, a touch of the mysterious at Sulina’s Faerie Sanctuary, an ice-cold something at the Dros in Roberton, a wors-braai on Du Toit’s Kloof Pass, a walk from Three Anchor Bay to Sea Point and back, photos at Signal Hill, a stop at the Lindt shop, a pop in at that Waterfront, rugby in a box at Newlands, watching the lights from Ou Kaapse Weg, a drive over Chapman’s Peak, via Hout Bay and Camp’s Bay, feeding the squirrels and pigeons in the Company Gardens…but that is not what I want to share today… despite all these wonderful memories, one moment, a few fleeting seconds actually, is what I will probably carry closest to my heart for a long while still.
This past Sunday, whilst on a weekend away to Cape Town with Steve and Elizabeth, I experienced a fleeting few moments of that God’s Peace that surpasses all understanding.
On a whim, we jumped in the car at 06:25 to find a good spot to check out the sunrise…knowing that the best sunsets are seen from the southern side of Cape Town, I took the two “tourists” up the scenic Boye’s Drive then into Fishoek where we decided to take a walk on the beach. I was dressed in my skinny jeans and the shirt I’d slept in (we weren’t initially planning to be getting out where people would see us) and no shoes. While Steve and Elizabeth took photos I rolled up my jeans (with no real success) and put my feet in the water. Before I knew it I was thigh deep and after a quick conference with Elizabeth regarding the use of her jersey, I walked right back into the water and it happened…just before I dived under the waves, there was complete silence around me.
I could have dived under the waves and not resurfaced. It wouldn’t have mattered because…I. was. at. Peace.
I can’t qualify my experience with words, be they spoken or written. All I can say is that in that fleeting five to eight seconds, nothing in my life mattered, except me and my Father in Heaven. He touched me in a supernatural way – I have been teary ever since, but I know that tears bring healing, so I am letting them flow. God is working in me, making changes for the better. So, even as I am not sure what lies ahead, I know that I can walk in faith, because I am filled with peace.